Get the Most Out of Decorative Thanksgiving Pumpkins

There are a number of ways to reuse decorative Thanksgiving pumpkins on a homestead, including as homemade chicken feed.

Assortment of Thanksgiving Pumpkins

Pumpkins make beautiful autumn decorations, and after they’re served their beautifying purposes they can be recycled in a number of useful ways.

Photo by Fotolia/dusk

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Last autumn, many downtown businesses wanted to get rid of the pumpkins they had used as Thanksgiving decorations. My family asked permission to bring the pumpkins home to our farm, where I immediately fed the seeds to our chickens. My girls loved the pumpkin seeds, which I understand are a natural dewormer.

My chickens weren’t crazy about the actual raw meat of the leftover pumpkins, so I cooked chunks of pumpkin until they were soft. I added old potatoes, stale bread and other leftovers to the pot. After the pumpkin mixture cooled, I took it back to the chicken coop. Boy, did the chickens love that homemade, pumpkin-based chicken food!

We used the smaller pie pumpkins that we gleaned for pies, breads and pickled pumpkin. The large, curved pumpkin stems also make great hooks to screw on a wall; they last a surprisingly long time.

Dawn Hodges
Bellville, Texas