It’s 10am now and the I like Gin and Chickens and maybe 3 people shirt, Hoodie, Tank top, Sweater hens are getting excited and bustling around. Jo and Charles Mear were walking toward the huts carrying blue barrels and birds, heads sticking out, knowing what was inside: black soldier fly larvae or maggots.
I like Gin and Chickens and maybe 3 people shirt, Hoodie, Tank top, Sweater
Watching chickens peck around for maggots is perfectly normal. Insects are a natural part of a bird’s diet, but most hens today never see one in their lifetime. Instead, they are raised indoors and fed a diet rich in whole grains and soybeans, often in pill form. But insects are rich in protein and essential micronutrients. They require less space, produce less greenhouse gas emissions, and have a high feed conversion rate. And if they can reduce, even by a small amount, the I like Gin and Chickens and maybe 3 people shirt, Hoodie, Tank top, Sweater dominance of soybeans that destroy the rainforest as the food of choice for chickens in the UK, the benefit could be enormous.
“[Soybeans are] our Achilles heel. Charles says this is the best pound for a protein source so it is difficult to convince farmers to give it up.
Scientists at the I like Gin and Chickens and maybe 3 people shirt, Hoodie, Tank top, Sweater United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization certainly believe they can conclude that insects contain essential nutrients, especially proteins, to replace 25-100% of soybean meal for chickens. And here, in the chicken farm in Cambridgeshire, an experiment is underway that could bring that reality a little closer.
Mears keeps about 28,000 birds in two farms in Cambridgeshire, supplying branded stocked eggs to Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco. “We’re trying to produce a more sustainable ‘on-fence’ farm here, where we provide everything we need locally as possible. So figuring out how to replace soybeans is our next step, ”said Charles.
That opportunity arose on its own when he happened to hear about two Cambridge graduates who recently founded the insect startup Better Origin. “To people very close, I just told them to come and use our farm to try insects,” Charles said.