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Enter our silkworm egg giveaway!

Nearly mature silkworms

Last summer, I tried raising silkworms to feed our chickens.  My project had growing pains, for reasons I'll explain below, but I think the idea still has lots of merit.  So I'll be giving Silkworm cocoonaway 100+ silkworm eggs to one lucky reader this week!  These are so-called "peace silkworms" that are able to break free of their cocoons as adults and breed naturally, so you can keep your silkworms going if you like the project.  The caterpillars are great food for your chickens, and their cocoons can be used to make silk cloth (with caveats).  To enter, just leave your comment below before midnight on Thursday, December 12, and be sure to check back next week to find out if you won.  I'll use a random-number generator to select one lucky winner.

If you want to learn more about silkworms before entering, here are my the highlights of my experience over the past year:

You should also know that I started out the experiment very enthusiastically, but by the end decided I wasn't going to raise silkworms again soon.  So I figured it might help to hear the scenario in which I think it's worthwhile to raise silkworms for your chickens.

Heat was a big problem for me since I don't use air-conditioning and silkworms suffer when it gets above about 80 inside.  If you do Harvesting mulberry leavesair-condition, or have a cool basement, this would be a non-issue.  However, I do recommend keeping your silkworms somewhere other than your living room since they start to smell a bit after the first couple of weeks.

The other big problem we had was collecting enough leaves for the voracious worms as they grew larger.  Our young mulberry tree was no match for their appetite, but if you have a mature tree, you'll be fine.  You'll be even finer if you have an interested kid or two who'd like to collect mulberry leaves and play with caterpillars multiple times a day.

I hope you try silkworms next year and report back with your results so I'll hear more about when silkworms do and don't make sense on the homestead.  And the cheapest way to experiment is to win our giveaway, so be sure to enter below!

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Hi, Anna, this is something I've been thinking about doing for quite a while. I planted ten mulberry trees a couple of years ago, but didn't realize I would need to protect them, and the deer got them all. My reason for wanting silkworms was primarily for the silk, but the worms are a great adjunct to chicken feed. I think I'm going to plant mulberries again this year even if I don't win the eggs. Thanks for the great information!
Comment by Anonymous late Monday morning, December 9th, 2013
I would love to give this a try!
Comment by Joe Rappa at lunch time on Monday, December 9th, 2013

Sorry, I don't think I included my name in the last comment. -Joe R.

Comment by Joe Rappa at lunch time on Monday, December 9th, 2013
Give me an inch and I will then take a silkworm to go with the inchworm.
Comment by johnjstone at lunch time on Monday, December 9th, 2013

Thanks for giving the opportunity to get started. Mullberry trees, silkworms and silk have been on our minds and on our list. And now it is even a great time to get started with it. I hope we'll win them! ; ) Thanks Daphne

Comment by Daphne at lunch time on Monday, December 9th, 2013
Hi I love the idea of raising your own silkworms. My chicks love dried mealworms but they all come from China and can be pricey. Nice to raise your own.
Comment by Alison Ritrovato Monday evening, December 9th, 2013
My chickens would love these!
Comment by EB late Monday evening, December 9th, 2013
My chickens will eat anything it seems. Silkworms are no exception. When I was digging up potatoes a month ago I could barely do any work being surrounded by hungry hens fighting for the tasty worms that were turned up. Thanks for an idteresting topic!
Comment by Steve Hillmer Wednesday evening, December 11th, 2013
I know my ladies would love these. We are always looking for natural ways to feed them.
Comment by Laurie early Thursday morning, December 12th, 2013
I still haven't heard from our silkworm egg winner. If I don't hear from Daphne by tomorrow, I'll be picking another winner, so everyone else, please stay tuned.
Comment by anna late Thursday morning, December 26th, 2013
Comment by Angie morig Monday afternoon, February 3rd, 2014
If no one has responded yet for the free silkworms, I am interested in them. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Comment by Audra Daniel Monday evening, February 3rd, 2014
I would love to try silkworms for my chickens!
Comment by Kathy - Hawkins Monday night, February 3rd, 2014
I have emailed to enter! This sounds really interesting & another neat way to show the kids in the family about nature while providing greats food for the chickens! Thank you
Comment by Lori Carl at midnight, February 4th, 2014

We have a beautiful mulberry tree that our children have picked a load of extra for smoothies! :) Thank You for all this information... Perhaps we'll be the winners & see how our chickens like those silkworms. Appreciate your idea e-mails

Comment by Jinny Kohlmann late Monday night, February 4th, 2014

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