Los Angeles Urban Chicken Enthusiasts Message Board › Anyone here raising worms? and a philosophical question :)

Anyone here raising worms? and a philosophical question :)

Laura B.
Group Organizer
Norco, CA
Post #: 243
I have seen my chickens unearth these HUGE worms... don't know the name, but they are probably 1/2 inch diameter and 2 inch long... they totally enjoy them... and I want to know how can I raise them? I know I can search on line but I love talking to real people here in this forum!

I'm a vegetarian so this is taking me to a very interesting place... my chickens have taught me about balance and I can't even attempt to make them vegetarians... that would be crazy in my book... but raising worms and having them being killed alive is a stretch for me --- but I want to raise them because it's important to me that my chickens get the right nutrients... I know we came to a planet where we eat each other, plants, animals... I just don't want to be part of any cruelty... is it cruel to raise worms and feed them alive to my chickens? how can I make sure my flock gets the 'animal' nutrients they need? most free range and find their own food but a couple of my groups are a bit more restricted... still free range but not where there are many 'goodies' for them to find...

any input is appreciated!

Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 203
Hi Laura -

Only you can arrive at an answer to this question that you are comfortable with . . . as you know, we as a group all have various points of view on this topic. But since you ask, I would say that in my perspective, the notion of cruelty is a purely human conceit. When a chicken grabs a worm in its beak, it is only taking a bite of food that it has stumbled upon. When the worm eats . . . whatever a worm eats, it is doing the same thing. From the perspective of the living organism that's being eaten, is this cruel, or simply a consequence of being part of the food chain? The morality is a judgement we humans impose on the situation in order to make ourselves feel better about taking our part in the same food chain. If you choose to raise worms so your chickens are better-fed, you're doing a good thing for the chickens. You're also giving the worms a nice home and good food until their final day, which would come whether you fed the worm to a chicken or whether the worm got eaten by some wild bird or reptile. Is it wrong for you to actively increase the worm population? There's really no difference between your chicken eating a "wild" or "domestic" worm, in the worm's perspective.

I take comfort in knowing that the worms will balance things out by eating me when their turn comes. We're all in this together smile . Just my two cents.
Alhambra, CA
Post #: 149
Well said Cyn. I agree. I love what you said about the worms getting the last turn. I think it would be great for you to raise big, plump, juicy worms for your girls, Laura. Mine love them. Good luck.
Laura B.
Group Organizer
Norco, CA
Post #: 244
Lol maybe I need to rethink the wanting my body cremated :)
Thanks, I love hearing people's views

Hope someone knows how to raise those big ones!

A former member
Post #: 101
I have had a 'worm bin' since the '80's for composting all my kitchen waste. This includes paper such as coffee and tea filters, and paper napkins. No meat---but I am vegetarian anyway. There used to be a cool outfit in Thousand Oaks called the Worm Concern, that took waste horse stable bedding and composted it in huge outdoor piles, with the aid of red wigglers, or Eisenia foetida. This business came into being in 1976 and were such a fabulous source for helping people start vermi-composting at home and providing quality soil amendments recycled from garden and stable waste. They went out of business, unfortunately!! I still have the original book I bought with my starter worm bin "Worms Eat my Garbage" by Mary Applehof, the 'Bible' of vermicomposting. It is very easy to start a worm composter with a handful of starter worms and a flip-top bin to keep them and their food in. The bin must have holes drilled in the bottom for drainage of excess fluids, but otherwise it is a self-contained system.
The earthworm that your hens are digging up is a whole different creature that does not digest rotting material the same way red wigglers do. Earthworms (Lumbricus rubellus) are soil dwellers and require that environment to prosper. They are sometimes called 'Nightcrawlers' but are only ONE of many types of soil recycling worms. So, I sometimes give my hens a handful of the Eisneia foetidas, but for the most part I use the worm castings as soil enhancements for my vegetable garden and as a way to avoid landfilling good organic wastes.
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 204
Hey Laura I just had a thought - you might be talking about beetle grubs? Are they 2-3 inches long, 1/2 to 3/4 in diameter, whitish, with teeny legs? Cuz those are Japanese beetle grubs, otherwise known as caviar to my girls. They turn up in my compost bin a lot, but I don't think farming them is an option. But you might want to look at growing mealworms - there are lots of how-to videos on yootoob and it looks pretty simple. I've been told by many people that it is really easy, and they have less of an ick factor than worms, at least for me. Cheers!
user 28416502
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 15
Here is a link to a video about Black Soldier Fly larvae used for chicken feed.

Black Soldier Fly Larvae: From Worm Bin to Chicken Feed
Shannon B
user 14750491
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 5
If you decide to raise worms I would recommend mealworms. I started raising them in March and am still learning as I go. Just when I thought the whole thing was a failure we started seeing tiny little mealworms and have lots now. It is really simple, very little work or care required. I followed the advice I found on the forums in backyardchickens.com My chickens go crazy for mealworms!
Roberta K.
user 10948851
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 166
I can bring my mealworm set up which is just started to the Spring Street Coop Warming Sept 30th so people can see what the different stages looks like. I can also get some mealworms that people can use to get start from Rainbow Worms. That place is great just as advertised.
user 12397577
Monterey Park, CA
Post #: 12
for those of you who have a worm bin and might be able to spare some starter worms i'd be grateful. have worm bin but no worms. been looking for a place where i could get them. 1st got them when went to some workshop put on by county but don't know now where one gets these worms.
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