Black Soldier Fly Larve for winter protein?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by freeworld4all, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. freeworld4all

    freeworld4all Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 15, 2012
    I read some time ago about raising BSF for added protein for chickens. Has anyone had any experience with this. I have a greenhouse that I'm not really using so I was thinking about giving it try. Any input appreciated!
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    From what I have read, they do need it to be relatively warm. A greenhouse could work, I suppose. That is the extent of my knowledge. It is on my list of possibilities, though, and I would be interested in reading more.
     
  3. freeworld4all

    freeworld4all Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 15, 2012
    I'm looking into setting one up soon. I'll post my experiences as I go along. BTW, I noticed that you seem very knowledgable about runner ducks so I'd like to ask you a question. My intention when I bought the ducks a year ago was to figure out a way to be completely self-sufficient, i.e. no store bought feed. With winter coming on (never too bad here in Texas), forage is low and bugs are dwindling. I currently feed them organic hard red winter wheat submersed in water, eggs covered in brewers yeast. That worked super good until now with the dwindling food supply. Just a few birds are showing any signs of low nutrition. Well, I'm pretty sure that's what I'm seeing. I've got a couple of hens that have developed white spots. Another hen that still hasn't completely gotten new feathers in from molting. Over the past year I've had to convalese 2 hens from sprung legs and now one of my beautiful green drakes is limping a little. I have 17 total. What would you recommend? I even bought them the commercial duck food to see if would make a difference and they just turned their noses up and walked away!
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    When my ducks act a little iffy with a new feed, I find that moistening it helps. This was true especially with a feed that was not pelletized. They had trouble ingesting some of it, because it was so crumbly. The larger bits they ate. Making it into a mush helped get more of it into them. The caveat is that leaving moistened feed out too long (I consider that 24 hours, others think less than that is better) risks mold problems and those can be awful.

    I have been looking into alternatives to boughten feed, too. It is not easy to sort out, and there are many, many differing opinions. At this point, I am supplementing a base diet of a combination of Blue Seal layer and Mazuri maintenance feed, with free choice oyster shell. The supplements include oats, flax, wheat, and other things. It is not a scientific project at this point. I just try this and that for now. Carol Deppe's Resilient Gardener book includes her approach, such as feeding cooked potatoes to her Anconas.

    Even some who write about independent living admit they still feed some balanced ration under normal circumstances.

    Since your ducks seem to be having some troubles, I would give them a poultry vitamin/electrolyte/probiotic mix weekly and see if it is possible to try another feed. Then add to the research you have already started, and go from there. I have seen a product that is (if I recall correctly) trace minerals that can be added to your own formulation of feed. Countryside Organic feed contains field peas and kelp, by the way, and aragonite for calcium.

    Trouble regrowing feathers from molting sounds like low protein to me. In fact, that may be related to a number of the issues. The white spots, are those in the feathers or on the legs? Because my runners have all developed white spots on their feathers. It's just their hobby, apparently.[​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    This is Sieben a year ago. Her head is now almost all white. Such a pretty girl.

    Ducks have different sensitivities to nutrient levels, based on what I have seen in my own flock, and have read here on the forum. Some of your ducks may need more protein, more calcium, more phosphorus . . . .

    I like your idea for the BSF very much. Those kinds of things carry a number of necessary nutrients. I like the idea of feeder fish, too, as those have some calcium and phosphorus in their bones. Winter is challenging. Here, there are fewer worms now that we have had several nights below freezing. I have started again adding a handful of dry cat kibble to the feed. We have four ducks in various stages of molt right now. No one is laying, and I like that as they need the rest. I grew and harvested some naked oats this year, and left the oats on the stem. I toss an armful of oats with stems in the pen and the ducks love them. Then the straw is right there for bedding. Oats have folate and several minerals. Storey's Guide writes that oats are a good thing to feed ducklings and ducks.

    See if some of the discussion we recently had about avoiding aflatoxins gives you some more ideas. Balancing their nutrition is a science, and I have not learned everything I want to. CelticOaksFarm does quite a bit with supplementing seeds and grains, I believe, and still uses some balanced ration as a base. But it would be ideal in my opinion, at my place, to be able to grow what is needed, or at least source it from nearby. That really hit home when I read about the aflatoxin situation in the drought belt this year. Here is the link to the thread. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/711263/u-s-drought-fallout-might-it-affect-all-of-our-ducks
     
  5. freeworld4all

    freeworld4all Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow! What a lot of good information! And what a beautiful hen! That's exactly what some of my girls are doing too. It's still fairly warm here with intermittent cold spells so the ground temperature is still good and it's covered with lots of leaves and south exposure to full sun. I turn on the sprinklers for about 15 minutes every other day so that helps too. My green drake isn't limping today so I'm not sure what was going on with him yesterday, but I'm glad it's passed! The one hen that hasn't finished molting yet is kind of a timid eater. It looks as though it's her flight feathers that aren't filling in very fast. I throw the egg pieces directly to her and she'll just let one of the dominant hens get it first. What kind of feeder fish do people use? That's something else that would be simple to do in a greenhouse. I'm still getting a fair amount of eggs, about 18/week out of 11 girls. Of course right now I just boil them and give them right back to them along with the shell. I chop the eggs up into duck-bite-size and cover it with Brewers Yeast for the B vitamins and phosphorus. Wheat berries are high in phosphorus too. I'll look into getting them some oat groats too, I tried oatmeal on them and they didn't go for it. I also tried the baked potato thing and they were fairly unimpressed. It finally got eaten but there didn't see to be that much enjoyment involved :) They really, really, really like their wheat (in water) and egg mixture. Aaaaaah such a learning curve ahead for me. Thank you so much for taking the time to add to my ever increasing knowledge base. I REALLY appreciate it!!
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Something I want to mention is that limping can also be caused by early bumblefoot. If you are not already, see if you can get really well acquainted with the bottoms of your ducks' feet [​IMG]

    If you catch bumblefoot early, you can treat it successfully pretty easily, with just triple antibiotic ointment applications once or twice a day for a week or five. Depends on how soon you catch it. Left to develop, it can become systemic and fatal. "For want of a nail. . . ." or some similar metaphor.

    Ducks, and duck flocks are so unique. The forum is great, and at the same time, your duck will tell you what works. We can all share what we know, so we have more ideas to try out.

    Think about a little flax meal. My ducks dig up and eat sunchokes sometimes (Helianthus tuberosus) and I think it's good for them.

    Some buy feeder fish at reputable pet food stores. I would imagine they might not be that difficult to raise. I have found that rosy red minnows breed in my rain barrel.
     
  7. bbsnooks

    bbsnooks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any Luck with the BSF...
    just curious..
     

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