Looking for an inexpensive, high protein food source for your chickens that is quickly and naturally renewable? Why not start your very own grub farm with a BioPod Plus!
"Eeew," said the kids as I pulled a shovelful of compost out of the bin. "What are those things?"
I had to admit that all I knew was they were grubs, or maggots, or whatever you want to call them, and they were big. They were the biggest, most funktified grubs I had ever seen; at least an inch long. And they were living in my compost bin along with lots of other lifeforms.
I tossed the shovelful of the grub infested compost into our Catawba ConvertiCoops chicken ark and my hens sprang into action. Within seconds of spying their soft insectoid victims, the chooks were picking through the compost, piece by piece, to make sure that no tasty morsel went undetected. Giving the chickens their daily shovelful of compost became a favorite family pastime.
I was intrigued by the chicken's gusto for the larvae, since I have been looking for an additional food source for them. Scratch grains and high protein laying mash costs have practically shot up overnight. I began thinking about growing the grubs as an addendum to my chicken food.
One fellow on an internet board I frequent posted about a man in Australia who was feeding his fish organically using nothing but kitchen scraps. Since fish are meat eaters and kitchen scraps are mostly vegetable, I decided to read on.
He has placed a first generation Bio-Pod near his feeding tank and uses naturally occurring black soldier fly grubs as his primary fish food source. He posted a video. I knew then that these were the same grubs that my chickens went ape-gaga over every time.
After a little research into black soldier flies, I knew that I was ready to become a world class grub farmer. Texas Master Gardener Candice Hawkinson writes,
Sold! By throwing shovels full of grubby compost into my chicken ark, I was throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The larvae have to be separated from the compost. That's where the Prota™Culture Bio-Pod Plus comes into play.
By observing the natural instinctive behaviour of the voracious little beasts (a key tenant of permaculture), Dr. Paul Olivier was able to create a composting bin that takes advantage of the larva's desire to move out of their food source to pupate.The grubs migrate up a ramp, directly into an awaiting collection bucket.
Compare these critter's appetites to the finicky eating habits of earthworms. There is a world of difference between the two composting techniques. Wikipedia has this to say about vermicomposting:
On the other hand, black soldier fly maggots eat dang near anything... and right quickly as well. These critters can eat up to five pounds of kitchen scraps every day. That's over a half gallon!
100 lbs (12.5 gallons) of kitchen scraps will give you 5 lbs of compost for your garden, several quarts of yummy compost tea, and 20lbs of chicken food.
That's about a pound of larvae a day from the residential unit.
For minimal effort, your chickens get The Big Bucketful O' Free Grubs™, and you get compost from any type of kitchen scrap (including meats and dairy): broken down, processed, pooped out, and ready to spread in 24 to 36 hours from start to finish.