Anyone raise and feed red worms to chickens for extra protein?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bulldog-girl, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. bulldog-girl

    bulldog-girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 16, 2008
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    I was thinking about making a worm bind and starting some red worms. Mostly for my garden and compost but was wondering about also feeidng them to my hens. I free range our birds all day long but I am sure they would love some extra worms.

    Wondered if anyone out there also raises worms and supliments thier chicken diet?[​IMG]
     
  2. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was half-way expecting that subject to pop up when I suggested supplementing animal protein in the "gardening for chickens" thread.

    My compost pile right now is literally teaming with red worms. Of course, those worms are making compost and pulling them out would limit the speed of the composting and the nutrient value of the compost I put on the garden. The chicken manure and compost make reasonably fertile garden soil.

    Raising worms specifically for chickens has interested me until I began to realize that they need to be and are fed by people who are raising very many. Want to have a lot of worms - you gotta feed them. So what can you feed them? Gosh, worm feed looks an awful lot like chicken feed.

    Steve
     
  3. bulldog-girl

    bulldog-girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 16, 2008
    Estacada, OR
    digitS' :

    I was half-way expecting that subject to pop up when I suggested supplementing animal protein in the "gardening for chickens" thread.

    My compost pile right now is literally teaming with red worms. Of course, those worms are making compost and pulling them out would limit the speed of the composting and the nutrient value of the compost I put on the garden. The chicken manure and compost make reasonably fertile garden soil.

    Raising worms specifically for chickens has interested me until I began to realize that they need to be and are fed by people who are raising very many. Want to have a lot of worms - you gotta feed them. So what can you feed them? Gosh, worm feed looks an awful lot like chicken feed.

    Steve

    I have read up on making your own worm bin online. they say you use shredded up newspaper(lots of it) then wet it down and add kitchen scraps. They also like cardboard. Now these are not your earthworms. They are redworms that you get for vermiculture. A differnt worm than you find in your yard. You can also add coffee grounds with filters, egg shells and tea bags. Pretty much anything you put in your compost pile. Then they will compost it for you, make a nice "tea" for your garden. Once they have ate through the food you start a new bin. I imagine that if you did not have enough scraps from your family you would have to add some type of feed. Right now I give edible scraps to the chickens but It would be more efficiant to give the scraps to the worms, along with what I don't give the chickens like banana peels and such, and then feed the extra worms to the chckens.

    Once your worms have multiplied, you can add the extras to start a new bin or give them to your chickens, put the castings and tea right in your garden and leave enough starter worms to keep going.

    Here is a link to the info. http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/Easywormbin.htm
     
  4. wxdude99

    wxdude99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a worm bin with dimensions of 1x2x2. We put all of our kitchen scraps in the bin and add cardboard. I don't like newspaper. It clumps up and takes a lot longer to deteriorate than cardboard.

    My bin is self sustaining and provides plenty of worm castings for fertilizing my garden/plants. If you wanted to build something that would provide enough worms to feed your chickens and continually replenish the worm supply, you would be looking at something much bigger. Especially if you have more than a couple of chickens. And you would need a lot more than the scraps from your home. Just my two cents based on my experience...
     
  5. Lobzi

    Lobzi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Im not sure if it will work or not but Im collecting regular earthworms and putting them into a bin. I wanted to see if they will multiply like red worms do.
     
  6. wxdude99

    wxdude99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also, worm reproduction slows down considerably in winter. Just another consideration.
     
  7. wxdude99

    wxdude99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Unfortunately regular earthworms don't work well. When I started, I tried a small container with them. It didn't work. Red worms are what you need. And I tried red worms from a bait store, but they didn't work well either for some reason. It wasn't until I went online and bought red worms specifically bred for composting that I got results. It was a site called unclejimswormfarm.com. They were expensive, but well worth it. They were so lively, they almost jumped out of the bag when I opened it, and they are voracious eaters.
     
  8. NCchickenlady

    NCchickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    raleigh
    Quote:Funny, I just had a chicken friend come over this week and was telling all about raising worms. She does red worms and meal worms. She left a meal worm bin here for me to start one of my own and I will check her set up tomorrow. I'll get back to you.....
    I'm also starting Kerfir milk.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. lisahaschickens

    lisahaschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    I have been vermicomposting in my kitchen for quite a while now and when I got my chicks a few weeks ago, I started grabbing a few and feeding them as treats and they are a big hit. I would think it's a very reasonable idea because many people raise worms like this for bait, so it's not like pulling a few out will hurt thr population. They multiply to a comfortable level to fit their environment. The bigger you make their home, the bigger the population will become.

    Also, you don't have to worry about splitting your scraps between chickens and worms - worms love to eat lots of things that chickens do not - specifically, they love paper products. They can eat newspaper, cardboard, junkmail... they LOVE dryer lint, etc. Then, as a result you get great worm castings and worm tea for your garden, plus you can pull a few for snacks for the chickies. I think it's a great system.

    As far as worm type... you need to use the red wigglers that they sell you specifically for vermicomposting because they are top-feeding worms and will move up through the new layers of food as you add them. They are indeed earthworms... they are just not the kind that is native to most of our areas, or maybe they are but there are other kinds too. Anyway, the other kinds will move DOWN through your vermicomposter and leave everything on the top to rot. This is why they don't work.

    Anyway, I highly suggest it for everyone... many setups fit nicely under a counter in the kitchen and there is (miraculously) no smell at all and they are extremely efficient and low-maintenance and a great way to help us all go green!
     
  10. Momma_Cluck

    Momma_Cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd see if they LIKE them 1st! We gave worms to ours, and they picked at em , spit them out and walked away!

    Granted, they weren't as old as they are now, but get some from a bait-shop & try 1st!

    Worms can live on any left-over veggies etc. from the kitchen that you don't feed the chickens (apple peels, potato peels etc...) and occasional sprinkles left-over corn meal....

    but unless doing it in the composter-- seems like a lot of $$ and work, when sunflower hearts, leftovers, etc.. would do just as well. (JMO)
     

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