I know there are a lot of chicken lovers out there, and some of them may be asking the same question; Is it a good idea to feed red worms to chickens? The answer is, yes; feeding Red Worms (or mealworms but that is a different story) to chickens is an excellent idea. Red Wiggler worms are not only good composting worms, but they can also be used as a protein rich, nutrient packed animal food (i.e., chicken feed).
Now, if you’re thinking about growing your own worms for convenience, then go right ahead. 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. However, even with the time and energy that goes into the worm farm, you will find it to be very cost effective in the long run. You will be making fewer trips to the feed store which is not only going to save you money but also allow you more time to spend with your precious chickens! So when you’re keeping chickens, try to invest in keeping a worm farm as well.
If you want to immediately start feeding worms to your backyard chickens, then you can find the worms in bait shops, local dealers, and of course online through us. You could also look into your local chicken feed suppliers who just might carry worms for a variety of purposes. You can try looking them up in a directory, or get a hold of them up online.
You can harvest and use worms in the following ways:
- If you have a worm bin at home, then it’s best to just get a few handfuls of the bedding’s active top layer. You should be able to get plenty of worms this way because these worms live within the top 3 inches where there is compostable material (your worm bin or compost pile).If you do not notice any worms with these handfuls, try to get a few more handfuls from the center of the bin. Make sure to spread the handfuls out inside the chicken house so that the chickens can start feeding immediately and there is no chance of the worms crawling away or being eaten by other critters.
- You can harvest worms simultaneously when collecting the castings. 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.
- You can also dry the worms and have them crushed to blend into their feed. Just know that drying any food source causes nutrients to be lost and the chickens love the act of ‘hunting’ their prey. There are several different ways of drying them:
- Place the red worms under an electric light bulb.
- Place them in in a convection oven or dehumidifier.
- Place them in the sun.
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! Red Worms are packed with all the nutrients that most livestock or pets benefit from.