Monday, January 12, 2009

Our Own Mealworm Farm...


Remember the ant farms that kids used to have? I haven't seen one of those since the 1990's. There were a lot of lessons to be learned from an ant farm. The biggest eye-opener for me was learning that the ants didn't actually come in the farm kit and had to be mail ordered from the manufacturer. Today's project is similar to an ant farm but it centers around being able to provide chicken feed that actually costs, well...CHICKEN FEED! Poultry can be a wonderful addition to any farm, but when you are only allowed to have a small number of birds due to zoning restrictions, costs can outweigh the monetary savings of buying fresh eggs at the farmer's market. We are going to try to minimize our costs by growing much of the supplemental foods for the chickens ourselves. We already have seeds for sunflowers, broomcorn, amaranth and a variety of garden veggies. Now, we need to grow some protein of the insect variety for our birds.

We selected mealworms for the simple reason that when we go to the local pet store, we NEVER see mealworms scampering around the store enjoying their newfound freedom. Crickets? Well that's another story! Crickets are just too darn fast once they escape. They have a remarkable ability to disappear from view and then will proceed to serenade you when you are trying to sleep. Nope! We can't have crickets keeping us up. We have to get up too early in the morning to go to work.

So,on to the mealworms...

We will be using an old plastic aquarium with a lid as our mealworm farm. The worms eventually turn into beetles so a container with a well-aerated lid is essential to ensuring that the cycle of life continues inside the aquarium as opposed to outside of it. We will add several cups of organic bran and organic oatmeal into the aquarium and cut up a few chunks of home grown potato to provide moisture for the worms. Meal worms can be purchased from your local pet store, but for best results, we will order some online to ensure that they are in the best of health. After all, when starting a farm, you really want to get the best quality livestock that you can find! The mealworms should grow fat and happy in there. We will just scoop out some worms whenever we need them as chicken feed. *PLEASE NOTE* If you don't see anything in the aquarium, you do not have a vision problem. We won't set this project up for another month or so. Because we don't have chickens yet, we don't have a use for too many mealies. We do have a turtle named Jake who will eat them but due to the cold winter weather, he isn't very interested in eating much of anything!

2 comments:

Corinne R. said...

Well,anyone who has a meal worm farm in their house is okay in my book! I will be interested to watch your progress on your little farm :-).

TheMartianChick said...

Thank you, Corinne! This blog helps to keep me honest and ensures that I will complete my projects. As the weather warms, our projects will heat up considerably!