Tag Archives: carrion

Porcupines to grubs

I’ve put two roadkill porcupines in the grub generator now.

There are often porcupines dead on the road here.  This little rodent is not loved in Nova Scotia.

I’ve been skeptically eyeballing roadkill with grub generation in mind for a while now, but on the chance occasion that I actually had a shovel and a bucket in the truck, I acted on the impulse.

However, I was not super keen on being sighted in the act of collecting a mangled corpse off the asphalt, sooo…

Pull over, feigning a cell phone call.  When the coast is clear of vehicles, dash into the road with a shovel.  Dash back with bloody cargo and slam it into the truck.  Leap back into driver’s seat (cell phone call very important).  Rejoin traffic.

So far, so good on the sneaky roadkill snatching.  I have not been seen.

The porc-épic‘s in the bucket are excellent for making grubs.  Day after day, the grubs keep climbing out, far more than the dead chicken and small rabbits.  They must be quite dense.  What’s very interesting is that as the grubs ooze out of the crack in the upper bucket, they push quills out with them!  How?  What is happening?  A whole handful of loose quills comes poking and falling out with the grubs (!?).

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Every day, the hens get grubs for breakfast before their grain.

Grub generation: flies lay their eggs in carrion.  The eggs hatch, and at a certain stage of growth and motility, the grubs feel the biological urge to bury themselves in the earth to enter their next stage of growth.  So they climb out of the carrion bucket, in order to drop to the ground.  Alas, they are caught and trapped by the second bucket, and fed to the chickens.

Chicken Dinner- Generating Grub (s)

Warning:  Disgusting factor on this post high.  Cute factor nil.  It’s about larvae.  For cute, click for chicks.

I had a hen die of natural causes.  I was digging a hole to bury her in when I thought, What am I doing?  I need to use her as a protein generator, a la Harvey Ussery.  His wonderful, destined to be classic, The Small-Scale Poultry Flock suggests creating your own, and better quality, chicken feed, in part by generating grubs from offal.

I don’t think we have the estimable black soldier fly up here in Nova Scotia, but there’s no shortage of flies to lay eggs on dead things.

I got a beat up old metal bucket that has been drilled full of holes in the bottom, rolled the stiff bird into straw and jammed her in the bucket surrounded by straw.  This is supposed to make her smell less.

Then I hung it up with a grub catching bucket beneath it, hoping for the best.

2015-07-13 08.22.39On the first day, there was nothing but a few big black scary-alien-species carrion beetles in the bucket.  Oh well.

Then it started to smell.  About like you’d expect.  Sniff sniff. Did something die around here?

Couple days later, I look, and wow!  A seething mass of beige grubs!  And more ugly black beetles.

2015-07-13 08.23.48Grubs were just dripping out of the crack in the upper bucket.

2015-07-13 08.22.15Interestingly, the appearance of the grubs coincided with a sharp drop in the smell factor, from noxious to not noticeable.

I fed those grubs to the hens.  It was anti-climactic.  In the several seconds it took me to take a couple pictures, everything was consumed, including the beetles.  I wasn’t expecting that.


Oh, but then… in the evening, the bucket had a wondrous quantity of grubs in it.

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One day’s worth.

Stomach turning, really.

When I overturned this bucketful for the hens, I got a better reaction.  The usually reserved, stay in the background rooster lost the plot entirely, shrieking his food notifications, bombing his big body into the middle of the pile and doing the chicken moonwalk so that all the hens flew up squawking in surprise.  I’ve never seen him lose his composure like that.