Why do so many people breed mealworms for their chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by newbie645, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. newbie645

    newbie645 Hatching

    Apr 21, 2018
    I see lots of tutorials here and elsewhere on how to breed mealworms for your chickens. But why do people bother do do this when it's cheaper to just buy chicken feed? I tried looking for an answer to this question all over the internet but could not find it so I hope some of the mealworm breeders here would be able to give me an answer.
    chickens really likes this.
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    :welcome To provide as a palatable 'treat'. Not as a replacement for a balanced commercial diet.
  3. Chickens would likely prefer diced Sirloin Beef Stake to meal worms but some people think that feeding an animal from a higher order to a mere chicken is sacrilege. Enter the lowly Darkling beetle. You can not easily see a cow or your grand children in a meal worm.
  4. alyssa.leigh

    alyssa.leigh In the Brooder

    Apr 12, 2018
    Or it's just more plausible for it to occur in the wild?

    My ducks will begrudgingly eat the crumbles when hungry, but they go nuts for mealworms, so those are just treats.
    Ol Grey Mare likes this.
  5. h2oratt

    h2oratt Crossing the Road

    May 3, 2015
    Morada, california
    Because live living food has special energy for health. Chicken pellets are heated and no live energy is there.
    Ol Grey Mare and dunnmom like this.
  6. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    they are breeding their own mealworms because you can't trust mealworms from unapproved vendors. In fsct, DEFRA has forbidden their member poultry people from feeding mealworms to their poultry.
    Folly's place and Ol Grey Mare like this.
  7. It is what it is and nothing more.

    What does eating a meal worm have in common to what a chicken eats in its wild state?

    Meal worms a.k.a. darkling beetles are a very serious pest in commercial broiler-fryer operations. If you want to get into the meal worm farming business you can do no better than rent a couple or 5 broiler houses and a shaker table to use to separate the meal worms from the manure cake or chicken litter in a deep litter type operation. No worm feed is necessary, just utilize the spilled chicken food that is already in place.
  8. I have to say I'd prefer a steak over meal worms too
  9. Agreed
    TheklaF likes this.
  10. X_and_Z

    X_and_Z Chirping

    Feb 16, 2018
    SF Bay Area
    My Coop
    Mealworms are a well received, reasonably high protein (~20%) treat that is easy to grow with minimal time/effort/money (with access to a dollar store you can get a small self-sorting setup running for < $5, at Target/Walmart you will still spend <$15).

    Apparently dried mealworms come almost exclusively from China and there are concerns as to how they are grown. US grown live mealworms are readily available but it is cheaper to grow them yourself.

    Live mealworms are a delicacy for my girls, just a step below live mice (free wild ones) and several steps above dried mealworms or black soldier fly larvae (US grown, higher protein than meal worms, can also be grown on the cheap, but a different type of setup).

    As for why I am giving treats to my chickens - I enjoy doing so. There is no way I can beat the cost of grocery store eggs so I have chickens for my enjoyment.
    TheklaF and dunnmom like this.

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