Superworms: Protein and Calcium Supplement for Chickens

Chickens need high protein diet during their egg production phase. They also need larger than usual amount of calcium for thicker eggshells.

Feed them with superworms.

They are also good for young or growing chickens. A superworm contains 41.37 percent protein and 420mg/kg calcium. The amount of calcium is just about right as high-calcium diet can cause kidney damage for growing chickens.

Superworms are the larval stage of the Zoophobas mario beetle. They are popular as feeder insects for larger reptiles because they are softer and easier to digest than mealworms.

To breed your own superworms, start with a colony of about 100 worms. Purchase small containers such as film canisters or small drawers from hardware containers and punch a small hole in it. Put some substrate in the container and put the container in a warm, dark place for about 10 days. The superworm will start to curl up and pupate. Once it turns into a pupae, remove it from the container and put it in a special enclosure. This will prevent the worms and beetles from nibbling on it and killing a potential breeder.

Once the pupae turned into a beetle, put it into the breeding container. A female can produce up to 500 eggs during her lifetime. Approximately one week after the egg is laid, it will hatch and a superworm will emerge.

The container you should use to keep your superworms has to be at least five inches high with smooth sides to prevent them from crawling out. The container should be easy to disinfect as needed and it should allow for proper ventilation and air circulation. Superworms should never be housed in the fridge like mealworms. They should be kept at approximately 80° to 85° F.

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