I beg your pardon?
No really, I got worms and a BUNCH of them! Mealworms that is. We began raising them after we got our chickens. They’re a great source of protein for our hens. Most of the chickens’ protein comes from their layer feed and foraging around the property…but we like this healthy treat as well.
Chickens need about 16-18% protein in their diet. The healthiest chickens are out foraging and scratching around looking for yummy bugs to fill their protein needs. Ours are also given layer feed that has a good amount of protein in it.
So when I see egg cartons at the grocery store that read “vegetarian fed chickens”…I think…what the hell!? Chickens aren’t naturally vegetarians people! If they are fed a vegetarian diet then that probably means they are locked up in a pen somewhere with hundreds of other chickens eating whatever strange vegetarian concoction the supplier throws out to them. Mostly soy I presume. Uck! Doesn’t make sense to me. So…I looked up some articles and found that some say “vegetarian” means those chickens are not given ground up chicken to eat…WHAT!!!! Are you kidding me…disgusting. I just…uggg…I can’t.
Okay I’m done with my rant…back to meal worms.
Their life cycle is pretty simple. The beetles lay eggs, those turn into larvae (which are the mealworms…the good stuff!), then they change into pupa, and finally you have yourself another beetle. The entire cycle takes 12-18 weeks.
These little guys multiply like CrAzY! So 1,000 mealworms can become 10,000 in a very short amount of time. We keep ours in a 3 drawer Sterilite container with wheat bran, cardboard and celery. THAT’S IT! Very easy to maintain.
Dried mealworms aren’t cheap either folks. A 2 pound bag is about $15. That’s equivalent to a bottle of wine (well inexpensive wine at least). And our chickens eat this stuff up. So it only seems fitting that we should have our own mealworm farm. Wouldn’t you agree?