The recurring question we hear from chicken owners is "why have my chicken stopped laying?". Often this is combined with it being Autumn or Winter time.
At Poultry Patch, it's all about the eggs... creating a fine product that is based in thoughtful chicken keeping that embraces superior health and nutrition of our birds. To say our hens are spoilt is an understatement... but it is informed spoiling, designed to support premium health and well being.
Being a suburban flock, the number of hens we can keep is limited so every egg counts. When the girls decide it's time to stop laying in favour of growing out new feathers (moulting season in Autumn or Winter), motivation is high to find ways to promote feather growth so they can get back to the business of laying those wonderful eggs.
Enter Soldierflies. Very high in protein (42%), this is exactly what hens need to support feather growth and egg laying. Given hens are omnivores, they need proteins like grubs in their lives, especially if they aren't free ranging.
Soldierflies are naturally occurring fly in our environment that many of you will have seen but not realised what they are or what they do. They are a blessing to anyone with a green thumb, anyone interested in composting, or chicken enthusiasts.
They eat food scraps much faster than worms (we have many worm farms too, so love them too!) and the best bit is that they are self-harvesting. This means that when it's time for them to morph into flies, they stop eating and climb to a higher place to complete this process. In a soldierfly farm, this means they climb up the side ramps are directed to fall into a collection bucket ! Empty this bucket into the chook run and watch the girls go crazy for them !
Over the years we have made a few versions of a DIY Solderfly farm here at Poultry Patch, with limited success. Much of it would be attributed to novice knowledge rather than the DIY design.
Eventually we settled on the commercially made BioPod and combined with alot more research and knowledge, trial and error, it's been fantastic.
As can be seen from the photo on the left, there is a ramp on either side for the larvae to self harvest. They crawl up and fall through the slot into a collection bucket.
The photo on the right is with the lid on. The flies can fly between the gaps into the hinged porthole. The clawed tool is used to turn over the compost occasionally, but the system is largely 'set and forget' except for regularly adding your kitchen scraps to it.
Check out the video below that shows what short work soldierflies will make of a banana! You'll be amazed how they chow down on your kitchen scraps and are quickly ready for more. Combined with worm farming, just about everything is compostable at Poultry Patch (maybe not the hubby and kids ;-) !
Gardening Australia have instructions for a DIY Soldierfly farm: https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/love-your-larvae/11184864
What to know more ? Feel free to ask me questions ! firstname.lastname@example.org
It all started with young girls’ upbringing in a country town and her devotion and affinity with animals.