Are raw pumpkin seeds a reliable de-wormer for your chickens? No, that's not true: Feeding your brood pumpkin seeds to rid them of worms might not hurt them, but there is no evidence that it will help, either. It's a tough problem for farmers when their layers get worms from all that free ranging, because there's no scientific research on how long you have to wait after using antibiotics before their eggs are safe to eat. But there is also no research on how effective pumpkins seeds might be, which seeds are best, or how much is needed. Still, there is a seed of truth in why it's been passed along as a natural cure. There is a study that shows promise for an extract from the seeds being helpful.
The claim was made an article (archived here) published by GoodsHomeDesign.com in May 2017 under the title "Raw Pumpkin Seeds as a Dewormer for Chickens". It read:
Did you know that raw pumpkin seeds are a natural de-wormer for chickens? I had never heard this, but always looking for a good holistic remedy, I looked into this a bit and seems a lot of people put stock in this tasty treatment. According to Elaine from Sunny Simple Life, pumpkin seeds are coated in a naturally occurring chemical that paralyzes the worms so the chicken can then expel them. What do you think?
This is what social media users saw:
Whether you have just a clutch of chicks in the backyard or a large brood of layers, you worry about worms. Big Poultry doesn't worry so much, because their chickens are usually kept cooped up away from the source of worms. If you're raising chickens destined for the table as meat -- it's easier to use antibiotics to treat your broilers. But antibiotics have not been tested for use in layers -- the hens that give us eggs. It is just not financially practical for drug companies to spend millions of dollars on the research since the big farmers avoid worms by keep their birds in coops. If feeding your chickens pumpkin seeds cured worms, that would be a big help for the small farmers.
Lead Stories found one scientific study into if pumpkin seeds are an effective natural de-wormer for chickens. Published in 2016, the study is titled "Evaluation of Anthelmintic Activity and Composition of Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) Seed Extracts--In Vitro and in Vivo Studies". The research found that no benefits of pumpkin seeds in the raw form, but tests on mice using an extract from the seeds was promising:
Considering the outcomes of the presented study, the cucurbid seeds may constitute an alternative treatment for both standard and ecological methods of livestock breeding. Having in mind current demands of ecological farming, pumpkin seed extracts, classified as natural products with little chance of long-living harmful residues, can be perceived as new drug candidates, characterized by low production costs and high administration safety. Moreover, they may spawn novel agricultural industries, which will promote the cultivation of plants with antiparasitic properties to be introduced to different kinds of fodder as future medicines.
So, chickens must wait for the development of a drug made from an extract of pumpkin seeds to help rid them of worms. Raw pumpkins seeds may not hurt them, but there is no reason to believe it will help.