Silkworms hatch

Baby silkworms

Newly hatched silkwormThirteen days after pulling
the silkworm eggs out of the fridge
, I awoke to tiny black
caterpillars in my bowl of eggs.  I’d put a mulberry leaf in the
bowl a couple of days before, and the miniscule silkworms were already
clambering around on the leaf even though it had dried up.  I
quickly added two new, tender, Illinois everbearing mulberry leaves to
the silkworm habitat, and the caterpillars had clambered atop their new
grub within half an hour.

Silkworms dining

I feel like I could see
the silkworms growing hour by hour.  The first photo in this post
was taken at 12:30 pm, versus the other two above which I snapped
around 8:30 am.  Notice how the caterpillars in the top photo are
already starting to expand the segments closest to their head as they
fill up on mulberry leaf?

Caterpillars on mulberry leaf

I’m not sure all the
eggs hatched, but my 200-or-less silkworms did a lot of eating in
little time, even at this young age.  The photo above shows a leaf
that I added to the bowl at about 8:15 am, photographed at 8:45
am.  And the photo below shows the same leaf at about 11 am:

Silkworms eating mulberry leaves

The holes represent leaf
matter that has gone into silkworm tummies, and all those little black
dots are frass (poop), which I suspect will be an excellent
by-product.  (
main goal with these silkworms is to feed them to chickens
.)  Stay tuned for
another post about what we opt to move the caterpillars into once they
outgrow their bowl.

Our chicken waterer keeps our flock healthy with
clean water while they wait for silkworm treats.

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