I have created a bed of straw, shredded cardboard and paper, and kitchen waste (veggies, fruit, coffee grounds). The area is situated to the north of the coop so that light is limited to late afternoon.
You sound like you are on the right track, but you might think about adding some water to help drain off excess salts. Let everything sit for a while (maybe a couple of weeks) without adding more chicken manure (not sure if this is possible in your case), then dig some of it out and see how it looks and smells.
Select CategoryAquaponics (1)Benefits of Composting (41)chickens (1)Compost (200)Fishing (15)General (32)Heirloom Seeds (2)Indoor Composters (133)Live Worms (146)Meal worms (23)Night Crawlers (29)Outdoor Composters (127)Pet Food (1)rabbits (5) Red Worms (170)Supplies (13)UP University (5)Uncategorized (5)Vermicomposting (67)Verminous (3)Work Factory (5)Worm Kits (13)Worm Tea (4) When you’re breeding earthworms, it’s not enough that you provide them a nice and comfortable bin to thrive in. You’ll just have to feed them decomposing organic wastes, that have been cut or chopped into smaller pieces already; and are then buried under the ground (to sway away from unwanted visits from pests and to also avoid odor build-ups).
Raw eggshells with some egg white’s still stuck inside (it’s best to clean these before using them for your worms, as these may carry diseases that can harm your compost pals). Fats and Oils –also helps in lowering down the pH level of the worm bin; and also causes odor build-up especially when these start to decompose.
The answer is, yes; feeding Red Worms (or meal worms but that is a different story) to chickens is an excellent idea. Just know that there is a downside; it takes quite a bit of time and dedication for this self-sustaining food source to multiply enough to keep up with demand of your hungry livestock.
This has a dual purpose: feeding your chickens, and allowing you to use the castings as organic fertilizer for your plants! You will be able to segregate the two by applying the dump and sort method or leaving a section under light and periodically brushing off the dirt on the top.
Just know that drying any food source causes nutrients to be lost and the chickens love the act of ‘hunting’ their prey. After they have dried, simply grind them however you feel works best for you (e.g., food processor, mortar and pestle, a hammer, whatever).
Whether you choose to raise your own or buy them, feed them fresh and wriggling or dry and powdery, the worms are an excellent means to provide sustenance to your chickens! Rehabilitating degraded land in the Peruvian Amazon requires utilizing many tools in ecological agriculture’s arsenal.
We use a mix of sea kelp, calcium solutions, organic fertilizers, and rock phosphate to add nutrients to our Sacha inch and mambo poly cultures. There are many great links on the internet sharing different methods for housing worms, feeding them, and collecting their valuable excrement (see also: ECHO Vermicompost PDF and window).
Milk wood Permaculture in Australia has some really cool designs like worm towers in garden beds for constant, direct access. A great thing about using permaculture fertilizers, besides its organic nature, is that plants can handle fairly heavy dilutions of the teas without many ill effects.
Besides wanting to expand our fertilizer options and minimize costs, I was also getting tired of Rider’s chickens not having a designated space to roost for the night. They would choose tool handles, walls of the house, boxes, or shelves and subsequently crap all night long leaving piles of very useful nitrogen and phosphorous rich excrement in all the wrong places.
It can hold about twenty heavy bags of fresh cow manure plus an ample covering of kitchen scraps and sawdust. To protect the worms, 1" metal mesh was nailed to a wooden frame covering the entirety of the box to prevent the chickens from eating their wormy neighbors below.
The calamine (sheet metal), on the inside bottom of the bin, is built with a slant toward one end for any liquids to drain out and be captured. A slanted, folded piece of calamine is added to the exit to catch the liquid and act as a gutter.
*** The whole box is placed on six trunks sunk into the dirt floor with a slight slant to ensure proper drainage. At first, it took a few days to get our feathered ladies to realize that they had their own designated sleeping space, but eventually they got the message, and now they all roost there comfortably.
I filled the worm bin with the bedding of excrement and samples of soil collected from a variety of habitat locations. While digging a scale near the fishpond I noticed that the topsoil had a variety of worm species and eggs, especially in the shaded eastern and southern areas of trees.
I was very happy to get two tasks done with one project: 1) redirect greater to a small drainage ditch to be surrounded by plantains, and 2) add worms to our team effort. On top of our new friends’ bedding, I added a layer of organic wastes from the kitchen and from a few auguries (juice stands) here in Kazan.
Worms enjoy and consume most organic wastes, but don’t like citrus peels, hot peppers, and other strong smelling/tasting foods. Crushed eggshells, coffee grounds and foods like banana skins that decompose into a slimy mess are great worm fodder.
Worms double their population roughly every 40-50 days, depending on food source, heat, stress, etc. An easy sliding mechanism for the chicken /animal protection lid would be helpful for putting in new food or for taking out castings (a.k.a.
Recycling old calamine is great since a lot of the galvanization is worn away from its prior life as roofing in our tropical climate, but some nail holes probably contribute to some leaks. * We did have a worm bin with lots of red -worms out on the farm as part of our farm-site nursery, but a tropical anteater was able to get in and wreak havoc on our defenseless little wigglers.
It’s a poison to most plants when concentrated, which is why I like to use old calamine sheets to reduce the potential for zinc accumulation in our soils. They are worms whose existence is dedicated to eating leftover food, such as discarded vegetables or fruit.
You’ll see them disappearing around the third week either dying out or escaping their bin if they are left without a food source. They do their best when left alone in a dark bin with an adequate food supply and moisture.
Of course, putting fresh scraps of food into your worm’s home will extend the time that they can be left unattended. This isn’t limited to just fruits and veggies but scraps of cardboard or coffee grounds too.
Browns include things like the coffee beans, cardboard, paper, or dry leaves. Worms need gritty brown food to help move their digestion along.
Worms need a pH of 6.0-7.0; if you find yours is too high, crushed eggshells will help to bring that acid back down. (Check our recommended composting resources page to see a pH meter that you can use for monitoring).
When used on a large scale, it helps our world’s environment because they replace chemical fertilizers. I know it seems really like a simple answer, but these worms are alive just like you and me, and if they’re going to help your soil they aren’t working for free.
They aren’t too picky, though, and feeding them is pretty easy when you’re preparing dinner and have some scraps of vegetable leftover. By regularly feeding your red wigglers, you are giving them the opportunity to not only survive but to thrive.
When they thrive, they compost more food items and produce more worm castings. Red wigglers don’t need much attending to but when you know you are going to be leaving on a trip it can be helpful to make sure your worms are prepared too.
The worms can drown and won’t be able to effectively work through the bedding if it becomes too saturated and compressed. Be sure to monitor your reservoir under the bin to ensure the worm farm is producing liquid.
If they aren’t, and they are getting slimy or starting to smell, lessen the amount added each time. Too little food can result in having a lot of small worms that aren’t growing well but too much, and you run the risk of some really unpleasant odors.
As you add more fruit and vegetable scraps you will be increasing the nitrogen levels in the bin. Worms don’t have teeth, so they grind the food you give them in something called a gizzard.
This is where the brown foods come to help that digestion process go smoother so those shredded cardboard and paper products in the bedding really are important! If you feed them too much, the worms won’t be able to eat it in time, and it will rot and mold and smell awful.
Keep in mind, as you feed them your leftover fruits and food, that they are also eating their bedding, so don’t overdo it while trying to learn how much they can consume. If it’s dry and the worms aren’t eating, they can ball up to conserve their moisture in their bodies.