Growing Insects For Small Livestock Feed

On This Episode of The Modern Homesteading Podcast, Harold and Rachel Discuss Several Insects That Can Be Farmed To Feed Your Small Livestock And Cut Feed Costs.

The Modern Homesteading Podcast, Episode 181 – January 9, 2023

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Exploring Alternative Livestock Feed: Raising Insects on the Homestead

In this episode, we delve into the world of raising insects for livestock feed, a growing trend among homesteaders seeking self-sufficiency and cost-effective feeding methods.

The Need for Alternative Feed Sources

With fluctuating feed prices and a push towards more sustainable practices, homesteaders are exploring new avenues. Raising insects offers a high-protein, nutritious option that aligns well with natural diets of various small livestock.

Common Insects for Livestock Feed

  1. Mealworms: A favorite among poultry, mealworms are the larval form of the darkling beetle. High in protein, they can be raised in simple setups using totes and are a healthy addition to a chicken’s diet.
  2. Black Soldier Fly Larvae: Known for their high calcium content, these larvae thrive in composting setups and can be a sustainable feed source for poultry and fish.
  3. Crickets: Another excellent protein source, crickets are favored by various small livestock and can be farmed in controlled environments like aquariums.
  4. Grasshoppers and Locusts: While information on farming these insects is less widespread, they offer a nutritious feed option and can potentially be scaled up for larger homestead operations.
  5. Earthworms: Often associated with vermicomposting, earthworms can also be a valuable feed source, providing diverse nutrients to birds and fish.
  6. Silkworms: Not just for silk production, silkworms, fed primarily on mulberry leaves, can be a nutritious feed option for poultry.
  7. Cockroaches: While not a popular choice due to their reputation, cockroaches can be a viable feed source in controlled environments.

Income Opportunities with Insect Farming

Homesteaders can not only use these insects for their own livestock but also turn this practice into a profitable venture. Selling insects as feed to local farmers, pet owners, and bait shops offers an additional income stream. Moreover, providing starter kits for others interested in insect farming can be a lucrative business.

The Benefits of Insect Farming

  • Nutrient-Rich Feed: Insects provide a high-protein diet that is closer to the natural feeding habits of many small livestock species.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Raising insects can significantly reduce the dependency on commercial feed, leading to long-term savings.
  • Sustainability: Insect farming has a lower environmental impact compared to traditional feed production methods.

Final Thoughts

As we conclude this episode, it’s clear that raising insects for livestock feed presents an innovative solution for modern homesteaders. It not only promises a more sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle but also opens new avenues for income generation. Whether it’s mealworms, black soldier fly larvae, or even silkworms, each insect offers unique benefits that can enhance the health and productivity of your homestead livestock.

We hope this discussion has sparked your interest in exploring insect farming on your homestead. Until next time, we wish you happy homesteading and remind you to grow where you’re planted. God bless!

More Information

Livestock That Can Eat Insects

Insects That Can Be Farmed and Used For Livestock Feed


Black Soldier Fly Larvae


  • Video on How To Breed & Raise Crickets
  • Purchasing crickets to get started – order by size like ⅝” to start laying eggs quickly or ¼ “ to get more at a lower price that will grow quickly.
  • Purchase breeding crickets at The Critter Depot or find sellers on Amazon

Grasshoppers and Locusts

Earth Worms

Silk Worms

Cockroaches … Nope!

Income Opportunities

There is huge opportunity in raising any of these for income in a few ways.

  • Sell the insects as feed for people who don’t want to deal with it
  • Customer base in pet owners of reptiles, rodents, fish as well as homesteaders.
  • Sell breeding stock for others to get started farming their own insects for feed.
  • Baitshop

Nicholas Ferguson bugs video: 

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me in garden