Anyone growing worms for chicken feed?

Discussion in 'Livestock' started by Blueridgeviews, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. Blueridgeviews

    Blueridgeviews Well-Known Member

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    I have a worm composter bin and am raising worms.
    I started months ago with 2,000 red wigglers and was told they double every three months.
    So I now have tons of worms and want to use them for chicken food in winter when they don't get many bugs free ranging. I already gave them worms from my worm towers in the veggie garden last year, and they went nuts for them. But I don't know how many they would need or even if worms can be used as their diet.

    Since worms are so high in protein, I wondered if anyone knows how many
    I would need to give them per day in the winter, and if they would still need some pellets also? Our chickens are good foragers and only get a little organic feed and sunflowers and other seeds we grow in our garden. I only want to supplement them the worms in the winter when there are no foraging bugs left. These worms are free, no expense, so seems like it could be a good way for people to save on feed money. Plus you get great worm compost.
    Thanks
     
  2. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    Worms seem high in protein, but reality is they are mostly water, and can transfer parasites.

    It probably won't hurt to feed any excess worms to the birds, but it's not really that good a food source to make it worthwhile to raise them just for feed.

    If you want to save "feed money", sell the worms as bait or as breeders for other composters, and spend that money to buy better feed supplements,
     

  3. COSunflower

    COSunflower Country Girl Supporter

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    There are quite a few people that raise worms and feed them to their chickens. I wish that I could raise them (worms) outside year round and use them for chicken feed also in the winter. It is too cold here and I just have a small worm tower in the house that I use for adding to my potting soil in the spring. I've read about people that raise soldier fly larvae for their chickens also. Have you checked in with members on our Poultry Forum?
     
  4. DisasterCupcake

    DisasterCupcake Crazy Goat Lady

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    I've purposefully kept rotting meat or garbage just to feed the larvae to the chickens.

    There was somewhere I read that putting rotting material in a hanging basket with straw lining draws in flies and their larvae drop down for the chickens to eat. Never tried that. Just let it stew a day or two and throw it to the girls.

    Haven't grown anything from scratch just for the purpose.. hens are good scavengers I'd wager its not worth the effort to make their job easier ;)
     
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  5. COSunflower

    COSunflower Country Girl Supporter

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    Disaster Cupcake - I read that article too and I believe that it might have been in an old Countryside Magazine. There was a photo of it also. You wouldn't want it hanging anywhere NEAR the house though as it probably smells. :) I imagine that lots of things like this were done in the old days when you had no place to buy feed.
     
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  6. CajunSunshine

    CajunSunshine Joie de vivre!

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    In the past, I have raised mealworms and crickets to feed my pet frogs. The bugs are super-duper easy to raise and are prolific. Nutritionally speaking they may be a goldmine for supplementing chicken feed in the winter.

    Might be something worth looking into.

    Tip: since wild crickets can harbor parasites, it is best to get your breeding stock from a pet store that sells live feeder crickets, which are supposed to be parasite-free.


    .
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016
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  7. Murby

    Murby Well-Known Member

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    I've been raising the red wigglers for almost 6 years.. At one point, I probably had north of 500,000 of them.
    Being in Michigan, temperature control is a big issue during the winter.. Made my worm bins out of a couple of deep freezers.. Bored 2-1/2 inch holes through the side and mounted a 12volt computer style muffin fan(s) for air circulation and put an 80 watt 10 ft long heat tape in the bottom to keep them warm.

    Also created a false bottom that was elevated to allow the harvesting of the juices that run off.. The garden plants love those juices.

    Unfortunately, my chickens wouldn't touch the red worms.. they'd eat a night crawler but not one of my red worms.

    What I'd really like to do is to engineer a 40 foot cargo container to pump out the meal worms at a rate of about 10 to 20 lbs per day... I had started a design and some lab work on how to get them to move and separate using a combination of light, vibrations, and sound but hadn't been able to work out a few of the problems yet.

    Chickens love meal worms and they can be frozen.. Pigs will eat them too and even humans can eat them.
     
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  8. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    Back in the 1990s and early 2000s before the red wiggler bait market mostly collapsed here, I kept about half of my worm operation for bait and half for trade as chicken scratch treats to small flock raisers near me in exchange for eggs and the occasional fryer to go in the freezer.

    Now that the bait market is collapsed in my area and most of the egg raisers have folded, I just maintain a few bins of worms to dispose of my shredded mail and kitchen scraps and use some for my own fish bait and to trade to the one remaining small flock chicken farmer in my area for scratch treats for his chickens and eggs and fryers for me.
     
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  9. Murby

    Murby Well-Known Member

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    Not sure if you realize this, but printer ink is toxic to them..

    News papers are fine.. they're non-toxic and I think its by law..
     
  10. claytonpiano

    claytonpiano Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Soldier fly larvae = great feed. We have a large bin and they drop into a bucket. The chickens love them. When the bin gets maggots, we scratch those out as well and feed those. Harvey Usury uses a maggot bucket that he hangs with dead animals in it. The maggots drop out on the ground and the chickens eat them. I cannot stand the smell so we use the soldier fly bin.
     
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  11. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I know people that hang a basket of dead fish over their fish pond. The maggots reach the stage where they need to pupate and they crawl up and over the edge of the basket. Then they drop into the pond to the waiting fish.

    Before you consider doing this first read up on "Limber neck in chickens".
     
  12. pitbulllover123

    pitbulllover123 Member

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    I breed Meal worms for my chickens ducks and geese also my quail love them and they only take a few weeks to grow in to meal worms maybe a month you can have babies after a 2 months time. I love them as they don't need any wetness like the red wigglers do and you can grow them in your house and they don't stink at all.

    My chickens don't like the red wigglers strange but they go nuts for the meal worms so does everyone else.
     
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  13. rainedaze

    rainedaze Well-Known Member

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    I just received my mealworms to begin breeding for my birds as well. I am excited to see how this adventure turns out. In my kit I received mealworms, pupa, and beetles. I bought a 3-drawer bin and am using chick starter for bedding and potatoes for their moisture.
     
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  14. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    Remember when feeding chicken feed as worm feed to use only the non medicated chicken mash as often wormer is a component of the medicated additive chick feed and will kill your worms.
     
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