Mealworms from my classroom

ekofke201

Songster
8 Years
Dec 27, 2011
125
19
129
Southern PA
I teach second grade and we have been studying insects... The first one that we studied was mealworms. We got about 100 mealworms from a lab and watched the life cycle.

Do you think that they will be safe to feed to my chickens? I am worried about the fact that they were bred in a man made environment and that they have been handled (minimally) by 26 germy seven year olds. And the people that send them to us insist that we freeze them when we are done instead of releasing them because they can no longer survive in the wild. (Again, many generations of men involved in the breeding)

What do you think? Safe for my girls?
 

TallChickMagnet

Songster
7 Years
Apr 30, 2012
1,482
55
168
Jurupa Valley, CA
I think that it will be OK... Chickens do get sick, but not from the same things people do...
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ekofke201

Songster
8 Years
Dec 27, 2011
125
19
129
Southern PA
I think I am more grossed out about the fact that I would be eating something that came from a thing that ate possibly contaminated insects...
 

Demosthine

Songster
7 Years
Jun 26, 2012
1,111
140
191
Phoenix, Arizona
I teach second grade and we have been studying insects... The first one that we studied was mealworms. We got about 100 mealworms from a lab and watched the life cycle.

Do you think that they will be safe to feed to my chickens? I am worried about the fact that they were bred in a man made environment and that they have been handled (minimally) by 26 germy seven year olds. And the people that send them to us insist that we freeze them when we are done instead of releasing them because they can no longer survive in the wild. (Again, many generations of men involved in the breeding)

What do you think? Safe for my girls?

It should be perfectly fine. Remember, in the wild they are living in and under decaying matter. Rotting trees, decaying leaves, etc. They are also eating this type of food, too. Although found mostly in the human environment, that is their lifestyle. When bred in captivity, they are left in amongst all of the frass. That's the mealworm's waste, small particles of the bran they feed on and the exoskeleton that they shed. Although this doesn't necessarily harbor disease if maintained properly (low humidity, good airflow), it is not a clean or sterile environment. Also remember that the chickens will eat almost anything that is left outside. Some of their favorites appear to be the black soldier fly larvae, which grows well in a compost pile with rotting material.


I think I am more grossed out about the fact that I would be eating something that came from a thing that ate possibly contaminated insects...

Am I correct to assume you keep your girls inside, with pre-packaged manufactured pellet food? 'Cause the mealworms and such from the store have the same life cycle as the mealworms that you were breeding. If you free-range, there is absolutely no guarantee that anything is safe.

Just some food for thought...
 

ekofke201

Songster
8 Years
Dec 27, 2011
125
19
129
Southern PA
This is true. Where do people get their "stater set" of mealworms anyway? If they are purchasing them from anywhere, I would assume that they too are bred in a lab. Would you agree?
 

Demosthine

Songster
7 Years
Jun 26, 2012
1,111
140
191
Phoenix, Arizona
This is true. Where do people get their "stater set" of mealworms anyway? If they are purchasing them from anywhere, I would assume that they too are bred in a lab. Would you agree?

Honestly, that depends entirely on where you are purchasing them from. The PetCo near me says they have a large-scale breeder that they get theirs from, hence the lower prices. The WalMart, however, is getting them from really small, local suppliers at each store. I heard one manager said his comes from a regular customer who started a colony for his lizards or something and he had too much production, so he started supplying his store with them.

I'm not sure I would say mealworms are bred in a "lab" any more than chickens are. Perhaps our definition of a lab is largely different, but I doubt the environment is not anywhere near as sterile as any lab I've ever been in. I could be wrong, though.
 

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