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Vermiculture and Chicken Bedding

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Catalina, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. Catalina

    Catalina Songster

    Jul 19, 2007
    My parents have had a worm bin for years and they want to buy another one.
    They read somewhere that you could use used chicken bedding for the worm bedding.
    I refuse to have a worm bin in my house (I had a bad experience as a kid- the worms got too hot and escaped from the bin- bare feet/millions of fleeing worms [​IMG] ).
    They want to use some of my chicken's bedding for their worm bins and wondered if "anyone on your chicken site" had ever used chicken bedding in their worm bins.

    I would think the chicken poop would be too hot for the worms?

    Any ideas "chicken site people". [​IMG]
  2. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    I would love to know the answer to this as well. My husband just recently started a worm bin and if I can use some of our used chicken or goat bedding in it, that would be great!
  3. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    Nope sorry, fresh unaged chicken poo will kill the worms. Saw dust/chips take to long to break down, and straw/hay can heat up killing the worms.

    If they are just starting a new bin I recommend using shredded paper (I run it through a paper shredder) moist as a 2-4 inch thick bottom layer. then a thin layer of sand / old potting soil (make sure there are no pesticides in it) then a layer of dry shredded paper.
    Add the worms and give them a couple of days to settle in before your feed them for the first time.
  4. FractalFarmer

    FractalFarmer Songster

    Oct 31, 2008
    SF Bay area CA
    I am trying to start a worm bin using a few shovels of our compost, which is teeming with worms. I needed a place for scraps that the chickens couldn't have like potato peels and spoiled stuff. It's too early to tell whether it's working or not, but no biggie for me either way.

    I can totally picture that. If that happened to me today, I would have to call in the chickens!
  5. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    Quote:Keep a close eye on it, potato peels don't break down that quick, so the stick around go go anaerobic (makes bad stink) on you. using compost from a pile can also introduce some unwanted insects into your bin/house.
  6. Yep, I think chicken bedding would be too much for the worms. Tell them to stick to newspaper. Works for us.
  7. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    I think if you composted it first it would make excellent worm bedding. I use pine shavings and keep a deep litter system. I'll shovel it out into a bin every 6 months or so. With a little water the pile will heat for several days and then cool. A good turning and watering will cause it to heat a second time. After a month or so it is finished with the aerobic portion of the process. At this point it is half humus and half broken down wood chips that would make great bedding for worms.
  8. Catalina

    Catalina Songster

    Jul 19, 2007
    I did a little Google research.

    You will be able to receive feedstocks for free. Sometimes even the delivery will be free. Manure from most farm animals makes a great feedstock. Be careful with chicken manure, though. It is very “hot.” Manure will usually contain some bedding material such as wood shavings. This is a good thing, but try to avoid cedar or redwood shavings. All manure should be aged. Other feedstocks should be mixed about half green and half brown, and should be at least partially composted. If your bins are over a cubic yard, all feedstocks fed during the summer should be completely composted or well aged to prevent heat build up. When you get to the point that you are producing castings for sale, most of your feedstocks need to be hot composted to kill weed seed. Most farm animal manure is full of weed seeds.

    Animal manures are quite useable, most without any further preparation. Hog slurries, however, must be separated, and only the solids are fed to the worms. Poultry manures may contain excess ammonia and inorganic salts and so they must be processed to remove these substances which would be toxic to the worms. Plant residues, such as potato and brewery wastes, have also been tested as feedstocks for commercial systems. As in any livestock enterprise, it is critical to maintain optimal conditions. Moisture, pH, and aerobic conditions in the growing medium must be maintained to ensure healthy, growing worm populations.

    While I was reading about this I remembered something that happened this last summer in my garden. I had a spot where I dumped the shavings from my brooder a year ago. This summer I dug through that pile, because I wanted to move it and plant in that area.
    I found millions and millions of worms!
    Little ones and GIGANTIC big fat juicy ones.
    Being the dumb-dumb head I am, I never connected the chicken bedding to the worms.
    Aged chicken bedding = Ton O' Worms​
    1 person likes this.

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