One of the highest costs for raising chickens and fish is feed. Without quality feed, the growth of livestock will be stunted, but relying on manufactured feed can be quite expensive. If not managed properly, dependence on manufactured feed can cause losses for livestock businesses, as the cost of feed is not balanced with sales.
Zeze Zahra tried breeding earthworms as an additional alternative feed for young chickens. This idea arose because the need for earthworms is relatively small, and the food source for worms does not require cost, as it can use leftover food or fruit scraps.
Breeding earthworms as additional feed for chickens or fish is a great alternative to reduce the cost of feed. Earthworms are rich in protein and other essential nutrients that are beneficial for chicken growth. Additionally, the process of breeding earthworms is relatively simple and can be done with minimal investment.
To start breeding earthworms, a suitable location needs to be chosen. The area should be moist, shady, and away from direct sunlight. A container or bed made from wood or plastic can be used to keep the worms. The bed should be filled with soil, organic matter such as leaves, and other materials such as coconut coir and sawdust.
The next step is to add earthworms to the bed. These can be obtained from a local supplier or collected from the wild. The bed needs to be kept moist and fed with organic waste such as kitchen scraps, fruit peels, and vegetable trimmings. The worms will feed on the waste, digest it, and convert it into nutrient-rich worm castings or vermicompost.
Once the bed is established, the worms can be harvested by separating the castings from the bedding material. The castings can be used as fertilizer for plants or as feed for chickens. When used as chicken feed, the worms should be chopped or ground before feeding to make it easier for the chickens to eat.
Breeding earthworms as additional feed for chickens can significantly reduce the cost of feed while providing essential nutrients for the chickens’ growth. It also helps to reduce waste by converting organic waste into nutrient-rich compost. With proper management and care, earthworm breeding can be a profitable and sustainable business for livestock farmers.
Watch this video to see an example and calculation of the costs for a simple-scale earthworm breeding. Note: The audio is in Indonesian.