Yeah, in the worm department.
A couple of years ago, during a visit home, my cousin Ryan was telling me all about mealworms. He was telling me how they are the protein of the future, easy to raise, and very tasty and nutritious.
I immediately discounted this. I have eaten a few seasoned and roasted mealworms before, and I sure don’t want to make a meal out of them.
He explained that they were extremely easy to raise and breed, and that they take a phenomenal percentage less water per ounce of protein than beef or pork.
I told him that as long as there was enough water to get steak, I wouldn’t worry too much about low water protein and then we had a hearty laugh, as we are wont to do while having a social ale or two.
Then, the other day I was reading about mealworms as chicken food on a homesteading forum. I thought about how easy my cousin said they were to raise and then promptly forgot about it. I already have a bunch of worms, what do I need more for?
Until two days later, when I saw on a local buy and sell page that a woman was looking for mealworms to feed her gecko. I said to myself:
“You should get some mealworms and breed them too. There might be some people around that would buy them from you, and you will be able to feed them to your chickens when you get them.”
I then replied, “I will look into it, and I’ll let you know.”
Before I looked into it, another local lady said that a few people would be happy to have a local supplier, so that pushed me towards purchasing my breeding stock today. Some of them seemed a little bit dead, but apparently they get like that after a while in the fridge.
(Update – Nope, they’re dead. I don’t think that they would still be laying in the same, motionless position after a day.)
I took them home, ground up some Red River Cereal and some rolled oats, and dumped them in a bin with some cabbage, a broken grape, and some cardboard shreds. I separated everything to see what they like best. I’m going to get some laying mash as well, because I’m told that stuff is like gold for them, as long as it isn’t medicated.
Apparently that’s all you have to do. I hope.
I will keep checking on them, but I guess it will be a while before they turn into pupa and then beetles, so I think I have a bit of time to perfect the setup. Most of the “real” farmers use one of these four drawer plastic container systems that you could steal from a friends garage or get on Amazon if you wanted to help a guy out. (wink wink)
I kid, but not really. I actually was looking at some of these ten drawer ones and was dreaming of when I would have them full of worms and styrofoam.
Yeah, you heard right. Apparently mealworms can safely survive on a diet of pure styrofoam and convert it into usable soil. It has something to do with the enzymes in their gut, so scientists are trying to figure out how to use them to combat the 33000000 tons of styrofoam in US landfills each year. I don’t know how much us Canadians go through, but it sure looks like a lot as well.
You know, because you wouldn’t want to quit making styrofoam and just throwing it away. That’s just crazy.
Where we live, styrofoam is not recyclable, so I’m hoping to eventually be able to process it with mealworms. I will keep those ones separate from the feed and sale ones, but any excess could be tossed in a bin full of styrofoam and we could at least see for ourselves whether it’s a load of bull or not.
I hope it’s not, because we can’t keep going the way we are right now. Our planet and our bodies can’t take all of this pollution, so anything we can do to help will matter in the future.