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?


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.

- 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?

- 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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