breeding bugs (or worms for chicken feed)greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
hi all, I was wondering if anyone has had experience breeding either crickets, worms, and the like. This may sound very very strange, but i actually go out and buy crickets every now and then for the 2 chicken we keep as pets. There really arnt that many bugs in our backyard...at least, not anymore. I find it ridiculous that i have to pay for pests, that other people pay to get rid off! it's kind of funny. When people at the store ask me what i feed the crickets to, and i answer "our pet chicken", i get the weirdest look, and then they continue to just bag the crickets quietly. Anyway,is it difficult to raise worms, or crickets at home without creating too much a mess?
-- D of Ca (Muhawi@aol.com), December 03, 2001
On the question page, scroll to the bottom to the vermiculture catagory, a lot of answers there allready.
-- mitch hearn (email@example.com), December 03, 2001.
I was buying crickets for our pet toads (which we have since released back into the wild - which is where they came from). Fishing stores sell the crickets a lot cheaper than pet stores. I did raise my own crickets. I just put some dirt in the bottom of a jar for the crickets to lay their eggs in and a couple of months later they hatched out - you have to keep them somewhere warm. I wasn't hard to do and I'm sure there must be web sites or books that explain it all in detail.
We also raise our own worms - just as pets. The kids like to watch them and play with them - yes, I'm a good mom. We started with one batch of 50 red wigglers and keep them under the sink in a platic shoe box with wetted down newspaper and some dirt and feed them table scraps when we remember. They reproduce like crazy. There is a good book about worms, I believe it is called "Worms eat your garbage" I checked it out the library.
-- Anita in NC (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 03, 2001.
Get a couple of rabbits to keep the worms fed, which, in turn, feed the chickens. Hey, can you feed rabbits eggs? ;)~
-- me (email@example.com), December 03, 2001.
D, We found out one way to raise bugs by default. We had bales of straw sitting around the edges of the garden. In the fall, we broke open the bales to spread on the garden. As we turned over each bale, we discovered GRUB City under each bale. Our chickens Love grubs.
We have also discovered that mice have made little tunnels under some old rugs we lay in the garden as mulch. Some of these tunnels seem to be store rooms for grubs and worms. Either that, or the grubs and worms like the room. We peel back the rug, take out the grubs and leave the worms.
As mentioned, you can raise your own crickets. It is not difficult at all and rather a fun project. Crickets are about as labor intensive as worms, maybe even less so.
-- LBD (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 04, 2001.
The following information on raising crickets was extracted from a 1965 USDA Fish and Wildlife Service leaflet:
Crickets can be raised in garbage cans, metal drums with the tops removed, metal-lined boxes or similar containers. (A good option may be empty used five-gallon plastic buckets obtained from restaurants.) The container should be placed in a dry basement, garage or other building and covered with fine-mesh screen to protect the crickets from ants, spiders and parasites. The inside of the container should be sanded and coated with wax or varnish some eight to ten inches from the top to prevent the crickets from escaping when the screen top is removed. Four to six inches of clean, fine, damp sand should be placed in the bottom of the can. If the sand feels damp to the hands, it will furnish enough moisture for hatching the first crop of crickets. Excelsior, straw or other material should be placed over the surface of the sand to provide protection for the young.
To stock a can two feet in diameter, twenty to thirty adult crickets should be used. Larger or smaller containers will accommodate proportionately more or less adults. The can should be examined every three or four days during the first two weeks. Dead crickets should be removed.
Occasionally there may be diseased crickets in the original stock. Once baby crickets start to appear the adults should be removed to avoid cannibalism. Crickets for stock can be obtained from a bait outlet or gathered during the summer and fall outside. They can be found under piles of decaying plants, boards and other objects in fields, fence rows and similar areas.
The primary continuing expense will be feed. Poultry laying mash has been found satisfactory, but a great variety of feeds can be used, such as dry dog food. Those foods which do not mold too quickly are satisfactory. About two pounds of laying mash is required for each 100 crickets produced.
An ordinary baby-chick waterer or a one-quart fruit jar inverted in a saucer-like glass disk is satisfactory to furnish drinking water. The saucer should be filled with cotton slightly above the water level to prevent the small crickets from drowning. The floor around the outside of the cans should be dusted with derris powder or other insecticides every one or two months to keep out ants, which kill young crickets. The cans can be heated with a light bulb if needed. For best results, the temperature inside the containers should be maintained between 70 to 90*F, preferably near 80*F. At this temperature, the eggs hatch within 15 to 25 days and the young crickets become large enough for bait in about one month.
Crickets reach full sexual maturity for breeding at about three months. About 400 crickets can be raised every three months in a can 24 inches in diameter. A can 15 inches in diameter produces about half that number.
If you intend to ship crickets, permits and mailing labels must be obtained from the Plant Quarantine Division, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20251.
-- Ken S. in WC TN (email@example.com), December 06, 2001.