Maggot bucket, a source of unlimited and free protein for your chickens

In the the fictional Survivalist / Going Home book series the main character makes something called a maggot bucket to feed his chickens after an EMP goes off and sends everyone into a SHTF scenario.

The idea of a maggot bucket is that you drill holes in the bottom of a plastic bucket and suspend it in the air above your chicken coup. You then place your meat and other kitchen scraps in the bucket and it will attract flies who will plant their eggs in it. The eggs will hatch and maggots will be worming their way around in the scraps. Those maggots will eventually fall out of the holes of the plastic bucket and be laying on the ground for your chickens to come pick off. Voilà! Self feeding high protein chicken feed. This protein will then make it’s way to a more nutritious egg for us. That’s the idea… But does this work?

Have any of you with chickens made something like this before? Would this work?

I don’t think it would smell any worse or be more gross than a compost pile would be, but might not want it right out your back window.

The wife and I are hoping to have chickens someday and don’t want to buy all this grain feed for them, so we are thinking about what else we can do to feed the chickens and keep them healthy. This probably won’t replace their feed, but could supplement it.

Picture of chickens, just cause they’re cute.


UPDATE: I will not be doing this as a way to feed my future chickens. I’m sure glad I brought up the idea before implementing it. Read all of the great comments below for why.


  • Comments (14)

    • 8

      My chickens would eat very little layer feed.  They got everything they needed by having unlimited grass and bugs… plus all the blueberries they could eat when they ripened.  I would give each a handful of scratch each day.  In the winter, I’d given them scraps from the kitchen plus would bring them down a cantaloupe or two each week.

      I personally don’t care for the idea.  Besides being gross & stinky, IMO it would attract predators.  Anyone that has had chickens out in the country knows that predators can wipe out your flock.  Believe me… I speak from experience. 

      • 6

        I agree with Redneck here. This is probably a bad idea. You’d be better off feeding the scraps to the chickens. I’m not sure you’d get maggots in cold weather. And yes, it would attract unwanted pests and would also likely stink because unlike a compost pile you wouldn’t have anything “brown” for the scraps to rot with.

        I think growing fodder would be a better plan. I’ve ordered some amaranth seed and I’m going to try growing some this summer. I’m thinking the greens and seeds might be good not only for human consumption but also chicken fodder.

      • 5

        From what I’ve read from everyone’s comments it looks like Gideon should just give his meat and other kitchen scraps directly to the chickens instead of messing around with growing maggots. Lot less room for issues with predators, smell, disease, and hassle.

        Maybe he can ask his neighbors for their kitchen scraps too in exchange for some eggs every so often. If my neighbor asked for my scraps, I’d willingly save those for them to put it to better use than just going into a landfill.

    • 7

      Hi Gideon, I did a quick search and people are actually doing this but I also

      found a website called backyard chickens where they explain why not to use a maggot bucket. It is because of diseases that the chickens can get. Here is the link to their discussion about it:


      Hope this helps,

      • 5

        Yikes! Something i’ll need to research further before implementing. Thanks for the link and research.

    • 5

      I have had chickens. I am taking a break for awhile but have friends who have them as well.  I fed my chickens any mice I caught in traps, and now I keep them and deliver them for my friends. If you put meat vs grain in front of a chicken, you would have to avoid the stampede for the meat.

      You might find the links below useful



      • 6

        I never knew chickens loved meat so much, really interesting. Thanks for the links

      • 4

        Giving mice were always fun. One chook would grab the mice and take off to eat in private. The other chooks would see her and try and take the mouse out of her beak. You would end up with a chase around the backyard. Really funny. 


    • 6

      We keep chickens but don’t use this. Maggot buckets are one of those ideas that sound nice in theory but are likely to be a major headache in real practice. Rotting animal products smell revolting, the flies could easily get way out of control, and predators would be attracted to the stench. 

      We use a combination of free ranging, kitchen scraps, and chicken feed to feed our birds. Their feed use is cut by a solid 50% in Spring-Fall when there is plenty of food available in the area, but they blow through commercial feed in the winter when the ground is frozen and covered in snow. In a true apocalyptic grid down scenario where you could’nt get any more chicken feed ever again, most keepers would have to carefully ration their stores as long as possible, find supplemental feeds they could produce at home (seeds, corn, etc), and make liberal use of all food scraps produced by the household.

    • 7

      Another reason you don’t want maggots and flies around your chickens: flystrike, in which flies lay maggot eggs inside the skin of an animal. It can affect chickens with injuries or poopy butts. You probably don’t want to Google that, it’s nasty.

      • 8

        Oh gosh! Ok I’m not going to do a maggot bucket. Thank you all so much for your advice and for steering me away from this horrible idea. I’ll let the idea stay in the fiction book and move onto better methods of feeding my chickens.

        I appreciate all of your guys’ research and kind words of advice.

    • 3

      Had to chime in! Have had chickens for most of my life, and they’re very hardy & fun! They do LOVE meat & fat of all kinds, but it’s a good idea for meaty kitchen scraps to be 1) cooked, and 2) cut or chopped to bite sizes, or else they’ll chase each other all over with chunks hanging from beaks & will potentially choke, or waste what they can’t force down. 

      • 4

        Why would you cook it. In the wild they would eat raw meat, why change it?

      • 8

        Feeding raw meat can encourage cannibalistic behavior, and transmit illness. They’ll live a lot longer in captivity with good managed care; just ‘cause they’re happy to eat something doesn’t mean it’s best for them, kinda like us.