The content of the article:
Chickens are very fond of mealy worms - they eat them simply with stunning rapidity. Therefore, for the sake of economy, many owners are trying to grow this live food themselves - which can be better than having a permanent and free source of healthy protein for their birds.
However, many attempts to breed worms end before they start. Imagine you are buying a box with unusual living creatures, come home, remove the lid, and there are a bunch of wriggling worms! Nerves do not withstand all. Some in a panic throw a box into the chicken coop, to the great delight of birds - a whole bunch of delicious goodies!
Especially sensitive natures return to feeding the chickens with dried worms - in this case, no longer need to worry that they will start to squirm and crawl. However, there are more persistent people who do not lose hope of breeding their own flour worms. This article is intended for them.
Owners of chickens, who have a successful long-term experience in breeding larvae of the black-beetle beetle (flour meal), share useful advice. They grow them in special "farms" - three-level plastic containers. Each level is designed for a certain stage of the life cycle of insects.
The life cycle of the black-beetle beetle (flour meal)
The cycle consists of several stages:
- Beetle beetles lay eggs. The incubation period lasts from 1 to 4 weeks, after which the larvae hatch from the eggs.
- The stage of the larvae (called flour worms) lasts 8-10 weeks.
- Then the worms turn into pupae, and a gradual metamorphosis into beetles begins. This process can last from 1 to 3 weeks.
- The formed beetles live 4-16 weeks.
As you can see, the life cycle of a flour mushroom takes several weeks, so it will take you some time to provide the chickens with enough of their favorite food. In addition, you will need to leave a few worms to turn into beetles - the life cycle must be repeated all the time.
How to equip the "farm" for worms
A three-level box is required for the device of the farm.
Place live flour worms (larvae of the dark-beetle beetle) in the layer of the mixture with a thickness not less than, cm, consisting of corn, wheat and oat flour (or other ground cereals that you have in your pantry). Put vegetables or fruits there as a source of moisture. Take care that there is no excess moisture, otherwise the decay process will begin. Perfectly suitable:
- half apple;
- half a potato;
- leaves of lettuce, cabbage or celery.
In addition, put half a pack of eggs or several pieces of cardboard into the box - the worms like to hide under them and crawl around them.
Once a month, clean the bottom of the box and replace the grain mixture with fresh. Using a plastic fork, sift regularly the flour on the bottom to find the pupae and move them to the top box where they will eventually turn into beetles.
At the top box you need to cut the bottom and replace it with a grid, which will allow the eggs of beetles to fall into the middle box. One could do without a net, but the beetles often kill and eat pupae, so their separation will allow you to better monitor the process of turning into beetles. To watch metamorphosis (transformation) never gets boring! Pupae, which you put in the top box, eventually turn into beetles laying eggs. Pupae do not eat or drink, but bugs should be given lettuce leaves and put pieces of cardboard or half packs of eggs on the bottom so that they can hide under them.
In the middle box, there should be the same flour mix and vegetables as in the bottom drawer, so that the larvae hatched from eggs - flour worms, could eat. After they are old enough, start giving them to the chickens.
Do not forget to leave some worms for replenishment of the bottom box, so that they turn first into pupae, and then into beetles. Thus, the life cycle will be constantly maintained.
So, the middle box you will use to feed flour worms before giving them to chickens, lower - for reproduction and separation of pupae from worms, upper - for the transformation of pupae into beetles and oviposition of eggs.
You can alsoDry flour worms for future use or simply store them in the refrigerator. This will prevent the transformation of worms into pupae and preserve them as larvae. Believe me, chickens love this food in any form - live, dried or chilled!
A friend of mine keeps lizards and also breeds worms for them. Once, when he went on vacation, I had to look after them. Worms were in a multi-tiered container and no longer seemed so terrible. All I had to do was just add some vegetables if they ended. Later, my friend shared his experience of growing worms. Here's what he said:
"Once I saw on the site these multi-level containers, which, according to experienced chicken owners, are very convenient for the propagation of worms. So I began to plant the larvae of flour soup. But my reptiles ate worms with such lightning speed that I did not have time to grow them. Now I breed super worms. They are slightly different - worms / beetles are larger, and for reptiles are better suited - they have softer exoskeletons, higher moisture content, and they are better digested. I am sure that all these advantages will be useful for chickens.
The process of breeding super worms takes a little longer. Experienced, I found that carrots and curly cabbage are the best sources of moisture for them. Both products are rich in vitamins, which are necessary for my reptiles. In addition, when rotting they do not form mold, and there is no smell. "
Some more useful information:
- the optimum temperature for reproduction of black beetle beetles is 21-27 ° C;
- during growth, flour worms moult - dump exoskeleton, more than 10 times during a 2-month life cycle;
- Dead beetles and worms must be periodically removed from the container;
- The black-beetle beetle lays an average of 500 eggs at a time, so be
- are ready for a HUGE number of worms when you start breeding them!