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Black Soldier Fly self-feeder systems

 
Posts: 270
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I'm planning to get a handful (4) of laying hens to keep in my rabbit house once it's finished. Providing us eggs, turning the bedding and helping to provide compost. Our goal is to try to feed them largely with Black Soldier Fly larvae. I want to set up two systems made up of buckets with halved rubber hose spiraling around and out the holes where they'll self-feed right in the coop. But I haven't really found any simple examples of this. Most tutorials are far more complex than I want to be. I just want a bucket with a lid, maybe attach some pieces of cardboard for the flies to lay eggs, fill with kitchen scraps, and walk away.

What am I missing? This is the first time trying this system. I do know BSFs are easy to attract here because they hang out around my worm bucket. Should be a pretty easy system? Is 2 5 gallon buckets going to be about right for 4 hens?
 
gardener
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Location: Central Texas zone 8a
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Can you get hold of totes instead of buckets ?

The spiral exit seemed complicated to me. A ramp looked more foolproof. It can be as simple as a tote with a ramp made from a board. Cut a slit to allow them to crawl out and fall. See if picture makes sense.
20190903_105341-756x1008.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20190903_105341-756x1008.jpg]
 
Priscilla Stilwell
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I could probably do that same thing in a bucket. Totes are on the expensive side here. How smart are they to find the way out? I know it must work because others do it with success . . .
 
master pollinator
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So far I haven't had much success making my own BSF bins.  I've tried a couple different tube ramp designs and they have never been reliable.  The tube end gets blocked with garbage so the larvae can't get up into it.  Also, the tube or ramp has to be at the right angle for them to be able to crawl up it.  

So now I am just raising BSF in a bin and scooping them out to feed to my fish.  I scoop them out with the garbage they are eating and dump it into a small bucket with holes drilled in the bottom and low on the side.  They tend to crawl around and fall out the holes into the fish tank.  Every so often during the day I will shake the bucket to disturb them so they will crawl around and fall out some more.  It's not super efficient but it's the best I've done so far.

The wide flat ramp design above looks like it would work better than a tube, because it can't get blocked.

 
pollinator
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The very simplest soldier fly bin that I ever made was simply a 55 gallon barrel tipped at just the right angle by means of a dolly, such that the rim of the rim of the barrel rested on the rim of a 5 gallon bucket on the ground.  The mature grubs would crawl out of the composting stuff in the bottom of the barrel and by default end up crawling up the lowest, shallowest slope which led them up and out to drop into the waiting bucket below!  No expensive "biopods" or convoluted designs.  I think that any container could do this, if tipped up at the right angle.  
 
wayne fajkus
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Priscilla Stilwell wrote:How smart are they to find the way out? I know it must work because others do it with success . . .



It's pretty simple. To leave, they climb up. If there is only one way up, that is the only choice they have.

The tilted bucket/drum stated above sounds simple and brilliant!
 
Priscilla Stilwell
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Great idea! I'll try that with the bucket.
 
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