It all started a few weeks ago I was scrolling through chicken boards on Pinterest when I came across an interesting post. In this post the author was toting the benefits of starting a mealworm farm to help supplement their chicken’s feed. Out of curiosity I read the article but dismissed the idea almost automatically. I mean mealworms just sound gross and stinky and to be honest creepy crawly bugs give me the creepy crawlies.
While I had initially dismissed the idea it had some how taken root in my subconscious. Next thing I knew I was looking up mealworm starter kits online. It turns out you can buy live mealworms on Amazon. This is how today I found myself picking up a box from my local post office that had a green sticker slapped on the side announcing “Live Animals”. To be fair this isn’t entirely my fault I mean let’s face it Pinterest is a dangerous place.
Unboxing the mealworms was quite an event. The kids and I gathered around the box none of us knowing what to expect. We all seemed to be holding our breath as we sliced open the box. I think I was expecting something that looked like maggots crawling all through the box ready to leap out at us. Instead, what we discovered was a mesh bag filled with paper and of course mealworms. They didn’t smell, they weren’t slimy and to be honest they weren’t that scary.
This afternoon we spent time researching the best way to house and encourage reproduction among our mealworm population. We filled a small Tupperware container with 3 inches of dried oatmeal this serves as their bedding and their food source. We also added a few carrots which will provide them with a source of water to keep them hydrated. It appears to be pretty simple to start a mealworm farm. Every 24 hours we will replace their carrots and add additional oats as needed. In no time at all we should see the population of mealworms on the rise.
If you would have told me even a month ago that I would become a mealworm farmer I would have laughed yet here I am. You might be wondering why I would suddenly start raising mealworms and the answer is pretty simple. I love my chickens and want to provide them the very best. Instead of the expensive dried mealworms from the local farm supply I can give them live mealworms at an affordable price. Live mealworms will not only provide my chickens with a source of nutrition but they will also serve as enrichment. Chickens love to hunt down live bugs it’s not just nutrition it’s also entertainment.
As a homeschooling family this has been turned into a homeschool project. We are learning about the life cycle of the Darkling Beetle and how to raise mealworms. I have to admit they are pretty interesting to watch and I can’t wait to be able to offer live mealworms to our chickens.
What do you think about farming mealworms? Is it crazy or do you think it’s a practical idea? Let me know in the comments below.