The Skipio’s Story
The Cockerum (Cockerham) family settled in Jamestown, Virginia in the early 17th century. Like so many early American immigrants, they continued to prosper as farmers and ranchers in the East, primarily in Virginia and North Carolina. As their families grew and spread, some of the Cockerum’s moved West and settled in the small, western town of Payette, Idaho. Here, agriculture played a major role in the development of a robust community at the confluence of the Payette and Snake Rivers. Located at the western edge of the Treasure Valley, a moderate climate allowed for cattle ranching and the development of crops ranging from livestock feed such as wheat, alfalfa and corn to produce such as potatoes, onions and sweet corn as well as fruit orchards offering apples, peaches and apricots, to name a few.
With farming and ranching roots that run deep in this country, entrepreneur, Skip Cockerum, was a natural to develop his own unique brand of animal husbandry. Skip grew up in Payette, learning to appreciate the land and the bounty it has to offer. He attended college in Oregon, then began his research and development of feeder-insect-based products in the Oregon coastal town of Tillamook.
His work led to patented processes for “farming” Musca domestica, the basic building block for all Fly Farm Systems products. As Skip is fond of saying, “I have the largest ‘livestock ranch’ in the West.” In 2005, Skip returned to Payette, where he continues to refine his Fly Farm Systems processes and develop innovative insect-based foods for avian and aquaculture applications. He continues to produce hundreds of millions of flies per year at his unusual “ranch” in the Idaho foothills.
Over thirty years of research has gone into development of the Fly Farm Systems product line. The company uses all-natural ingredients and offers the highest quality feeds and supplements on the market. A unique vision has become a thriving business model to take us into future decades of environmental responsibility. The Skipio’s brand represents the best combination of ecology, adaptation and nutrition.
The common housefly, Musca domestica, is the most widely distributed organism in the world that can be seen with the naked eye. This insect, in egg, larvae, pupae or adult fly form is consumed by birds fish mammals reptiles amphibians and other insects. Fly Farm Products exists to develop, manufacture and make available to the public the extraordinary nutritional value of the common housefly in smart, well made and affordable products.
My primary trademark is Skipio’s. It is a name I dreamed up for myself when I was a little kid and I did something that was noteworthy and good.
I started my work with the housefly in 1975 while I was a student at Willamette University in Salem Oregon. I currently operates two companies. Fly farm systems is the insectary firm. We produce insects in great quantity in controlled conditions on healthy natural substrates in indoor grow beds. The insects are grown on a simple vegetable diet come prized of dairy cow manure and other natural vegetable compliments. Will all of the systems and equipment that are used in our insect culture were devised by me. I think the nutritional value of the housefly will prove to be a great resource in the future. I have promoted it thusly for several decades now. Part of that effort was to devise good affordable products for birds fish mammals and other animals to demonstrate the efficacy of this resource.
In order to really understand what I was dealing with an aviary food I kept over 450 birds, more than 80 species, so I could feed them and watch how they responded to what I was making. I kept waterfowl and poultry, many species of finches and saw and soft bills. My personal favorite was the starlings. I had six species in my aviary at one time. Because of that favor I made what I figured to be a very fine soft bill food that I called skipio soft bill maintenance diet. It has a large component of dried fruit in addition to the insects ground grains and greens. Friends have used that product for their own starlings and grackles have Their birds in beautiful shape for well over 10 years with several living 12 and 13 years.
The first bird food I made was Oregon suet block. There was designed specifically for woodpeckers. It is very simple combination of processed insects and rendered beef kidney suet. Since woodpeckers are insectivores the combination of insects suspended in high quality suet seemed a perfect combination. This product is now in its 26th the year of manufacture. It’s used all over the United States. It is the first insect based wild bird food made anywhere in the world.
I made Skipio’s Finch mixes from ground grains to more easily carry the ground insects, spirulina, dried egg products, soy powder or other elements. A very good way to use this product is added to the base with additional nutrients such as more insects, OvaMusca or SoyaMusca.
One of the important issues with caged birds is having a good calcium to phosphorus ratio. Of the feeder insects most commonly used the ratio is one to wind in crickets 1 to 13 in mealworms a 1 to 3.4 in the housefly. There was a very useful but nutritionally they are the least desirable of the group. However, they are the easiest to ship. In my studies I developed and perfected “gut loading” of my live larvae with calcium and achieved a ratio that was nearly 1.1. I am also very skeptical about using live mealworms with baby birds. The mealworms have large mouthparts that can damage a young bird if they are not killed immediately before presentation.
After years of effort by American and insect growers the value of insects and their use in the aviary has become known and is now standard. Our effort with this Skipio’s products is to make the nutritive elements available for everybody with a minimum amount of difficulty and a high degree of effectiveness. Soya Musca is a fine example of a nutritional aid that can be easily kept and used I will make a lot of difference in the health of your bird. It can be mixed into pabulum, baked into egg breads, sprinkled over and breads like powdered sugar on French toast. It can be dusted onto moistened fruits and vegetables. About the only ways that cannot be used is to sprinkle on scene because it falls off or set out as a stand alone food element.
OvaMusca is a more specialized product. Other than the one spirulina and oyster shell OvaMusca is made of animal or refined proteins. This is different from Soya Musca which uses vegetable based crude protein. OvaMusca should be used sparingly to fortify diets of birds under stress or as part of a baby bird diet. To my way of thinking the animal component makes this food more volatile. By that I mean it has the potential to spoil more rapidly with this in mind caution should be taken to keep any moist application of OvaMusca very fresh.
Steady experience with the wild bird food and ever-increasing catalog of aviary diets and supplements clear the way for many other food applications. I developed a line of poultry diets that perform every bit as well as my aviary, wild bird food and wildlife rehabilitation applications. We now produce specialty poultry diets with emphasis on breeding condition in the adults and neonatal nutrition. In the last few years I’ve been receiving more requests for specialty foods for other animals. Those include insects for mammals like sugar gliders and hedgehogs. Several people have found excellent application of my insects in aquariums as well.
My small bird food factory is located in my hometown of Payette Idaho. The actual farming of my insects is done a few miles away where I live in Ontario Oregon. All of our products ingredients are sourced in the United States. So are the boxes, bags and labels. We are very proud to contribute to the American product base and provide work for our friends.
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