In recent years, the demand for mealworms has been on the up. This growth has largely been driven by chicken and bird farmers that view these larvae as an incredible source of protein in daily feed. However, have you ever stopped to wonder what these worms are about?
Well, in this article we will introduce you to dried mealworms and give you all the information you need about them.
What Are Dried Mealworms?
A mealworm is simply the larvae of a beetle. Reproduction in insects goes through various stages. It begins with an egg, which transforms into larvae, and the larvae then grows into a full insect. Think of caterpillars before they become butterflies. The beetle larva is harvested from the wilderness. It’s then dried, packaged, and sold as chicken or bird feed. Mealworms contain 56% of protein and 10% fiber. The rest is water and fat. Its dry version contains 26% fat though. But fat content is lower in worms that have not been dried yet.
What Are Mealworms Used For?
Mealworms are used as bird food. There are also cases where people eat them but it’s very rare. It’s important to note though that these worms are not your traditional feed. They are not bought in bulk and as such, they cannot be the main food source for your chicken or other birds. Many farmers use the worms as complementary feed. They are simply bought to supply protein. The worms are served in very small quantities too. Some people have also used them to attract wild birds into their properties.
Where Do Mealworms Come From?
Traditionally, mealworms are sourced from the wilderness before they are processed and repackaged for sale. However, due to the rise in demand, we are starting to see worm farms emerging. The farms feed the beetles until they produce the eggs. The eggs then transform into larvae over time and the larvae are harvested at the farm. Mealworm farms are however not that common but the ones we have are doing a great job of supplementing demand at the moment.
How to Buy Mealworms?
In case you feel that perhaps it’s time to try out dried mealworms for your chickens or birds, then you will be able to buy them online. But it’s not as simple as it looks. Although there are many suppliers, you should be careful as you look through various providers online.
Here are a few things that can help:
- Use recommendations and reviews to narrow down your search online
- Try to focus on building long-term collaboration with genuine suppliers
- Buy small and build from there. The last thing you want is to get stuck with a shipment of substandard mealworms for sale.
- Check the experience and reputation of the supplier. Companies that have done this for quite some time are often the best choice.
- Familiarize yourself with mealworms. Information can help you discern quality products from the rest in the market.
How Do You Know You Are Buying Genuine Worms?
Well, it’s really not that easy to know unless of course, you are expert in this. But most farmers are not. There’s a simple trick. Focus on the authenticity of the seller. If you are buying from a reputable source with a proven track record of delivering authentic mealworms to many farmers, then you are good to go. This is why it’s often advisable to get recommendations from other farmers who are already getting the worms online or even from an offline seller.
Why Should You Feed Mealworms to Your Chickens?
Well, this one is self-explanatory but let’s just recap. Mealworms are rich in protein. However, there are still other sources of protein in chicken feed. So, why would you consider mealworms over the rest? The answer is simple. Chickens love it! It’s really hard to explain but if you are looking for treats, then they are perfect. The great thing is that they have so much nutritional value too. The worms can help birds grow faster and healthier. They can also play a central role in improving the quality of eggs produced. They are simply natural organic foods with no side effects at all.
What Quantity Do You Need?
It depends on the number of birds or chickens you have. However, dried mealworms are simply viewed as an occasional snack. You are not buying them for the chickens to eat on a day to day basis. In that case, you probably won’t need a lot. But people who have bigger chicken farms will definitely need a regular order supplied.
Mealworms have become a common addition to chicken feed. They deliver many nutritional benefits. However, there are still a lot of people who don’t know a lot of things about these worms. The guide above should give you a foundational understanding.