Feeding manure to worms

by Jim Belbeck
(Bethel Island, California)

A pile of horse manure

A pile of horse manure

I have concerns feeding my worms dog and horse manure. Many years ago (1976) or around then, I knew a person that fed his worms his neighbors horse manure. All his worms died, it was his sole income. The reason they died was due to his neighbor deworming his horses a week earlier,

I de-worm my dogs as well, I'm concerned about using the feces from either one. I have a concern about pathogens as I use my compost in my vegetable garden as well. Comments?

On another note: Everyone's favorite subject and my wife's nemesis, worm food. The best two foods I have fed my worms is pureed broccoli, and cooked oatmeal/corn meal combined they seem to love it.

The worse food was I pureed (I grind up all their food) was one half of a large cantaloupe. If I placed it in the bin whole it may have worked better. What I ended up with was a blob of stuff in a ball, very hard, I suspect the sugar hardened. The worms were all in the far corner at the bottom.

My opinion ends with, some foods work when ground or pureed, and some just don't.
Thanks Jim

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Nov 04, 2016
Re: Feeding horse- and dog manure to worms
by: Stephan

Hi Jim,

thank you for your the information you shared with us. You got some very good times there. You are quite right that horse manure and dog poop from animals that have recently been given deworming medication can be deadly to compost worms. We have been feeding both dog poop as well as horse manure to our worm herd for many years now without any problems though.

We make sure that the worms don't get manure from animals that have been dewormed of course. We asked our supplier to inform us if and when their horses had been given medication and don't use any of the manure produced by the horses after their treatment for at least a few days. It is sad to hear that the gentleman you mentioned lost all his worms due to horse manure that has been containing deworming medication. I hope he got back on his feet with new worms soon thereafter.

AS for the dog poop we obviously don't use it either after our dogs have been dewormed. The point about the pathogens that might still be in the dog poop is one open for discussion. I usually tell my clients that it is up to them to use the worm castings produced for their food gardens or rather only for their ornamental plants. We ourselves have been using the castings produced from both horse manure and dog poop in our fruit- and vegetable patches for many years now as we believe that those organically grown crops are still a much better choice than most produce we are offered in the grocery stores which in the majority of cases have been treated with pesticides and grown in soil fed with plenty of chemical fertilizers.

But as I said I have no problem with all the people who rather use those worm castings for their lawn, shrubs and flowers.

Your comment about the shredded foods is quite interesting. I am surprised to hear about the negative effect of cantaloupe on your worms and will definitely make an experiment with a few worms to find out more about this.

Most of the times we don't go to the trouble to shred or puree our worm food as we don't have the time to do so and found that once the food is soft enough the worms will gladly eat it if it is to their liking.

The broccoli and oatmeal mix is an interesting combination. Do you experiment a lot with different kinds of worm food?

Thanks again for your input Jim I trust our readers can greatly benefit from your observations. If you have any further experiences with worm composting that would be of interest for the worm farming community please share them with us.

I wish you all the best for you and your family.

Kind regards and blessings


Stephan Kloppert

Author of "How to start a profitable worm business on a shoestring budget"

Editor of www.worm-composting-help.com

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