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New Year Catch Up – Livestock Pt 3

Additionally I also looked at reducing the costs of the livestock I keep at home. The Bees don’t really take much and I can’t reduce what they do need. The chickens I keep fed with pellets and corn mix which I buy in a bag at a time. I give them a scoop of pellets every day with every few days a scoop of corn. They also get the scraps I throw out and any bugs they find while they dig up the back yard. The fish I intend to buy will need to be fed as well so anything I can do to reduce costs there will help. I have looked at some of the live food available for pets and could enhance their diets, and reduce my costs, by feeding them some live food as a supplement to their diet.

Out of all the live foods available I’m looking at food that doesn’t move very fast so can’t escape too well nor do I want something that can fight back. So, I excluded locusts and crickets. Mealworms though look ideal. Easy to catch, full of goodness and easy to keep. They can be fed live or dried and I could every see them on our menu at some stage although hopefully not for a while yet. Earthworms also seem a good choice although they grow in the garden so we don’t need to cultivate them at this stage. I just don’t need enough to set up a worm farm. I can always dig up a few when I need them. Mealworms I need to cultivate to ensure that I can keep them available.

Mealworms don’t need much space and a 30G tank is overkill for that so I just need one of the smaller containers. Throw in some mealworms bought from a shop and then just feed them. Then we just harvest when we need them. One of the easiest projects.

I’ve also had a look at flies. Normal fruit flies that we can cultivate and a new variety I have just found called Black Soldier Flies. The BSF are prolific eaters of waste and their grubs grow fast. Normal flies we can easily cultivate with a bit of left over meat and left hanging can provide some grubs with the minimum of work. The BSF seem the ideal waste disposal unit for food waste converting it into little grubs you can feed your chickens, fish and, if needs must, yourself. As before fruit flies don’t need to be cultivated at this stage. BSF I need to cultivate.

There are commercial units you can buy to convert the waste and store all the outputs. BSF seem very efficient and convert anything edible. However, there are several home made units demonstrated on YouTube. Search for Black Soldier Flies. So again I won’t be using a 30G tank. I’ll need to buy some kit for this project and build my own unit as well as the starter for the colony.

Ironically, since I have started prepping, setting up composters and minimising my waste I find that I don’t generate enough food waste for my requirements. As some of the waste goes to keeping things fed I need to prioritise that. So with this latest plan I need to keep the waste converters fed. Next up are the chickens and finally the composter. I can see the solution is scavenging food waste from my neighbours while I can.

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