Natural Pumpkin, Garlic & Nasturtium Chicken Wormer

Worming chickens twice a year with a chemical wormer (that likely requires a period of egg 'withdrawal' during which you shouldn't eat the eggs) is NOT necessary.

I have never wormed my chickens with any kind of commercial wormer.

I also have never had any trouble with worms or internal parasites in my flock, and have actually had our vet take fecal samples and no sign of worms have ever been found.

While many so-called poultry experts recommend "proactive" worming twice a year, but I don't believe in administering any medications unless absolutely necessary.

Wazine, a "popular'  commercial wormer actually says right on the back of the bottle "Do not use in chickens producing eggs for human consumption."  

Not for 2 weeks....or 30 days....but never ever. Other commonly used chemical wormers such as Ivermectin are NOT approved for use in poultry, and some, like Piperazine only treat a specific type of internal parasites.

As a result, I'm understandably very hesitant to use anything on my chickens with a label like this so instead I rely on holistic preventatives.

Worming Chickens Naturally

To protect my chickens from parasite overload, I add a few things to my flock's diet that are believed by many to be natural wormers for chickens and other animals.

They act by paralyzing the parasites inside the host animal's body.

They are then flushed from the body naturally. These 'natural worming' plants include:
  • Dill
  • Carrots
  • Chicory
  • Cucumber
  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Hyssop
  • Mint
  • Nasturtium
  • Plantain
  • Pumpkin 
  • Squash
  • Watermelon
Used in conjunction with above plants, these natural diuretics/flushes then work to flush any worms out of the host's body:
  • Molasses
  • Plain yogurt
  • Dandelion greens
All of these 'treat's can help to combat worms and keep internal parasite loads under control.

And because all are perfectly healthy and natural, there's no withdrawal period during which you can't eat the eggs your chickens lay.

On a fairly regular basis, I like to chop up whatever I happen to have on hand depending on the season, and then mix everything into a bit of warm oatmeal.

My chickens love it!


Generally healthy chickens with strong immune systems can generally handle a moderate worm load.

Most backyard (and commercial) flocks likely encounter worms at some point in their life because of the environment they live in and the amount of time they spend poking around in the dirt.

It only becomes a problem when the body can't manage the worms and they get out of control.

Signs your chickens might have worms include:
  • Visible proof of worms in their droppings which may be foamy or extremely watery
  • Dirty feathers around the vent
  • Worms in the chicken's eggs
  • Pale yolks in the eggs
  • Decreased egg production
  • Weight loss
  • Increased feed consumption
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Pale comb and wattles
  • Ruffled feathers and overall disheveled appearance
If you suspect a worm overload, the best thing to do is to take a fecal sample to your vet. Dog/cat vets or your extension service or university poultry science department should be able to test the sample for worms. 

If you DO get confirmation of worms, it's best to follow your vet's recommendations as to treatment. 

These holistic remedies are best used as preventives to PREVENT an overload and aren't necessarily strong enough to TREAT an infestation.

So back to the natural route....


There are varying opinions on this subject and not much study has been done, but raw pumpkin seeds are thought to be a natural wormer, not only for chickens and ducks, but for sheep and goats as well.

Twice a year, spring and fall, it is suggested that you feed your girls raw pumpkin seeds (ground or whole) free-choice for a week. Which is perfect to coincide with disposing of your Halloween pumpkin.

Ask your neighbors for theirs too!

The pumpkin seeds (as well as the seeds of other members of the cucurbitaceae family such as winter, summer, zucchini and crookneck squash, gourds, cucumbers, cantaloupe and watermelon) are coated with a substance called cucurbitacin that paralyzes the worms.

The larger fruits and vegetables contain higher levels of cucurbitacin, while the smaller cucumber contains far less.


Since pumpkins are plentiful and inexpensive in the fall, that is what I use for my fall worming.

You can merely cut a fresh pumpkin in half and feed it to your chickens, or I like to pour some water into the pumpkin half - the ducks really love that! - or fill the halves with some chicken feed to get hesitant flock members to give it a taste.

But I take it one step further and make them a Pumpkin Soup. 

In a food processor, I grind up the seeds and pulp, then I drizzle in some yogurt, add molasses and garlic - and then pour it into the pumpkin half.

Both the molasses and yogurt will work to cause a bit of diarrhea and help flush the paralyzed worms out of the chickens' systems.

In moderation, both are extremely beneficial when combating internal parasites.

Pumpkin Soup 
(serves 8-10 hens)

One entire bulb crushed fresh garlic
Dandelion greens
2 cups raw oatmeal
One shredded carrot
8 Tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds
1 Tablespoon black strap molasses
Pumpkin pulp in the fall from two small pumpkins (or one can of pumpkin puree)

Blend all the ingredients in your food processor and add enough plain unflavored yogurt to achieve a 'soupy' consistency.

Then pour some soup into each pumpkin half (or a bowl if you are using the puree), garnish it with shredded carrot and serve it up ! The girls love it !  

And when they're done, they will eat the bowl too!


I also add garlic powder to my chickens' daily feed mix every day.

Every couple of weeks year round I mince up a whole bulb, mixed with some chopped fresh mint, and feed it to the chickens free-choice and they seem to love it.

Garlic, especially in conjunction with mint is a wonderful year-round natural wormer.


Nasturtium is a wonderful addition to any garden. 

It is not only pretty and easy to grow, it repels insects, the chickens love to eat the leaves and blossoms, and it also acts as a natural wormer, as well as a laying stimulant, antiseptic and antibiotic. 

The chickens can (and will) eat the nasturtium leaves, flowers and seeds.

I plant some nasturtium in my garden each spring and am thinking of planting around the perimeter of the run next year for the chickens to eat at will.

Although there isn't too much information or scientific evidence out there to prove or disprove the ability of these holistic preventatives to combat intestinal worms, there have been a few studies done that point to their effectiveness.

Regardless, the girls love the pumpkin soup and all the other treats, which are nutritious if nothing else.

Additionally, pumpkins contain antioxidants, as well as high levels of Vitamin A, both of which strengthen immune systems and help the chickens better combat illness.

The beta carotene in the pumpkins contributes to vibrant orange egg yolks as well as bright orange bills and feet on our ducks.

Another substance in the pumpkin, phytosterol, is thought to lower cholesterol, so I believe it probably makes our eggs lower in cholesterol as well.

Bottom line, the pumpkin and garlic, as well as other types of squash and melons and the nasturtium, are nutritious, so I figure there's no harm....and besides, we've never had any problem with any kind of intestinal worms - so I'm a believer.

Here's a great article on the same subject written by herbalist Dawn Combs for Hobby Farm magazine.

(Important to Note: While natural preventives might be effective to PREVENT, if you have a vet-confirmed case of a parasite overload, I would recommend treating it with a commercial product. There is an all-natural worming product called Backyard Chicken Zyfend that is available HERE.)

Rybaltovskii OV. 1966. On the discovery of cucurbitin—a component of pumpkin seed with anthelmintic action. Med Parazitol (Mosk) 35:487–8
Plotnikov AA et. al. 1972. Clinical trial or cucurbin (a preparation from pumpkin seeds) in cestadiasis. Med Parazitol (Mosk) 41(4): 407-411.

I would love for you to follow me here...


  1. thanks for the information! Wrote it down and will pick up. I was wondering if i could just add the seeds(ground) to cooked oatmeal and serve.

    June Gibbs

    1. Sure you could June. You can even just grind up the seeds and give them a bowl of them. They would love them in oatmeal tho.

    2. since I have only 4 RIR's how much should i give in the seeds? Figure a tablespoon each? :) Where did you find the hulled plain pumpkins seeds at? I am so very limited in store selection here.

      June Gibbs

    3. Thanks! I'm so happy to read that I haven't been negligent because I didn't want to give chemical drugs to my chickens. I'll be sure to add some of these items to their diet. Since they pretty much eat everything that goes in our compost pile, they're probably in the clear.

  2. I think your results speak for themselves!
    Thanks for sharing this with us. :o)

  3. I agree with Linda, your results speak for themselves. :-)

  4. We always grow nasturtiums for ourselves. They are wonderful in salads. We will have to grow even more this year for our girls!!

  5. Do you think that squash seeds would work as well as pumpkin seeds? I don't grow pumpkins, but grow both summer and winter squash, so I have an abundance of squash seeds!

  6. This is so good to know. I have nasturtiums all over my yard so I think I will put some in the coop too. Great idea.

  7. Okay I tried both and granted the chicks are only six weeks old but they didn't eat either the seeds or the nasturtiums. I will keep trying though.

  8. Thanks for the info and the recipe!!! I can't say I've ever fed my chickens pumpkin seeds, but they get garlic and apple cider vinegar in their water all the time, which is supposed to be good for worms.


    1. I do both also and I agree. And at the very least its great for their immune systems.

    2. How much apple cider vinegar do you add to your water? I have heard all the good it does for people, would love to give it to the girls....should you wait till they are a certain age?

  9. Thanks so much for sharing this informative post on Simple & Sweet Fridays. I love your blog. New Follower.


  10. We have both ducks and chickens together. Are these things all safe for our ducks too? If so, how much should I alot for each of them?

    1. yes, we have ducks and chickens together as well. Nothing will hurt the ducks - I just make up enough to account for the ducks also.

  11. Can I just throw out all the seeds and pulp whole when doing my pumpkins or must the seeds be ground?

    1. Sure you can. They will still eat the seeds. I think ground they are getting a bit more nutrition since then they are sure to digest the seeds - not have them pass through their system whole.

  12. That pumpkin soup looks good enough to eat - myself! Great idea on de-worming.

    1. Thanks for linking up this week at the Backyard Farming Connection Hop - hope to see you next week :)

  13. mmmmmmmm. my groceery list just got LARGER! I've got to have my green thumb redied and start growing some of this next summer. thanxxxxxxxx

  14. Hi there. Food on Friday is all about soup! So it would be great if you linked this in. This is the link . Have a good week.

  15. Does it work the same to just give them a raw whole pumpkin?

    1. Sure you can. Just cut it in half and give it to them. The yogurt and molasses are just thought to help the worms pass easily out. But sure, just cut up a pumpkin.

  16. I got this web page from my buddy who told me on the topic
    of this site and now this time I am browsing this
    site and reading very informative content at this time.
    My blog :: static cling

  17. Thanks for the info! I always thought cattle wormer sounded a bit crazy and it's definitely easier to serve them some pumpkin instead of stressing them out trying to force wormer down their throats. Not to mention the chemicals in livestock wormers, not something I want in my eggs! I've always been a fan of more holistic medicines anyways.

    1. I agree, I don't like using chemicals anyway, but certainly not ones not specifically formulated for the particular animal. I believe that by following a holistic regiment you can certainly have healthy hens.

  18. Hi!
    Minus the garlic, what are your thoughts on the efficacy of this delightful concoction on dogs?
    Thank you!

  19. I always heard that if you feed your chickens garlic it will make their eggs taste like garlic. Do you find this to be true? Thanks!

    1. Not at all. Our chickens have been eating garlic and garlic powder for years and our eggs don't taste like garlic..and I bake alot so I would definitely notice.

  20. Is there a specific age the chickens should be before beginning this? Also, I'm curious how you get the nasturtiums to grow in the run without the chickens pulling up the plant.

    1. As soon as they are outside, they are susceptible to any time after they go outside, you can start with this. It's all natural so no worries. If you plant anything inside the run they will pull it up, I'm thinking of planting the seeds just outside the run fencing and then pulling the plants through the fence and caging them until they are blooming and then letting the chickens have at them.

  21. Never get tired of reading your information.

  22. thank you!! I moved in to my parent's old dairy farm 2 years ago after their deaths. I have been wondering what this one plant was in the front yard, thanks to you I discovered it is Wormwood herb. Ran out to the chicken coop and gave some to my flock. I am having a blast getting the family farm back to what it was 30 years ago!

    1. Oh how fun! I think that's awesome and what a tribute to their lives!

  23. Your blog is super amazing! I am new from southern charm! I would love for you to check out my blog and hopefully follow me back! Nicole

    1. Thank you and welcome! I for sure will check you out!

  24. Thank You so much for all this information!!! I love using natural stuff. I am learning so much from all my new back yard chickens raisers. So I hope I raise mine good and healthy!

  25. if you use this as a true deworming treatment, do you repeat or just feed them this whenever you want?

    1. Spring and fall for sure and whenever I have nasturtium, they get the garlic year round etc...

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Do you feed your chickens organic food?? I am trying to raise mine organic,what else would you suggest??? Thank You

    1. If you're going organic then yes you would need organic feed -check out NaturesBestOrgsnics or Scratch&PeckFeeds. I have bunches of articles on natural care so check out the Chuckens+Ducks tab at the top.

  28. Sounds like something that dogs and cats would love too!

  29. We've had the hardest time ridding a couple of our chickens who have tapeworms. It's nice to use natural preventives for more common worms like roundworm but unfortunately they don't keep the horrid tapeworms away! We've resorted to commercial wormers, but sadly the same two keep becoming re-infected with them.

  30. just a thought maybe they are feeding where they have pooed,maybe sprinkle some DE also for an all around wormer I have been told that valbazen is the best and it kills all worms chickens get theyshould be retreated after 10 days to get any eggs they had draw back is there is a 3 week withhold from eating eggs,

  31. Tapeworm is not spread through feces. Besides, what chicken doesn't peck off the ground where they might have gone? Tapeworms must have a host to spread to the chicken, an example would be any insect that had eaten an egg that was released from a tapeworm segment. The chicken then has to eat the infected insect to receive tapeworm. To eradicate tapeworm off your property can be next to impossible, not to mention, it won't do any good as far as preventing flying insects from other outside places.

    Unfortunately, DE has never even proven to kill ants on our property and certainly wont work and destroying all flying insects. For eggs it might work to reduce the numbers, but that is irrelevant when it takes a host and they are coming from outside sources. We personally had no success killing them with Valbazen, the best commercial wormer has been Zimecterin gold paste. However, it's not killing them that's a problem, it's keeping them gone.

  32. I'm having the same exact problem with my chickens. The tapeworms are constantly coming back and I've tried Wazine, Valbazen, and Zimecterin... I'm basically at the point where I'm just giving commercial wormers a break and hoping for the best with all natural preventative measures. The chickens seems happy, healthy, good appetite, not lethargic, not pale... so I'm just gonna ride the wave for now.

  33. Ali- We eventually did get rid of the tapeworms. Zimectrin Gold paste (make sure it's the gold) give a pea amount for Standards and bb size for Bantams. I usually do this in the morning on and empty stomach and then withhold food for a couple hours so there is nothing in their stomach diluting it. Some people put the dose on bread, but I found just using a toothpick, wiping it into their mouths works best. 10 days later repeat. Not 11 or 12 days later, but 10 days on the spot. If you have been worming them a lot it's best to hold off for a while as it could cause organ failure. Tapeworm is not as deadly as some worms, as it doesn't create a block in the intestines as roundworm can.
    Try to pinpoint which chicken have it and stick to only worming them. Tapeworm segments are usually only seen during a certain time of the day, everyday. My chickens were dropping segments in the early afternoon for a couple hours so I knew when to look. It requires a bit of poop patrol, but this way you can avoid egg loss from all your hens and potentially killing your flock.

  34. If you worm them while it's still cold outside you might be able to keep them away longer, since the insects aren't as prevalent right now. We narrowed our problem down to ants and they are all gone right now. If they are becoming re-infected when it is cold it could possibly be from termites or spiders they are getting, just depends on what climate you live it. Scout out possible pests around.