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Bug Farming for the Birds

 
Alec Solimeo
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Hello,

I was hoping to begin addressing my biggest concern with how I feed our feathered friends...Im over grain and want to raise bugs!
Anybody feeding bugs to chickens or any birds for that matter?
What bugs are you feeding?
Who is raising bugs? What are you raising? Can you describe some methods or offer some useful literature on the subject?

Thanks
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1331
Location: northern California
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Check out black soldier flies! Those things rock! If your climate is suitable to them (they like hot and humid the best I think), they will convert a portion of lots of otherwise difficult compost materials directly into poultry (and fish!) food. I mean hardcore things like humanure, slaughter trash, dead animals, even poisonous mushrooms! Coffee grounds are one of their favorites....a big opportunity for someone in a town near coffee shops.
 
Alec Solimeo
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Ben Plummer
gardener
Posts: 345
Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b
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Here are links to a couple articles by one of the members here, Abe Connally:

One about a black soldier fly bin
One about a worm harvester

There are many different ways to build a worm bin, here's one from Appropedia.

There are lots of threads about vermicomposting and black soldier fly composting in the composting forum.
 
Alec Solimeo
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Thanks for the replys...

Im wondering about some sort of mathematical conversion of meal worms to grain weight...

it seems that 40000 meal worms only weighs in at around 20 lbs, so I see no possible way to sub grain for worm unless I can figure out what the conversion of bug weight to grain would be?

Please Help
 
David Hartley
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Something that can be started right away, until you get some bug farms setup: put down seven sheets of outdoor grade plywood (or the like). Every day, move one to a new neighboring position, they call the birds to their lil treat...

This can be done in an area you are wanting to suppress unwanted growth and do light surface tilling
 
Steve Jackson
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I'm not sure how you would do meal worms to grain conversion but with BSFL the data indicates that mature grubs are about 47% protein and 21% fat. In researching alternative feed sources (crickets-stinky, earthworms-harvesting difficulty, Dubai roaches-harvesting difficulty, meal worms-not researched, wax moth larva-I have bees and they are the enemy) I now have 5 BSFL bins producing about 3/4-1 gallon of grubs weekly and they self harvest. I still feed mash but see less consumption (feed consumption inversely related to grub volume fed). BSFL are easy to attract, eat ANYTHING AND LOTS OF IT and self harvest. You can sell some to the local pet store as food for various lizards. Pet industry calls them reptiworms. If grub bins are maintained in an aerobic state the aroma is akin to compost but it's a unique smell. Aerobic condition is recommended but I have had a few bins go anaerobic with aromas ranging from putrid to ammonia but still the lil buggers just keep coming. It's that smell that attracts the female bsf and tends to repel house flies and fruit flies.

Steve
Wishing I could manage my bees as well as I manage BSFL.
 
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