Raising chickens can be rewarding, therapeutic, and surprisingly entertaining (the stories that you will have and be able to tell friends will be countless)! In addition to being great pets, chickens are also productive backyard friends who pay for their upkeep with delicious and healthy fresh eggs.
Taking care of your chickens diet is extremely important.
Protein is an essential macronutrient in a healthy diet and current commercial feeds derive it mainly from soybeans and fishmeal. We propose an alternative, or at least a replacement of some proteins in your chickens diet with black soldier fly derived protein. The quality of the protein as well as a very beneficial mineral content (high calcium, optimum calcium to phosphorus ratio), and not to mention environmental benefits, make BSF a great alternative choice.
Without further ado, jump right in to find out more about this healthy snack that your chickens will love to munch on.
The Nutrients in BSFL
The black soldier fly larvae provide a wide range of macro and micro nutrients. Macronutrients are the fats, carbohydrates and protein whereas micronutrients are the different vitamins and minerals.
Protein is an essential component in your chickens diet. Just like in humans, it helps to build as well as restore and repair tissues. In chicken terms - this means healthier immune system, stronger feathers and better egg production (more eggs, larger eggs or both).
The protein content in BSFL ranges from 35%-45% of dried weight. But it’s not all about the quantity of protein. The amino acids lysine and methionine stand out in BSF derived protein and these amino acids are especially known for their positive impact on growth, molting support and better feed efficiency.
While you shouldn’t go overboard feeding fats to your chickens, some fat in their diet is necessary. What is particularly interesting is that BSF is known for its high lauric fatty acid content. Lauric acid has been shown to have natural antimicrobial effects. This is a very unique trait that BSF fats offer and in future may be part of the solution to limit the amount of antibiotics used in farming.
BSF provide a negligible amount of carbohydrates. But we are not saying your chickens should all go on keto and ditch the carbs. This is why if you are looking for a complete feed, you could buy whatever source of carbs your chickens prefer and top-up with the BSF for protein and some fats. BSF do provide a small amount of fibers however, ranging between 3-5% which may be beneficial to the gut flora aka microbiome. Strong gut flora with a healthy dose of good bacteria also means stronger immune system.
Calcium & Phosphorus
Calcium helps to provide the material needed to keep your chickens eggshells strong.
Stronger eggshells are not just an aesthetic factor, you’d want your chickens to lay eggs with hard shells since such eggs are better able to keep the bacteria out.
But it is equally important to have the right amount of Phosphorus. Phosphorus helps to metabolize or use the Calcium that the chickens eat. BSF have the perfect ratio of Phosphorus to Calcium in order to ensure optimal Calcium uptake.
How Much BSFL Is Appropriate for Your Chickens
The amount of BSFL to be fed to your chickens varies according to their age.
Baby chicks will need less BSF as treats. This is not inherent to BSF because the amount of protein needed in general at this stage is also lower. If you feed your chicks too much too soon, it may cause diarrhea and white poop. Once they outgrow this stage and especially when they start laying eggs, you should increase the amount of BSF treats.
How Many Chickens Can One Black Soldier Fly Box Feed?
Here, we’ll assume that the box you’re purchasing is our 1.1lb Supreme Grubs 100% Non-GMO dried BSF larvae.
Dried black soldier fly larvae provides about 4500 kcal per kilogram, which means 2250 kcal for the 1.1lb box.
An average laying hen needs about 300 kcal per day, and up to 15% of the feed can be replaced with BSF.
After doing the math, this is the result. One 1.1lb box will last you almost two months - if you have only one chicken :) If you have 10 chickens, the grubs may be gone in 5 days. This means you’d be better off buying our 5.5lb box instead.
Be creative when discovering ways to improve your chicken feed and boost the nutritional value of your eggs. Using BSFL as a feed source will give you stronger chickens and reduce the money spent on antibiotics.
Enjoy raising your healthy chickens and happy feeding!