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Mealworm farming

post #1 of 7669
Thread Starter 

Is there a tread discussing raising mealworms?  I've looked around but can't seem to find anything recent. 

I started a mealworm farm a month ago and have so many pupae that I'm getting worried!  BUT, I want to be able to freeze many, many thousands for next winter since my girls don't like snow and there's no bugs to eat in the winter anyway.  Don't know when enough will be enough and in the meantime, my mealies are growing fast and furious!

 



UPDATES
****  BYCer's mealworm farms ..... condensed information from 3 perspectives!!  *****


Gallo Del Cielo's page: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-raise-mealworms


My page: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/mealworm-fam-experiences

 

Amy's page: http://www.westknollfarm.com


Some basic and often asked information:

Life cycle stages... this is relative to conditions such as temperature, food source, etc:
Egg Incubation:  4-19 days (usually 4-7). Another source says 20-40 days 
Larva: 10 weeks. Visible after about a week 
Pupa: 6-18 (18-24?) days 
Beetle and Egg Laying:   8-12 weeks (followed by death). Egg laying starts 4-19 days (average 12) after emergence 

Reliable sources for buying meal worms (in no particular order):
BYC members:
crazy huhn: abyrne@san.rr.com
Amy: www.westknollfarm.com email is amy@westknollfarm.com
exoticnutrition.com
speedyworm.com
southernbaitworms.com

 



7/23/11 - ETA:  My colonies are in full force and many have joined the 'farm'!  smile  So much wonderful information and insight!


Trish
yippiechickie

7 chickens, 3 cats, 2 dogs .... and a VERY DH. 
My mealworm farm http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=59623-mealworm-fam-experiences

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.   Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

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7 chickens, 3 cats, 2 dogs .... and a VERY DH. 
My mealworm farm http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=59623-mealworm-fam-experiences

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.   Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

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post #2 of 7669

Sounds about right...especially if you started about a month ago.  Having pupae is a good thing since if all goes well, they should become adults soon.  The adults breed, lay eggs and the cycle starts anew.  I'm not farming mealworms yet, but am seriously considering it.  I've been researching (Googling) the facts and recommended procedures on-line to prepare.  Sounds like you're doing well with yours...  If you started with nothing but mealworms (larva stage) at about the same age, then you're likely to end up with them in to pupate around the same time.  All should work out in the long run...ya gotta start somewhere.  If you started with 500 several weeks ago, I would have started with a second batch 2-weeks after that so I would likely have more in the larval stage while the others mostly pupated.  Just my 2-cents.  Nice proactive approach to prepare treats for your flock during those winter months!  I tip my hat to you!
  thumbsup

post #3 of 7669

I queried mealworms in the Google search window in the top right of the BYC Forum.  There seems to be several posts on raising mealworms but most are old.  Still very informative though!  Here's one:  ">http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=74575
caf

post #4 of 7669
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DickGJ 

Sounds about right...especially if you started about a month ago.  Having pupae is a good thing since if all goes well, they should become adults soon.  The adults breed, lay eggs and the cycle starts anew.  I'm not farming mealworms yet, but am seriously considering it.  I've been researching (Googling) the facts and recommended procedures on-line to prepare.  Sounds like you're doing well with yours...  If you started with nothing but mealworms (larva stage) at about the same age, then you're likely to end up with them in to pupate around the same time.  All should work out in the long run...ya gotta start somewhere.  If you started with 500 several weeks ago, I would have started with a second batch 2-weeks after that so I would likely have more in the larval stage while the others mostly pupated.  Just my 2-cents.  Nice proactive approach to prepare treats for your flock during those winter months!  I tip my hat to you!
  thumbsup


Yea...I'm totally amazed.  I ordered 1000 online but I think they sent more.  I put 100 in a different medium just to see how they'd do.  I did hours of research before starting.  They go through much more veggies/fruit than I imagined.  It's all been really awesome.  I'm doing a 3-drawer farm.

I also put a couple hundred in a container in the fridge....been thinking maybe I should put more in the fridge they way they are popping.  Still waiting for the pupa to turn into the beetles but I have several hundred now with 10-30 new every day.

I spent $40 buying large containers of freeze-dried mealworms over the winter and so far I've spent $28 on my farm ($20 for the worms and $7 for the drawers.... and a buck for veggies/fruit) and I expect to get thousands and thousands and thousands.  Yep...happy chickens!

7 chickens, 3 cats, 2 dogs .... and a VERY DH. 
My mealworm farm http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=59623-mealworm-fam-experiences

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.   Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Reply

7 chickens, 3 cats, 2 dogs .... and a VERY DH. 
My mealworm farm http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=59623-mealworm-fam-experiences

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.   Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Reply
post #5 of 7669
Quote:
Originally Posted by hannakat 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DickGJ 

Sounds about right...especially if you started about a month ago.  Having pupae is a good thing since if all goes well, they should become adults soon.  The adults breed, lay eggs and the cycle starts anew.  I'm not farming mealworms yet, but am seriously considering it.  I've been researching (Googling) the facts and recommended procedures on-line to prepare.  Sounds like you're doing well with yours...  If you started with nothing but mealworms (larva stage) at about the same age, then you're likely to end up with them in to pupate around the same time.  All should work out in the long run...ya gotta start somewhere.  If you started with 500 several weeks ago, I would have started with a second batch 2-weeks after that so I would likely have more in the larval stage while the others mostly pupated.  Just my 2-cents.  Nice proactive approach to prepare treats for your flock during those winter months!  I tip my hat to you!
  thumbsup


Yea...I'm totally amazed.  I ordered 1000 online but I think they sent more.  I put 100 in a different medium just to see how they'd do.  I did hours of research before starting.  They go through much more veggies/fruit than I imagined.  It's all been really awesome.  I'm doing a 3-drawer farm.

I also put a couple hundred in a container in the fridge....been thinking maybe I should put more in the fridge they way they are popping.  Still waiting for the pupa to turn into the beetles but I have several hundred now with 10-30 new every day.

I spent $40 buying large containers of freeze-dried mealworms over the winter and so far I've spent $28 on my farm ($20 for the worms and $7 for the drawers.... and a buck for veggies/fruit) and I expect to get thousands and thousands and thousands.  Yep...happy chickens!


Why not feed them to your chickens now or continue to let them breed so you have enough to keep breeding and feed throught the whole year?

Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, every American school is a school of humanism. What can a theistic Sunday school's meeting for an hour once a week & teaching only a fraction of the children do to stem the tide of the five-day program of humanistic teaching?" - Charles F. Potter, "Humanism: A New Religion," 1930
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Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, every American school is a school of humanism. What can a theistic Sunday school's meeting for an hour once a week & teaching only a fraction of the children do to stem the tide of the five-day program of humanistic teaching?" - Charles F. Potter, "Humanism: A New Religion," 1930
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post #6 of 7669
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiddyMoon 

Why not feed them to your chickens now or continue to let them breed so you have enough to keep breeding and feed throught the whole year?


Because they free range and they have all the bugs they can find.  I do use the mealworms if I need them back to the coop before they're ready.  They come running when they think worms are being offered lol

I'm doing this because I feel bad that they don't have bugs in the winter with all the snow and freezing temps..... they LOVE bugs (even stink bugs)... and cucumbers, and kale, and lettuce, and cheese, and yogurt, and melon, and celery leaves, and pumpkin inners.......


Edited by hannakat - 4/26/11 at 2:57pm

7 chickens, 3 cats, 2 dogs .... and a VERY DH. 
My mealworm farm http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=59623-mealworm-fam-experiences

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.   Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Reply

7 chickens, 3 cats, 2 dogs .... and a VERY DH. 
My mealworm farm http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=59623-mealworm-fam-experiences

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.   Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Reply
post #7 of 7669
Quote:
Originally Posted by hannakat 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiddyMoon 

Why not feed them to your chickens now or continue to let them breed so you have enough to keep breeding and feed throught the whole year?


Because they free range and they have all the bugs they can find.  I do use the mealworms if I need them back to the coop before they're ready.  They come running when they think worms are being offered lol

I'm doing this because I feel bad that they don't have bugs in the winter with all the snow and freezing temps..... they LOVE bugs (even stink bugs)... and cucumbers, and kale, and lettuce, and cheese, and yogurt, and melon, and celery leaves, and pumpkin inners.......


Can you post some pictures here of your 3-drawer farm?  I like that idea and may do the same thing when I prepare to start up.  Who did you order your 1000 from?  I see them for sale on eBay too.  I recall you asking about whether there was a thread on mealworm farming here on BYC...looks like we got the start of a good one here.  Post some of your pics.  I know there are others here on BYC that raise mealworms...I'm sure we can make this a pretty informative post/thread.

post #8 of 7669

i am kind of thinking about trying to do this. not sure if i can get over my squeamishness tho....

post #9 of 7669

I see others who have opted to raise some kind of cockroach instead of meal worms.  Of the two, I have no plans on raising an insect I can't stand in or around my house -- so cockroaches are out.  Even if I would get a lot of pleasure out of seeing the chickens consume the nasty critters.  I figure I've chosen the lesser of two "evils."  Besides mealworms aren't that bad an option when you really think about it.  Now fly maggots...that would peak my gross-out meter! 
tongue

post #10 of 7669

Omg. That is too funny. I may just have to buy them smile

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