This year homesteader Crystal Sands has left pumpkin carving up to her chickens. She recorded their work as part of a social media chicken challenge. Credit: Courtesy of Crystal Sands.

Introducing, just in time for Halloween, “the chickens carving pumpkins challenge.”

Like a lot of social media video content, the explanation is in the title. Take a pumpkin with a bit of advance preparation and one or more chickens, record what happens when you put them together and post the whole thing on TikTok.

Because, it turns out, given the right guidance and incentives, chickens can do an admirable job at carving — or rather pecking — designs into pumpkins.

Homesteader and chicken lover Crystal Sands of Eddington was intrigued enough to give it a go and is delighted with her birds’ artistic talents.

“Every time something goes a bit viral related to the internet and chickens, my friends will tag me or send a message saying I need to do it,” Sands said. “Normally I can’t do these things, but this one I thought would be fun.”

The idea, first posted by TikTok user Lissie — @lissieasebes — is to start carving into a pumpkin just enough to scrape off the outer skin and then see if the chickens will continue the work by pecking at the gourd’s exposed flesh.

Chickens do enjoy pecking on the pumpkins, though not always within the lines, and @lissieasebes ended up with some creative jack-o’-lanterns compliments of her barnyard poultry. She also racked up close to 7.5 million views on TikTok.

“I saw a couple of different ways to do it,” Sands said. “In both ways you make a shape you want to carve by removing the skin.”

She also saw some people provide an extra incentive to their chickens by pressing something tasty directly into the area she wanted carved out.

“My chickens are not really pumpkin fans, so I pressed some seeds into the design to get them going,” Sands said. “It was a bit of extra incentive for them.”

This year homesteader Crystal Sands has left pumpkin carving up to her chickens. She recorded their work as part of a social media chicken challenge. Credit: Courtesy of Crystal Sands

Once they got into it, Sands said her 37 birds seemed to enjoy pecking at and nibbling the pumpkin. She’s said it’s a win-win in that she gets a carved gourd and the chickens get a nutritious snack.

Now that they have started, the chickens are taking a bit of creative license with the pumpkins.

“They did start a whole, new creative piece on the back of the pumpkin on their own,” she said. “But for the most part they are sticking to my smiley face outline.”

Avatar photo

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.