Raising Dubia Roaches for Poultry Feed

The Insectivore Company

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Raising Dubia for Poultry Feed

I have seen a lot of info on here on DIY, etc and would like to make a few notes on raising insects.
We will share care info for a variety of insects over the next month - hope you enjoy!

I know most of you are cringing while reading this, but hear me out! I hope I can change some of the misconceptions about raising roaches.

A few little facts...
1. Dubia Roaches are quieter, do not smell and are much easier to raise than crickets.
2. While worms and many other insect species can carry diseases and parasites, Dubia carry far less.
3. Dubia Roaches beat out crickets by a whopping 20% in protein!

What you will need to start your Dubia colony:

1 Rubbermaid/Tupperware bin - sized to fit your colony (which will grow quickly)
6-10 cardboard egg cartons/flats
2 strips of packing tape
1 drill to make some air holes in your bin
1 heat pad if you are in a colder climate
water crystals or fruit to provide moisture and dog, cat, chicken food or scraps to feed.

Besides your new colony, that's it!

How to Set Up your Dubia Bin
1. Drill some holes in the top and top-sides of your bin. Holes should be about the size of a pencil eraser or slightly smaller.
2. Place one strip of packing tape on the top-inside of your bin and place a strip around the outside as well. Although Dubia cannot climb glass or most tupperware products, you want to be careful as built-up dust can provide a climbing surface for newly born young. If you are using a glass terrarium, skip this step but check the sealant edges for a climbing surface.
3. Place your egg cartons so they are on their short side. Starting with your first one, place every other one backwards. (This will ensure they have gaps in between and the bugs will not get crushed in between the egg cartons.) The roaches will move up and down the flats to regulate their body temperature. They will also drop their frass(poop) into the bottom, which will make your bin a clean environment and save you time in the end.

4. Take two pieces of egg flat or egg carton, (solid bottom) and lay them laterally across the egg flats you already placed in your bin. These will be your feed trays. This should end up looking like a little roach stonehenge, essentially. With the living quarters being the up and down parts and the feeder trays laying across the top. Unlike stonehenge, you don't want any sacrifices here so make sure there are plenty of "up and down" cartons for the feeders to rest on top of.

5. In one of your feeder trays (you should have 2) you will place water crystals, fruit or whatever you are hydrating you insects with. In the other tray you will place your dry food. (stale dog, cat or chicken food will work - make sure it's crushed!) If climate makes it necessity to mist your colony, simply lift up the dry food tray while you quickly mist. Moldy food is not food for anything, even roaches.

6. Again, if climate makes it necessary you will have to provide some heat for optimum breeding output. A reptile heat pad or similar heat pad placed under your bin should achieve these temps.

That's it! Keep your colony in a dark place with fair ventilation and watch it grow! Each female will have about 20-35 live young a month, which will be adults in a few months' time.

Here is some nutrition info on Dubia:

With a nutrient composition of 61% moisture, 36% protein, 7% fat and 2% ash, Dubia Roaches far outweigh the 16% protein available in crickets.

Hope ya'll find this useful! Have a great day and thanks for reading.
 

Denim Deb

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Just one problem, how do you get the roaches out? I sure wouldn't want to pick them up! :sick
 

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:) If you want to select your size for feeding, you can drill some holes in a 5 gal bucket, so the size you want fits through. Then take another 5 gal bucket (solid bottom) and place the one with the holes inside it. Pick up an egg carton or "frame" as I call them (i did bees before roaches) and shake them into your top bucket.
After a few minutes of shaking you should end up with your smaller Dubia in the bottom bucket. Pour the rest back into your bin and you're all set!

For non-select size, just tap your "frame" full of insects into a pail.
 

goatgurl

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ok bugboy, while i think the idea of home grown protein for the chickens is good I'm kind of like DD and get the hebie jebies just thinking about turning that many roaches loose for the chickens to chase. in cold weather do they have to be kept in the house or a heated building? approximately how many would you feed to a chicken a day. what size colony would you need to feed 30+ chickens? can't be any worse than the article i saw for feeding maggots to chickens. that idea make my mouth sweat.
 

Denim Deb

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There are some bugs that I don't mind, others that give me the hebie jeebies. And roaches are ones that do. I can actually handle the idea of maggots better than roaches. Even meal worms don't bother me since I don't mind beetles. But roaches, :sick
 

goatgurl

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oh, DD the maggot folks were talking about picking up road kill and letting it rot for the maggots for the chicken to eat..... just the thought of that smell makes me gag
 

Denim Deb

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You probably wouldn't like the insect trap I made when I was in college to collect insects from dead, stinky meat. That didn't bother me.
 

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Goatgurl :D lol yes in cold weather they would have to be indoors with a heat mat to get the best results. I wouldn’t recommend pouring them all out, but there is a number of things you can do from flash-freezing to dehydrating that will get your protein source in a storable, (or more importantly for some) not-moveable condition. You can feed live and I certainly do, but in a controlled environment as we all know how chickens like to play with their food.
I work with dermestids so I know about collecting roadkill - not something i recommend for the faint of nose. lol.
Denim Deb - Just think of a roach as a mealworm, except with higher nutrition, and wings (sometimes) and longer legs and more athletic and... ah it started off so good but I lost it at the end, there. :p
 

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