I love finding alternative ways to treat my goat herd when they come down with a bug, or need routine maintenance. Usually, it’s easier on them, and my wallet, if I can find something a bit more natural.
Bonus if it's something I have readily available.
When it comes to my deworming program, I’ve got something special up my sleeve for my goat herd. And the best part is, I don’t have to trick them into eating dewormer paste—because, let’s be honest, goats are smarter than we give them credit for and that paste usually ends up in the mud.
Enter the pumpkin.
Well, pumpkin seeds, actually. You may have heard the whisperings of the effectiveness of pumpkins as a parasite preventative. The good news is, there’s some science backing up these claims. And with any luck, more and more research will be conducted to confirm that pumpkins can aid in livestock deworming efforts.
So, let’s carve into it and learn how pumpkin is a must-have addition to your goat herd deworming program.
The Science Behind Pumpkin Seeds As a Natural Dewormer
In a recent study, “pumpkin seed and areca nut extract on Taenia spp. tapeworms were confirmed in the current study, primarily in producing an increased rate of effect on tapeworm expulsion.”
This was actually a study conducted on humans, but it also refers to animals in general.
The study itself is a lot to swallow and there’s not a lot of additional research out there to confirm what herbalists and homesteaders have sworn by for decades (and centuries, for that matter).
It’s fairly well-known amongst homesteaders and preppers that pumpkin seeds are a natural way to prevent an infestation due to the amino acid, cucurbitacin, in the pumpkin seeds. This acid is thought to cause an unpleasant reaction in tapeworms causing them to release themselves and become expelled.
Why Pumpkins are Perfect Parasite Preventatives for Goats
Goats Love Pumpkins
Well, most of them at least. I always have a picky eater in my herd that will sort through our special grain mix for their favorite bits.
If you’re like me, you love your goats and want nothing more than to care for them in a holistic, natural, way. So, regardless of the studies, or the truth in them, it won’t hurt your goats if you decide to feed them pumpkin.
On the contrary, goats love to eat pumpkins. They are natural foragers and enjoy rummaging through your garden leftovers after the fall harvest.
Pumpkins are Good for Goats
Pumpkins are full of nutritious goodies that your goats need. So even if the deworming doesn’t pan out, by giving your goats pumpkins to munch on you’re also providing them with:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
Pumpkins are a win-win, and your goats will love the special treat in Fall.
How to Feed Pumpkins to Goats
Only pumpkins from a garden without herbicides or pesticides should be fed to goats. If you grow your own pumpkins, they will most likely be ready for your goats late Fall.
If you have a large pumpkin patch, consider moving your herd to the patch itself and allowing them to munch at their leisure. Doing so will also prevent any dropped, uneaten, or expelled seeds from sprouting a hardy pumpkin patch in the wrong pasture.
If you’re wondering how much is too much, there is no such thing. And your goats will know when to stop if something isn’t right. They also know not to eat mold or rotten pumpkins, so they will happily pick around the spoiled food if there’s any present.
If you’re concerned about the stems, you can remove them but your goats will probably only nibble on them, and they are completely harmless. As you know, goats love roughage, so feel free to let them eat their pumpkins a la carte.
Add Pumpkins to Your Deworming Program But Don’t Rely on Them
Because the research is still underway, it would be unwise to rely solely on pumpkin seeds as a natural dewormer for your goats. Pumpkin should be thought of as a supplement to their diet that may help prevent or kill parasites.
If you suspect that your goat already has a nasty infestation, deworm them with recommendations from your veterinarian. Not all dewormers are effective against killing every type of parasite, so if you aren’t sure which your goat has, then take a fecal sample to your veterinarian and they will help you.
In the meantime, roll a few pumpkins over to your goats as a special, nutritious, and potentially parasite-killing treat. They’ll love it.