Below, you’ll find everything you need to know and consider in order to run a successful red worm farm:
Interesting Facts about Red Wigglers (Red Worms)
Unlike other species of earthworms that need to burrow deep into the earth’s surface to survive, red wigglers can inhabit the top layer of soil where decomposing vegetative organic matter is usually found. In addition, they’re tolerant of varying temperatures, and can adapt to weather conditions that other breeds can’t.
The best part about red wigglers—or any worms for that matter—is that they don’t necessarily have a taste palette. They’ll eat anything you dump into the soil; organic waste, decaying leaves, wood, or even animal manure! However, what makes red wigglers the ultimate composting winner over other worms is their insatiable appetite. These little creatures that are no more than 5 inches long can consume almost 3 times their weight in a week.
This also contributes to them being ideal for worm casting machines, as they defecate just as much as they eat. Red wigglers are also a social breed; they live in colonies and thrive on any food source in masses. The close proximity they live in help them breed at an intimidating rate, which is ideal for worm breeders. In fact, in a standard 24” by 24” cage, you can easily breed more than a thousand worms.
If you’re looking into raising red worms as fishing bait, though, you should consider raising them in separate quarters because when raised collectively, the worms aren’t as plump and fleshy as you’d like your fishing bait to be.
Although red wigglers can survive extreme weather conditions, the ideal temperature for them ranges between 65°F and 80°F (18°C to 27°C). Yet, they’re still more adaptable to climate changes than any other earthworm species and can withstand the freezing temperatures of northern North America if they’re properly sheltered and provided with apt insulation—which essentially means digging up a trench which is then plugged with weathered manure and covered with wide leaves.
On the contrary, if the temperature rises, you’ll have to supply your breed with cooler bedding because if it rises over 85°F, the worms might abandon the farm. Therefore, providing them with shade or moving them indoors would be ideal.
Red wigglers fully mature 9 weeks after they hatch from their lemon-shaped cocoon shells. Every cocoon, on average, houses 5 baby worms, out of which, 3 usually see the light of day as they hatch, grow, and reproduce. Because they reach maturity so quickly, even the newest batch is ready for breeding within 3 months of their birth.
By those standards, 1 pound of red wigglers, if kept alive and thriving can multiply to 2 in four months and 4 in nine months!
But these standards are subject to change, depending on the living and weather conditions, food supplement and the bedding you choose, the rate of your red worm breeding would vary. So, factor in all of those determinants before you go about buying red worms for your farm.