Mealworms v darkling beetles

IamRainey

Crowing
Aug 22, 2017
2,854
11,761
496
Los Angeles (Woodland Hills); gardening zone 9B
I just got a bunch of live mealworms and I'm going to raise them for my chickens.

I think I've got the lifecycle down. I hope the set up I have (a small 3 drawer storage unit with 1/4" hardware cloth for the floor of the top unit where I'll house the egg-laying darkling beetles.

But my question is, why do we feed the chickens mealworms v the beetles themselves? Would chickens make this distinction or have this preference if they were foraging on their own?
 

ChickNanny13

Crossing the Road
9 Years
Jun 23, 2013
9,651
13,674
987
The Big Island/Hawaii
They'll eat either ... The mealworms don't move as fast as the beetles and the beetles will reproduce MORE mealworms alot faster. You can feed the older beetles to the chickens but wait until you've got a healthy colony going.
 

Blue Tiger

Chirping
Mar 2, 2018
57
64
76
Jefferson City, Missouri
The larvae have more fat and protein than the adults they give rise to. The larvae at that point ready to become a pupae begins losing energy and protein content, feeding ceases and the animal invests energy in the transformation into an adult. The nutrient content of the adult is lowest when it first comes out of the pupae, assuming it can then eat and store resources needed to strengthen and reproduce.

They still eat beetles; live or dead, just fine as well as pupae.
 

ChickNanny13

Crossing the Road
9 Years
Jun 23, 2013
9,651
13,674
987
The Big Island/Hawaii
The beetles probably have laid alot of eggs, that hatch out to teeny tiny mealies. So just cause you see the beetles, doesn't mean there aren't any mealies. They are so very tiny you won't be able to see them. If you can scoop the beetles out (for a bit) watch the Oat Bran (if that's what you're using for bedding) you will see the Oat Bran moving yet not see any mealies. They you can put your beetles back in.

I fed the dead ones to my girls too.
 

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