April 24, 2012 at 4:25 pm #256900
I’m going to try and put up some photos (cross fingers it works) and encourage anyone who has backyard fowl in this area. I got the idea from ALS about four years ago and I can tell you this is an extreemly cheap and EASY thing to do. We bought a container of meal worms for either $6 or $9 and have probably bred through over six generations so far. This last lot that you see in the photo’s (please let this work) have been kept in an old fish tank for the last two years, I’ve given them minimal attention and we just looked the other day and the tank is teeming with meal worms. Just in time for winter when there are slim pickings outside for our fowl.
this is the tank they are in, i have just added two bags of unprocessed bran to the mix
the only food I give them is potato peelings, I’ve taken out a lot of the older crusty and dry ones but there are still plenty to see, the fresher ones will be lighter in colour
I couldn’t get a good photo of the masses of worms but after ten seconds I was able to pick out quite a few
I’ve taken out some beetles (in the right side jar) and pupae (sp?) and will put start up another couple of breeding jars with them just in case the girls get a bit excited and take out too many meal worms (it’s happened before :dry: )
Now to submit and see if the pictures work!!April 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm #523717
:woohoo: :clap: :wave:April 24, 2012 at 4:52 pm #523718
wow, that looks really easy.
So did you just put the original lot of meal worms in there with bran and leave them to it?
And do you just add the potato peelings as you “make” them.
also do the beetles escape without a lid??April 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm #523719
our lower 2 classes at school tried to grow them, but they all died 🙁 They were in small containers though and the food got mouldy.
I’d love to grow them for my chooks though (or get some really growing at school)April 24, 2012 at 11:49 pm #523720
Wow they look good! Where do you get mealworms from? We have a worm farm which I share with the chooks sometimes 🙂April 25, 2012 at 11:45 am #523721
Hi there, Vanessa, Bron and lmd80,
It really is that easy, meal worms can be bought from pet shops, put them in a sizeable container with unprocessed bran, I like glass because they can’t climb up it to escape but you could just put a lid – mesh or lace curtain – over the top. Feed them potato peelings whenever you remember which for me can be weeks between because these guys are out in my “hobby” room which is part of the shed. Don’t seal the container, they need air. I noticed once that mine were getting quite foggy with the aquarium lids on so I just leave the lids off. The beetles can fly and every now and then I will find an escapee but if they have food they tend to stay with it.
When we first started I had them inside and it was quite fun to watch them burrow under the bran through the glass, the kids enjoyed it for a while, then they transform and turn into beetles which lay eggs but they also will eat the eggs, as will the worms so if you are organised you can separate them at their different stages of life but I don’t bother and we still end up with heaps. They eat the bran, it ends up quite fine and powdery, over time so you need to keep adding to it but it is cheap to buy.
It is a great way to tame down chickens by hand feeding them meal worms on a regular basis.April 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm #523722
This is a fantastic idea for so many reasons. Learning life cycles, fresh food for chooks, entertaining to watch. What’s the length of the life cycle? Do you feed the beetles to the chooks too when you get too many? And how many is too many?April 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm #523723
hi bv, I have never really paid much attention to the length of the life cycle, also, because we do feed the worms to the chickens I make sure to save some of the pupua and any beetles that are roaming otherwise we would accidentally end up with none!!! I think because we have so many now I shall start off two more lots in buckets. Too many would be when there is not enough room in your container and perhaps when they have munched their way through the bran. Apparently the beetles can bite but I’ve never had long enough contact with them to find out, it’s usually only long enough to transfer from one container to another.
When I pick out some of the dried potato peelings I also take out some of the dead beetles and throw the lot into the chooks as there will always be a worm or two hidden in the peelings. I also find the occasional meal worm in the garden and they get to be quite a size out there. I’m not sure if they die off or slow down in winter, ours are always in a sheltered area and still get fed the same.
🙂April 26, 2012 at 1:05 am #523724
today must be my day for mealworms :blink: :laugh: we had some today in our classroom. and the TA was saying she used to bread them for her fish and that they just love bananna skins :tup:April 26, 2012 at 2:18 am #523725
I think I will be looking to get some tomorrow, sounds like a great idea! Suggestions for what to keep them in other then a fish tank?April 26, 2012 at 12:31 pm #523726
dianne, I’ve not heard that they like banana skins, must try it out one day. I do know that carrot peelings are just as good as potato!
lmd80 – I’m going to use one of those white plastic buckets and just put some old lace curtain over the top, secured with my favourite piece of equipment – baling twine (we get it every time we buy the goats some hay and I’ve found many many many uses for it). You could just drape netting over the top of the bucket but we have cats and dogs not to mention mice and rats and I wouldn’t want the contents of the bucket scattered everywhere if it got tipped over or something. The worms do tend to burrow a bit so I would probably go for a deep container rather than flat wide. When we first started out we had a round glass fish bowl and that was good because as I said the kids could see the worms burrowing in the bran through the glass. Those plastic storage containers on wheels would be good too. Ice cream container until you can find something else if necessary!! Jars, canisters (remember no solid lids) but they eat through cardboard and those white polystyrene foam boxes so something solid.
Let me know what you decide on??April 26, 2012 at 2:11 pm #523727
I can’t get any black soldier flies to populate our biopod at the moment. Maybe I can use it for meal worms instead….?April 26, 2012 at 5:30 pm #523728
How do they compare protein fat wise to soldier fly larva ?April 26, 2012 at 6:17 pm #523729
Snags post=342754 wrote: How do they compare protein fat wise to soldier fly larva ?
Good question Snags. I have no idea. I don’t imagine they would have as much protein as BSF, but you never know….April 27, 2012 at 12:30 am #523730
Well we now own some meal worms 🙂 I have them in an old plastic non tupperware container, fairly tall but not too big at the moment. Will find something bigger soon and thinking of having 3 containers to try and keep the life cycle going! We got a big bag of bran from the feed place and some potato peels. Looking forward to watching them multiply and sharing them with the chooks!
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