Anybody raise nightcrawlers to sell?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by valschickens, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. valschickens

    valschickens Big Brother's Watching

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    A business proposition has landed in our laps to start raising earthworms and/or nightcrawlers. Residing in Michigan, the Great Lake State, it would seem logical to just jump right in!

    Anyone have any experience, advice or warnings?

    Thanks!

    Val
     
  2. Loriann1971

    Loriann1971 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't raise nightcrawlers for sale, but I do raise redworms for composting. It is very simple to raise them.
     

  3. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    You might be better off making your lawn conducive to attracting large nightcrawlers and going out at night to pick them for selling to the angling market. To raise them in bins is marginally successful compared to redworm wigglers.
    Also, check out the possibility of looking for nightcrawlers at well groomed golf courses. If you could pick them there, most of the work in maintenance is already done for your harvest.
     
  4. BearCreekFarm

    BearCreekFarm Well-Known Member

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    Val-

    There are a lot more scams around than there are legitimate opportunities to make $$$ raising worms, so my only advice is to be very careful. You did not mention the nature or the scale of this "opportunity", so it is hard to know what advice to give.

    If you would care to elaborate on the proposition, there are probably a few of us who could offer advice.
     
  5. jeffreyc256

    jeffreyc256 Well-Known Member

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    I read about the guy who supplies Walmart. He got started picking them up on golf courses at night. He hires kids to pick them then packages and resells them shipping them out overnight. It is a huge operation now and he has contracts with the places where they gather them.Multi million dollar business now. If you have large areas like that available you might do the same.
     
  6. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    If memory serves right, there was a thread a while ago about one of the worm-growing scams. You might want to do a search for that before signing up with anybody who promises you quick riches (if that's the way your business proposition was presented to you). Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is :)
     
  7. valschickens

    valschickens Big Brother's Watching

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    We live in a small town just north of the Detroit suburbs on 3.5 acres. The guy we met is half owner (investor) of one of the town's bar/restaurants. It was there that we met him and his wife. He said he's always had an interest in raising them himself but never had enough property to do so. He labeled himself an Entrepeneur (sp?) and, after inquiring more about our acreage, made the offer that if we did the actual raising, he would put up the initial investment and handle marketing & distribution.

    He was here the other day to buy some eggs from me, and looked over the property to see where the "greenhouses" would go. Apparently, this would be a big operation from the start!

    I'm a 46 SAHM and my husband, 40, works 12/7. How much physical work will there be for me? I do raise chickens so it's not like I can't do a little labor...mucking out coops isn't exactly a walk in the park. I just don't want to say "OK! Let's do it!" and can't pull my end of the deal.

    Also, what kind of earning potential is there, and what percentage should *I* get?

    I hope that helps. This is not a scam, at least I don't think, only because he's already part owner of the restaurant (I confirmed that).

    Val
     
  8. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Put 'the worm digest' into google to go to a professional worm raising site. Or email Jay (Shrek) in that he is a worm raiser.
     
  9. wormlady

    wormlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    First of all, yes there have been a lot of scams over the years. He may actually be a businessman in your area, but someone might be scamming him.

    Secondly, make sure you know what kind of worms he is talking about. There is a world of difference between a nightcrawler and a red worm; mainly in the rate of sexual maturity. Redworms give rabbits a run for their money and if memory serves the sexual maturity of nightcrawlers is about 7 years - be sure to check the facts though, I might be off by a year or two or three.

    IMHO it would be more lucrative to pick nightcrawlers than raise them.

    Raising worms in greenhouses? I don't know what part of Michigan you are in, but you should check into the temperature requirements of the worms (not lower than 40*). Raising them in greenhouses could cook them in the summer time. Can you (or can he) afford to pay to heat the greenhouses if necessary in the winter time?

    Do your homework. Raising worms can be profitable, but as Vera said, if it is too good to be true......

    We used to own a business that published books on how to raise worms. My husband's late grandfather would counsel people to start small. Make your mistakes on a small scale and then build as you attain knowledge. Worm raising is not a get rich quick scheme.

    Check out www.wormbooks.com for information. Spending $30-40 on some helpful books could save you a bunch of money in the long run (no we don't get a comission :) ).
     
  10. BearCreekFarm

    BearCreekFarm Well-Known Member

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    Definitely do your research! Nightcrawlers are difficult to raise in captivity, even more difficult to do so profitably. Which is not to say that it can't be done, but wormlady was on the money when she advised starting small. Like anything else, there is a learning curve to worm raising. It can be expensive to get started, and there is lots of room for error- it isn't difficult to lose all of your worms overnight, literally. Read some of the books that have been published by successful worm raisers- many of them relate stories about how they lost all of their worms, and had to start over, some of them more than once.

    Obviously, it can be done successfully, or people wouldn't do it at all. So I don't want to dissuade you from trying- heck, I think everyone should raise worms. But I'd hate to see you go in unprepared and fail.

    Here are a few questions/concerns which popped into my head when I read your last post-

    1. If the "entreprenuer" is so well-off, why doesn't he buy his own property and build his own set-up?

    2. If you go ahead with the deal, you need to be very specific about who owns what (greenhouses, bedding, wormstock, equipment and supplies, etc), and you need to be very clear about how the assets will be disposed of when/if the arrangement is terminated. For instance, what if this guy spends thousands of his $$$ setting up facilities on your property, and then you decide that you hate worms and don't want to be involved anymore? What happens then?

    3. Obviously you will check out the zoning regulations before you start this venture, but what about your property taxes? Is the addition of the worm facilities going to increase the value of your property and thus, the taxes? If so, who pays for that? If you are to be responsible, make sure that your profit is sufficient to cover this additional expense.

    4. How are the worms to be sold? Will you be packing them for shipment, or will buyers be coming to your residence to pick them up? If they are to be shipped, who pays for packaging and shipping expenses? Packing materials can take up a lot of space if you are producing worms on a large scale, so be sure to include some kind of facility for storage.

    5. You asked about the work involved- I have never raised worms on a large scale, but I can tell you that probably the most difficult task will be to "pick" the worms. This involves leaning over the beds and picking each worm out by hand, counting, then packing. It can be back-breaking work if you do very much of it. A lot of worm growers hire high school kids to do this for them.

    6. The rest of the chores should not be too demanding- feeding, watering the beds, checking for ph and moisture of the bedding material, watching out for mites or aother parasites- these should not take a whole lot of time, depending upon the scale of the operation, of course. Picking, packing, and shipping will likely be the most time-consuming.

    7. What happens if you get this all set up and your husband changes jobs or transfers, forcing a move? How will this affect the man's investment, and who will pay to remove any structures that have been erected? What will your liability be to him?

    8. Things you will need to consider-
    What will you feed the worms? How much will feed/medicine cost? How much will bedding cost? Equipment and other supplies? How fast will you be able to grow the worms to marketable size? What happens if the worms reach market size and the entreprenuer has no buyers lined up? Who incurs the extra cost of carrying the worms (food, labor, bed space, etc) until the worms can be sold? What if the entreprenuer has buyers lined up and the worms die days before delivery is scheduled- who incurs that liability?

    If you can figure out the anticipated grow-out period, calculate the labor spent in daily chores, then you can begin to figure out what kind of profit you can expect. I doubt you will get rich, even if everything goes according to plan, but you might find that it is worth your while and at the same time allows you to remain a SAHM.

    Good luck, and if you decide to go for it, I'd love to hear how it works out for you.
     
  11. valschickens

    valschickens Big Brother's Watching

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    Bear,

    You have just provided me with such pin-pointed questions and observations, that I can already answer your "if you decide to...." request: NO, we're not doing this!

    Thank you for shining the light!

    Val