Feeding mealworms to chickens. Do chickens need mealworms?
Should you be feeding mealworms to chickens? Mealworms are the perfect treat for chickens and can provide many health benefits as well. Read on to see why you should be giving your flock mealworms!
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Why You Should Be Feeding Mealworms to Chickens
They may look gross to us, but mealworms are a real treat for chickens. Feeding mealworms to chickens is such a good idea!
The only downside to feeding mealworms to chickens is having to buy mealworms. Since I don’t really provide feed to my chickens after the leave the brooder, I’m always a little reluctant to buy feed for them.
Mealworms are worth purchasing though, even for a frugal chicken keeper like myself!
Some people have even gone as far as raising their own mealworms. If you’re interested in raising mealworms for your chickens, check out these articles:
- Raising and Breeding Mealworms by Mealwormcare.org
- Raising Mealworms by Sialis.org
- How to Raise Mealworms by Backyard Chickens
If you’re not interested in raising them yourself, I won’t say that I can blame you! You can stick with buying the dried bags of them and be glad knowing that you’ll get the same results. 🙂
Want more information about raising your own mealworms? Watch this video below to learn more:
Now, here’s why you should be feeding mealworms to chickens:
A few mealworms go a long way
Mealworm are extremely high in protein. They’re so dense in fact, that it doesn’t take much in order to give your chickens a nice chunk of protein.
Even a few mealworms, like less than 10, is enough to have noticeable results! If you think about the fact that there are hundreds or thousands of mealworms in a bag… A bag of dried mealworms will last you a long time!
I mentioned that I’m pretty frugal when it comes to feeding my chickens. My chickens are almost entirely free-ranged and I don’t really spend money on them when they are adults.
Mealworms are an inexpensive way, even by my standards, to make sure that my chickens are getting enough protein each day. Those bags of mealworms last much longer than you would think. Use them sparingly as a treat for your flock and not the entire feed source for your chickens.
Feeding mealworms to chickens can provide a boost of protein
All living things require protein to survive and chickens are no exception. Chickens require protein, especially the amino acid methionine. Methionine is found in insects and is something chickens have to get in their diet.
Chickens that don’t get methionine can become cannibalistic as their bodies are craving a source of methionine. Mealworms contain abundant methionine, so you don’t have to worry about your chickens developing cannibalistic behaviors!
Mealworms are exceptionally high in protein.
In fact, mealworms that are dried contain 53% protein! Feeding even a few mealworms with normal feed or forage will increase your chicken’s protein intake.
Laying hens need about 16% of their diet to be protein. Feed and forage can provide much of that, but feeding mealworms to chickens can make sure that they get sufficient protein.
Mealworms can aid in molting
Chickens will molt during the spring and fall. When they molt, they lose old feathers. The old feathers are then replaced with the new ones.
If you haven’t ever seen a chicken going through molting, you may think that there is something wrong with your chicken. Don’t worry; molting is perfectly normal!
Feathers are made almost entirely out of protein, so when new feathers are being made, the chicken needs additional protein. It takes a lot of extra protein to replace molted feathers.
Chickens going through molting need additional protein in their diet.
You can make sure that they have the protein they need by adding mealworms to their diet. The mealworms add a dense amount of protein easily and will have your chickens looking gorgeous again in no time.
More nutritious eggs
One of the reasons that I free-range my chickens (other than not buying feed!) is the diet that the chickens eat. Chickens on forage are healthier and take in large amounts of vitamins, minerals and protein. This means that the eggs and meat that they produce is also filled with more vitamins, minerals and protein.
Feeding chickens mealworms is another excellent way to increase the nutritional value of the eggs and meat that your chickens produce.
Eggs are considered one of the best sources of protein out there. Make them even more nutritious with extra protein from mealworms.
Many chicken keepers say that their egg flavor improved after adding mealworms to their hens’ diets. The addition of mealworms can give some hens the extra boost of protein needed to produce more eggs or to start producing eggs.
Need help turning bedding?
Do you use a deep litter system? If so, you may know how hard it can be to stir that litter up. It’s not one of my favorite chores.
Why do it yourself if you can have your birds do it for you?
Chickens will go crazy over mealworms. Sprinkle some on top of the bedding in your coop. Your chickens will scratch up the bedding looking for more mealworms long after they’ve eaten them all.
No more stirring the bedding!
Are You Ready to Start Feeding Mealworms to Chickens?
I know they look gross and completely unappetizing to us but your chickens will love them. Use them as a treat when you visit your chickens and you’ll notice soon that they will look forward to your visits!
You can even use mealworms to train your chickens.
If you want to train them to go up into the coop at night, go down to the coop in the evening and scatter mealworms on the ground. Close the coop up behind them and soon they will be meeting you down there to be put up!