Living Center Oregon

Sustainable Living Center Oregon

Reduce your Chicken Feed Bill by 25%


barrel_400Our protein Dispenser provides about 35% of the calories for our chickens from daily food scraps.

Store-Bought Feed

Soybeans by weight, makes up about a third of store-bought chicken feed but it is only 16% protein.

Inside our Dispenser is Black Soldier Flies.  The can eat 3 pounds of food scraps per day in a warm weather and can provide the protein needs for 5 to 10 chickens.

On average a family of four (4) will produce about 2 lbs of food scraps per day.

Our Dispenser will turn 100 pounds of food wastes, into 5 pounds of usable compost as a superior soil amendment; process and generating possibly up to 20 pounds of protein that can be fed to chicken.  in addition to liquid effluent from the Dispenser can be used to feed your plants.

What is Black Soldier Fly?

fly_200The Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) is a tropical fly, but can live in the US during the summer.

Unlike many fly species they are not considered pests or do they bite.  They even drive away the regular house fly by exuding a hormone that house flies don’t like.

The Fly’s larvae is an excellent source of sustainable protein for chicken feed. The larvae have voracious appetites they can be used for composting household food scraps.

When the Black Soldier Fly larvae mature it instinctively climbs. An essential feature of our Dispenser is the incline tube ramp. The mature larvae will exit the feeding area. If the incline is no greater than 45 degrees, they will have no problem of the larvae wriggling up the incline tube ramp.  The larvae have no hesitation crawling off the end and into our Chicken Feeding Tray.

The larvae do not thrive in high moisture content or anaerobic conditions. Efficient drainage out of the Dispenser is essential.

 The Downside of the Dispenser

When the temperature gets close to freezing, the flies’ ability to digest waste grinds to a halt, and if they freeze, they will die. Thus, the Dispenser needs to be sustained at temperatures above 32 degrees.

If you are where the temperature gets to over 90 F in the summer, the unit should be set up in the shade, not the sun.  The high metabolic level of the larvae generates a good deal of heat and any additional heat supplied by direct sunlight could be disastrous for the colony.

The warmer it is, the faster your colony will get established. Started one in the spring and by summer it will going strong.

Our Design

Since, in our area, the temperature hardly gets to 90 F, our attempt to solve this temperature problem is to insulate the bottom half of the Dispenser.  Our Dispenser is made of a HPDC repurposed a 30-gallon barrel.  It is placed inside of 55-gallon HPDC repurposed barrel cut in half.  The bottom half barrel is black with insulation placed between the two barrels.

In the summer, half of a white 55-gallon barrel is fitted on top of the black bottom half of the Dispenser.

In the winter, half of a black 55-gallon barrel is fitted on top.  It is insulated to help hold the heat.

 Red Worms in the Dispenser

Black Soldier Flies is not a total solution in the disposal of all waste, due to the fact that larvae leave behind a small fraction of waste or residue.  Black Soldier Fly residue to the Red Worm is not a waste: it constitutes an ideal substrate. In fact, Red Worms grow 2 to 3 times faster on Black Solider Fly residue than on partially decomposed food waste.

Black Solider Fly larvae digest fresh waste, something that red worms cannot do, and red worms digest the more cellulosic materials, something that larvae cannot do. Together they form a perfect partnership, recovering all possible nutrients. Red worm residue (or castings) constitutes one of the best growing mediums for plants. It effects an enormous reduction in the amount of fertilizer required to grow plants

Redworms live and feed in a large, undifferentiated feeding mass; larvae should be fed only what they will consume in a day. The population in a worm bin is self-sustaining; whereas a soldier larvae colony requires renewal from an ambient wild population—otherwise, there will be no egg-laying females to ensure a new supply of larvae in the bin.

This is a great inexpensive way to offset the cost of chicken feed and a step towards sustainability for your homestead.

Biochar in the Dispenser

Non-infectious causes of disease are in particular poor feed quality and biocide contamination of the feed, as when herbicides are used to siccate feed grain or to treat weeds during the growing of GMO corn or soy feed. The consequences are an increased susceptibility to disease, growth depression, infertility and digestive disorders in chickens.

Feeding Biochar can stimulate the activity of these desired microorganisms in the digestive system. The benefit of the Biochar lies therefore not least in its ability to relieve in particular the liver-intestinal circuit.

The health, activity and balance of the animals will also be improved, as will meat and egg production. With animals’ immune systems stabilized, the risk of infection from pathogenic micro-organisms decreases.

It is recommended to mix 0.4% – 0.6% biochar to the usual feed. With laying hens the feed supplement should be suspended for 2-3 days every 10-15 days.

Sustainable Living Center

6349 S Hwy 101

Lincoln City, OR 97367










Automatic Chicken Protein Dispenser


This entry was posted on May 6, 2016 by .