Dog poop eating worms :) ~3 months now, WHAT'S NEXT?

by Kimi C
(San Luis Obispo, CA)

Opened bin with worm marks?

Opened bin with worm marks?

Hi,

Here's an update (long) on my adventure with using worms to help with dog cleanup duty :) which started early July 2021 after finding & using content from your website :) I set up a single container for the worms, started with soaking shredded newspaper (4" deep) mixed with a little dirt and dumped about "1lb" of red wigglers in. I also put a couple of doggie poop logs in as well. Perhaps things started to happen but not very fast. It was a bit like watching water boil. I decided to just leave them alone for about a month, only adding a doggie log or 2 each week & no worrying about if it was working or not. After about a month & reading a few sites I decided that I needed more worms. I got another lb of red wigglers and that seemed to do the trick. Well it was still a slow process, over time all the paper was gone & there is now multiple inches of dirt in the bin (~4-5 inches). I am still only putting a few (2-4) doggie logs in a week - not even close to consuming the waste my 2 50lb Australian Shepherds produce. Below are a few comments about my adventure & then a few questions. I'm hoping you, Stephan, can help me with a little more guidance and perhaps others will find this post helpful & encouraging as well!

- there really is NO smell in the bin which you really don't believe will be true but it has been for me. My adult son visited & he put his nose right in and said nope, it doesn't smell like poop :)
- I thought I'd put some "food scrapes" in to see if I'd experience the worms "swarming" on that good stuff... nope, no different than how the worms processed the poop
- the food did attracted ants & knat-like bugs (poop never did); after some reading and learning "dry compost encourages bugs." I watered my worms making sure to limit the amount of water to not drown the wigglers. It worked no more insects and now I'm only "feeding" them dog poop.
- I can not see any worms on the top of the dirt but I have carefully "turned" the casting/dirt with a small spade & there are a LOT of worms of many different sizes :) so they're happy & seem to be thriving.

Questions:
- I get the impression I shouldn't be "turning" the earth but it's the only way to see how the worms are doing. Is it bad to (carefully) stir-up the dirt?
- when I put the poop in, do I need to bury it? cover it with shredded paper? or just toss it in?
- do I continue to provide shredded paper? I think paper is "food" as well so perhaps I need to *only* put in poop? I'm confused about this part.
- when do I "harvest" the casting? Do I just let the bin continue to make casting? Is that ok, healthy for the worms? I don't really need it for the garden yet but wasn't sure what makes a healthy, happy compost bin.
- should I get more worms to help consume more poop? Or just be patient since I'm not yet 3 months in from setting up this new environment.
- I have never opened the bin & seen worms crawling around the sides or top but there is dirt marks, dots along the sides & top. Is that what these marking are from, cruising worms?

FYI
- The bin is about 14"W x 21"L x 17"H
- I only have holes around the part of the bin, all around the bin
- The bin is well protected on the ground by side of a shed & fence, under a tree
- I live in a temperate climate. Hottest would be ~80F(27C) and lows ~40F(10C)
- I loaded a few pictures that might help

Appreciate your guidance!

Kimi :)


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