Free-range chickens are quick to gobble down various bugs and worms. Coop-raised poultry can only benefit from a maggot-enriched diet.
Wild fish, farm-raised fish and many aquarium fish can't resist maggots either.
If you're an Angler and you don't want to depend on (or pay) the bait shop for maggots, this DIY tutorial can keep you camping and fishing with free bait all summer. You'll never have to worry about an empty baffle box again.
Maggots are easier to raise than worms. They're a nutritious, natural food that's rich in protein. They're FREE, easy to manage and not nearly as disgusting as you probably imagine.
If you're serious about living off-the-grid, this information should help alleviate your maggot-anxiety and facilitate a more self-sufficient lifestyle. You probably already have the modest equipment needed to start farming so it won't cost you one red cent, either.
Step 1: The Story of Big Momma
The inspiration for this ible mysteriously appeared twelve days ago. It flew right in my back porch. It sounded like the usual noisy bumblebee, banging itself against the closed window, trying to escape.
"IT" turned out to be the biggest freaking house fly I've ever seen in my whole, oldish life. (Since I'm older than duct tape, that's saying something.)
I proceeded to capture and jar the gargantuan fly. I wanted to show my wife and I was just plain curious about what species it was. I thought maybe the internet could solve the mystery. Then I got side-tracked. By what I don't remember.
Here is The story of Big Momma.
I remember my captive godzilla fly and go to check, expecting it to be legs-up and dead. Nope! IT is a SHE-it and as active as ever. She's laid at least 100 1/4" eggs in the empty jar.
That's where this ible really began. I figure BIG fly egg= BIG maggot. BIG maggot= BIG FREE fishing bait. FREE fishing bait= CRAP! I'm too busy to go fishing. :(
I toss a few tiny pieces of raw chicken meat into the jar anyway and leave big momma to her maternal business.Day TWO:
Big momma, 48 hours post-capture, active and laying eggs on the chicken meat.
Whoever said houseflies only live 24 hours never met a housefly like Big momma.
Big momma's family must have sent out a search party.
One of Big momma's cousins buzzes in and kamikazes directly into a sink full of hot dishwater. My wife hears the plop, sees the cousin, then calls me into the kitchen to rescue it. I transport the groggy patient to Big momma's jar.
The family reunion was brief, however. Big momma's cousin dies sometime during the night.
Big momma appears to be winding down. Her life-cycle is clearly coming to an end.
RIP Big momma. Sorry, no funeral. Quasi-autopsy shows that she measured in at nearly 7/8" . I place Big momma, her cousin and the egg-laden meat into a larger plastic container.
Day SIX & SEVEN:
No sign of life.
No sign of.... WAIT. I check the underside of the container and there they are. Big momma's big babies are feeding underneath the rotting chicken meat.
Day NINE to PRESENT:
11 Big maggots feed voraciously for 3 days then stop eating. All maggots (but 1) are now climbing away from the rotting meat toward the top of the container.
Big maggots are now at the favored stage for fish bait and chicken feed. If refrigerated, they will remain viable bait for up to 3 weeks.
Big maggots are placed in a containers filled 1/2" with corn meal. They burrow immediately.
I expect the maggots to cycle into the pupa stage very shortly. Soon they'll emerge just as big as Big Momma. I'll update this ible with pictures of the pupa in a few days.
btw, did you know that pet spiders are especially fond of pupa?
Unfortunately, I'm leaving the country in about a week. I can't keep the farm going. If you are interested in raising BIG MOMMA Flies that will cycle into BIG MAGGOTS, just message me and I'll mail the pupae to you free of charge. I'd be interested in hearing all about the future generation of Big mommas if you are so inclined.
**UPDATE** BIG MAGGOTS ARE NOW PUPAE. They are needing a new home before they hatch. See the last picture.
Step 2: How to Farm Maggots
- Bait container: 1 large plastic container with a lid.
- Uncooked, decaying meat or canteloupe to bait the flies.
- Holding container for mature maggots: 1 small plastic container with a lid.
- Corn meal for the holding container.
If you're using canteloupe, put a few slivers into the bait container
Put the container in a warm spot outside. Leave it out for a day or 2. Female flies will land on the food and lay their eggs. Cover the container and bring it in at night. Cats, dogs and racoons may thieve your smelly bait if you don't.
On day 3 put your covered bait container in a safe, shady spot outside where animals can't bother it. Wait and watch for the maggots to hatch.
When the maggots have hatched you can let them feed for a couple of days or you can put them into the small holding container with a few teaspoons of corn meal. Refrigerating the maggots will keep them in a temporary state of suspended animation until you're ready to use them.
To feed fly pupa, put the maggots in the small container with corn meal once they have stopped feeding. Do not refrigerate. Put the container in dark place. The maggots will burrow in the cornmeal and become pupa in a few days. Refrigerate after they have reached the pupa stage. If the pupa are not refrigerated, they will hatch into flies.
To farm a revolving supply of maggots:
As the maggots hatch, remove them to the holding container. Add meat or canteloupe to the bait container as needed and start from the beginning again.Be aware that maggots are excellent climbers. Do not leave the bait or holding containers uncovered. The maggots will escape or get eaten by predators.
You can also start raising maggots like I did. Catch fly a few flies and see what happens. I don't know how to sex a fly, but the females are reportedly bigger than the males.
If you've never handled maggots before, now is as good a time to start as any.
Maggots aren't slimy like worms, but they do squirm. They don't bite, no matter what you see in movies. You don't even have to touch them if you have tweezers. The most unpleasant part of raising maggots is the smell of the bait container if you use meat. If you think that'll be an issue, you might want to use canteloupe.