Pumpkin Seed as a Natural Alternative to Chemical Dewormers in Sheep

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2004: $14,990.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Mac Stewart
Magruder Farms
Margaret Magruder
Magruder Farms


  • Vegetables: cucurbits
  • Animals: sheep


  • Animal Production: grazing - rotational
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, agricultural finance, value added
  • Pest Management: biological control, integrated pest management
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal summary:

    The abundant rain and sun that nourish pasture grasses also help parasites flourish, placing grazing animals under continual assault from internal parasites. To combat the parasites, sheep producers rotate their animals through pastures and use chemical dewormers, or anthelmintics. These are costly and time consuming to administer, and, because of long use, the parasites’ resistance has increased. Indeed, many anthelmintics no longer work and as many as 60% of common parasites have developed resistance. The producers in this project will test pumpkin and squash seeds as a natural anthelmintic. They hope to confirm studies in Russia, China and New Zealand that have shown that an amino acid unique to pumpkin and squash seeds, cucurbitin, may have anthelmintic properties by causing paralysis in the parasites.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.