Breeding red worms is also known as vermiculture. If you want to learn how to breed red worms, you must first understand the genetic make- up of a worm. Just like any other living creatures, worms need to be treated with care and respect. Someone once said that if you chop the worm into half, you will get two worms and so forth. The only end result you will obtain would be a dead worm.
Like all living creatures, worms need basic necessities to survive and reproduce. Basic necessities such as air, water, food and a suitable environment are required to satisfy a worm. They dislike light and are photophobic in nature, therefore preferring a dark and humid condition. If ever exposed to direct sunlight or heat for more than 2 hours, your composting worms will dry up and die. They need to maintain a certain amount of water level, approximately 80%, in their bodies to survive. That said however, breeding worms is easy, trust me! It certainly isn’t as daunting a task as you may start to imagine now.
An average life span of a red worm ranges from 2 to 20 years for a very healthy red worm. Like their blue worms cousin, red worms are mainly used for composting. This is not something new because composting existed 1000 years ago even before us humans found out about it. A common question would be, “Do worms have ears or eyes?” The answer is No. They are however equipped with extra sensitive sensory and nervous system. Their sensitive nervous system enables them to detect moving creatures above the ground or around them and so much so a dip in temperature changes.
Vermicomposting worms’ reproduction system highly differs from other animals. When breeding worms, you don’t need a male or female worm because worms are hermaphrodites. This means that a worm carries both a male and female reproduction organ and enables them to breed faster. An exchange of sperms among them produces a capsule (worm egg). On average, a worm capsule contains 4 young but can contain up to 22! In the most ideal conditions, red worms can breed up to 1500 young each per annum.
The red worms feed purely on organic matter only. Hence, newspaper, which provides carbon, and leaves, which provide nitrogen, would be more than enough to feed a red worm. Do not worry about feeding your worm less food. If there is a lack of food, the worms will consume their own castings (manure) which will further enhance the compost. 1 kg of red worms can consume up to 1kg of newspapers or leaves daily. The duration for the population of worms to double would be around 2-3 months. So by geometric progression, assuming that no worms die, we will have 64kg of healthy red worms by the end of the year! Not only that, through breeding worms, one can also fetch some profit by selling to garden enthusiast or ever fishing enthusiast. Have fun breeding your worms!