Saturday, February 19, 2011

Raising Mealworms

Yes, I've taken the plunge and started raising mealworms to feed to the chickens.  They simply LOVE mealworms and get so excited when I bring some home.  The three of them can chow through a container of a hundred in under a minute.  Actually, probably closer to about 10 seconds.

I try to dole them out slowly but I swear they recognize the container they come in and just go crazy when they see me coming with it!  Ginger will even start pecking at me if I'm not giving them up fast enough.  And it's not her nature to peck at me.

I don't buy them that often.  But even twice a month at $5 a tub quickly will add up to $120 a year.  And since I'm keeping track of what I spend vs. what I'm saving, I thought it was important to address this.  Yes, mealworms are a treat and not a necessity for the girls.  But if you saw how excited they become when I give them this yummy, yummy treat, you'd be driving up to the pet store right about now too.

You can use any old container you have lying around the house that has a lid.  You'll need to punch holes in the lid or cut out a big section and cover it with screen so the worms can get air.  Then hit the bulk food store to get a bag of wheat bran.  That cost me $1 and I bought waaayyyyy toooo much so I probably have enough to last me a whole year.

You'll also need something for the worms to eat like a potato, carrot or apple.  Not sure how quickly this needs to be replaced.  But even if it's a few times a month, the cost is still nominal.

And finally, a few hundred worms.  That was my biggest expense.

Now we wait for the worms to turn into beetles.  The beetles to lay eggs.  And the eggs to hatch and grow into new worms.  They say that you can speed up production by separating the beetles out from the pupae so that the beetles don't eat them.  Although, for three hens, I'll probably end up way more worms than I know what to do with so we'll see about that.

I currently have them in the kitchen must to the displeasure of my husband.  But I want to see how quickly they chow through their apple and potato.  And it's really cold in the garage right now and I want to get them off to a good start.  Once it warms a bit and I have a better idea on how often I need to add veggies for them, I'll move production out to the garage.

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