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Raising feeder insects

post #1 of 256
Thread Starter 

Does anyone grow their own insects for their chickens?  If so which ones?  Anyone have experience raising roaches for their chicks?

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post #2 of 256

I just started keeping mealworms.  There is at least one person raising roaches.  Scroll down inthis thread , until you see a pic of them.

post #3 of 256

Yep, ^^^^^^^^^^^


I have mealworms, but I kind of lost track of them and now I have mostly larvae and beetles.  I suppose eventually I'll have mealworms again.

I'm "raising" wheat grass at the moment which I harvest and cut into 1" pieces with sharp scissors.  They love it!

Ai-chan (RIR), Ruby (BA), and Lulu (BO).
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Ai-chan (RIR), Ruby (BA), and Lulu (BO).
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post #4 of 256

Yep, I raise the roaches. I had black soldier flies but because of the cool weather they've stopped visiting their bucket. So I've ordered some more mealworms that came in the mail today to cover most of the winter protein. The roaches are a treat every 1-2 weeks, now that the colony has thinned out. I breed them mainly for my reptiles which are 2 bearded dragons, and 3 leopard geckos. Together they can easily go through 100 a week. I reccomend Blaptica dubia for feeder roaches, since they are a hefty 2 inches and breed good. Blatta lateralis, or turkistan roaches, are cheap and easy to get. They are just as fast of a breeder as german roaches. They do not climb, and top out around the same sise as the german roachs, or crickets. Lobster roaches are another common feeder breed like bacteria, and are a little over an inch. These climb though, but are very cheap and readily available. Note these roaches won't survive in enviorments with a temperature lower than 70 degrees and under 60% humidity. As a rule, dubia need it warmer, but less humidity. Turkistans and lobsters do well at 78-80 degrees, but need high humidity at 70-90%. Because I haven't kept the others, I'll still reccomend dubias. Get them at www.theroachguy.com. His shipping is great, prices VERY good for dubias, and the roaches are top notch. Dubia take a little longer to breed than the other two because they give live birth, intead of laying oothecas or "roach eggs". Keep them in a minimum of a 20 gallon rubbermaid, fit with at least 3-4 egg flats, and a lid with a generous hole cut and screened. You can feed them high protein flock raiser or the roach chow the dealer sells. (Watch for too much calcium in chicken feed, this causing molting problems in the roaches) For water, stick with water cystals for simplicity. (The hard crystals you soak in water until they turn to gel) You can get these from theroachguy too. Or for a cheaper method go to a plant nursery, or some where that deals with plants, and you can get water crystals there. Dubia do best at 85-95 degrees, supply this with a quality heatpad, humidity can be on the lower side for these. (40-50%)

*Note: Get as many roaches as you can if you want a constant suppy quickly, this applies especially for Blaptica dubia. The roach guy also has a steal of a sale for extra adult pairs so catch that quick if you can.


Edited by Pet Duck Boy - 10/21/10 at 4:15pm
Ducks rule, but so do chickens. Proud owner of one female pekin named Sunny.
3 RIR/PRs and 2 EEs. 5 hens 28+ weeks old and almost full size! Please visit my dragons
http://dragcave.net/user/Pet_Duck_Boy114
I'm the Cocky Cockeral of BYC!
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Ducks rule, but so do chickens. Proud owner of one female pekin named Sunny.
3 RIR/PRs and 2 EEs. 5 hens 28+ weeks old and almost full size! Please visit my dragons
http://dragcave.net/user/Pet_Duck_Boy114
I'm the Cocky Cockeral of BYC!
Reply
post #5 of 256
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pet Duck Boy 

Yep, I raise the roaches. I had black soldier flies but because of the cool weather they've stopped visiting their bucket. So I've ordered some more mealworms that came in the mail today to cover most of the winter protein. The roaches are a treat every 1-2 weeks, now that the colony has thinned out. I breed them mainly for my reptiles which are 2 bearded dragons, and 3 leopard geckos. Together they can easily go through 100 a week. I reccomend Blaptica dubia for feeder roaches, since they are a hefty 2 inches and breed good. Blatta lateralis, or turkistan roaches, are cheap and easy to get. They are just as fast of a breeder as german roaches. They do not climb, and top out around the same sise as the german roachs, or crickets. Lobster roaches are another common feeder breed like bacteria, and are a little over an inch. These climb though, but are very cheap and readily available. Note these roaches won't survive in enviorments with a temperature lower than 70 degrees and under 60% humidity. As a rule, dubia need it warmer, but less humidity. Turkistans and lobsters do well at 78-80 degrees, but need high humidity at 70-90%. Because I haven't kept the others, I'll still reccomend dubias. Get them at www.theroachguy.com. His shipping is great, prices VERY good for dubias, and the roaches are top notch. Dubia take a little longer to breed than the other two because they give live birth, intead of laying oothecas or "roach eggs". Keep them in a minimum of a 20 gallon rubbermaid, fit with at least 3-4 egg flats, and a lid with a generous hole cut and screened. You can feed them high protein flock raiser or the roach chow the dealer sells. (Watch for too much calcium in chicken feed, this causing molting problems in the roaches) For water, stick with water cystals for simplicity. (The hard crystals you soak in water until they turn to gel) You can get these from theroachguy too. Or for a cheaper method go to a plant nursery, or some where that deals with plants, and you can get water crystals there. Dubia do best at 85-95 degrees, supply this with a quality heatpad, humidity can be on the lower side for these. (40-50%)


That is the breed I was concidering getting.  Can they be the main protien in the chickens diet?  If so how many would they need?  I can't find a straight answer on any site, most deal w/ reptiles, or bog you down in alot of science and numbers that don't mean much to me anyway.

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post #6 of 256
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kassaundra 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pet Duck Boy 

Yep, I raise the roaches. I had black soldier flies but because of the cool weather they've stopped visiting their bucket. So I've ordered some more mealworms that came in the mail today to cover most of the winter protein. The roaches are a treat every 1-2 weeks, now that the colony has thinned out. I breed them mainly for my reptiles which are 2 bearded dragons, and 3 leopard geckos. Together they can easily go through 100 a week. I reccomend Blaptica dubia for feeder roaches, since they are a hefty 2 inches and breed good. Blatta lateralis, or turkistan roaches, are cheap and easy to get. They are just as fast of a breeder as german roaches. They do not climb, and top out around the same sise as the german roachs, or crickets. Lobster roaches are another common feeder breed like bacteria, and are a little over an inch. These climb though, but are very cheap and readily available. Note these roaches won't survive in enviorments with a temperature lower than 70 degrees and under 60% humidity. As a rule, dubia need it warmer, but less humidity. Turkistans and lobsters do well at 78-80 degrees, but need high humidity at 70-90%. Because I haven't kept the others, I'll still reccomend dubias. Get them at www.theroachguy.com. His shipping is great, prices VERY good for dubias, and the roaches are top notch. Dubia take a little longer to breed than the other two because they give live birth, intead of laying oothecas or "roach eggs". Keep them in a minimum of a 20 gallon rubbermaid, fit with at least 3-4 egg flats, and a lid with a generous hole cut and screened. You can feed them high protein flock raiser or the roach chow the dealer sells. (Watch for too much calcium in chicken feed, this causing molting problems in the roaches) For water, stick with water cystals for simplicity. (The hard crystals you soak in water until they turn to gel) You can get these from theroachguy too. Or for a cheaper method go to a plant nursery, or some where that deals with plants, and you can get water crystals there. Dubia do best at 85-95 degrees, supply this with a quality heatpad, humidity can be on the lower side for these. (40-50%)


That is the breed I was concidering getting.  Can they be the main protien in the chickens diet?  If so how many would they need?  I can't find a straight answer on any site, most deal w/ reptiles, or bog you down in alot of science and numbers that don't mean much to me anyway.


They sure can be the main source of protein, they are packed with it. The average is around 35%-36%. I would say maybe 3 adult roaches per chicken a day would work great. (For say, chickens on 16% layer) If say, your going the cheap route and will feed and all grain diet with little protein, maybe 10 per chicken would work. Go with the largest amount of roaches and adult pairs you can afford, since it sounds like you'll need a good supply fast. (It would take about 6-8 months at optimum conditions for a starter colony of 250 mixed nymphs, and 5 adult pairs to produce a main and constant supply of protein for maybe 5 standard hens. This is going with my experience from breeding them)

Ducks rule, but so do chickens. Proud owner of one female pekin named Sunny.
3 RIR/PRs and 2 EEs. 5 hens 28+ weeks old and almost full size! Please visit my dragons
http://dragcave.net/user/Pet_Duck_Boy114
I'm the Cocky Cockeral of BYC!
Reply
Ducks rule, but so do chickens. Proud owner of one female pekin named Sunny.
3 RIR/PRs and 2 EEs. 5 hens 28+ weeks old and almost full size! Please visit my dragons
http://dragcave.net/user/Pet_Duck_Boy114
I'm the Cocky Cockeral of BYC!
Reply
post #7 of 256
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pet Duck Boy 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kassaundra 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pet Duck Boy 

Yep, I raise the roaches. I had black soldier flies but because of the cool weather they've stopped visiting their bucket. So I've ordered some more mealworms that came in the mail today to cover most of the winter protein. The roaches are a treat every 1-2 weeks, now that the colony has thinned out. I breed them mainly for my reptiles which are 2 bearded dragons, and 3 leopard geckos. Together they can easily go through 100 a week. I reccomend Blaptica dubia for feeder roaches, since they are a hefty 2 inches and breed good. Blatta lateralis, or turkistan roaches, are cheap and easy to get. They are just as fast of a breeder as german roaches. They do not climb, and top out around the same sise as the german roachs, or crickets. Lobster roaches are another common feeder breed like bacteria, and are a little over an inch. These climb though, but are very cheap and readily available. Note these roaches won't survive in enviorments with a temperature lower than 70 degrees and under 60% humidity. As a rule, dubia need it warmer, but less humidity. Turkistans and lobsters do well at 78-80 degrees, but need high humidity at 70-90%. Because I haven't kept the others, I'll still reccomend dubias. Get them at www.theroachguy.com. His shipping is great, prices VERY good for dubias, and the roaches are top notch. Dubia take a little longer to breed than the other two because they give live birth, intead of laying oothecas or "roach eggs". Keep them in a minimum of a 20 gallon rubbermaid, fit with at least 3-4 egg flats, and a lid with a generous hole cut and screened. You can feed them high protein flock raiser or the roach chow the dealer sells. (Watch for too much calcium in chicken feed, this causing molting problems in the roaches) For water, stick with water cystals for simplicity. (The hard crystals you soak in water until they turn to gel) You can get these from theroachguy too. Or for a cheaper method go to a plant nursery, or some where that deals with plants, and you can get water crystals there. Dubia do best at 85-95 degrees, supply this with a quality heatpad, humidity can be on the lower side for these. (40-50%)


That is the breed I was concidering getting.  Can they be the main protien in the chickens diet?  If so how many would they need?  I can't find a straight answer on any site, most deal w/ reptiles, or bog you down in alot of science and numbers that don't mean much to me anyway.


They sure can be the main source of protein, they are packed with it. The average is around 35%-36%. I would say maybe 3 adult roaches per chicken a day would work great. (For say, chickens on 16% layer) If say, your going the cheap route and will feed and all grain diet with little protein, maybe 10 per chicken would work. Go with the largest amount of roaches and adult pairs you can afford, since it sounds like you'll need a good supply fast. (It would take about 6-8 months at optimum conditions for a starter colony of 250 mixed nymphs, and 5 adult pairs to produce a main and constant supply of protein for maybe 5 standard hens. This is going with my experience from breeding them)


Thanks, I'm ordering them Monday when I get off work, and the roach guy was one of the two sites I was trying to chose from.


Edited by Kassaundra - 10/21/10 at 4:39pm

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post #8 of 256

You will also want to add new blood to your colony(s) every year, doing this will prevent inbreeding. (Signs of inbreeding are small, weak roaches, slow growth, trouble molting, etc.) It doesn't have to be much, just a small order from another supplier. Or you can order another set from the roach guy, since he does add new blood to his colonies.

Ducks rule, but so do chickens. Proud owner of one female pekin named Sunny.
3 RIR/PRs and 2 EEs. 5 hens 28+ weeks old and almost full size! Please visit my dragons
http://dragcave.net/user/Pet_Duck_Boy114
I'm the Cocky Cockeral of BYC!
Reply
Ducks rule, but so do chickens. Proud owner of one female pekin named Sunny.
3 RIR/PRs and 2 EEs. 5 hens 28+ weeks old and almost full size! Please visit my dragons
http://dragcave.net/user/Pet_Duck_Boy114
I'm the Cocky Cockeral of BYC!
Reply
post #9 of 256

Based on what I have read online, I started with 100 B. dubia roaches from a local breeder about 4 weeks ago. They are doing well and I have lots of babies. I was able to get over the "yuck factor" pretty easily, but the rest of my family is grossed out. I have given a few to the girls, who love them. I don't want to feed too many so the colony can get established. Pet Duck Boy, how big of a colony should I have for 9 chickens? How long will it take until I can feed freely?

1 Hubby, 4 kids, 5 dogs, 3 cats, several pet rats and birds, and now chickens! Life is good!
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1 Hubby, 4 kids, 5 dogs, 3 cats, several pet rats and birds, and now chickens! Life is good!
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post #10 of 256
Thread Starter 

Thanks never thought of that, and no site has mentioned it.

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