Mealworms are great for chooks, fish or reptiles (and blog authors…) to snack on. They’re easy to breed and take little care. I was turned on to mealworms by our friend, Vicky who has bred them for a while. Doing a little research online, I discovered that there is a semi-automated system that you can make at home to breed them up conveniently. But now, what are we dealing with? Description The mature form is a black beetle, the Darkling Beetle, Tenebrio molitor but we are more interested in the caterpillar-like larval stage. In the wild, the beetles can be found in warm and dark environments such as beneath logs. Its genus name, ‘Tenebrio‘ means ‘one who likes darkness’. Darkling Beetles are scavengers who feed on decomposing plant or animal material. In man made environments, they can be a pest, living where we store grains and grain which they’ll happily eat (and they eat a lot). Life Cycle: The Darkling
Over the last week, health and time permitting, I’ve deconstructed an old dog house that Athena donated and put it on stilts to make a new, luxurious, chook palace. The girls now have more space in the run as the new house has a smaller footprint than the old and is off of the ground, allowing them to play underneath. The old house had a single nesting box and nowhere to roost. Those problems are gone with the new design. Some changes were made with us people in mind, the roof hinges back to give us access to the whole thing to make cleaning much easier. The height is designed around Jelina’s reach, so she doesn’t need to strain her back. We’ve had one egg laid already, so I think we’re all on a winner!
Since we covered their favourite digging and scratching grounds with a couple of inches of compost, the girls haven’t moved further from the door to their run than in the pic above. They have so much more to play with now but just aren’t interested.
We got a couple of baby Silkies a week or so ago. I’ve been showing their adventures on Facebook. Eir and Beyla, they’re called. Today a new hen came to join us, a Rhode Island I’ve named Mercy. She’s young, but already laying. I wanted chooks to replace the quails. We were unsuccessful with them. Mainly because I was too soft and couldn’t handle all the fighting. Then it turned out that quail eggs make me sick. The other advantage of chooks is that they are awesome recyclers. They will eat excess veggies, scraps and bugs, helping to keep the garden clean. When they get used to us (especially Athena), they’ll be allowed to roam the garden freely. At the moment, Eir and Beyla come inside at night, where they nestle on my tummy to watch Grimm – their favourite TV show. They did watch one episode of Vikings, but got so worked up I had to put them to