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Let’s talk about maggot buckets

 
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Hey y’all I’ve got a few questions about maggot buckets.
I’m wondering how long a bucket with chicken offal will produce maggots- how often do you need to add to them to continually produce maggots?
Because of gaps in processing times, offal or other dead meat are not always available, but Cow manure is readily available year round, so can you produce maggots with this system using only cow manure as an input?
Thanks, all!
 
pollinator
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Its upto the flies to do the work.
From google search "will maggots grow in manures"
“Manure is a natural substrate for fly larvae. ... Flies and manure have long enjoyed harmony. Female flies can ovulate up to 700 eggs during a life cycle, and the larvae thrive on decaying waste.12 Aug 2013

Do maggots eat manure?
Essentially, maggots are born from eggs directly into food waste, especially in moist environments, and live their lives by feeding upon food scraps and manure in that waste. ... These little guys eat and eat and eat, creating compost faster than you could imagine.19 Dec 2019
 
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For the record, generally you wouldn't want to feed chicken-fed maggots back to chickens because a maggot isn't enough of a gap to prevent passing diseases. So I'd be looking for other critters to use as your growing medium - like road-kill, surplus racoon, any surplus rodents (mice, rats, squirrel, rabbits etc).

Where I live we've got both a feral rabbit problem and an invasive squirrel problem, and I'm really thinking that a maggot bucket might be very useful. Your questions about time span are of great interest to me.

It sounds like the link John C Daley quoted but didn't include, would give some good information about using manure as a feed-stock. Covering animal material with manure, might help control the smell, as that could become an issue if using dead animals - they do give off a unique smell!

I bury my chicken offal where the chickens won't get it and get the worms to turn it into useful soil.  I have read about it being put in buckets over a pond to feed fish.  Chicken - maggot - fish food is a safe gap disease wise, and theoretically, you could feed the fish back to the chickens with or without a maggot phase, but not too often or the eggs and meat of the chicken could start tasting fishy.
 
pollinator
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Could appropriate offal/scraps/roadkill not be frozen until required for the maggot bucket?

Flies lay their eggs (flystrike) on diseased (infected) and/or decomposing flesh (and other suitable decomposing matter) as this is the nutrition source for their hatching offspring, the maggots; much in the same way spiders leave a carcass for theirs.

For flies, I believe it is scent that attracts them to deposit eggs and/or warmth/heat allows the eggs to flourish.  In our climate  (BC, southern west coast, 🇨🇦) outdoor flies seem to vanish when the thermometer dips below 10C.  In cooler climes, for this to be a year long source,  a maggot bucket MAY need to be provided with some sort of heat source...  

Does anyone in cooler climes have successful maggot buckets in winter?  Does a barn environment provide adequate heat for year round flies and reliable maggot production?
 
pollinator
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I live in zone 3. There are no insects at all for 4 or 5 months of the year. We typically store food outside for 3 months because it is as cold, and often colder than the chest freezer.

I haven't even seen flies in a barn. I have seen the odd one in the house, but they go sort of dormant even if it's 72 degrees. It might be something to do with light levels as much as heat.
 
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I wonder if you could use a hot bed in a Polytunnel for the carcasses and maggot growing - or one end of your polytunnel wired/sheeted off for this? Not fully thinking through atm, but a hot bed full if manure gives good heat for 3 months before needing to make another one or refill …
 
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Make sure you have a saucer under your bucket to catch the maggots. They fall 24/7 and if allowed to burrow into soil, they pupate and hatch flies. I use a round plastic sled disc and tip the juice out periodically.
 
pollinator
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Jay Angler wrote:For the record, generally you wouldn't want to feed chicken-fed maggots back to chickens because a maggot isn't enough of a gap to prevent passing diseases.


I feed the offal from my young birds to my older birds... the way I see it, pretty much any disease the young ones have the old ones have already been exposed to.  It doesn't have time to turn into maggots.  Immediate feeding frenzy.
 
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I keep rabbits and have troughs underneath to catch the droppings. The flies love the poo and lay huge quantities of eggs in it all summer. I empty the troughs periodically and just dump them in the chicken yard for them to spread and feast then I remove the top layer of dirt once a year and use it for grow beds. I’m in zone 7.
 
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Can’t remember if I got this link from elsewhere on the forum, but it seems directly appropriate. I’ve been thinking through ways to build this in.  I grew some winter barley and wheat in my backyard to make my backyard savannah edible.  Harvested 90% of it and let the chickens help with the last 10%. Looking at repeating with summer barley and oats, although right at the moment, the challenge is the gap between spring and fall harvest.  If I’d gotten my corn growing earlier, that might be a good bridge. My area is mild year round, so I’m blessed with such options.

https://abundantpermaculture.com/how-to-feed-chickens-without-grain/
 
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Just yesterday I switched out the trash can that we were using to store chicken layer pellets in and found a quart or so that had soaked up some water, holes in the can bottom. The can that we replaced it with had been in use as a maggot factory last year so it seemed natural to put the old one to work in it's place for us.
I lined the bottom with the empty feed bag put the soaked mass of pellets in in top the bag watered slightly and then used my secret weapon.
About two ounces of fish emulsion stirred into the pellet mass to break it up some. Can I tell you that before I was finished stirring this mess up there was a solider fly buzzing around me and immediately landed on the inside of the can. It didn't stay very long because I was still moving around placing strips of cardboard across the inside of the can for them to lay eggs on.
I've been doing a version of this for several years now, using whatever that I can get that will rot. Floating catfish food works really well and no need for the fish emulsion addition.
I've used this to help feed the chickens and fish in the aquaponic tank. Really helps with feed costs.
No it doesn't work in the winter but we only have three months of cold here. The rest of the year it's free range for the chickens with the maggot supplement and the fish get the floating food when it's too cold.
 
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