Mealworms for Chickens: Benefits, Raising & Feeding Guide

Dried mealworms for chickens are one of the craziest treats for your backyard flocks. But do you know what its benefits and health issues are? 

I think there is a question in most new chicken owners’ minds whether it is good to feed mealworms to chickens and baby chicks. If so, then how much, and if not, why not?

Here we have explained the complete step-by-step guide for raising mealworms for chickens. We have also provided a buying guide for people who do not want to grow mealworms at home.

What are Mealworms?

Mealworms are the larvae stage of the mealworm beetle. In poultry, mealworms are given to birds as a treat because they are rich in protein. They are raised, dried, and packed for sale in the market. 

Chickens love to eat dried mealworms. The texture of these mealworms is very crunchy and crispy, like chips. 

They have lots of health benefits for chickens and a few common health issues that we will discuss further in this article.

Benefits of Feeding Mealworms to Chickens

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There are a few excellent benefits of feeding mealworms to chickens. It gives a boost to the chicken’s health.

Rich Protein Source

These mealworms are a great source of protein for chickens. Laying eggs and other types of health issues cause a decrease in the protein level of flocks. 

Mealworms can fulfill this protein deficiency in chickens. Also, protein helps in overall body growth.

Each mealworm contains about 50–60% protein, which can be considered a high protein source. Protein also helps poultry flocks to keep their bodies warm in extreme cold weather.

Outstanding Treat

Giving treats to your flocks creates a lovely relationship between you and your backyard flocks. Mealworms are one of the best treats for your chickens.

Always remember that treats differ from the feed. You can feed your chickens mealworms occasionally. Here is our complete list of treats that chickens can eat.

Immunity Booster

Mealworms have a good amount of protein, lysine, crude fiber, methionine, fat, calcium, phosphorus, and sodium. All these nutrients help to boost the immunity of poultry birds. 

Just keep a few mealworms on your palm, and you’ll see how your flocks go crazy pecking on them.

Help to Turn Chicken Bedding

Most poultry farmers use a deep litter method for chicken bedding. You need to turn the litter up and down in this method every 24–48 hours.

But if you spread a few dried mealworms on the coop bedding, your flock will help you turn the litter by pecking and scratching the coop bedding. Also, it will keep them busy and stress-free.

Get More and Good Quality Eggs

Lack of dietary supplements can cause various types of problems in flocks. If your hens are laying continuous eggs, they may need some external protein and calcium supplements.

Also Read:  What is a Pullet Chicken? Definition, Eggs, Characteristics

Please read our guide on the best vitamin supplements for chickens. But if you do not want to give these types of supplements, you can occasionally provide mealworms to your hens.

This will help them lay large and good quality eggs. Here is our list of the best chicken breeds that lay lots of eggs.

Top 7 Best Dried Mealworms for Chickens

Here is the list of the top 7 best mealworms for chickens on Amazon –

Last update on 2022-05-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Hatortempt Dried Mealworms for Chickens – Natural, Non-GMO

10lbs Bulk Non-GMO Dried Mealworms for Reptile , Tortoise ; Amphibian ,Lizard ;Wild Birds; Chichens; Duck etc
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10lbs Bulk Non-GMO Dried Mealworms for Reptile , Tortoise ; Amphibian ,Lizard ;Wild Birds; Chichens; Duck etc
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It is one of the best-rated mealworms for chickens. Hatortempt dried mealworms have no preservatives or additives. This mealworm is crispy, which your poultry birds love to peck. 

It contains about 52% crude protein, lysine, methionine, 20% fat, calcium, and more. Feed the poultry birds by keeping dried mealworms on hand or feeding them. You can also sprinkle them on the litter or ground to encourage scratching.

2. Kimoe 5LB 100% Natural Non-GMO dried mealworms.

Kimoe 5LB 100% Natural Non-GMO Dried mealworms-High-Protein for Birds, Chicken,Ducks
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Kimoe 5LB 100% Natural Non-GMO Dried mealworms-High-Protein for Birds, Chicken,Ducks
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It is another 100% natural dried mealworm pack with no preservatives, no additives, and no dust. This is good for your chicken flock’s health.

These mealworms increase immunity, egg-laying, and keep birds strong during winter. Give them on the ground, which helps them forage.

3. Happy Hen Treats Mealworms for Chickens

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Happy Hen Treats Mealworm Frenzy, 10-Ounce
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Happy Hen Treats Mealworm Frenzy, 10-Ounce
  • The world's first line of treats specifically made for...
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This is one of the best brands of mealworms sold specifically for chickens. Happy Hen Treats are the best-rated mealworm packets on Amazon with high protein and vitamin levels. 

Keep the package in a cool and dry place after every use to avoid moisture and other contamination. Just keep on palming, and your girls and boys will go crazy pecking them. 

Also Read:  Can Chickens Eat Cucumber? Peel, Leaves, Seeds, Vines, Flesh

4. ZINFOD 100% Non-GMO Dried Mealworms

ZINFOD 100% Non-GMO Dried Mealworms - High-Protein Mealworm Treats - Perfect for Your Chickens, Ducks, Wild Birds, Turtles, Hamsters, Fish, and Hedgehogs
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371 Reviews
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This is another best-dried mealworm with rich protein and vitamins. It is also non genetically modified mealworms, which are safe and nutritious for your backyard boys and girls.

It will build a lovely relationship between you and your poultry birds. Give them once or twice every week. You can also give them some special training and commands using dried mealworms.

5. Kaytee Dried Mealworms For Chickens

Kaytee Wild Bird Food Mealworms For Bluebirds, Wrens, Robins, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, Cardinals & Chickens, 2 Pound
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5,124 Reviews
Kaytee Wild Bird Food Mealworms For Bluebirds, Wrens, Robins, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, Cardinals & Chickens, 2 Pound
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You can give the dried mealworms by Kaylee Store to chickens and bluebirds, wrens, robins, chickadees, woodpeckers, cardinals, and more.

Dried mealworms are highly nutritious and also build a loving relationship between you and your birds. Always use some command or voice so that your chickens learn new things every week.

6. Fluker’s Freeze-Dried Mealworms Pet Food

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This Fluker’s dried mealworms come in a beautiful jar with a lid to keep them safe. It is entirely natural and suitable for most reptiles, frogs, birds, tropical fish, etc.

Like other mealworm brands, it’s also one of the best available. When you shake the jar, your chickens will run towards you. Feed 4-5 mealworms two times a day.

7. Downtown Pet Supply Dried Mealworms 100% Natural Treats

Downtown Pet Supply Dried Mealworms - Rich in Vitamin B12, B5, Protein, Fiber and Omega 3 Fatty Acids - Chicken, Duck and Bird Food - Reptile and Turtle Food - 1 Lb
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Downtown Pet Supply Dried Mealworms - Rich in Vitamin B12, B5, Protein, Fiber and Omega 3 Fatty Acids - Chicken, Duck and Bird Food - Reptile and Turtle Food - 1 Lb
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Downtown dried mealworms are the best option for your flocks if you are looking for a low-cost, high protein supplement for your chickens. It provides a boost to your bird’s immunity and keeps them strong during seasonal changes.

You do need to refrigerate these dried mealworms for chickens, so you can easily store them. It also does not contain any additives or preservatives. 

How to Raise Mealworms for Chickens?

grow mealworms at home for chickens
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If you think store-bought mealworms are costly, then you can grow them in your backyard. For many flocks, buying mealworms from a store is not affordable.

Understand Mealworms Life Cycle 

To raise mealworms at home, you need to understand the mealworm beetle’s life cycle. As we have already told you, mealworms are the larvae stage of the mealworm beetle.

An adult beetle lays up to about 500–600 eggs during its lifespan. The lifespan of a beetle is about 5–6 months.

Also Read:  How Many Hens per Rooster? The Perfect Rooster to Hen Ratio

The eggs take about 12–13 days to become mealworm larvae. These larvae are freeze-dried and packed to feed various types of reptiles and birds. 

Ready and clean container for mealworms cultivation at home

Prepare a container for mealworm farming. You can use an old fish tank or a square plastic container about 1-2 feet long. The container must have a lid.

It must be cleaned and sanitized because we can’t accept contamination in mealworm culture. Always use a mask and glove while handling the mealworm container. 

Understand the Temperature

Mealworms need a specific temperature and light for their proper growth. They need a dark room with a warm climate. 

The perfect temperature for the growth of mealworms is about 17-81° F. But increased temperatures above 100° F may kill mealworms, and below 60° F, you may see other types of growth issues.

Add Substrate To Container 

First, you need to fill the substrate in the container. It is the initial feed bedding for mealworms. 

The substrate must be filled to about 2-3 inches deep. The most popular substrates used in mealworm cultivation are wheat bran, rolled oats, dried grass, herbivore manures, cereal crumbs, etc.

Always remember not to use chicken feed if it contains diatomaceous earth because it will kill mealworms.

Find Mealworms for Cultivating

So, first, you need to buy some good quality mealworms from a branded seller. If possible, try to buy them from a local seller. If not available, you can go with a few online sellers.

Our recommendation for buying mealworms-

Adding and Feeding Mealworms

mealworms eating apple
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You can start with at least 500-600 mealworms to make a starter colony for the initial stage. Carefully put all the mealworms above the substrate bedding and close the lid.

Mealworms need moisture for growth, which can be given by adding food like vegetable scraps, chopped apples, chopped carrots, chopped potatoes, etc. The more you feed them, the more they will multiply themselves.

Collect and Store Mealworms for chickens

It will take around 5-6 months to convert from larvae mealworms to the beetle stage. After that, you can collect the mealworms for your chickens.

Collect the mealworms and keep them inside the refrigerator to stop them in their larvae stage. 

In the container, leave the pupae and beetles so that they keep reproducing new mealworms. Feed the mealworm beetles every few weeks to get continuous mealworms.

Now the stored mealworms inside the fridge are ready to feed your chickens. Always keep the mealworms inside the refrigerator. Otherwise, they will complete their life cycle to become black beetle bugs.

FAQs About Mealworms for Chicken

Here are a few commonly asked questions about mealworms feeding to chickens – 

Can chicken eat mealworms?

Yes, of course, chickens can eat mealworms. Chickens love to eat them. They are very nutrient-rich, which helps growth and development in chickens. 

It also helps with the vitamin deficiency in the flocks. Mealworms are a fantastic treat for chickens but must be considered as a treat, not as a feed.

Always remember that mealworms for chickens should be given less than 5% of total feed. Also, it is recommended to occasionally provide mealworms because they are high in protein.

Can baby chicks eat mealworms?

Yes, you can feed mealworms to your one to two-week-old chicks. They will get crazy, pecking on them. 

Giving mealworms to chicks is a fun and nutritious treat for them. Feed them twice or thrice a week, and they will be your friends. It is best for pet chickens.

How many mealworms to feed a chicken?

For adult chickens, both freeze-dried and live mealworms are like chocolatey treats. But giving them incorrect quantities is essential because excess nutrition can also cause health issues.

Feeding six to seven mealworms daily to an adult chicken is best for their health. But when it comes to baby chicks, two to three mealworms are enough.

What are the Cons or Disadvantages of Feeding Mealworms to Chickens?

Feeding mealworms to chickens has no significant disadvantages, but giving them in moderation is essential. 

Mealworms containing over 50% crude protein are very high in quantity. Giving more than the limit may cause obesity in chickens. Putting on extra weight may cause death in poultry birds.

Most of the mealworms are imported, so there’s a chance of contamination in animal protein and a risk of diseases. 

Please Note: Feeding mealworms is illegal in certain parts of the world (like Defra has banned it in the EU), so make sure to check out the regulation in your respective countries and comply with it.

Conclusion

Here in this guide, we have discussed all the information about mealworms for chickens. We concluded that it’s a fantastic source of protein for backyard poultry birds.

Giving it occasionally to your backyard boys and girls as a treat will cause good health for them. Remember, it is not a feed and is considered only a chicken treat.

Chickens will love to eat them, and it will build a friendly relationship between you and your flock. What is your experience of giving mealworms to your chickens?

We would love to read your comments below.

Mealworms for Chickens: Benefits, Raising & Feeding Guide
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