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Molting hen-How many mealworms for extra protein?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Dried mealworms aren't cheap.
How many should my molting BA get each day?
Of course the other 3 hens want some too...but they only can have a few to save money.

Thanks for your input,
Carrie Lynn


Edited by Carrie Lynn - 10/30/11 at 2:41pm
1 Papillon, 2 mill rescue Shih-Tzus, 1 Bantam Leghorn, 1 Australorp & 2 BR.
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1 Papillon, 2 mill rescue Shih-Tzus, 1 Bantam Leghorn, 1 Australorp & 2 BR.
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post #2 of 8

Mealworms are like candy to chickens - so so so very very tasty!  So yes, everyone's got to have some.  If you're looking to increase the protein, you can also give the chickens tuna, cat food, scrambled eggs (with the shells ground into the egg mix), mealworms, crickets or other 'bug' type item available to the pet food industry.  As for how much?  Well, if you could have your favorite dessert without any troubles - how much would YOU eat?!  Yeah, Halloween is tomorrow - how many of us are going to have a serious tummy-ache on Tuesday morning?! 


As for mealworms - why not raise your own?  It's super cheap, super easy, doesn't smell (like fruitflies do) and takes all of about 15min per week to tend to the bunch of mealies.....in a nutshell, here's how: 

Get a plastic bucket (about 3 gal size is good); cut hole in lid; put window screening over hole - attach with glue gun. 

Go to local pet store - buy 4 or 5 containers of live mealworms.

Go to local grocery - buy box or two of whole wheat germ (usually in either baking or breakfast aisles).

Put wheat germ into bin; put in mealworms.  Feed chickens sparingly - maybe 5-7 per day per bird as treat.  In a few short weeks, you'll have more mealworms than you've ever imagined; as the worms pupate into beetles, the beetles reproduce and lay eggs which makes MORE mealworms! 

Check out the mealworm farming thread.  It's so easy it's embarrasing!  I toss in some vegetable matter to my bin every other day - and I've got enough mealworms to feed each chicken 25-30 per day!  It's inexpensive this way, it's clean (just a bit wheat-smelling; like you've just baked fresh bread); it's easy. 

And no, it's not that wierd to do.  Not any wierder than raising your own chickens to eat their eggs!  Just my $.02...

-- Blessed are the flexible, for they will not break --

Beloved spouse of wonderful husband, Mom to two men-in-training, 4 Eastern 3-toed box turtles, 1 spoiled parrotlet, 1 playful feline and a jealous dog.  20 Black Java laying flock.  Love our Java's!  Meaties growin' in the barn.  Bees humming in the garden.  Orchard going in.  Work never ever completed - but loving it! 

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-- Blessed are the flexible, for they will not break --

Beloved spouse of wonderful husband, Mom to two men-in-training, 4 Eastern 3-toed box turtles, 1 spoiled parrotlet, 1 playful feline and a jealous dog.  20 Black Java laying flock.  Love our Java's!  Meaties growin' in the barn.  Bees humming in the garden.  Orchard going in.  Work never ever completed - but loving it! 

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post #3 of 8

How do you harvest the mealworms from the wheat germ, beetles, pupae, etc.

 

If a man speaks in the forest and there is no woman there to hear him,....Is he still wrong??
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If a man speaks in the forest and there is no woman there to hear him,....Is he still wrong??
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post #4 of 8

I use a plastic spoon to spoon them up.

post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDK1 

How do you harvest the mealworms from the wheat germ, beetles, pupae, etc.


You can use a colander to sift the mealies out once they're grown if you're using wheat 'bran'.  Germ, I don't know....  Wheat bran is small and makes sifting very easy.  I also grind rolled oats as mealworm substrate.

Mealworms also like paper.  If you make a small 'book' of newspaper, maybe 4-6 "pages" thick, the mealies will congragate in the layers and you just lift it out and shake them off.  An empty toilet paper roll also works to help separate them....just pick it up and shake them out into another container.

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 #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by hannakat 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDK1 

How do you harvest the mealworms from the wheat germ, beetles, pupae, etc.


You can use a colander to sift the mealies out once they're grown if you're using wheat 'bran'.  Germ, I don't know....  Wheat bran is small and makes sifting very easy.  I also grind rolled oats as mealworm substrate.

Mealworms also like paper.  If you make a small 'book' of newspaper, maybe 4-6 "pages" thick, the mealies will congragate in the layers and you just lift it out and shake them off.  An empty toilet paper roll also works to help separate them....just pick it up and shake them out into another container.


Thanks for the reply... After trial and error, that's what I did. I put the rolled oats through the food processor to make sifting in the collander easier. I've tried the paper thing too but with no luck! Haven't tried the toilet paper roll yet. I'm begining to think raising these little critters is more of a PITA than they're worth.

 

If a man speaks in the forest and there is no woman there to hear him,....Is he still wrong??
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If a man speaks in the forest and there is no woman there to hear him,....Is he still wrong??
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post #7 of 8

I spoon 'em out - since I'm feeding only about 40 worms a day, it takes less than 2 min to get them out.  And about 45 seconds for the flock to consume!  Then it's 5 minutes of double-checking I don't have any hiding anywhere else - like my back pockets or my hands or ....! 

I also wish the mealworms to increase in numbers, so I want a large percentage of pupae at this time.  When the 'farm' gets too big, I'll freeze our 'extras' for mid-winter additions to chicken meal treats.

I also use the one bin system - I though trying to move the beetles from the pupae from the worms would just drive me up a wall.  Know your limitations - time is mine!

-- Blessed are the flexible, for they will not break --

Beloved spouse of wonderful husband, Mom to two men-in-training, 4 Eastern 3-toed box turtles, 1 spoiled parrotlet, 1 playful feline and a jealous dog.  20 Black Java laying flock.  Love our Java's!  Meaties growin' in the barn.  Bees humming in the garden.  Orchard going in.  Work never ever completed - but loving it! 

Reply

-- Blessed are the flexible, for they will not break --

Beloved spouse of wonderful husband, Mom to two men-in-training, 4 Eastern 3-toed box turtles, 1 spoiled parrotlet, 1 playful feline and a jealous dog.  20 Black Java laying flock.  Love our Java's!  Meaties growin' in the barn.  Bees humming in the garden.  Orchard going in.  Work never ever completed - but loving it! 

Reply
post #8 of 8

I just got an order in for live mealworms from Mulberry Farms .  I ordered 500 mealworms and other type of worms that I feed to my reptiles.  I'll be breeding the regular mealworms so that I have a constant supply for the chickens.  I've done it before and it's quite easy.  I used to be really afraid of bugs, but once you start handling these guys it gets easier.  I also used to spoon out the dead ones, etc with a plastic spoon and now I just stick my hands in there and do it.

Buying the freeze dried mealworms is a waste of money IMO, when live ones are cheap and juicy.

I feed them to my chickens by putting a scoop in my hands and letting them peck them out.  It gets you less afraid of the mealworms and it makes your chickens run to you every time you go outside.

If you make an order, don't get the Giant Mealworms unless you plan on feeding them off and not breeding them.  The giant mealworms are regular mealworms that have been sprayed with a hormone that keeps them from pupating, so they grow to be larger.  If you want to breed them, get regular old mealworms.

Don't be confused by "superworms."  Superworms kind of look like mealworms but are an entirely different species of worm.  When they get big - they are ugly and scary and even I won't touch them with my bare hands.  The chickens do love them, though and sometimes I buy them just to feed off right away.  You can breed them too, but I have no desire.

I'm going to be ordering some flightless roaches (B.dubia) from a friend and breeding them for the chickens in the future!

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