1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Mealworm farming

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by hannakat, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. hannakat

    hannakat Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,590
    38
    168
    Jun 5, 2010
    Beaver County, PA
    Is there a tread discussing raising mealworms? I've looked around but can't seem to find anything recent.

    I started a mealworm farm a month ago and have so many pupae that I'm getting worried! BUT, I want to be able to freeze many, many thousands for next winter since my girls don't like snow and there's no bugs to eat in the winter anyway. Don't know when enough will be enough and in the meantime, my mealies are growing fast and furious!



    UPDATES
    **** BYCer's mealworm farms ..... condensed information from 3 perspectives!! *****

    Gallo Del Cielo's page: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-raise-mealworms

    My page: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/mealworm-fam-experiences

    Amy's page: http://www.westknollfarm.com


    Some basic and often asked information:

    Life cycle stages... this is relative to conditions such as temperature, food source, etc:
    Egg Incubation: 4-19 days (usually 4-7). Another source says 20-40 days
    Larva: 10 weeks. Visible after about a week
    Pupa: 6-18 (18-24?) days
    Beetle and Egg Laying: 8-12 weeks (followed by death). Egg laying starts 4-19 days (average 12) after emergence

    Reliable sources for buying meal worms (in no particular order):
    BYC members:
    crazy huhn: [email protected]
    Amy: www.westknollfarm.com email is [email protected]
    exoticnutrition.com
    speedyworm.com
    southernbaitworms.com



    7/23/11 - ETA: My colonies are in full force and many have joined the 'farm'! [​IMG] So much wonderful information and insight!


    Trish
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2013
    11 people like this.
  2. DickGJ

    DickGJ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sounds about right...especially if you started about a month ago. Having pupae is a good thing since if all goes well, they should become adults soon. The adults breed, lay eggs and the cycle starts anew. I'm not farming mealworms yet, but am seriously considering it. I've been researching (Googling) the facts and recommended procedures on-line to prepare. Sounds like you're doing well with yours... If you started with nothing but mealworms (larva stage) at about the same age, then you're likely to end up with them in to pupate around the same time. All should work out in the long run...ya gotta start somewhere. If you started with 500 several weeks ago, I would have started with a second batch 2-weeks after that so I would likely have more in the larval stage while the others mostly pupated. Just my 2-cents. Nice proactive approach to prepare treats for your flock during those winter months! I tip my hat to you!
    [​IMG]
     
    2 people like this.
  3. DickGJ

    DickGJ Chillin' With My Peeps

  4. hannakat

    hannakat Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,590
    38
    168
    Jun 5, 2010
    Beaver County, PA
    Quote:Yea...I'm totally amazed. I ordered 1000 online but I think they sent more. I put 100 in a different medium just to see how they'd do. I did hours of research before starting. They go through much more veggies/fruit than I imagined. It's all been really awesome. I'm doing a 3-drawer farm.

    I also put a couple hundred in a container in the fridge....been thinking maybe I should put more in the fridge they way they are popping. Still waiting for the pupa to turn into the beetles but I have several hundred now with 10-30 new every day.

    I spent $40 buying large containers of freeze-dried mealworms over the winter and so far I've spent $28 on my farm ($20 for the worms and $7 for the drawers.... and a buck for veggies/fruit) and I expect to get thousands and thousands and thousands. Yep...happy chickens!
     
    9 people like this.
  5. GiddyMoon

    GiddyMoon Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,092
    14
    151
    Apr 14, 2011
    Tucson, AZ
    Quote:Yea...I'm totally amazed. I ordered 1000 online but I think they sent more. I put 100 in a different medium just to see how they'd do. I did hours of research before starting. They go through much more veggies/fruit than I imagined. It's all been really awesome. I'm doing a 3-drawer farm.

    I also put a couple hundred in a container in the fridge....been thinking maybe I should put more in the fridge they way they are popping. Still waiting for the pupa to turn into the beetles but I have several hundred now with 10-30 new every day.

    I spent $40 buying large containers of freeze-dried mealworms over the winter and so far I've spent $28 on my farm ($20 for the worms and $7 for the drawers.... and a buck for veggies/fruit) and I expect to get thousands and thousands and thousands. Yep...happy chickens!

    Why not feed them to your chickens now or continue to let them breed so you have enough to keep breeding and feed throught the whole year?
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. hannakat

    hannakat Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,590
    38
    168
    Jun 5, 2010
    Beaver County, PA
    Quote:Because they free range and they have all the bugs they can find. I do use the mealworms if I need them back to the coop before they're ready. They come running when they think worms are being offered [​IMG]

    I'm doing this because I feel bad that they don't have bugs in the winter with all the snow and freezing temps..... they LOVE bugs (even stink bugs)... and cucumbers, and kale, and lettuce, and cheese, and yogurt, and melon, and celery leaves, and pumpkin inners.......
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2011
    2 people like this.
  7. DickGJ

    DickGJ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Because they free range and they have all the bugs they can find. I do use the mealworms if I need them back to the coop before they're ready. They come running when they think worms are being offered [​IMG]

    I'm doing this because I feel bad that they don't have bugs in the winter with all the snow and freezing temps..... they LOVE bugs (even stink bugs)... and cucumbers, and kale, and lettuce, and cheese, and yogurt, and melon, and celery leaves, and pumpkin inners.......

    Can you post some pictures here of your 3-drawer farm? I like that idea and may do the same thing when I prepare to start up. Who did you order your 1000 from? I see them for sale on eBay too. I recall you asking about whether there was a thread on mealworm farming here on BYC...looks like we got the start of a good one here. Post some of your pics. I know there are others here on BYC that raise mealworms...I'm sure we can make this a pretty informative post/thread.
     
  8. snazzyboots

    snazzyboots Chillin' With My Peeps

    748
    1
    121
    Mar 3, 2011
    baltimore
    i am kind of thinking about trying to do this. not sure if i can get over my squeamishness tho....
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. DickGJ

    DickGJ Chillin' With My Peeps

    I see others who have opted to raise some kind of cockroach instead of meal worms. Of the two, I have no plans on raising an insect I can't stand in or around my house -- so cockroaches are out. Even if I would get a lot of pleasure out of seeing the chickens consume the nasty critters. I figure I've chosen the lesser of two "evils." Besides mealworms aren't that bad an option when you really think about it. Now fly maggots...that would peak my gross-out meter!
    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. snazzyboots

    snazzyboots Chillin' With My Peeps

    748
    1
    121
    Mar 3, 2011
    baltimore
    Omg. That is too funny. I may just have to buy them [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by