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I've wanted to give sheep pumpkins for some time now, but have yet to find a source that could supply me. This is definitely the time of year to line up suppliers; often pumpkins can be had cheap after Hallowe'en. (I wouldn't rely on the pumpkin seed as dewormer bit, but sheep supposedly enjoy eating the pumpkins!)

 

J.

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I've found pumpkins over the years from local "pumpkin patches" after the holiday, and all the livestock LOVE them!

A

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We've fed pumpkins before - the sheep really like them! Wouldn't count on the seeds as dewormer though.

 

Pumpkins and root crops were quite common as livestock feed 100-150 years ago. The book Farmer Boy talks about feeding the cows and sheep pumpkins and if you go to living history museums (Greenfield Village, Old Sturbridge Village) you'll hear it mentioned, too. Easy to grow, easy to store, keep well for several weeks/couple months after harvest.

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I have fed my sheep pumpkins every fall that we have used them for decorating. The bonus we had this year is that they managed to "plant" a seed and we got our own pumpkins this year. Once it is time I can take some pictures of them eating the pumpkins next month.

 

Kathy

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My sheep love pumpkins, I open them up for them and they push and shove to get at them. They also adore apples and squash as well. I've never heard of using the seeds as dewormer. Like Kathy, my sheep were doing a good job of planting seeds every year until this year when the chickens figured out how to get in by the rams where most of the really good pumpkins grew. They cleaned out all the seeds so nothing grew this year, so I'm bummed.

 

Samantha

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I live near Keene, NH, which has an annual pumpkin festival. At one point, it held the world record for the most jack-o-lanterns lit in one place at one time -- 30,000 or some such. The morning after, they welcomed help from anyone who wanted to haul pumpkins away. We used to get probably 3,000 to 5,000 pounds of pumpkins. I would have orange-faced sheep for weeks.

 

The festival has since downsized, and they have a professional clean up crew, so that opportunity isn't as bountiful as it one was, but if you can get pumpkins for cheap or free, by all means, stock up. If you don't break them open, the sheep will roll them around until they find something to push against to bite on them. Breaking them open is half the fun.

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My old team of draft horses thought it was great fun to roll pumpkins around the pasture. They'd eventually put a foot through the squash, take a few bites, then go find a new, unbroken pumpkin. The sheep were happy to clean up.

 

I once did some research on pumpkin seeds as an anthelmintic. I don't remember the details, but I'm pretty sure I determined that while the seeds do have worm-killing properties, to effectively worm an adult sheep, you'd have to feed a LOT of seeds. Pumpkins are good feed, though. We feed all the seeds and guts from our winter squash to sheep or goats.

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