Mealworms: how to breed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Kotori, May 25, 2012.

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  1. Kotori

    Kotori Hatching

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    May 25, 2012
    I myself have no chickens, but my aunt has three and her chickens love mealworms. I do this, takes less than a minute a day to take care of, and <30 minuets a week to keep in order. I will say this: don't expect instant gratification

    First, this is what you need: a few containers. How many is optional, but I would get 4. You want something with a bit of surface area. I'm cheap, so I use plastic take out containers- a square foot of surface area and a few inches deep.
    Start up worms. There are a million places online to buy them, or a nearby bait or pet store will have them in smaller amounts.

    A small container. Again, I'm cheap and use butter tubs.

    You will periodically need: Wheat bran, Oatmeal, pelleted chicken feed, or flour. This is what they eat. I prefer the chicken food, but if you can get wheat bran in large amounts, get it. I tried flour, and I was not impressed. Oatmeal I've never tried.
    Source of moisture: Carrots, Potato, lettuce, apple, etc.
    I use carrots because they shrivel up instead of molding. Potato tends to mold. They love apple, but it goes bad in a day.

    This won't take more than 5 minuets to set up, I swear [​IMG].

    Grab your worm food, a container, the worms and the moisture source. Put a thin layer on the bottom- I aim for just under an inch. dump the worms in, and place the moisture source in. place lid on. That's all you have to do for now.

    Place it somewhere it won't be disturbed. If you have large worms, They will soon pupate. This stage is called the alien stage, but it's a pupa. remove it and put it into the small container. They do not eat or move in this stage. in 5-7 days it will turn into a beetle. Put the beetle into a second container.

    The beetles will breed and lay eggs. They will eat the eggs, So I suggest putting in a cardboard tube for them to congregate and making moisture available 24/7. After a week to a month (personal preference) move the beetles to another container, and throw away dead ones. Tip: label each container with the date moved.

    I've never timed it, but I think it takes a month for the worms to become full grown and start pupating. You can feed them off whenever. You can also feed pupae I guess, but beetles are all chitin.

    Facts: Mealworms get just over an inch long.
    Kingworms/super worms are something different- get 2-3 inches long and thick.
    Mealworms can't bite or harm you in any way at any stage.
    some places are now selling fried mealworms.

    I have a colony of about 300 beetles, started with 50 worms.I suggest starting with more. takes me half hour to move beetles. I suggest with holding moisture for a day or two before moving, then placing moisture source in (preferably long strips) and then just grab covered thing and transfer. Works with worms and beetles.

    Raising them yourself costs maybe $20 to start, but then provides you with mealworms for less then .50 for 1000

    Upkeep: $14 for 50lb bag of chicken food (I got this nearly a year ago and I'm not even halfway through.)
    Carrots: 39 cents/lb (Lasts me nearly 3 months)
     

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