I'm thinking of starting a worm composting bin, specifically the worm factory. this way, i can turn my scraps into compost. Also, i can take a worm out every now and then and treat my ladies. Anyone use this before and recommend it?
Yep, I have one. My only complaint is that the layers can get very heavy, causing compaction in the lower levels. I'd rather have a couple with just 2-3 layers than one tall tower. I like to use coir and whatever cardboard I can salvage as bedding. I just scoop off the worms on top for the girls every day.
I think pine shavings would be okay, but they may be a little acidic from the urine. It might be better to let it age a little before putting in the worm bin. I'd avoid any aromatic bedding, though. (cedar, etc.)
i have a little worm composting unit and so far so good. i LOVE that i don't have to waste scraps - it feels pretty good.
i'm not sure i'd use pine shavings. i recommend purchasing a "brick" of coconut fiber. you can get it at any local pet store that deals in reptiles. i bought one recently for about four bucks.
you put the "brick" (don't worry, it's super light - it's brick-like only in shape) into a bucket of water and it EXPANDS like crazy.
it's a natural, renewable resource that is safe for the worms to ingest and it is excellent for retaining moisture.
I don't really have any complaints aside from the compaction. It is MUCH easier to care for than a rubbermaid tub. I still use tubs if I have a lot to compost, and I might try used chicken shavings as an experiment this summer. Make sure that the leachate ( the stuff that comes out of the nozzle) gets watered down 1:10 if you use it on plants. If it smells like death, don't use it on your plants. I dump any that reeks out on land we don't use to grow on. (It is full of anearobic bacteria if it reeks.) The good stuff is great for plants, though. I recommend cleaning out the drip tray once a month or so to prevent back ups.
We kept ours in our dining room for a really long time. Nobody knew what it was, and most were shocked to find out we had worms in there. Properly managed it doesn't smell at all..well, it does smell like dirt. (Freshly dug earth.)
Oh, and btw - worms love chicken food. If you have junk layer food that may have gotten wet or gone old, toss it in your worm farm. Just make sure to cover well, or it'll smell like chickens.