How to grow your own mealworms instructions

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by stilwellchick, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. wadd2742

    wadd2742 Hatching

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    I like chickens but have never fed them mealworms.

    I grow mealworms for my bluebirds. I have them in a Walmart plastic container, about 18 x 30 inches, with a mesh square in the top. I have used only wheat bran and add carrot or potato, which I thought was nourishment. I add more wheat germ when the medium gets to look more like dirt than bran. I use several layers of newspaper over the top and mist it about once a day for moisture. Eventually the container gets too full.

    My questions are:

    Is the laying mash more nutritious? Why unprinted paper? What do you do with the old growing medium? Can you dump it in the garden? Does it have mealworm eggs in it?

    Many thanks in advance.
     
  2. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Crowing

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    Laying mash isn't necessarily more nutritious. But it's a more balanced nutrition for the hens. It contains the proper amount of protein, calcium and other minerals to keep hens healthy.

    That said, if you let your hens free range, even for a half hour a day, they are going to dig up some bugs and eat them. So I see no harm in giving your hens a few meal worms every day. But in moderation. Don't dump hundreds out for them. Or they will gorge on them and not eat their feed and thus not get enough calcium and you could get soft shelled eggs, or have other issues. Does that make sense.

    Unprinted paper because ink can be toxic. Especially, the ink on the bright colored Sunday circular pages, it can contain heavy metals and its best not to use that in w/ the worms, in the compost, etc. Toss that with your paper recycling.

    And Y-E-S dump the old growing medium around your plants. It's great fertilizer. Yes, it contains eggs so don't dump it all. Keep some to start your next batch of worms. But eventually, you'll get several inches of droppings at the bottom of the bin and you have to dump it.

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. birdman55

    birdman55 Songster

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    ive read about the different bedding and from what I have noticed is most people stick with the oats...not sure y people stay away from layer mash but from what I have read is the oats is a better way...keeps the bugs down as well...like flies...here are some pics that I just started not to long ago...
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    I also found that using apples or potatoes seem to not work well after a bit they seem to mold....so I have just used carrots and they shrivel up and then I just add two more to each container every couple of days...I also clean each unit one time per week and separate them into the appropriate bins...I will be adding a self sifting thing on the bottom....but I have been super busy with the hundred birds....and worming them...hope this helps
     
  4. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    First of all, [​IMG] I don't think that anyone has systematically looked at productivity using wheat bran compared to laying mash. If you're using laying mash, check the tag to make sure it doesn't have any added DE. I think that most people use wheat bran because it performs better as a substrate, having fewer moisture/mold related issues and providing better habitat than other mediums. As you've likely noticed, they like to burrow into the relatively light and fluffy bran, but tend to stay in the top, fluffy-most layer. They don't venture much into the deeper and denser layers of the older medium, so you won't loose too many eggs if you scoop off the top layer, remove the bottom used layers and return the top layer. As others have noted, it's fantastic fertilizer.
     
  5. kubotafoot

    kubotafoot Songster

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    Yes, potatoes and carrots do mold easily if in big chucks. I put strips in and there is never any mold. Besides, think about it.....Those little critters need to chew through things to get food and moisture. Why not give them a leg up, so to speak, and make their veggies thinner, as it is surface from which they eat and not inside the thick chunks. When I first started I put in baby carrots as I saw in photos. The carrots lasted a long time......I thought all was well, until I started putting in thinner pieces and boy oh boy did my colony thrive with the extra surface moisture!!
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Crowing

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    I had good luck w/ cutting a russet potato in half and putting it in there. I found that other varieties of potatoes did mold.
     
  7. birdman55

    birdman55 Songster

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    good to know...im not sure which kind I used. the apple did last longer before it started but carrot seem to be the best for me...all they do is shrink. and when they do I just add another couple
     
  8. birdman55

    birdman55 Songster

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    well I figured I would share my thought about the beetle....from what I understood that the beetle is cannibalistic....well people on byc were telling me that they were only cannibalistic when there was no food...I have to disagree....I thought that this would be the case so I took the pupa which is normally in its own container with no bedding and placed them into the beetle bin which you can see there is plenty of food and water sources....and then a day later I came back and looked at it...well lets just say on my observing that the beetle is cannibalistic no matter what...I watched them eat several pupas with several beetles on one pupa...and they were going nuts on these poor guys that couldn't even defend themselves...so never again that will happen...just thought I would share...here is a pic of the beetle bin
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    edited to add....I just dropped those two fresh carrots in a look at the next pic....wow
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    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
  9. ranger7

    ranger7 In the Brooder

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    How do you dry them for storage? I don't want to feed them live.
    Thanks
     
  10. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Crowing

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    Good question. I have no idea. I always fed them live.

    I'm curious why you don't want to feed them live? The chickens seem the wriggling and go NUTSO for them.
     

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