The thought of nurturing maggots would be repulsive for most people. Right from the sight of the little bugs, how eerie they would make you feel and the fact that they multiply in magnitude. Nobody would want to fathom the idea of deliberately cultivating them in your home. But as a farmer, think of it in terms of animal feed and cost reduction!
Maggot farming is not as competitive. Matter of fact, very few farmers indulge in the practice. However, as a farmer looking for a cost effective way to enjoy small margin profits, 8 days is all it takes for them to grow. Using houseflies to make cheap, nutritious feeds for fish, poultry and pigs would be a huge relief for farmers, especially during these uncertain economic times occasioned by Covid 19.
In order to cultivate maggots, you will need to domesticate houseflies and harvest their eggs, which are then grown to larvae (maggots). To attract the houseflies, you may need to use organic manure like poultry droppings or compost waste like rotten fruits and food.
A housefly will lay at least 600-1000 eggs at a go within a controlled environment. This means, the houseflies need to be put in a container for mating and egg production. Once the eggs are laid, they are then transferred to another container or bucket that contains kitchen waste or organic manure that allows the larvae to grow. Adding water to the waste daily quickens the rotting process and increases production of the larvae.
The larvae stage lasts about 5 days while the pupae stage lasts 4-5 days. You want to harvest the maggots before they turn to adult houseflies. Here are the different methods you can use to harvest the larvae:
- Floating. Mix the manure or kitchen waste with water to allow the larvae and pupae to float above then sieve them out.
- Sieving. Separate the maggots from the waste through sieving and place them under direct sunlight for a day or two to allow them die and dry up.
- Self-collect. This is where the larva is trapped in a collecting tank or bucket while they try to escape.
Depending on the preference and intended use of a farmer, feeding the fresh maggots to your animals can be one option to reduce the cost of feeds bought. Dried larvae can be packed or grounded into powder for resale purposes. This creates another income stream for the farmer.
Maggot farming is currently being practised in South Africa and Uganda on high scale commercial farming. As a farmer, is Maggot Farming something you would consider taking up?