How livestock benefit from donated Halloween pumpkins

In the days following Halloween, animals at Fenek Farms are benefitting from hundreds of pumpkins donated by the community.

The farm has sheep, alpacas, cattle, turkeys and more that can all use the pumpkins as feed.

“The mindset of the farm is to try to do everything as naturally and as organically as possible. Pumpkins are perfect for that,” Josef Buttigieg, the owner of Fenek Farms, said.

For the past three Novembers, Buttigieg has been collecting pumpkins to feed his animals including sheep, cows, turkeys and alpacas.

“I was thinking ‘well wait a second, everyone tosses their pumpkins. Pumpkins should be good for sheep and cattle,’” Buttigieg said. “I put a call out on Facebook and then all of a sudden people were saying to take their pumpkins.”

The first year, they went door to door collecting pumpkins. Since then, word has spread and groups including the City of Regina and the provincial government are helping the farm acquire the jack-o-lanterns.

“In 2019 we brought a compost bin to compost all the pumpkins. This year, I set up a similar thing and one of my coworkers working in maintenance suggested that we donate them to a farm for feed,” Lauren Hope, programming and visitor services supervisor of Wascana Centre, said following the centre’s pumpkin drop off on Monday night. “She suggested Fenek Farms, we reached out and they said yes.”

Buttigieg said the pumpkins are a healthy options for the animals. They also help ration the farmer’s feed supply.

“We crush them with a tractor. We take the crushed pumpkins and throw them in the field and the animals sort of free range on them,” he said. “There’s fibre, there’s the nutritive component to that and in addition, in high doses it’s an anti-parasitic so it works as a deworming nutrient.”

Fenek Farms will continue accepting pumpkin donations for the rest of the week. They have drop off locations in Regina and Lumsden. Locations include the yard waste site at the Regina Landfill, the waste site in Lumsden and the Grant Community Gardens in Lumsden.

The farm asks for items like tooth picks and candlesticks to be removed from any pumpkins being donated. Any pumpkins with paint won’t be fed to animals, but can be composted at the farm to go into the fields next year.