John invited me to his property, and showed me his setup of a half-dozen breeding boxes. Met his lovely partner Liz, and had a great time just chatting about life in general. I didn't offer to buy a batch of grubs at the time, mentioning it would be a few weeks before I could set up a proper brooder. Fast forward a few weeks, to an email from John:
Oh heck yeah, the hens would LOVE some grubs! I arrive at work, and not only does John have a can of mature grubs for our girls, but a box for breeding, a chicken-wire box top, nesting medium, and a tub of young grubs to grow! He gave me a quick rundown on how to attract local, mature BSF's for more grub breeding, and was on his way. [Spouse, we have GOT to feed these folks some of your amazing pasta as a "thank you"... ]
Got the grubs home, and quickly threw together a temporary setup for the young larvae. A hole was cut near the box bottom, and a piece of hardware cloth guard affixed over the hole via duct-tape. (I'll take off the tape and use proper bolts and washers to secure the hardware cloth this week.) The sawhorses and box platform have been placed underneath a grove of shady oaks, so it will keep the grubs at a comfortable temperature. The platform is on a slight downward slope, and the box opening facing the downwards slope, which will encourage mature grubs will crawl out through the hardware cloth-covered opening and any excess moisture drain out easily. The bucket below will catch the grubs as they leave, who will then become high-protein, live chicken feed.
I've also placed a pet fence around the whole setup - John mentioned that the grubs can sometimes attract raccoons and other grub-loving creatures.
Next things needed: create a covered shelter for the brooder - don't want rain to drown the grubs - and a more secure structure to hold the breeding box. Oh, and make permanent breeding cubbies by drilling small holes in a couple pieces of wood, and attaching to the sides of the brooder box.
I feel like such a geek to be so excited over breeding larvae!
Side note: "Maggots are not Black Soldier Fly Larvae", in case you wanted to know the difference.
[Pic top: mature grubs, ready to either become flies, or get eaten by our girls. They feel dry and leathery. Second pic: details of the temporary setup. Pic bottom: the current setup.]