We micro farm here. Everything is done on a very small scale: small house, small orchard, small vineyard, small flock…you get the idea. To supplement our hens’ protein and to just provide them some treats, we decided to start a meal worm farm. This is actually Deacon’s project.
He began researching the various ways of farming meal worms and then implemented what he thought would work best for our situation.
We bought two small (12 quart, flat) storage containers with lids. Since we have critters (cats and dogs) and no place to put the containers that would be safe from them, we needed lids. He cut out the middle of the lid and duct taped window screen to it which allows for air flow.
He filled one tub with about 2 inches of oats, which he roasted in the oven beforehand to kill any eggs that might be in it. You do not want those eggs hatching and producing moths. That could be a big problem.
Next, we added some meal worms, which technically are not worms at all but larvae of the Darkling Beetle, which I purchased at a pet supply store. We used just 100 worms but it might be a good idea to start with more.
He added some carrot chunks for food and cardboard pieces for shelter and replaced the lid. Carrots need to be replaced ever so often when they begin to dry out. He discovered that the temperature was too cold and there was not enough humidity being produced and the larvae were inactive.
To remedy this, he used a germination mat that was taking up space in our shed. He put the mat under both tubs, then he covered part of the screened top loosely with plastic wrap.
The larvae became much more active. As pupae develop, he moved them into the next container. Once he had several pupae, he fed the remaining worms to the chickens. The pupae develop into beetles and that’s where the magic happens as they procreate and lay a whole bunch of eggs that will turn into larvae that will become food for the hens. They must be removed quickly though as the beetles will eat them.
At this time we are at abundant beetle stage. We will need to purchase one more container to finish out this process. But it never really finishes. We will continue to provide a steady supply of meal worms for the hens.
If you are interested in meal worm farming for your hens, this is incredibly easy to do even in a very small space.
There are different methods so a little research will help you develop the best one for you.
Happy Meal Worm Farming!