how to grow mealworms for birds

How To Raise and Grow Your Own Mealworms

Mealworms “Refresher”

After reading the article in the most recent edition of The Birds-Eye reView, Kathryn Kessler from Newton, Iowa, offered some more insight regarding mealworms. She says,.

“I’ve been raising mealworms for the past two years, and I find them to be very simple to raise.” I keep a supply going year round,” she wrote.

“Wheat bran and non-medicated chicken feed are combined in two lidded plastic tubs (13 1/2 x 17 x 6) that I use for worm bedding.

I add sliced carrots, zucchini, celery, or lettuce. “The worms eventually transform into a bug, which deposits its eggs in the bedding.

Following the hatching of the eggs into tiny worms that mature into adults, the life cycle repeats itself.

“When the birds are occupied with feeding their young in the spring and summer, I occasionally feed up to 100 worms per day.”

I’ve had amazing luck drawing a variety of bird species to the mealworms.

The catbirds that visit the feeder repeatedly, consume a few worms, and then choose two or three to return to their nestlings are my favorite birds to watch.

The robins, who are enormous gluttons, are the source of my greatest annoyance.

Before it took off, I counted as one robin had 25 worms in its bill.

On the deck floor, I’ve been giving the worms food from a shallow dish.

I’m thinking of getting a hanging feeder that has an opening to keep larger birds out.

Mealworms have been a great addition to my birds diets.”

Mealworms are Great for Bluebirds, Purple Martins, and Chickens

Here are two similar methods that you can easily use to raise mealworms for your poultry.

The first by Kathryn Kessler republish with consent from

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To begin raising mealworms, first fill a small plastic or glass container to the brim with 1-2 inches (2 ½–5 cm) of oats or bran. This will be the bedding and food for your mealworms. Make sure the container you use has a ventilated lid. Next, fill a shallow dish inside the container with some vegetables (such as potatoes, carrots, or celery stalks) so your mealworms have something to eat and drink. To begin your colony, add at least two dozen mealworms to the container. Place the container in a warm spot and swap out the veggies every few days. The mealworms will pupate in about three weeks, and then they will emerge as beetles in another two weeks. The cycle will be completed when the mealworm beetles lay eggs and eventually perish. When the bedding begins to get low, add another layer of bran or oats. The established colony can be used to feed pets like lizards, birds, and sugar gliders after two to three months. In order to avoid upsetting the life cycle, only feed mealworms to your pets—never pupae or beetles. Continue reading to find out how to take care of the mealworms as they develop into beetles!


How long does it take mealworms to grow?

Once you’ve placed your store-bought, adult mealworms into the new enclosure you set-up for them, you’ll have to wait at least two months for your mealworms to go through one life cycle. Because the mealworms you buy at a store are already in the larval stage, they should pupate in about three weeks.

What is the easiest way to breed mealworms?

Slice up an apple, a carrot, or a potato and place the slices on top of the substrate, to provide moisture for the mealworms. Put the lid on top of the bin. The mealworms will begin eating the substrate and reproducing. The mealworms may pull the food under the substrate to eat it, which is completely normal.

Are mealworms hard to raise?

Raising mealworms is surprisingly easy and one of the best ways to save money when caring for a reptile. If money is not your concern, raising mealworms is also just a fun hobby that many people share since they make simple pets that demand very little from their keeper.