Can I Feed Mealworm Pupae?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by la-pro, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. la-pro

    la-pro Out Of The Brooder

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    May 17, 2011
    I recently bought 5k mealworms and am attempting to farm them. Problem is they are all starting to pupate. I'm quite sure I won't be needing that many adult beetles. Is it okay to feed the chickens the pupa mixed in with their worm treat? Or should I just refrigerate a bunch of the pupae and save them for later?

    Maybe I should freeze them to kill them before feeding?
     
  2. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    It's O.K. to feed them to your chickens, I'm sure they'll love them. If you are going to feed them, I wouldn't kill them first. Having said that, I would encourage you not to feed them to your birds. I know it seems like you will have far too many beetles, but unless you have only a couple chickens, you really should save them. Once you start feeding the larvae to your birds, you'll never have enough.
     
  3. la-pro

    la-pro Out Of The Brooder

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    Maybe I should refrigerate some then. Do you think if I refrigerate them, it'll stop them from turning into beetles for a couple of months? Maybe that will help me develop different ages of worms. I only have 2 chickens, and I heard that a single beetle can produce up to 500 eggs! That's right... right? I've been experimenting with feeding the worms highly nutritious foods because my chickens just love them. I feed them about 1/3 cup of worms a day.
     
  4. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    I've never tried putting pupae in the fridge. However, I remember reading that Hannakat (another byc mealworm raiser) had problems with death in the fridge (I think you can find that info in her Mealworm Farming thread). Pupae aren't very good at maintaining water balance like the larvae can and I suspect they die of dehydration much more easily. The 500 egg figure is also quite optimistic. There are a couple things to keep in mind. Not all of your pupae will survive the transformation--all kinds of things can go wrong at this stage. Of those that do, only about half will ever lay eggs (half are males). Plus, energetically, it is better to feed the worms. It takes more resources to get to the pupal stage than it does the previous larval stages. The larvae also lose weight as they begin to pupate. Pupae are significantly lighter than larvae. Perhaps you could let this generation go and see how you fare in a month or so?
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  5. key west chick

    key west chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2008
    Gainesville, GA
    When I have too many pupae and beetles, I just feed them to the chickens. They love it all. I dont kill them or freeze them first. I have a tray of old breeder beetles that I'll toss out there soon. I have a new tray of beetles that have just hatched a week ago so I toss the older ones.
     
  6. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    Just a side note, you don't need to kill a mealworm in any stage of it's life to feed to chickens. There is a rumor that grown ones will bite the stomachs of chicks but I don't believe that for a minute. I've fed them to my chicks with no problems at all.
     
  7. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    Quote:I agree; live is better! [​IMG]
     
  8. la-pro

    la-pro Out Of The Brooder

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    I read somewhere that the beetles will live inside their crops and eat their food. But yea, that does seem like a silly rumor. After all, chickens are natural bug eaters. Mine have been foraging around an old leaf pile for weeks and I'm sure they've been eating mostly bugs lately. If any kind of bug hurt chickens, doesn't seem like they'd be such a natural food for them.
     

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