Tag Archives: protein

Grub Generator

Warning- gross factor!   This post is about dead meat and grubs, although there are no grubs pictured!

I made a fancy new grub generator.  The original was effective but very, very primitive.

I got this one’s refinements from watching youtube videos, but used a big rubbermaid tub, because I had one, and I didn’t think a big bucket is capacious enough. Plus a few adaptations I made up.

First, the access portal for the flies.  There’s a hole in the side of the bottle.  I assume this is to limit both smells escaping and rain getting into the meat chamber.The flies get in through the bottle to lay eggs that colonize the dead meat.

On the inside of the tub, there’s a vacuum cleaner hose with a bunch of holes cut in it (that part is a bit tough), held onto the side of tub with zipties.  It’s arranged at a slight angle in a spiral around the tub, for the grubs to climb along on their bid for freedom.  Because they do that.  Yep.

It’s a grub escalator.  They will climb to the top like pilgrims, and then drop out, into the catchment bottle.  Surprise, no guru!I found it best to stab two slits through the side of the tub to attach the zipties.   You can see by the zipties on the outside how the vacuum hose makes a full spiral to the bottom of the tub.This vac hose was perfectly suited for this purpose, I’m quite sure unintentionally, and the catchment bottle slips on and off the hose, with a little duct tape gasket, for those days condensation inside the bottle enables the grubs to climb the walls.Best to draw a veil over the current contents of the grub generator.  All the chickens that died of natural causes this winter are in there, now thawed out.

NB: I strongly recommend installing the vacuum hose and zipties…spiraling all the way to the floor of the tub… while the tub is empty, and clean, before putting in the old, dead…thawed…carcasses.  Trust me on this.

The protein of the dead critters will be transformed by the action of the blowflies and other detritivores, their life cycles turning offal into top flight chicken protein.

I’ll leave it to all the other info out there to explain how awesome this form of recycling waste is, and how it helps reduce, not promote unsavory insects, and how much it’s good for the hens.  There’s loads of excellent and thorough info out there, starting with the black soldier fly fan club.  This is just my design, and I’m pleased with it.  I plan to make another to rotate between.

I can just picture my hens lurking around the tap all day.

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 (!?).

2015-09-24 08.13.09
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.

Grub generation

The grub generator is in action again, this time stocked with an unfortunate young rabbit that met its end at the mouth of an unknown assailant.  If our dog had killed it, he would have waved it around proudly and eaten most of it, but I discovered the body on a path in an attitude of sleep (there was trauma to the side it was lying on though).  It will be transformed to chicken food now.

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.

2015-07-13 20.05.28
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.