Determine Whether Small Farm Poultry Production Can Be Boosted when Combined with Red Worm (Eisenia foetida) Vermiculture

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2006: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Chrissie Zaerpoor
Kookoolan Farm
Koorosh Zaerpoor
Kookoolan Farm


  • Animals: poultry


  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Soil Management: earthworms, composting

    Proposal summary:

    Hundreds of small farms across the country are raising poultry on pasture, producing high quality meat and eggs and improving profitability because of low feed costs. However, productivity on these farms is typically limited by seasonal climate and waste management. In most U.S. climates, the chickens can be outdoors only in spring and summer, creating indoor production challenges during cooler months. At the same time, red worm composting, or vermiculture, has been shown to be an effective way to break down organic materials. The worms can eat 50 to 100% of their body weight in decaying wastes per day. This project proposes to combine vermiculture and pastured poultry, with the worms providing a natural digester of chicken manure and a source of food for the chickens. The project will document the timing of rotation chickens from pasture to pasture, measure the number of chickens per acre, record the soil pH, log the food expenditures and record the final costs of using vermiculture in the pastured poultry operation

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.