Wondering how to raise tenebrios, mealworms and what they eat? Where to buy live tenebrios? In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to start raising these worms for chickens.
How to raise mealworms
Let’s go to the start. To begin with, it is important to know what these animals are. The tenebrios are neither more nor less than beetles whose larvae are used to feed insectivorous animals in captivity because they are very nutritious, easy to reproduce and easy to maintain.
Like all beetles, grubs are the first instar of mealworms, but it’s their voracity that makes them special.
Mealworms: life cycle
The adult beetles mate and lay eggs, some of which tiny larvaemillimeters and will take 2 months to grow.
When they reach 2cm or 2.5cm they start to stay still and that is because the pupation process begins.
The nymph can transform from 6 to 30 days and it depends on the heat we supply to the container.
When the beetle emerges from the pupa, it will be whitish in color but its body will harden until it turns black. When this happens they will begin to mate to get between 70 and 170 eggs and increase the agricultural population
what do black people eat
What the tenebrios, or rather the larvae, eat is really little, since they don’t need as much to survive. Moreover, it can pass the entire larval stage without drinking water. But of course what we want is for them to have the necessary proteins for our birds, so the better we take care of them the better, because they are a huge source of protein for chickens.
The staple can be flour, breadcrumbs or whatever I recommend as it has given me better results is bran or bran. If we buy it in a pet store, it can cost between 30 and 50 cents per kilo.
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As they grow, we can give them other meals, such as apple peels, pears, bananas, potatoes and almost any fruit.
An important thing that we must keep in mind is that we must avoid excess water. Are not towardwe can therefore add fruit but never in excess because the staple food is fermented and this will be problematic.
I have thousands of these worms for chickens, so sometimes I feed them whole foods, like this potato. As you can see in the next photo, the way the mealworms eat. They have made a hole in the potato and are feeding on its interior.
In addition, we can also add hard bread that we have not eaten, expired cereals and almost any food. The advantage of raising beetles is that they don’t disgust anything.
As for the adult phase, beetles they need to hydrate. Therefore, it is important to put pieces of fruit on them, so that they last longer and lay more eggs.
Mealworms: terrarium and accessories
At this point, you’ll be asking yourself a logical question about raising black-haired creatures: What container can you put them in? Well, it’s simple.
I recommend going to a variety store, bazaar, or cheap stuff stores. They sell containers ideal for them, for example the plastic drawers that are used to store clothes or books under the beds and which have small wheels.
PETSOLA Tenebrio Mealworm Feeder…
- Easy to feed and scoop without lid.
- The surface of the box is smooth, prevent escape.
- Size (LWH): approx. 35×23.5×8.5cm/13.78×9.25×3.35inch
- Worm, Tenebrio molitor, Tenebrio molitor larvae, worm breeding box.
- Made of high quality plastic with long service life.
They’re usually made of clear plastic so they can’t escape, and they come with a top cover which we might be lucky enough to find one. ventilation slots. If not, we have to cut some squares from the cover and glue mosquito nets so that they have better ventilation.
Remember that the the greatest enemy from our black worm farm is the humidity This is why good ventilation is important. In addition, it will prevent other insects from entering, such as the fruit fly.
Other objects we need to add are egg cups cardboard, they will serve as a refuge for adult beetles, and I will also tell you a trick. The beetles need damp cloths or towels to lay their eggs, so we can put them on the egg cups and thus prevent the bran from getting wet.
It is important do not remove ragsnapkins or fruit skins, as there may be eggs on them.
If we want to clean our terrarium, we can do it about 20 days after all the beetles have died, since the eggs take about 10 days to emerge.
Buy live tenebrios
Live tenebrios can be purchased as live bait for fishing at stores that specialize in this practice, as well as at exotic pet supply stores.
You have to buy enough of them, at least a thousand, and the population will gradually increase. It’s best to buy them by the gram because in many places they are used and sold individually, which doesn’t make much sense given our focus is on feeding the chickens.
Other Tips on How to Raise Mealworms for Chickens
In addition to everything related to their diet and their terrarium, it is important to keep in mind that:
- This beetle is considered a pest for crops. Therefore, I recommend that you prevent them from escaping.
- The ideal temperature for its productive and rapid breeding is 25 to 27 degrees. They can survive lower temperatures but their life cycle will be slower.
- From time to time you can change the substrate. For this we can attract large worms with fruit and separate them by hand or use a colander. Don’t forget to remove the substrate in case any puppies remain.
- The receiver should never smell bad, If so, we are not doing something right.
- It is important to let the larvae reach the beetles so that our chicken worm population continues to grow.
- When you have enough mealworms, you can give them a handful or two depending on the number of chickens at home. Remember that this is a protein supplement and never a staple food, because mealworms contain a lot of fat.
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