Friday, February 3, 2012

Smashing Pumpkins - Feeding Fresh In Winter

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.

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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.

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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. 

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Joyous feasting ensues. 

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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

2 comments:

Carolyn Renee said...

We're planning on planting a huge winter squash patch this year, some for us but also some for storing for the same reason you did; chicken treats in the middle of winter!

Ten Things Farm said...

Carolyn, I think just about anything that keeps will through winter months is a good bet. Our girls get some winter squash too, like butternut, simply because I plant a couple hills and we just can't eat them all.

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