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Meal worm farming in deep litter in coop?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Ariel72, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. Ariel72

    Ariel72 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 14, 2011
    I've been reading quite a lot about meal worm farming. In the summer my hens are out in a chicken tractor and in the winter in their coop. When I take the hens out in the spring could I sprinkle a bunch of meal worms around in the deep litter bedding and let them grow and reproduce in there til winter? Then the chickens could have a great time finding them all during the cold months. Free food! It does get very hot in the coop in the summer. Probably at least 15 degrees hotter than the surrounding outside air. Will meal worms get too hot and die at those temps? How much cold can they handle?
     
  2. yankeefan

    yankeefan Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2011
    Upstate NY
    I'm certainly no expert on mealworms but I don't think you'd have much luck with just sprinkling a bunch of worms on your bedding. From what I've learned so far, mealworms need some sort of grain to consume in order to thrive. I'm sure there would be some leftover chicken feed for them to find but I'm not to sure they would do so good. BUT, I may be dead wrong. I'm still a rookie to this chicken thing and mealworms too. [​IMG]

    I'm also not too sure that any mealworms that you did raise would last very long. I think your chickies would probably obsess over those little critters crawling in the bedding on the floor until every last one was history.

    You might wanna give the mealworm farm a try. It's simple, fairly cheap and maintenance is a breeze. I bought 1000 worms from a BYC member back in Nov. and things are going smooth so far. An apple slice here and there, maybe a piece of potato and I forget about them for a few days. I should be able to start feeding some out soon. I only have 6 chickens, so I don't need a big setup. Yet.

    Good luck.
     
  3. BeccaSmith

    BeccaSmith Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 9, 2011
    Meridian, ID
    Meal worms prefer warmer temps. If the temps are cooler, they will be come inactive, that is why most instructions say to keep the in the fridge to keep them from pupating. And as previously mentioned, they will need something like oatmeal or wheat bran to live in.
     
  4. Ariel72

    Ariel72 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 14, 2011
    The chickens wouldn't be in there all summer to eat the worms so maybe they could just multiply. As far as grain, there is alot of hay with seed heads in there and I could probably dump some old sort of grain from storage in the bedding or even just buy a bag of some sort of meal. I will start a regular meal worm farm but just wondered if anyone had tried it this other way. I think I'll try a little experiment with it. Deep litter tends to attract all types of chicken treats anyway.[​IMG]
     
  5. CluckyJay

    CluckyJay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 23, 2011
    Crossville, Tennessee
    If its warm enough and the litter doesn't remain sodden, yes you can probably do it this way. As long as they are protected and have food, they should multiply. They can draw rodents though. Mice love eating tasty insects and leftover grain.
     
  6. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    I think you would end up with a lot of moldy grain and not good worm reproduction. Deep litter method requires some moisture in the bedding for the process of decomposition, and the grain in a warm, moist environment would just rot.
     
  7. CluckyJay

    CluckyJay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My beetles and larvae reproduce better in an environment with higher humidity levels. The only problem I had was when I forgot to kill the mites before adding grain. The moisture caused an explosion in mite population and I had to handwash the mealworms and redo their containers with fresh, heated grain. [​IMG]

    Not sure how bad the mites would take over in your situation. I don't get mites when I always remember to heat the grain first.
     
  8. BeccaSmith

    BeccaSmith Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 9, 2011
    Meridian, ID
    You handwashed the meal worms? I didn't think washing them would be doable, didn't know how much they could take before they would drown? Could one put them in a strainer and spray them? Just curious incase I ever have the same problem. I have been freezing all of my wheat bran before using it.
     

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