Mealworms are a protein packed treat for your chickens which begs the question, should I be including mealworms in my chickens regular diet?
It’s a simple answer but let’s dive into the rationale behind it, YES mealworms should be a routine part of your flocks diet, especially if you don’t free range.
We all want the best for our backyard flock, even if it seems disgusting, it’s why we readily chop garlic for our hens and we read the ingredients on feed bags, it’s also who you should be considering adding mealworms to your chickens diet.
What are the Benefits of Mealworms for Chickens?
Mealworms are a protein packed treat for chickens that, pound for pound, is an incredible source of vital nutrients. Seriously, if you’re looking to improve your hens laying, hoping to speed up molting, or you’re just hoping that your hens will help turn your bedding in the coop mealworms get the job done.
Mealworms are Packed with Protein
Pound for pound you won’t find any snack in the chicken world more protein dense than a mealworm.
These tiny bugs are almost pure protein, PURE MUSCLE, and help to offset the protein requirements in your hens diet.
Generally speaking, hens should have at least 16% protein in their daily intake, a handful of mealworms mixed in is enough to boost that protein for more than a dozen hens.
Mealworms Help with Molting
If you’ve ever had your hens go through the … interesting and slightly repulsive stages of molting you know that they tend to lose their feathers at what seems the least opportune time.
For our flock, I can almost guarantee that my hens will molt when the first really cold snap hits us and then will run around the yard for weeks on end in the snow, half dressed.
They are not only a sight but also so sad and chilly that speeding up the feather regrowth process is vital for their over all health.
Added protein in the form of mealworms is an easy and chicken preferred way to help them regrow their feathers quickly.
Mealworms Boost Egg Production
I say it all the time, a happy hen lays lots of healthy eggs.
Chickens need a tremendous amount of energy to produce eggs on the regular, protein is easy energy and helps to boost egg production and improve the overall egg quality.
Adding protein to a chickens diet, which can include scrambled eggs, crickets, and even cheese should you find yourself without mealworms is important in maintaining healthy and consistent egg production.
Mealworms to Encourage Foraging
If you live in a cooler climate like I do, or you are less than thrilled to clean your coop every week (like I am) you may be drawn to the deep litter method of bedding your coop.
The premise behind the deep litter method is that you stock your coop with straw, shavings, and even sprinkle in essential oils and diatomaceous earth (if you are a fan of it like I am … and yes, I understand it is controversial but I have had tremendous success with it), and then you turn the bedding regularly to reduce smell and to cool your chicken compost while it is in the coop.
If you use your mealworms as treats and enrichment for your chickens, you can sprinkle mealworms in the coop to encourage your chickens to turn the litter in the coop for you (or to offset how often you need to turn it).
Where to Get Mealworms
Now that you understand the benefit of mealworms, the next logical question is where does one go about getting their hands on these creepy crawlies (figuratively of course because even the most seasoned homesteaders still get the ickies when they think of these little buggers).
Almost all mealworms will come to you dried so you don’t have to worry about them crawling away of feeding them. This also means you don’t have to hesitate to order them online.
Yes, you can order mealworms on Amazon but I prefer to support our local small businesses and feed stores.
While mealworms may seem pricey for a bag of dead, dries, bugs. A little goes an extremely long way so a pound or two should provide you with ample healthy chicken treats for a solid season (of course, depending on the size of your flock).
Conclusion: Should I Get Mealworms for my Chickens
Pound for pound, dollar to dollar, mealworms are a no brainer. They make for happy healthy chickens and are an easy way to boost protein, support healthy growth in your hens, and improve egg production.
The real question is … are you ready to become a mealworm farm!