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Earthworms as chicken feed

Harvey Ussery's greenhouse worm bins

Harvey Ussery, 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 that?

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

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

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