Hey everyone- I'm new to this and LOVE it that so many people into vermicomposting are found on one site! I was wondering if anyone knows if there is something special I can feed my Red Wrigglers in order to fatten them up for fishing??
If you want FAT worms for fishing, EFs are not the right ones. You cannot force or speed-up EFs to get fat. I have read on a GW-poster web-page, if you feed the EFs too much protein, they do get fat but then they get slow and lazy, do not "meet-up" for reproduction as much and the risk of them getting what Steven Chow called the Protein poisoning. This sad thing happened to his bin at one time.
I love my wormies (E. foetida) but also love my fish. I am told that Red Wigglers are thee best for bass fishing cause they stay active so long on the hook. I don't personally like to try to catch my bass very often but I do love sitting on the dock with kids tossing the worms to them. Size doesn't matter in that situation but there is a market for bait worms, in particular red wigglers, around here so I have investigated the matter. I don't have the references at my fingertips but this is what I'm going to try when the weather breaks.
Separate process for worm production, in contrast to the process for compost...less population, 1 lb per sq ft, warm 70F, wetter...happy orgy land.
Prepare fattening bin...sounds like a lot of folks use peat moss but i'm going to try something local for the fattening/storage.
Harvest worms, tossing the big ones (2 in) into the worm fattening bin.
This one is to take to a feed store for mixing and grinding extremely fine.
15 lb alfalfa pellets (i'm wondering if any green dried stuff would work for this, might try growing my own alfalfa and drying my own for next year.)
15 lb soy bean meal
15 lb soy bean hulls (I like to make soybean milk/tofu and the worms seem to love the okara, by-product soybean mush)
15 lb wheat
40 lb ground corn (a buddy just told me that I can get a 100 lb bag of ground corn/corn cob meal for 9 bucks at a local feed store.)
2 cps oatmeal
1 cp cornmeal
doz egg shells
spent coffee grounds
blend with just the needed water, let sit 24 hrs, they say freezing helps.
I keep these things in mind when I'm collecting feed stuff and mixing it up but have not yet prepared any special food mix. I throw in whatever I have around: okara, left over oatmeal, crumbled bread, salad greens, dried plants (comfrey/oregano, etc., from last year's garden), corn meal, powderd milk, chicken feed (if it doesn't have antibiotics, etc.), old sawdust, spent grain, dry eggshells, etc.
we have a fair trade, organic, shade grown coffee distribution company so the worms get great coffee grounds and I even shred our old coffee bags for bedding. i've noticed that mixing in some bedding, or stems, etc., seems to help speed up the consumption of the food material. I figure more oxygen, more microorganisms, not just a layer of mush.
I assess my beds, Temp/pH/Moisture, fluff up the bedding and check for health, breeding, quantities of springtails, smell, etc. and then feed my buddies once a week.
They going nuts at between 65-70 degrees, 7 pH and with wet conditions. I'm planning to get some new boxes together and start some outside windrows this spring...and am definitely going to try my hand at encouraging the development of big fat worms for the bait market.
Let me know if you run across any other info. Thanks!
Try this, a mixture of Eggshells, 2-3 cups of Oatmeal and 1-2 cups of cornmeal. Beat the mixture using a blender then sprinkle the mixture on top of your bin and moisten it with a sprinkle of water and cover the moistened mixture with either shredded paper, cardboard, dried leaves, etc., etc., This is a mixture that's popular with fishermen growing their own worm baits.
Here's more info on Red Wiggler worms as Fishing worms: