Manure is my bedding of choice for starting a worm bin.
I mean, think about it. What is the other name for red worms...manure worms.
You dig around in a healthy pile of composted manure, no matter what kind and you are going to find red worms.
So let's look at some guidlines about manure if that is a route you want to take.
- Any type of manure will do - horse, cow, pig, llama, alpaca, rabbit, zoo doo... Stay away from domesticated animal and bagged retail manure.
- If the source is questionable (ie. medicines or other ingredients otherwise not natural) then you will want to let the manure set for 6 months.
- Non-composted manure or fresh manure should not be used for bedding. The main reason is because the bedding will start heating up and this will surely kill your worms.
- Manure that has been removed from stalls should not be used as this will contain high concentrations of urine and salts. Worms will not like that.
- When I set up my manure for composting I build a three sided bin out of old pallets and pile the manure inside. This creates a pile much like a conventional compost pile and will allow the material to heat up, killing pathogens and weed seeds.
- I try to control the moisture in the pile much like that of a conventional compost pile as well. If needed I will cover the pile to prevent too much moisture leaching out nuturients or creating an anaerobic condition in the bottom of the pile.
- You'll notice when a pile is fresh there aren't too many other critters hanging out. Once these other critters start moving in I figure it's ready for the worms.
- With a new bin started with manure, you don't mix it up too much or you will get active composting happening. Just add food stock the first three months in small amounts, then you can start layering in different bedding material. Always be mindful of composting. Things can get real hot real fast and fry all the inhabitants.
- Other bedding materials I layer in after the first 3 months - shredded newspaper, leaves, grass clippings (sparingly).
Has this created more questions than answers for you. Send them to me and we will answer them together.
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