Do you know healthy it is to eat bugs? To be a little more specific, crickets are super healthy for you.
I understand it can be considered quite “taboo” to eat crickets in a lot of areas, and I’m not really sure even I could bring myself to begin serving them on my dinner table.
But it has made me realize that if they are healthy for me, then they may also be healthy for my animals. And they are really easy to raise and require virtually no space to do it.
Therefore, leading me to want to explore the idea of cricket farming, which is what I’m going to share with you.
So if you’ve never considered the idea of being a cricket farmer, after reading this post, you might change your mind.
What is Cricket Farming?
Cricket farming is a method where you can raise crickets. You can raise them outdoors if you have a setting for them that you can keep warm enough.
However, if not, you can always raise them discretely indoors as well because they require such small amounts of space.
Why Would You Raise Crickets?
You might be wondering why you would even raise crickets to begin with. There are actually lots of reasons to raise crickets. They are:
1. For Yourself
If you can get past the idea of eating a cricket, you might be surprised to learn just how good they actually are for your health. Crickets contain a ton of protein without a lot of fat or calories.
Actually, they contain more protein per bite (per density) than beef or chicken can provide per bite. For example, in a 100-gram cricket there is 16-21 grams of protein.
Also, there is only 5 grams of fat and 121 calories per 100 grams of crickets. Beef can contain up to 300 calories per 100 grams. Not to mention, the fat that crickets have is actually the good kind that will not raise your cholesterol.
So if you are becoming more health conscious and would like a healthier protein option, then you might want to seriously consider adding crickets to your diet.
2. For Your Birds
As much protein as crickets can provide for you, they can provide the exact same amount to your chickens. We discussed in this article how important protein can be to chickens in molt.
Well, crickets can be an inexpensive way to up their protein intake and ultimately help the health of your flock.
So keep cricket farming in mind when looking for low budget ways to feed your poultry.
3. For Bait
Crickets are often used as bait when fishing. If you are a fisherman, then you might want to raise your own bait.
Considering how inexpensive raising crickets can be, it could potentially save you a good amount of money in the long run.
Not to mention, you’ll never have to worry about stopping by and picking up bait before you can fish. You’ll just have to remember to take it with you before you head out the door. Convenience is a good thing in this instance.
4. For Reptiles
Reptiles love crickets. If you are an owner of reptiles, then you might want to consider raising their own high protein snacks for them.
Purchasing crickets are not super expensive, but they cost much less to raise. So taking advantage of a way to live more frugally and save yourself some money is usually a good idea.
5. For Money
If you are an entrepreneur or a homesteader that is looking for more ways to add a little extra cash to your wallet, then you might want to consider selling crickets. It is inexpensive to start this business and obviously has many different markets available to sell to.
So if you are looking for a new business to start, then you might want to really consider cricket farming.
How Do You Start a Cricket Farm?
The simplicity of cricket farming reminds me a lot of the simplicity of starting a worm farm. They require very little to get started and only a few steps need to be followed. Once you get things down pat, you should be ready to raise your own food (for yourself or animals) or ready to start a (hopefully) booming business. Here is how you raise crickets:
1. Get Their Home Ready
When deciding to raise crickets, you are in luck because they require very little to get started. You’ll need a 14-gallon bin that has high and smooth sides. You need the high sides to keep the crickets from being able to easily jump out of the bin.
However, if you have a bin with indentions in the side, the crickets can easily use them as a ladder to climb up on and then jump over the edges of the bin.
So be sure to choose your bin accordingly. You’ll also need a fresh water source for your crickets. This can be as simple as a shallow dish with water in it, or a water pad. Just be sure that the crickets won’t drown in the water.
Finally, make sure your bin is very well ventilated. If the crickets can’t breathe, they obviously won’t make it. So take that into consideration as well.
2. Buy the Crickets
After you have the crickets’ home all ready to go, you’ll need to purchase your crickets. They usually go for about a dime apiece.
So you’ll need about 500 crickets to get started. The key is to keep the crickets’ bin at a consistent 86 degrees Fahrenheit. You can buy your crickets here.
3. Feed the Crickets
Now that you have your crickets, and they are in their home, you’ll need to feed them. This is where it can get interesting depending upon their purpose.
If you are raising them for human consumption, then you’ll need to play around with this step a little bit. The reason is that crickets’ taste will vary depending what they eat.
So you’ll need to figure out what to feed them in order to give them the best flavor.
However, if you are raising them for consumption by animals, then you can feed them whatever ends up being the most cost-effective for you.
You’ll need to feed your crickets plants such as cucumbers, pumpkin plants, and other plant-based items.
3. Create a Maternity Area
Crickets lay eggs which mean you have to come up with an area for them to lay their eggs. This is as simple as filling a small tray with top soil. You’ll then need to place the tray inside the bin.
You’ll need to spray the tray daily with water to keep it moist and desirable for the crickets to lay their eggs in. When you begin seeing things within the soil that look like tiny grains of rice sticking up, then you’ll know that your crickets have laid their eggs.
After you begin to see this, you’ll need to remove the tray and prepare for the next step.
4. Incubate the Eggs
Cricket eggs have to be incubated. They need a warm climate with around a 90% humidity level. You could try using a regular incubator to do this or place the tray under a heat lamp or on a heating pad to provide the warmth.
In my opinion, I would think an incubator would be the easiest route so you could control the humidity levels. They’ll need to remain incubated until they hatch within 7-10 days from the start of incubation.
However, be sure that you are spraying the soil in the tray daily during incubation. This is important to make sure that the crickets hatch.
5. Raise the Babies
Once your baby crickets have hatched, you will need to have a separate area to raise them until they grow large enough to be integrated with the other crickets on the farm.
Also, you’ll need to feed the baby crickets large amounts of protein while they are at this stage. You can feed them things like small bites of tofu and chicken to give them the protein they need.
They’ll spend about a month in the ‘cricket baby center’ growing and maturing.
6. Add Them Back to the Cycle
Once the first month has passed and the baby crickets have gained enough size to be integrated with the other crickets, you can switch them over.
Then in a few weeks after integration, they’ll be ready for breeding and joining the cycle of the cricket farm.
When you get this whole process down to a science, you’ll have crickets rotating regularly, and your cricket farm will begin to grow.
Is There Money to be Made?
In a short answer, yes. You can definitely start a cricket farming business and do well with it (like in most any business) if you know how to market correctly and raise a quality product.
My suggestions for those that are looking to raise crickets is to remember that birthing a business takes a lot of time and a lot of effort.
Also, begin by advertising locally. You can pitch your points on sites like Facebook, Craig’s List, and local yard sale pages. If you are selling them from the approach of good health, you might want to consider speaking to some people that are in the holistic field because they might be able to put you in touch with clients in that market.
It is also a good idea to speak with local pet stores and with local bait shops. If you are investing larger amounts of means into cricket farming and want to be considered on a national scale, then you might want to speak to pet shops about being the chain’s supplier for the entire region.
Finally, consider setting up an online store. That way people who want to purchase crickets to start their own cricket farm or just want the convenience of ordering crickets can do it online. Be sure that you are comfortable with shipping live creatures before making this jump as you don’t want dead crickets arriving at the customer’s doorstep.
Well, there you have it. You are now in ‘the know’ about cricket farming. Crickets may not be everyone’s thing, but I think it is awesome to gain knowledge and know how to grow more food for your animals on a smaller scale.
And if you decide to start consuming the crickets yourself, then that’s great as well.
But now I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Do you raise crickets? Do your animals like them? Do you or have you ever eaten crickets? If so, what health benefits have you gained from it, and how do you prepare them?
We love hearing from you so leave us your comments below.