If you've been doing your research on chicken feed, you may have come across the term "dried mealworms."
But what are they? Are they really good for chickens?
We'll take a closer look at dried mealworms to see if they're a good option for your feathered friends.
First, What Is A Mealworm?
Mealworms are the larvae of the darkling beetle, which is a type of beetle commonly found in the United States, and around the world.
Mealworms are an excellent source of protein, fat, and other nutrients that chickens need to stay healthy.
But their nutritional benefits don’t stop there.
Mealworms have an amino acid profile that is second to none for the protein required to produce delicious eggs, healthy feathers, and boost their immune systems.
The only other insect that’s commercially available in large quantities today are BSF (Black Soldier Fly) Larvae, but they do not have the same balanced amino acid profile as yellow mealworms. They are more for calcium supplementation or deficiencies.
This essential amino acid powerhouse called a mealworm has made them a favorite for backyard chicken farmers to raise them to feed to their flock, or buy dried in the stores.
How Do Mealworms Become “Dried”?
Unfortunately, greater than 98% of the dried mealworms on the market have been microwaved.
You can tell it’s been microwaved because when you break one open, you see a hollow, empty shell.
All of the essential amino acids have been destroyed or altered during the microwave process, leaving a hollow shell composed of a material called Chitin. We’ll talk about the problems associated with too much Chitin in an animal's diet, in a later article.
The truth is that mealworms are only highly beneficial to a chicken’s diet if they are alive, or if they’ve been preserved in a way that retains all of its essential nutrients, minerals, and amino acids.
Only The Honest Worm!™ is made from 100% Premium hand-selected yellow mealworms, and uses a process that’s far different than microwave.
The process is similar to astronaut food or freeze-drying, and it leaves the mealworms completely intact, along with all of its nutrients.
Simply put, if you are feeding hollow, empty mealworm shells to your flock… you’re not doing them any favors.
How To Feed Mealworms To Chickens
To feed your chickens The Honest Worm!™ mealworms, you can either give them a treat by adding them to the bird’s regular feed or you can use a separate container for feeding. Our mealworms come in a sealable pouch so they can be kept dry and moisture free.
The amount of dried mealworms you should give your chickens will vary based on age, breed and size. The general rule is to only give small amounts so your birds don’t get overfed or become too dependent on them as their main food source.
Feeding your chickens dried mealworms from The Honest Worm!™ is an easy way to give them the nutrients they need to stay healthy and happy!
How Can I Tell If My Chickens Are Getting Enough Protein?
One of the easiest ways to tell if your chickens are getting enough protein is by looking at their feathers. Healthy feathers should be shiny and smooth. If your chicken's feathers are dull or brittle, this is a sign that they may not be getting enough protein in their diet.
Another way to tell if your chickens are getting enough protein is by paying attention to their behavior. Chickens that are getting enough to eat will be active and alert. If your chickens seem lethargic or depressed, this could be a sign that they need more protein in their diet.
Dried mealworms are a great way to introduce your chickens to insects and also provide them with more protein than they currently get in their feed. They can be fed dry or mixed with other food like crumbs or pellets, depending on the size of the chickens and what type of feeder you have available for them.
At The Honest Worm!™, we are committed to providing your chickens with the best possible nutrition. Give your chickens the gift of The Honest LockTM– locking in freshness for a lifetime of good health!