feed the Mealworm to chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by gagirl02, Nov 19, 2016.

  1. gagirl02

    gagirl02 Out Of The Brooder

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    I read some of the posts to this thread. I was wondering, am I feeding my chickens the actual meal worm or what would attach to the sliced potato placed in the container? Also, I live in south GA, where it can on occasion drop to below freezing during the winter. Would a small heat lamp help during the freezing temps?
    Thank you
     
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I'm not sure I get your question. Yes we feed actual meal worms to our chickens.

    If it gets to freezing, your mealworms will probably die. So if you don't want that, you definitely have to keep them a little warmer. At cold temperatures they also won't pupate if you are trying to raise them.
     
  3. gagirl02

    gagirl02 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2016
    I'm sorry I didn't state my question better. I was reading about starting my own mealy worm colony. But I was unsure if I feed the mature mealy worm to my chickens or the other life in the colony, like just the pupae or larvae. How often can I pull from the colony and the colony still grow? I feed mine the dried mealy worms you get from the farm supply store but wanted to feed them live worms. Thank you for responding so quickly. I just love this site and all the people who care enough to give their knowledge and help to us beginners.
     
  4. balloonflower

    balloonflower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All of the above! Yes, most often we feed the mature larvae (mealworms), but chooks will happily eat beetles and pupae too. Mine love the dead dried beetles (either from old age, or when I don't keep up with moisture and lose a bunch).

    As far as pulling from the colony, that's just a learning game--how many to let pupate vs feed. I tend to pull big worms and put in fridge, then feed as a treat. If I think I'm short on pupate, I can put them back. I find I'm not usually short on pupae even with pulling worms.

    As for the heat/freeze thing it's unclear whether you're trying to raise inside or out. Inside is better, because they do need room temp plus some to really move along their life cycle. I have plants under hanging fluorescent lights, so I just keep my worm containers on them for extra heat. Some use bulbs or heat mats. I've heard of keeping on fridge top since that's usually a warmer spot.
     
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Ok, live meal worms are easy to raise and way more nutritious than dry, plus way more affordable. [​IMG]

    Meal worms go through 3 life stages ( technically 4 including egg). The meal worm is a larva that hatched from an egg, at first they are microscopic. After the larva grow for quite some time, maybe a few months depending on temps... during that time they may reach the size you are able to feed out. Smaller worms for smaller chicks. Once they have full grown they will pupate into a pupa. Looks like a little alien that can only wiggle around. This stage does not eat or drink. Within about two weeks the Pupa will turn into Darkling Beetles, which is the adult stage. They will be white at first and darken within a few days. Those will begin laying the microscopic eggs and it starts all over again. The beetles do have wings but don't fly away. Some people try to separate out the life stages but it ended up being to much work when all can live happily together as long as their needs are met.

    My flock Go crazy for the meal worms especially! But they also enjoy the pupa and the beetles. So I feed out all life stages, depending on what I have at the time. All my meal worms started to pupate at the same time even though I ordered different sizes... [​IMG] Each stage has a slightly different nutritional make up, but I believe all stages are nutritionally more sound than dried. Still to be used as a treat though.

    Knowing how many you can feed out regularly and keep a colony going takes some trial end error, at least for me. I don't have the exacts, but everything is dependent on temperature. Colder equals slower, warmer equals faster. Plus it depends on how many mealworms you start out with.

    Really, there are a lot of helpful people here with way more experience than me, have you checked out this thread?
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/492636/mealworm-farming/8640#post_17755065
     
  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Well, I miss judged how many I needed and bought 45,000. Let me tell you, they do put out a little heat of their own which I did not take into consideration when I was worried about if they would pupate at 55-60 degrees. They did.

    Fridge temp essentially makes them go dormant and not pupate. You can keep them on there and take them out to give moisture once a week.
     
  7. gagirl02

    gagirl02 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2016
    thank you. I'm raising outside because I don't think I could handle worms being in my house. That's just me. :)
     
  8. gagirl02

    gagirl02 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2016
    thank you for all the information. The more I read from people like you with the hands-on experience the more I glean.
     
  9. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I've been raising meal worms for a number of years now, and I started with just a tiny amount of around 75 or so. The best way to learn about meal worms is to get some worms, install them in a container with straight, smooth sides, with an inch or two of wheat bran (or any finely ground cereal), plop a couple baby carrots in with them, and put the container in a dark warm place and watch what happens. It's fascinating and fun.

    I only feed the larvae to my chickens, but they get any beetles and worms and pupae that die, too. I generally do not feed the beetles and pupae because each one represents hundreds of future worms. I even carefully fish out any pupae in my snack carton before feeding the chickens. If you do it this way, soon you will have a very robust colony of worms in every stage. If you're like a lot of us, you will come to be quite fond of the little buggers.
     
  10. gagirl02

    gagirl02 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2016
    Thank you. I want to get oatmeal from the grocery store to start the mealworm but want to make sure just the plain old oatmeal we buy to eat is ok. Do I need to heat it in the oven as suggested in the original posting of this?
     

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