What food can I raise?

chrism

Songster
11 Years
Jan 17, 2009
114
5
128
Zone 7A Central Va.
I'm just now seeing that people grow meal worms.
What else can be grown in quantities for a 60 bird flock to make it worth the effort?
Grubs?
Earthworms?
Leaches?
Crickets?
Grasshoppers?
Small snakes?
 

cityfarmer12

Songster
5 Years
Oct 18, 2014
1,249
118
181
Missouri
Grubs, maggots/soldier fly grubs are easy to grow. You just put some old meat out and the flies lay eggs and tada you have grubs. I have seen systems were people mount buckets high on poles, fill them with meat, and the maggots drop out of the holes on the bottom right down to the waiting birds below.

Once you get a system going, i'd say earthworms would be a good one to grow. They propagate pretty fast, need food almost everyone has, and can be grown in a basement or shed fairly easily. To grow enough for 60 birds you would need a pretty big system though.

Leeches would not be a realistic food source unless you have a good source of fresh blood. To grow enough to feed any bird, you would need to also grow a lot of fish to feed them. Not really, but they are hard to feed. I keep a few pet leeches (i know, i'm crazy) and they are easy to feed when there are only a few, but enough to feed chickens? no way.

Crickets could be a good food source, but are hard for some reasons. First, they need a large system, and fairly special setups. To breed they need to be kept warm and babies must also be kept warm until they are large enough to feed. This equals expensive setup and lots of electricity. The poop a lot, so you are constantly cleaning (especially if they are in the house, crickets stink), and they don't live that long so half the babies will be replacing the parents as breeders. IMO they are a lot of work for chickens.

Grasshoppers are REALLY hard (unless you pull the legs off). They jump really well, so everytime you open the cages, you lose half of them. They don't breed easily and are slow growers. They are more pick on food than crickets as well. If you must do cricket or grasshoppers, do crickets.

Also not feasible. I breed snakes, but they are a challenge and it would be soooooooo expensive to breed snakes as food. Snakes require tons of space and each setup require a heat source, water source and daily care. This would be even more expensive than crickets. They also need mice, so you would essentially have to have a mouse breeding setup to feed the snakes as well as the snakes.

Ok, here is what i do. I breed mealworms (easy to breed, totally reccommend) to feed the chickens, ducks, and turkeys mostly, but also feed a small percentage to my many Tarantulas, lizards, and turtles. I breed earthworms for the chickens, ducks, turkeys, garden, Tarantulas, lizards, and turtles. I breed crickets to feed some of the lizards and Tarantulas. I breed mice, rats, and gerbils for the snakes and the chickens (they like them). That is mostly what i do.

I also breed Tilapia and Trout for my family to eat, and the chickens LOVE the guts, heads, leftovers. They also get dead minnows (another thing i breed for some of my pet fish and my aquatic turtles.

Sorry for the long post...hope this helps a bit!
 

chrism

Songster
11 Years
Jan 17, 2009
114
5
128
Zone 7A Central Va.
Thank you very much for all of the great info!!
So it looks like for my purposes... grubs, meal worms and earth worms is what I should be concentrating on?
Did you notice much of an odor with the meat bucket on a pole trick?

My next step in my little homestead is aquaponics so if you have any sources for good beginner info, please pass it on.
 

cityfarmer12

Songster
5 Years
Oct 18, 2014
1,249
118
181
Missouri
Thank you very much for all of the great info!!
So it looks like for my purposes... grubs, meal worms and earth worms is what I should be concentrating on?
Did you notice much of an odor with the meat bucket on a pole trick?

My next step in my little homestead is aquaponics so if you have any sources for good beginner info, please pass it on.
no problem!
yes, i'd say those are the best ones to do. Well, on the grubs i think it will depend on how hot it gets where you live. When it got over 85-90 ish i could smell it a bit if i was right under it, but it was never over whelming, and it never carried on the wind. It most likely varies depending on the meat you use too. I haven't actually tried that yet, i had a few friends who did it.

Well, i am still learning and tweaking my system, i am fairly new too it. Thankfully some local friends and organizations have helped me. Another thing that really helped me was looking up aquaponic systems on youtube and seeing other peoples systems. It helped me figure out a plan when i began building my own, and know what was a good idea, and what didn't work from others experience.
 

nguyenkinhphuc2

In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 8, 2012
83
4
31
My opinion: If I save grass clipping successfully this year, I will raise rabbits along with chickens. Why?

1. When process rabbit, scrap meat will be for chickens, and their meat are extremely high in protein (more than 90%).
2. It is free to feed them all year.
3. Chicken will scratch over rabbit manure.
 

chrism

Songster
11 Years
Jan 17, 2009
114
5
128
Zone 7A Central Va.
That sounds like a great idea.
I gave my son a rabbit for Christmas a few years ago, before this venture.
Because of that, rabbit is forbidden from our table.
I have an area in the corner of the chicken yard that gets a lot of shade that I have tended to dump leaves/clipping. They spend a lot of time foraging there no doubt filling up on bugs/worms.
 

cityfarmer12

Songster
5 Years
Oct 18, 2014
1,249
118
181
Missouri
My opinion: If I save grass clipping successfully this year, I will raise rabbits along with chickens. Why?

1. When process rabbit, scrap meat will be for chickens, and their meat are extremely high in protein (more than 90%).
2. It is free to feed them all year.
3. Chicken will scratch over rabbit manure.
yes, i did this...it worked pretty well...the rabbit manure is great compost as well. Even if i didn't eat rabbit meat, i would still have some for manure and selling the babies. Around here i always sell them fairly quick.


That sounds like a great idea.
I gave my son a rabbit for Christmas a few years ago, before this venture.
Because of that, rabbit is forbidden from our table.
I have an area in the corner of the chicken yard that gets a lot of shade that I have tended to dump leaves/clipping. They spend a lot of time foraging there no doubt filling up on bugs/worms.
lol, yes you can't eat a pet! :p
Oh, man, my birds love eating the compost. They get old scraps of veggies, fruit, and plenty of worms. They also like the worm filled piles of old pine shavings from the brooders.
 

MANNA-PRO

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