Cockerum's products include Oregon Suet Block, a mixture of fat, beef kidneys, and bugs that bears a dangerous semblance to pepper jack cheese; Peanutbugger, a similar product that substitutes the fat with peanut butter; and Soya Musca domestica, a whitish powder that includes soya flour and a nutrient-rich algae.
Cockerum sells the products out of his own office in Beaver and through a national distributor, which markets them in more than 100 pet stores around the country.
Breeders of exotic birds, many of which crave a diet rich in live food, comprise a big part of Cockerum's market.
Ben Cooper, a San Diego bird hobbyist, says he feeds his rare finches live maggots from Cockerum's farm twice a day. The birds won't raise young if they don't get live food, Cooper said, and Cockerum raises the only variety of maggots small enough for their beaks.
"I think he's known all over the U.S.," Cooper says of Cockerum. "His larvae are very good."
The pioneering nature of the business has made it difficult to make money on a consistent basis, Cockerum admits. And since he recently moved from the Port of Tillamook to his own property in Beaver, he's had trouble winning over the neighbors.
For a pending land-use hearing before the Tillamook County commissioners, Cockerum says he's going to trade his torn blue jeans and chamois shirt for a pressed, pin-stripe suit and a new pair of wingtips. But as someone who enjoys being the fly in the ointment, Cockerum says he's also going to trade the gold studs for a pair of pearl earrings.
"I could live a more presentable, middle-class lifestyle," Cockerum says, flashing a smile. "But I'm more interested in doing something interesting than keeping up with the Joneses."