Ya you heard me. Worm. Or I guess I should say worms because I am starting a mealworm farm. Luckily mealworm farming takes up very little land. In fact it takes up no land at all and only uses a small plastic tub.
On the lists of things I thought I would do with my life worm farming definitely was not on it. But here I am 32 and farming chickens and worms. Actually the chicken farming has caused the worm farming because chickens are a gateway livestock. I don’t know if you have seen the best video ever of a woman warning you of getting backyard hens but she is hilarious and you must watch it because it’s true and you should be warned.
So worms. Mealworms. Chickens freaking loooooooooooooooooooooove them. I mean you can pretty much get a chicken to do anything you can think of if you promise it enough mealworms. Just kidding but wouldn’t that be awesome? I would have my chickens doing laundry and putting away the groceries – now I know what you are thinking. Chickens putting away the groceries? Won’t they poop on the floor? But that my friends is why they make these.
I just made your day didn’t I? All chicken diaper jokes aside mealworms are a great snack for your chicken. They are full of protein and they must taste delicious because the chickens just go completely crazy for them. But dang they are expensive. A big bag of them at Rural King sets me back almost $10.00! Yikes! And that doesn’t last me too long.
You only need to give them a handful a day to share among them but that adds up when you have 24 birds. Right now I am giving them dried mealworms but in the future once I get my own mealworm farm up and running they will get fat, juicy, fresh worms. There is nothing my Lady Loo’s love more then following behind me as I garden fighting over who gets the next fresh earthworm or grub I dig up.
I have everything I need to set up my mealworm farm except mealworms. Where the heck does one find mealworms? Bait shops? Field and Stream? Petsmart? I have been searching high and low so if anyone out there knows where I can find me some mealworms. I would be much obliged.
What you need to start a Mealworm Farm:
+Some sort of plastic tub
+Bran meal for bedding and food (found at feed supply stores like Farm Target)
+something for moisture like a slice of bread, potato, or carrot
+some kind of small plastic container (like the lid of a to-go container or egg carton) for a pupa habitat within the larger storage unit
+some kind of stand to place your bread or potato to keep bedding below dry
How a mealworm farm works…
01. You put the meal bran down as bedding (there are other things you can use but this is what I am going with)
02. Place in your bread or potato or carrot preferably on top of something plastic to keep the moisture off the bedding.
03. Place pupa habitat within tub.
04. Put in the live worms.
05. Wait for them to do their thing.
It takes about 2 months for them to really produce more worms. Mealworms are the larva of the Darkling Beetle. What I love about this is that this is the science that Charlie is going to learn it in such a natural way. I love the way a farm teaches. It’s the best preschool I can offer to her.
Together Charlie and I will learn all about how the Darkling Beetles start off as eggs and we will separate our beetles from the eggs every two weeks or they might eat the eggs. I know all mothers can relate to that. The eggs hatch into tiny worms that grow into larger worms also know as the larva. This is what we feed the chickies.
But not so fast! We can’t feed them all to the chickens or we won’t have any new eggs. The trick is to save some and let them mature into the pupa and then the beetles, who lay more eggs, to hatch more tiny worms, to grow into more larger, plump delicious chicken treats.
Once a month Charlie will have to help me remove the worms and wash out the tub, replace the food and replace the worms and beetles to their rightful posts. She gets to learn animal care taking, life cycle, scientific definitions of pupa and larva, and responsibility. I love things that are a package deal.
Plus eventually the worm farming will be just Charlie’s job. It really only takes about 10 minutes a week and very minimal effort. It will save us a lot of money. We are The Happy Chicken Farm after all and happy chickens demand mealworms and mealworms a plenty.
If you or anyone you know has seen mealworms please contact me! Send wormy thoughts my way. They have to be around here somewhere…