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Vermiculture questions

 
Posts: 4
Location: VA
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We hatch, breed, raise, and harvest around 10,000 to 15,000 chickens a year on deep bedding systems.
We have been composting everything from the bedding, mortality, and the waist from harvesting.
For bedding we use sawdust, ground peanut shells, ans ground wood chips.

4 months ago we got into vermiculture tiring to grow out the population and to learn.

I know the moralities and the harvest waist need to be well composted before feeding it to the worms.
Is the bedding safe to give to the worms after a heat cycle, or dose it need to age?
 
pollinator
Posts: 188
Location: Northwest Missouri
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Since vermiculite is just an expanded mineral, it will not decompose. It will not compost on it's own. It will soak up moisture from chicken waste, and if you compost it with a bunch of other materials that are actually compostable that waste will be heat treated and become safe for worms to be around... but the vermiculite itself will not break down and your worms aren't going to be able to eat it. It will just fill up your worm bin and maybe mix with your worm casting/dirt.

So even IF you can get it heat treated and rendered safe for worms, it will just be filler not food.

 
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think its called vermicomposting, i am trying to engineer a system for use it in my next toilet system
 
Matt Todd
pollinator
Posts: 188
Location: Northwest Missouri
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HAHAHA, I read this paraphrased as "4 months ago we got into vermiculite for bedding, can I feed that to the worms?"
What a difference one word read wrong can make!
My apologies. I'd never heard of vermiculite as chicken bedding and guess I should have read closer. Sorry I don't know the answer to your actual question.  
 
gardener
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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I would want to age it due to how hot it will probably get if nothing else.
Maybe make compost tea with it,  to leech some if that nitrogen out,  before you let it compost.
The mix you use seems like it might be suitable for growing winecap mushrooms on.
They have been shown to filter disease organisms and worms love the mycelium.
 
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Location: Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
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I have been surprised by my worms ability to deal with a bit of aerobic heat. I several times have thought I must have cooked them as the bin heats up, only to look a month or two later and see them thriving and that the population has exploded.

I would definitely try it, but suggest perhaps thin (1-2 ft) beds of material to allow heat to escape, and not continuously adding fresh, perhaps have several bins/piles, and let the worms digest it over the course of a month or two before adding new material. If you have access to additional carbon materials, that may also be of help if it is particularly hot.

Please let us know if it works!
 
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