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Can You Feed Red Wigglers To Chickens

author
Maria Garcia
• Friday, 01 January, 2021
• 7 min read

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.

wigglers fatten
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Contents

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 ! Lisamcconnell, I tried to convince mine that a worm would be good them.

I walk about the yard and as I go, I bite off small bits of the bagel and blow it out of my mouth toward them. We look like the pied piper, they just follow me around and go crazy to be the first one there to get the bits.

When I step out the back door, they all come running up to me hoping that it's bagel time! Mine love meal worms but not so crazy about red worms.

worm worms wigglers charlestown progressive ladies soil rhody kind husband collette
(Source: www.progressive-charlestown.com)

I started a compost bin to raise red worms and I had hoped they would eventually learn to like them. In contrast, when I throw them an earth worm from the garden they can 't gobble it up fast enough.

They are not generally picky eaters, but I have noticed they are pickier now that it is summer. I am hoping that cold weather and slimmer picking' in the forage dept.

I am also racing red worms now, both in my compost heap and in two smaller beds. Numerous times I see them inspect them, then move on to something more lively.

Earthworms are hosts for all kinds of evil little microbes. Now when it rains, unless it's pouring, they stay outside, looking for worms that are coming to the surface because their borrows are flooding.

The girls have mud all over their beaks and look like toddlers with chocolate cake smeared all over their faces. Worms are a natural food for chickens. A lot of people have cultured red worms for feeding to chickens.

worm composting farm system kit bin vermicomposting factory container indoor amazon
(Source: giftsandwish.com)

Ask any old time worm farmer to list off some good “foods” for helping to fatten your worms, and there’s probably a decent chance that “chicken laying mash” will be on that list. I’ve always been curious about this mysterious (to a suburban worm warrior like myself) material, and hoped to someday have the opportunity to test it out as a worm food.

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.

My in-ground worm bin’s squeaky lid conjures the sound of a creepy crypt’s opening door. Some keep in-house worm bins going for many years, but those require a bit more maintenance than their promoters let on.

Then, I’ve moved on to other projects when the bin became a bad houseguest and generated too much stinky moisture or flies and maggots, which hatch from fly eggs laid on produce peels in the kitchen or grocery store. However, when I saw an outdoor worm bin built with concrete block sides and a plywood lid, I knew I would create one myself.

brood chicken expanded update
(Source: www.havingfunathome.com)

Excess moisture would drain into the ground rather than pooling in a stinky kitchen container. Any maggots that turned into flies would simply escape to the wild rather than buzzing and banging into my kitchen window.

Also, because I was considering ways to generate some free food for my flock, I realized I could use organic waste (see “Worm Food” below) too coarse for my regular compost bins to grow red worms my birds could eat come winter. A little research revealed red worms’ ideal conditions: temperatures between 59 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit; moisture level of 80 percent (like a damp sponge); pH between 5 and 9; minimal ammonia or salt; and no light.

To begin, I chose a well-drained spot on high ground that wouldn’t flood in a rain. After you’ve dug the hole, line the inside with a solid frame to keep the dirt walls from caving in and support the lid.

My pile of 6-by-6-inch scraps cut from the tops of pressure-treated fence posts gained new life as a free lining for my bin. I stacked two courses of these scraps and joined them together with 3-inch exterior grade screws, so they would stay in place.

Use a scrap piece of a 2-by-4 to prop the lid open when you’re adding organic waste, letting the chickenfeed or harvesting compost. Cover the door with heavy-duty landscape fabric or a double layer of shade cloth, so that light won’t bother the worms, but some rain can get in.

worm bin worms vermicompost vermicomposting wiggler foetida eisenia composting baby cycle earthworms wigglers species anatomy compost file vermiculture waste biology
(Source: dengarden.com)

Finally, have a tarp, a piece of plywood or some metal roofing handy to cover the bin if heavy rains set in, so it won’t fill up like a tub of water and drown the worms. You’ll add materials that are dry, so the steady drip of the soaker hose over the entire bin will sustain a roughly 80 percent moisture level.

At about $25 per pound via mail order (toucan find many vendors online) and with 32 square feet of bin, that was too expensive for me. Of course, being a lazy chicken-keeper, I didn’t want to spend time or energy harvesting the worms for the chickens.

So come winter, when the supply of bugs has diminished, I open the lid on the worm bin once every week or so and let the chickens scratch and feast on worms, other bugs and any seeds they find. By spring, the chickens are banished from the bin, but I open it in the morning, so the sunlight will force the remaining worms to go deeper.

I use either a shovel, pitchfork or seed fork depending on the texture and wetness of the compost. Then I restart the process of adding organic waste to generate more worms for next year’s winter buffet.

Coarse plant material (herbicide-free)<> seedy plants and rotten tomatoes that you don’t want to add to the compost bin; the seeds will survive, and in the worm bin, the chickens will scratch up and eat those seeds º mostly. Check with your local coffeehouse whether it offers waste chaff for free.

composting worming way into virginia roanoke tech worm
(Source: roanoke.ext.vt.edu)

Pine shavings from the coop cardboard, newspaper, and so on (Shredding speeds up decomposition.) Shredded tree leaves kitchen scraps, except for food items that are very salty such as potato chips or acidic such as citrus peels.

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