Earthworms as chicken feed

Harvey Ussery's greenhouse worm bins

, my role
model in the chicken permaculture world, uses earthworms as a handy
source of protein for his chickens.  I’m unlikely to follow in his
footsteps since the infrastructure demands are quite high, but I wanted
to share his process in case some of you are keen to give it a shot.

Harvey has a big
greenhouse, in the center of which he has sunk worm bins into the soil
(surrounded by cinderblocks to keep the worms in place.)  He puts
big sheets of plywood on top of the bins so that he can use the worm
bin area as an aisle to walk down.  The bins are full of horse
manure from a neighbor along with the typical
redworms you’d use in the worm bin
under your kitchen sink.

Harvesting worms from a big worm bin

The worms decompose the
manure and breed like crazy in the process.  At intervals, Harvey
scoops out five gallon buckets full of castings and worms and tosses
the whole thing to his chickens.  The birds scratch through,
eating up the worms and working the compost into the soil.  Free
protein and soil amendment all at once — what could be better than

Want to keep your
chickens healthy?  Check out all of our innovative
chicken feed
, or our homemade chicken
that keeps
water clean.

This post is part of our Homemade Chicken Feed series
Read all of the entries:

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