The next latest and greatest on the farm is the aviary, it is only days away from completion. It will eventually get filled with a menagerie of birds.These birds will need to eat. Baby birds especially need a high level of protein. So at Christmas, I decided to get some mealworms. In attempt to grow our own source of renewable, organic, birdie food. The mealworms overtime turned to pupa, then into darkling beetles. An interesting metamorphosis that has been educational for both me, and the kids. They have been in the beetle stage for about two months and yesterday, I was tired of always feeding them with no results. I thought that perhaps they were eating their own eggs. So I hired my boys for 25 cents, to get all the beetles out of the ten gallon tank, and move them to a different plastic container.Thus leaving behind all of their wheat bran, so as to hopefully let their eggs alone and have some hatchlings. There are hundreds of beetles, and after picking them out one by one for awhile,they got out my spaghetti strainer and sifted through all the bran. These bugs are interesting in the fact they don’t drink water, they get all their moisture for food or air. I have a jar of water in the cage they cannot reach for air moisture, and feed them kitchen scraps of fruit or lettuce every other day. Cucumber seems to be a favorite. Anyway, as the boys get to the bottom of the tank, I go to check on the progress. This exercise took much longer than it should due to the fact the boys are having way to much fun with any escaping beetles. Even Madison (4) was eager to grab the quick little bugs. So with all the darkling beetles moved to a new home, I peered into the now seemingly empty tank, and yet the bran was definitely still moving. After very carful observation, there are tiny little mealworms still in the bran. The exact same color of the bran, no bigger then a grain of rice. Yay! Of course the process still took longer than anticipated. In my research, the whole life cycle is 3 months. I am three months in, and the babies are tiny, but I am still encouraged. I’ll keep the beetles a little longer, hopefully get another batch of eggs in the new tank. Then take them out to the birds. So my baby quail and pheasants will get the extra protein boost after all. Slimy yet satisfying!