Last summer, I tried
raising silkworms to feed our chickens. My project had growing
pains, for reasons I’ll explain below, but I think the idea still has
lots of merit. So I’ll be giving away 100+ silkworm eggs to one lucky reader this week!
These are so-called “peace silkworms” that are able to break free of
their cocoons as adults and breed naturally, so you can keep your
silkworms going if you like the project. The caterpillars are
great food for your chickens, and their cocoons can be used to make silk
cloth (with caveats). To enter, just leave your comment below before midnight on Thursday, December 12, and be sure to check back next week to find out if you won. I’ll use a random-number generator to select one lucky winner.
If you want to learn more about silkworms before entering, here are my the highlights of my experience over the past year:
- The potential of raising silkworms for chickens
- How to raise silkworms
- Is it efficient to raise chickens on silkworms?
- When to hatch silkworms
- Silkworms hatch!
- Day 3 silkworm observations
- Hungry, hungry silkworms
- Great silkworm dieoff
- Mulberry taste test
- Breeding silkworms
- Silkworm final week observations
- Mating silkworms
You should also know that I
started out the experiment very enthusiastically, but by the end decided
I wasn’t going to raise silkworms again soon. So I figured it
might help to hear the scenario in which I think it’s worthwhile to
raise silkworms for your chickens.
Heat was a big problem for
me since I don’t use air-conditioning and silkworms suffer when it gets
above about 80 inside. If you do air-condition,
or have a cool basement, this would be a non-issue. However, I do
recommend keeping your silkworms somewhere other than your living room
since they start to smell a bit after the first couple of weeks.
The other big problem
we had was collecting enough leaves for the voracious worms as they grew
larger. Our young mulberry tree was no match for their appetite,
but if you have a mature tree, you’ll be fine. You’ll be even
finer if you have an interested kid or two who’d like to collect
mulberry leaves and play with caterpillars multiple times a day.
I hope you try
silkworms next year and report back with your results so I’ll hear more
about when silkworms do and don’t make sense on the homestead. And
the cheapest way to experiment is to win our giveaway, so be sure to