Mealworm rabbit manure experiment

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by WillsC, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. WillsC

    WillsC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I started a thread a couple weeks back asking if anyone had ever tried to raise mealworms on dried rabbit manure and apparently nobody had nor could I find any information on google about it. Mealworms do eat decaying vegetation in addition to grain products so figured why not try it.


    Rabbit manure is about 20% protein opposed to wheat bran that is 15% protein. The only real question is if they will eat it and how the growth will compare to the bran.

    Yesterday I set up 3 identical 41 quart bins.

    1. Is pure wheat bran to use as a control.

    2. Pure* rabbit manure that has been thorughly dried then heat sterilized and pulerized at least somewhat.

    3. will be a 50-50 mix of manure and wheat bran.


    In each tub I placed 200 mealworm pupae and once hatched they will all receive the same amount of carrots and apples as a water source.


    * The raw manure contained some degree of BSF larvae which was killed and dried along with the manure. Most of the larger BSF larvae were driven off while the manure dried in the hot Florida sun but the smaller larvae refused to leave and were killed when the manure was heated to 200f. The BSF larvae will add some degree of protein to the manure mix but there was no way to easily prevent it and as that added protein cost me nothing so I see it only as a potential bonus.

    Some may ask why don't you just feed the BSF larvae.....I can and do feed the BSF larvae to both my ducks and chickens but they can be tricky to raise and some containers are just too wet or for whatever reason not attractive to the BSF while other manure containers are loaded with them. The BSF are also not present during the colder months. I can raise the mealworms year round outside and are just so much easier than the BSF.

    On a side note.....I use a timer and auto water system for the rabbits (16 cages). Timer comes on for 1 minute every 4 hours and fills the rabbits water bowls as well as the reservoir that gravity feeds the chicken water nipples. Have one rabbit growout cage that has its manure barrel pretty much under the water bowl and stays very wet. I have been using golf ball size lumps of that manure as a water source in some of the mealworm bins and they love it. It stays damp for days yet is not dripping wet and has caused no mold problems with the wheat bran. For the experiment I will stick to carrots and apples though for those 3 bins. Just thought I would mention it as it is a water source for them that does not involve having to buy carrots or apples. As the golf ball size lumps have the moisture removed from them by the mealworms they fall apart but it is impossible to tell if the manure is being consumed.

    [​IMG]

    The 600 pupae



    [​IMG]

    control


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    50/50 mix


    [​IMG]

    Rabbit manure


    Will update as the beetles hatch and start hopefully seeing mealworms in the manure containers.
     
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  2. Luvmykiddos

    Luvmykiddos Out Of The Brooder

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    I have subscribed to your thread. I am interested in how this turns out! I have meal worms and rabbit poo to spare, so I'm curious. [​IMG] We sometimes let a bunny or two romp around our house where one of my dogs will carefully follow the rabbit from behind to wait for "bunny treats" to dispense. So surely the mealworms would like a little poo for their dinner?

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    One question, where do you dry your rabbit poo? I have a dehydrator and an oven, but the idea of that grosses me out. I'm thinking sun drying would be the way to go for me.
     
  3. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm subscribing as well. Just planning starting growing mealworms and have an excellent source for rabbit poo. Was just going to use it for soil conditioning, but this may be an excellent use for some of it.
     
  4. WillsC

    WillsC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I sun dried the manure (which took a week in the Florida sun) and to sterilize it I have a 5' tall by 3' wide brick propane smoker outside:) I'm not sure sterilizing it is even needed. For the experiment though I figured I should as it does away with a variable and unknown. Mealworms live in such a dry environment not many other critters could survive it especially when you consider those hitch hikers came from a very wet manure environment.
     
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  5. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We dried ours on the driveway...in this arid climate with the strong sun...took about 3 days. We don't really have any way to heat to sterilize...I definitely draw the line at having ANY kind of poo in my oven, LOL. Wait..I do have an old toaster oven I use just for craft stuff. It would take a while because it's so small, but I could easily set it up on the deck and do enough for mealies. Hmmm...
     
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  6. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    following with interest!
     
  7. LightningTFarm

    LightningTFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    I just stumbled on this post and it looks very interesting. I have ducks and geese, not chickens, but I"m still thinking of starting a mealworm farm. We used to raise rabbits for meat, and I'm thinking about doing it again. So, this would be a cool way of recycling their poop. My mom used to make a "tea" by putting some rabbit poop in the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket and then filling it with water. She'd stir it every day for a few days, and then ladle out the water and use it to feed her roses and other flowers. It worked like crazy!
     
  8. WillsC

    WillsC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well I can tell you the ducks like the mealworms as much as the chickens do. Just a small update as all the pupae have hatched so it is on it's way.
     
  9. pigeonguy

    pigeonguy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's cool keep us up dated. If this works I have an endless supply of rabbit manure.
     
  10. pigeonguy

    pigeonguy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are they still alive in the manure.
     

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