1 worm per day is all the top up a chicken needs for the protein?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by brummie, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. brummie

    brummie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 30, 2013
    Hello,

    I'm new to chicken keeping. Just trying to figure out some ways of chicken feeding, rather than relying on the pellets.

    I am a bit confused, I must be doing my calculations wrong somewhere. A layer needs approx 17% protein per day right?

    Well let's say for the sake of argument you were raising your chickens on just wheat grains (forget variety and other nutritional needs for now, just about the protein). Well the wheat will have approx 12.5% protein in it.

    An average earthworm has about 7 grams of protein in it.

    I think a chicken eats about 100-125grams of wheat grain a day if it was living just of wheat grain (correct me if I'm wrong).

    So does that mean that if I chuck in one average earthworm into the 100grams of wheat, I've more than met the protein needs of the chicken for the day?

    12.5 grams (in the wheat) + the 7 grams in the earthworm = 19.5grams of protein per day per chicken?

    Am I going wrong somewhere, or is one earthworm a day enough of a protein top up for one chicken?
     
  2. yankeehill

    yankeehill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SOMEBODY please chime in here! This sounds right, but gosh it sounds so easy!
     
  3. brummie

    brummie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's why I'm asking where I've gone wrong, because it does seem unrealistically easy. If that was the case, I don't think I would even bother worrying about the protein because i'm sure all of my chickens can find a worm now and again in my backyard ,(they have about 650 square feet of free range space and we get plenty of worms with our damp weather here in the UK). Worst case, I'd just dig up a patch now and again, so they could get to the worms more easily.
     
  4. yankeehill

    yankeehill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ..and this would make feeding organic MUCH easier (when mixing the grain ourselves).
     
  5. machina

    machina New Egg

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    Aug 31, 2013
    A gram is the weight of a cube of water with each side being one centimetre long. Or a bit less than half an inch.

    Protein is a little less dense than water but let's assume they are the same for simplicity. If you placed seven of those cubes end to end you'd have a fairly hearty earthworm. A bit less than half an inch thick and nearly three inches long. But a worm probably is no more than a third protein so you'd need a worm that was at least three times that size. That's going to be more like solid 6-8 inch long worm, so one of the bigger earthworms you usually come across.
     
  6. Mary Poopins

    Mary Poopins Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2013
    Hello,
    Are you talking about nightcrawlers or red wigglers (composting worms)?

    Assuming you mean red wrigglers, which have about 70% protein.

    Wheat has about 14% protein.

    The equalizer here is that the percentages that are quoted for worms are for their “dry” weight.
    So dry out a worm, weigh it, calculate 70% of this weight as protein and then you will have a better idea of the protein content of a single worm.

    Which has more protein pound for pound?
    This is like saying that tea has more caffeine then coffee. In it’s dry, bulk weight tea has way more caffeine!!
    But brewed cup by cup, we all know coffee has much more caffeine per serving.

    The same I am sure goes for wheat and worms.

    The only way to truly know is to weigh it and find out!!!

    Good luck, I hope you decide to share your findings!!!
    ~Mary
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. brummie

    brummie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, that's my mistake I think. Worms themselves don't weigh 7 grams, let alone have 7 grams of protein. Funny, on many sites I read an average worm has 7 grams of protein (that's when I got excited and stopped thinking). I guess somebody somewhere probably changed 0.7 to 7. Oh well. Back to the drawing board to try and find the cheapest and laziest feed options.
     
  8. yankeehill

    yankeehill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 24, 2012
    My husband and I talked this over. He reminded me that protein is a percentage, and explained it in big words I can't describe here...basically, no, an earthworm + wheat a day won't meet their protein needs.
     
  9. Mary Poopins

    Mary Poopins Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello Brummie!!!

    “Back to the drawing board to try and find the cheapest and laziest feed options.”

    Ha Ha!!!

    I laughed out loud when I read this!!!
    I totally feel you!!!

    Why don’t you try mealworms!
    They are packed with protein, a little high on fat (but you can offset this by feeding a low fat feed, like oats to your girls).
    Chickens love the worms (alive or dried) and oats (especially when their cooked), together or separately.
    You can store portions of the worm colony in the fridge (for several months) and take them out every couple weeks to either feed to the girls or “wake” them up to feed them so they can last longer in the fridge.
    You can raise them all year round, they don’t consume much food and what they consume is kitchen scraps and wheat bran and they don’t require water, heating, cooling, fussing, vet bills, etc...

    Two huge pluses, they don’t take up that much room and they are much cleaner then other options.

    You do however need to be cool with the worms (larvae), pupa (sometimes called aliens, because they look some H.R Giger creation), and the beetle (darkling).

    AND.....with repeated exposure to the larvae castings, you may build up an intolerance to them and develop an allergy.
    I have asked others about this and it seems to be respiratory.
    But this is easily taken care of by wearing a dust mask and doing all work outside.

    Some people keep them in those three drawer plastic storage shelf units, but I saw a video on YouTube where a lady keeps her larvae and pupa in a stacked container system and the beetles separate. You could easily stack the beetle container on top and have a complete colony in a carry box, thing.

    There’s tons of info I have overlooked, but so far what I have experienced is that they are as easy as can be.
    They make red wigglers and black solder flies seem dirty and nasty!!!
    Plus I have had red wiggler colonies die when there is cold snap and if it weren’t for me saving eggs, I would have had to have purchased new worms.

    I am a newbie at this whole thing but check out the BYC mealworm postings and YouTube.


    Speaking of oatmeal, you wanna see your girls freak!!!
    Give them a huge bowl of hot oatmeal with raisins!!!!
    They will become pigs and bury their little faces in it and then shake their heads and splatter oatmeal everywhere!!!!


    Best Wishes and Good Luck
    ~Mary
     
  10. hymanshiffer

    hymanshiffer New Egg

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    Aug 20, 2013
    Tucson,AZ

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