Worms. Chickens and all other things

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by hinga, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. hinga

    hinga Junior Member

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    Good evening

    i visited a beautiful worm farm today run by a part time horse trainer who has converted his small time worm business into a very substantial income via processing waste from a large local food supply chain in his area.

    i ask for advice for my following idea: I originally wanted to run a small free range egg farm (no more than 1000) on 10 acres in Victoria australia. I was always hoping to periodically run the chickens over large compost piles I can create with a front end loader to increase their protein intake from the soil mircrobes. I now want to run this finished compost through the worms to complete the process. I would love to hear others thoughts of the idea and would their be concerns with biosecurity and the possibility of chickens eating meat products during the initial composting phase?

    I hope this makes sense.

    regards hinga
     
  2. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    what is your prior experience keeping chickens?

    i'd not have chickens eating meat scraps and it is very likely that regulations would frown upon such practice. are you familiar with your local livestock and farming regulations? do you have a local mentor or farming organization to help you out?

    much better to keep the food sources as veggie or insect driven as possible and process meat scraps through a different method.

    worms can improve infected things but they are not completely done right away. you don't want to be at the other end of a "partially done" chunk of material that gets to a bird and then passes that infection on to a person or other animal via an egg.
     
  3. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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  4. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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    Really research this well , not easy making a profit in the egg industry , the big players will discount their prices until you have had enough . Any thing to do with food production is regulated .
     
  5. floot

    floot Junior Member

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    ah folks...

    Terra has done so much of this before. He hangs on the edge of permaculture when, it's not about the internet, theories, and good ideas. It is who we are and what we have to live with.

    This is a hindsight message for me... the fact that terra posts his stuff, is amazing. ... Permies, we can all 'google' the shit outta the internet... and where are we now?

    Some folk should be given, .'I tried a thousand things' ... status... and when they have arrived and they share... that is cool!!

    Cheers... and lucky I am no longer an admin... always someone smarter out there.. :)
     
  6. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Playing by the rules vs freewheeling

    Australia has, in general a very high food safety record, largely because of the stringent regulation, inspection and testing of our bulk food production and processing industries. Some say, over-regulated to boot. Eggs can easily be the source of salmonella, this is why commercial egg farms, be they free range or deep litter are careful of sources of contamination, especially faecal matter.
    Small scale free range egg farms have recently been established in my area in the Mary Valley on portions of existing dairy farms. The eggs sell at a premium price of $7.99 per dozen and the socio-economic, animal welfare and food mile savvy level of the local population is such that I think that they will be sustainable. To reduce waste build-up and to feed green food they move the pens over kikuyu, herbage and clover pasture every other week or so and house the hens on deep litter at night in several 1000 bird cohorts.
    They are still regulated and inspected and tested as any other quota controlled large egg producing chain and they must follow the same feed intake rules as the rest, ie. no meat or meat by products etc. They still get ad lib access to a grain-based ration, of which I don't know the mix or origins. I am sure they would eat a lot of worms and insects as well.
    As for the sustainability of the enterprise mix there are still outside inputs in the form of grain ration, but the manure from the birds would fertilize the pasture to grow the next batch of grass and herbage. The birds are probably brought in at point of lay and I do not know from whence they are sourced either.
    I do not think that this would work in to many other places where the budget largely dictates the consumer buying yellow label foods.
    Go to the local regulators first for advice and assistance, no point throwing $100000 at a project and then being shut down and possibly fined.
    As Terra says, do the research first. We may sound cynical but are really just rational, free-thinking and trying to give our best advice from our own experiences and knowledge.
    Produced and fed in the best way, the worm digested waste might be a goer to be part of a free range chicken farm, might just need heat treatment and composting of the waste to a certain level, or other to be deemed safe.
    Large numbers of single species with little biodiversity isn't exactly true permaculture though is it? Mayhaps as an integrated portion of a larger system on rotation
     
  7. floot

    floot Junior Member

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    Hiya,


    Terra is very wise in the sense that it is near impossible to make a dollar in the egg business. It is easy to get 1000 chooks, it is very hard and tough to get rid of them. Do the homework. Eggs do not sell themselves, they require marketing and transport and invoices etc. My advice would be to start off with 12 chooks and find your niche.

    I dunno when it happened but it happened in the past 40 years and in my lifetime that chickens became only graniferous - only eat grains. As a kid chooks would eat anything, we had a dog so meat scraps were not on their menu but fish skeletons and other stuff certainly were. Today, we only raise PC chooks that are vegans....:)

    As for chooks running over compost heaps - can't see an issue with that. Besides, the only animal products that should be composted are neighbours' cats!
    Even chooks wont eat cats.

    Cheers,
     
  8. floot

    floot Junior Member

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    hello again,

    Just re-watched the video.

    As a kid I lived in Indonesia for a time and saw the prettiest wild chickens/bantams ever. They are a rainforest bird, not much grain grows in a rainforest so the fowl had evolved on nearly anything but grain.

    Chickens/fowl/chooks/bantams are such amazing things.... to see them in the wild was such a special treat. The floor of a rainforest is a 'compost heap' and the chooks were its keeper.

    Cheers,
     
  9. briansworms

    briansworms Junior Member

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    Has this idea advanced at all?
     
  10. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    $5 a dozen where I live for free range, no chemical, happy eggs.
     
  11. Bangyee

    Bangyee Junior Member

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    Why not flip it around: if you have a lot of material to compost, run it through the worms (surely you can make giant worm farms) and give excess worms to the chicken. I would be surprised if that was against any regulations especially for free range chickens. Can't forbid the chicken to scratch and eat womrs from the ground now can you? :)Wether selling eggs just like that is a viable business modell, that's a different issue. As with anything related to business, you ave to start from sizing up the demand otherwise you are in for a bitter ride.
     

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