High Feed Prices = Redworms

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by dangerouschicken, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. dangerouschicken

    dangerouschicken Will Barter For Coffee

    May 6, 2007
    Columbia Gorge, OR
    As the cost of poultry feed is beginning to break the bank, I am thinking of using redworms to supplement my chicken's diet. The information here makes it seem like such a great idea. Anyone currently doing this? Any input on the subject?

  2. chcknrs

    chcknrs Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    Kelso, WA
    I am planning on planting grains and BOSS and corn for my chickens. They free range all day, so they get a LOT of bugs. Some people are raising mealworms. I am thinking about it, but eeeeeewwwwwwww, the beetles! [​IMG] You can also raise crickets for them. We get a lot of grasshoppers around here in the summer. Can't wait to see that with the chickens!
  3. John T

    John T In the Brooder

    Feb 3, 2008
    SE, IA
    I am looking into making my own feed. Feed isn’t that expensive here at the moment but why wait until it is?
  4. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Crowing

    Mar 25, 2008
    I haven't heard of this before, but it is very interesting! Thanks for the great website and info! I have a son who would be more than thrilled to do this! [​IMG]
  5. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    My chickens wouldn't eat worms, but they love grubs! We dug some up in the back yard and they went to town on the grubs but didn't once touch the worms.
  6. MRNpoultry

    MRNpoultry Songster

    Mar 2, 2008
    Gibsonville, NC
    The feed prices around here have went up 3 dollers. We raise worms in our compost pile. When we come back from fishing trips we would put the extra worms in the compost pile. Now we have alot of red worms and night crawlers.

    During the summer the field next to use has tons of
    grasshoppers. About a week ago my chickens were chasing each other trying to get a worm the lead hen found.
  7. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    I tried it. Dried up Red Worms are 82% protein, but it takes 1 1/2 -2 months for your population to double in size.

    So to put in to perspective. It will take somewhere around 45-50 pounds of worms to reproduce 1 pound a day (in ideal conditions). Worms cost between $10-20 a pound to buy. If you invested $700 in worms to begin with, mixed 1 pound of worms (high protein) with some low protein grains or bulk filler to cut it down (make it go farther) and nothing happens to upset your worms habitat it could work.

    Now the bad news. 45-50 pounds of worms = 90,000-100,000 worms! A bin large enough to hold them all is going to be around 4'wide 8'long and 4'deep and will need to be maintained between 55 and 75 degrees. Worms can eat half their weight in food a day so you would have to feed them 22-25 pounds of food (spoiled vegies, breads, fruits) a day. If you had that much food scraps per day you could cut out the middle worm and feed your flock the scraps.

    It sounded good to begin with but the more I played with worms it became clear (at least to me). Worms are great for a high protein treat but are not likely to become a replacement food source any time soon (at least not around here).
  8. jackiedon

    jackiedon Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Central Arkansas
  9. plfreitag

    plfreitag In the Brooder

    Jun 28, 2007
    wright city mo

    He sells all kinds of worms and creepie crawlies. Got my mealworm starter from him.

    Trisha in MO
  10. dangerouschicken

    dangerouschicken Will Barter For Coffee

    May 6, 2007
    Columbia Gorge, OR
    Good posts, peeps [​IMG] What I would be thinking at this point, would be to use them as treats once or twice a week. It may not be a protein replacement, but the possibility of them working with my composting materials AND as a protein chicken snack has me interested.

    Regardless, the feed prices are just getting ridiculous. I can't let them free range where I am, but I try to supplement with as much fresh grass as possible. They LOVE it. [​IMG]

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