When I read historical fiction (which is often), I often read about farmers feeding turnips, pumpkins or beets to their livestock in the winter. I think the convenience of a bag of ready-to-eat feed is nice, but I like my hens to get some variety and something fresh throughout the year.
Pumpkins grow really well here, so we plant six hills each year. This year we grew a few different varieties and got 36 pumpkins. We have had plenty for jack-o-lanterns and decoration, plus the pie pumpkins for pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin everything any time we like, with plenty of fresh pumpkins left for our little hen flock.
I store the pumpkins in the basement where it's cool and dry. Every so often, I take one out and smash it in the chicken run.
Joyous feasting ensues.
The seeds are a great protein source, the flesh gives them some variety and something fresh. This also helps stretch the feed and cut costs. I watch my stored pumpkins for any signs that they are next to go - if there is a spot, if one starts to shrivel or something like that, then it's off to the henhouse!
Sharing at Homestead Barnhop,
-Laura at TenThingsFarm