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vermicomposting (worm beds) using RabbitPoo!

From vermiculture and selling rabbit manure to rent-a-bunny for Easter photographs, this forum is a place to discuss other ideas for making a profit from rabbits.
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vermicomposting (worm beds) using RabbitPoo!

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Anntann » Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:05 pm


Let the instructions begin! (and thoughts, ideas, etc.) This could be a NATURAL for many rabbit breeders. I know I have a couple hundred pounds of bunny pellets just waiting to be put on the garden, but worms...that's a great idea.

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Re: vermicomposting (worm beds) using RabbitPoo!

Post Number:#2  Unread postby ladysown » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:15 pm


What I've learned.
1. they like warmth and are often found just outside a hot spot.
2. they reproduce like mad, particularly if compost is put into gardens (as in under the soil).
3. they like organic matter mixed with fecal matter. MORE organic than fecal. They seem to be okay with urine IF it's mixed with sawdust or other such matter. (something that soaks it up) Poop pellets don't seem to soak it up at all.
4. they overwinter if you have at least six inches of rabbit waste in the composter before the hard frost hits. Adults might die, but the eggs sacs will survive. If you have a deeper compost they will live in that quite happily all winter as the heat keeps the pile from freezing hard.

I've grown them in the house, but I find it harder there to maintain the right level of moisture. Outside in the summer it seems to work really well just dumping in a pail of water once a week. (unless of course, it rains).
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Re: vermicomposting (worm beds) using RabbitPoo!

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Kyah » Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:51 pm


I'm having some problems uploading pics...I keep getting the "file too large" message, so I'll just put the written part here now, and add the pics later when I figure it out...

Okay, this is simply the way I do it, but there are many other ways too. Hopefully others will chime in with their method too.

Start with your bedding, which can be shredded newspaper, cardboard, peat moss, etc. I like newspaper, because it's free plus it's a good carbon source. It needs to be damp, but not soggy wet....

Many people prefer their newspaper to be quite damp, so that when they pick up a handful and squeeze, a drop of water or two comes out. I prefer mine to be dryer than that, because I've had problems with mites when the bedding was too damp at the start. I cannot squeeze any water out of my newspaper, but it will still hold a shape when I squeeze it, like this:


Getting the moisture level right at the beginning is important and will get the worms off to a good start. I dump all the shreds (roughly 8-10 newspapers) into my garden cart and pour 2 liters of water over it, let it sit for about 1/2 hour, then mix it up good. (Just a note about water: if you have chlorine in your water, you need it let it sit in an open container for 24 hours to let the chlorine dissapate before using it) If you have any concerns about the bin becoming too wet, drill some little holes in the bottom on one side and tilt it to that side so any excess moisture can drain out.

Next add the poop. Make sure there is NO ammonia smell at all. Worms cannot process dry material, so make sure it's good and damp but not dripping soggy wet. Worms love wood, so if there's wood chips in the manure, the worms will go for that too, plus it will help to keep the bedding areated, just be sure that all urine is rinsed from it as well. If the manure I have on hand is dry, I soak it in a bucket for about 3/4 of an hour and drain it well. I add it to the other side of the bin, then if there's a problem, the worms can retreat to the newspaper side of the bin to safety. Also, if the manure contains a lot of hay, remove any excess because the hay can heat up and kill the worms, especially if the bin is small. Be careful with the fines that fall from the feeder too - the worms love the stuff, but if there's excess, it can heat too. The same would go for any grains that might fall out of feeders or bowls and end up with the manure.

Add your worms to the newspaper side. They will move into the manure in just a day or so. They begin at the outside edge and in a few more days, they should be all through it. If they're not, or if you notice them crawling up the sides and lid of the bin en masse, then something is wrong and they're trying to make a run for it. If that happens, remove all the manure and examine the conditions in the bin. Make sure it's not too wet or too dry, and that there's sufficient air flow around the bin.

This bin was started on Oct.10 with a big handful of baby worms. You can already see that the most of the manure and newspaper is used up and it's time to divide the bin. The best way to do that is halve it - simply take 1/2 the contents of the started bin, and put it into a new bin. Add manure in the same way, to one 1/2 of the bin, and the worms will do the rest. It's a great way to grow the herd as well; because they breed very quickly in the manure.

Kyah
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Last edited by Kyah on Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: vermicomposting (worm beds) using RabbitPoo!

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Truckinguy » Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:06 pm


Great ideas! I'm going to make a couple of small experimental wire "baskets" out of 1/4 inch hardware cloth to put in my poo pans, the idea being that if I can catch the manure before it drops to the bottom of the pan and it never comes into contact with the urine it might make a difference. Might be a little more work but I have a little time on my hands right now!

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Re: vermicomposting (worm beds) using RabbitPoo!

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Anntann » Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:45 pm


pictures should be smaller than 2M, I think it's set at. try to keep them to a size that shows on a monitor without bogging down the thread for dialup folks, if you can. I generally do a resize down to 1000 in my largest dimension

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Re: vermicomposting (worm beds) using RabbitPoo!

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Kyah » Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:49 pm


I hope these pics are the right size for everyone? I'm on dial up too, so I made them all as small as I could. This is the last one; the bin that was started on Oct 10th:

When first making up your bin, (and there are many varying opinions on this)you can start with between 1/2 - 3/4 of a lb of worms per square foot of surface area. When the worms hit approx. 2 lbs. per square foot of surface area, it's considered maxed out. This bin is just little, and it can hold roughly 2 lbs. of worms before it needs to be harvested.
Once the initial manure is used up, I either feed them more poop, by pushing all the bin's contents to one side and adding more, or if I'm running low on manure, I just throw in some veggie scraps. (No meat, no dairy, or salty things; very similar to regular composting)
I freeze all the scraps before hand, as that speeds the decomposition, plus it makes everything kinda "mushy" for the worms. Mushy is a good thing if you don't have a any teeth, lol.

Anything you put in there for food should be buried so it stays moist and any flies in the area don't come around.
- Kyah
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Re: vermicomposting (worm beds) using RabbitPoo!

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Anntann » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:04 pm


my god...you make it look so easy. You folks are inspiring me to try this.

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Re: vermicomposting (worm beds) using RabbitPoo!

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Truckinguy » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:25 pm


Excellent pics! I"ll definately try the half newspaper/half manure idea.

One thing I will add is that you can put ANYTHING in the worm bins if you cover it properly and the bins are established. I have put old yoghurt, cheese, meat trimmings, dead kits, butchering leftovers including heads, all will be eaten by the worms but they must be completely covered and not too much at a time. The rabbit bones are soft enough that there is really nothing left of them when the worms are finished. I even left the skulls in there long enough that there was very little left of them. I've put chicken leftovers in there too, the bones get picked clean then they go in the blender with eggshells and nut shells and added back into the bin.

Those look like the exact same bins I use!

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Re: vermicomposting (worm beds) using RabbitPoo!

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Half Caper Farm » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:03 am


Hmmm, I think if I get worms, they're going to have to manage on coffee grounds, tea bags, onion skins and orange peels - and manure, of course. Everything else goes to the goats, chickens or pigs! :D

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Re: vermicomposting (worm beds) using RabbitPoo!

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Brody » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:47 am


they'll like coffee grounds and chopped fine orange peels (mine really liked banana peel too- I haven't tried onions or tea bags ;)
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Re: vermicomposting (worm beds) using RabbitPoo!

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Half Caper Farm » Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:34 am


Banana peels go to the goats! They fight over them. :lol: DH takes them in and hands them out, and if he goes in the barn with empty hands, they are not happy.

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Re: vermicomposting (worm beds) using RabbitPoo!

Post Number:#12  Unread postby ladysown » Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:52 am


what...you don't give the banana peels to your rabbits???
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Re: vermicomposting (worm beds) using RabbitPoo!

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Kyah » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:06 pm


Those look like the exact same bins I use!

Yep...$5 on sale at Walmart or Canadian tire. ;) I use two sizes - these ones and there's a bigger one too that costs around $25. I prefer the bigger ones though.

Here's some good info on the value of the finished worm compost if anyone's interested: (Pretty amazing stuff)
http://mypeoplepc.com/members/arbra/trinity/id14.html

Kyah

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Re: vermicomposting (worm beds) using RabbitPoo!

Post Number:#14  Unread postby Half Caper Farm » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:31 pm


ladysown wrote:what...you don't give the banana peels to your rabbits???


Ummm, no. Goats have priority around here, dontcha know!

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Re: vermicomposting (worm beds) using RabbitPoo!

Post Number:#15  Unread postby Marian » Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:51 am


For anybody who is interested and near Toronto, Richters Herbs is having a vermicomposting free lecture on Feb. 21. The speaker with be Cathy Nesbitt of Cathy's Crawly Composters. Now, I've never bought any of her products on account that I can do'em cheaper home-made but her website had a lot of good info when I was starting out and I would imagine you could pick up some great ideas from her lecture.

Marian

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