One of the best ways of getting results is to do something yourself. It is satisfying, and you understand it better, which will help you if you ever need to reboot the process or take corrective or preventive measures. This is the same principle that should help you think about making your own mealworm farm. Mealworms are an important part of any farm, especially if you are keeping fowl. Breeding your own will save you a lot of time and spare your finances in the process.
Mealworms are ideal for your fowl as a rich source of protein. Other than fowl, you can also feed them to fish, reptiles, and other domesticated birds. Some people also breed mealworms as a source of food. In fact, meal worms are often recommended to those who are just getting into eating critters, as a good start, before upgrading to other animals like crickets.
Starting Your Mealworm Farm
Today you can easily find a starter kit in stores, which you can use to create your meal worm farm from scratch. Some basics that apply to other worm farms will also apply here.
For example, a plastic container or tub is ideal, since the worms cannot eat into it and burrow their way out into the wild. You also need to think about proper ventilation. Ensure you provide just enough holes to allow air into the breeder, but not big enough for the worms to crawl out.
Typically, mealworms prefer high humidity and temperatures to thrive. For this purpose, you can get a small humidifier, and a heat lamp, which can help you raise the temperature in your mealworm farm to around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Since mealworms are not flyers or jumpers, it is very easy to contain them. All you need to do is make sure the humidity and temperature are right.
Find the right bedding for your meal worms. Good bedding is important, because other than acting as the surface upon which the mealworms will live, they will also breed in it, and at times eat it too. One of the best substrates is dry oats. Setting a layer of 3 inches thick will help. At the same time, you also need to keep monitoring the bedding from time to time.
The reason for this is to prevent molding. You need something that can absorb the excess moisture which might be present in the breeding area. Mixing dry rice will work just fine. Even though rice will absorb the excess moisture, try to change the substrate from time to time.
As soon as you have the mealworm farm ready, you can then procure some mealworms and add them into the breeding area. How soon can you expect mealworms to start laying eggs? For adult meal worms, it should take no more than two weeks for them to start laying eggs. With this in mind, therefore, if you have everything done correctly, you can have a continuous supply of mealworms for your farm animals.
There are different mealworm farms out there. Bearing this in mind, if you plan to procure meal worms that you will use for culinary purposes, make sure you get them from a farm that specifically produces them for human consumption. On the other hand, if you are making your own mealworm farm for other purposes like chicken and pet feed, any pet store or bait shop can supply the mealworms you need to start your farm.back to menu ↑
One of the other things you must consider when making your own meal worm farm is what to feed them. While mealworms will thrive on oat substrate, they can also feed on healthy scraps from your table, like scraps of carrots, apples, and potatoes. You can slice these into tiny pieces.
These foods are highly recommended because they take away the risk of moisturization. The moisture content in these foods is sufficient to support the moisture requirements for the mealworms. Therefore, you will not need an additional water supply.
Your ultimate concern will be how soon the mealworms can be ready for harvesting. If you do everything right, you should look forward to progress within a month. The first mealworms into the breeder will become darker in color after a month. One week later, these mealworms will have completed their transformation into black beetles.
The beetles lay eggs, which eventually hatch into meal worms in one or two weeks, and the cycle continues. As soon as the fresh mealworms are hatched, they are ready for harvesting. You can remove them from the breeding ground by hand, though this is an extremely involving procedure. Alternatively, you can use a sifter to shake away the hatched meal worms from the rest of the components, especially oats and beetle poop.back to menu ↑
Importance of Mealworms
When you think of making your own mealworm farm, you probably have considered so many things, and resorted to preparing your own farm. Mealworms might not look so appealing, but from the perspective of a chicken farmer, they are some of the most important things in the world.
The taste and experience of a hearty home-cooked meal are almost similar to what chicken experiences from dried mealworms. Chicken love mealworms. Mealworms are loaded with nutrients that keep them healthy and happy, hence the following reasons why you really need to take your mealworm farming seriously.back to menu ↑
You Don’t Need Too Much
One of the best things about using meal worms when feeding your farm animals is that you do not need to delete the entire population. A few handfuls of mealworms can feed so many chickens, for example, at the same time. To be precise, a handful is enough for up to ten chickens. Other than feeding them, this is also sufficient protein intake for a meal.
Adult chickens that have started laying eggs need around 16% protein in their diet. The younger chicken might not need that much because it is already loaded in their feeds.
Feeding them mealworms only supplements and boosts their protein intake. You have to be careful when feeding them mealworms because if they have access, they can eat the entire mealworm population. Just allow them enough mealworms for a normal meal.
All animals need protein for proper growth and development. Chicken, especially, needs protein, considering that their eggs are one of our best sources of protein.
If you live in a region that experiences extreme winters, the chicken needs the protein to keep them warm through the winter. Mealworms are the perfect solution for proteins, given that roughly 50% of their bodies are full of protein.
Molting Season for Chicken
The molting season presents chicken farmers with several problems during the autumn and spring seasons. During this period, you must find a way to increase the protein intake for your chicken. One of the best options you have is using mealworms.
Mealworms are one of the best and most affordable sources of protein, which allows your fowl the best chance of growing back feathers as fast as possible.
It is also a good thing to remember that during the molting season, chickens are usually susceptible to a lot of infections and diseases, considering that their immunity is lower. Boosting their diet with protein from mealworms will help you keep them safe, healthy, and stronger through this difficult period.
One thing that most chicken farmers are aware of is that chickens love food, and are always highly responsive to food. Chickens will gladly munch away at their feeds at any given time of the day, as long as they are active and can see the food, they will go for it.
Mealworms offer variety in your meal plans for your chicken. They will love this change and will be healthier and happier.
The general assumption of insects in most places you visit is that they are a nuisance. People squirm at the sight or thought of insects. It gets even worse when dealing with insects like worms. A lot of people cannot even begin to think about keeping insects in their homes, leave alone the prospect of eating some of them.
A third of the global population considers insects edible, with mealworms being some of the most commonly sought after. They are quite nutritious, not just for pets, but also for humans.
What we see and refer to as mealworms are no more than the larvae stage of darkling beetles. They are found in so many parts of the world, making it easier to use them on farms across the globe.
Darkling beetles are common in most farms, because of their attraction towards dark, warm, and damp places. You will find them under decaying plant material and logs on your farm. Darkling beetles and mealworms are part of the same metamorphic cycle, so they will almost always be found in the same place together.
They are also an important part of the ecosystem, given that they act as a source of food for other insects, reptiles, rodents, spiders, and birds. Preparing and making your personal mealworm farm is a good idea since you will end up with a constant supply of mealworms for whichever reason you need them.