Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What About Them Crickets?

I have had several people ask me, "What About Them Crickets?" Well, let me tell you about them.

When I first started research on how to raise crickets I thought, my gosh it takes a lot to raise them little things. If I was raising crickets commercially for a profit it would be a little harder than how I do it now. I would have to have a climate controlled room with incubator boxes set up with the whole works.
Just like the worms. If I was selling them, one day I plan too, I would have to have a little better set up than what I do now. Right now, harvesting them is a slow and labor intensive process. The main problem with the worms right now is this winter. I have yet to figure out how to keep them from freezing. I do not have power to the big barn yet so I cannot just put a light on them and call it good, but I'm working on it.
The crickets are in the mini barn and the same problem exists. I really do not want to run another heat light just for crickets. I have a reptile warming rock I might try out but I don't think it is big enough to warm all of them at the same time.

I started out with 60 crickets from the pet store. I put them in a 55 gallon fish tank with a couple of inches of peat moss covering the bottom so they can lay their eggs in. I feed them ground up chick starter and water them the same way I do the chicks, with a small rimmed baby water. Even though I have open water, I have not had any drown. I also put a hand full of hay in the corner so the babies have a place to hide from the adults so not to be eaten.
I guess I started them around four or five months ago and now when I pull off the sheet covering, the whole bottom is full of them. I bet there are at least 1000 or so in there. I can't feed them fast enough.
They are mainly used to feed the baby chicks. The crickets give them the extra protein they need without having to get chimerical supplements plus it develops the chicks natural ability to hunt and scratch much earlier than if they were pen raised.

I'm telling you, there is nothing funnier than throwing a hand full of crickets into a brooder full of week old chicks. At first the chicks are scared of them and don't know what to do. After a minute or so they get curious and sneak up on them just watching. The crickets start to get nervous with all them eyeballs looking at them and make the mistake and jump. That is when a chick will finally reach down and grab one in it's mouth, look around for a split second and take off running. It does not even know what it is running for and the funny thing is, the rest of the chicks take off after it and they don't even know why they are chasing after the one that does not know why it's running.
I'm telling you, it's better than watching a bug light. They will run in circles chasing one another for as long as the cricket stays in a chicks mouth. I have never seen anything like it. I should charge admission.


  1. When we first put our chickens outside the first time they had bugs for the first time too. It is hilarious to watch them. One will pick up a grasshopper and take off with with the other ladies chasing after. They even do this with lettuce and other greens. Chicken TV is the best ;)

    We are looking into getting solar panels to run some of the electricals out at the chicken pen and the greenhouse we have. Gotta save up some green for that though. Harbor Freight has a starter package we were looking at. Did you ever get up that windmill thingy?

  2. The wind turbine is still sitting in the barn but it has a place. I still need to get the controller and inverter before I set it up. The plan is to put it behind the mini barn to power some lights in there. It's just the parts I have to buy to make it work are the most expensive. I would rather go solar but it is way out of the price range right now.