I have read that Red Wrigglers can eat 1/2 to 3/4's of their weight per day. If this is true, do I have to feed 2#s of worms at least 30#s of food in one month?
It just seems like I may be starving my worms.
Under ideal conditions they will eat their own weight every day. Conditions in a typical worm bed are not ideal. What they eat includes decomposed bedding. If you under feed them, they will be fine. If you are able to give them 30 lb of food every month, they will leave Thank You cards on the surface of the bedding.
How are you growing your worms, foodeefish?
That's awesome. What will you do with all the vermicompost?
Worms will eat what you feed them.
Try to remember that in the wild they tend to be small so that they can survive on less food. When some animal walks by and drops the "motherload" on their location, they will gather at the location for a feast. Proximity to other worms triggers breeding and a central food source will result in new worms. They will gain size rapidly so as to store energy in their body and they will make use of the excess food to produce more offspring. When the large pieces of food get used up, the fat worms won't be able to sustain their size and will begin to starve. They are now too big to fit in the small gaps of soil to hide or find bits of decaying matter below. They will starve to death and because of this, they will reproduce for the rest of their lives. The resulting offspring will not have excess food, so they will remain small so that they can maneuver through the topsoil and eat dead roots/leaves and whatever else they can find while waiting for the next cow pie or whatever. Worms can go their whole lives without getting to the assumed normal adult worm size though they will have every other aspect of an adult worm and be ready to grow large when the conditions are right for that.
So what this amounts to is that if you suspect you have 2# of worms, you can give 2# of food per day or per week or per month if you wish.
Worms use death as a survival mechanism and as long as they have enough time to pull off a few rounds of emergency breeding, they are harder to accidentally kill than most people think. The growth of a worm is a one way trip though. They can get big and fat when conditions are right, but the only way for an individual worm to shrink to a less hungry size is to breed and get out of the way for its offspring. As long as the bin is not too dry, you can theoretically do some amazing worm tricks by feeding way too much and then stopping feeding for long periods.
I try to give my worms everything I possibly can without buying anything specifically to feed them or diverting something to them that could be used for something better. For example, if I don't want to eat bread loaf ends I'll feed them to my dog but I get over 2# of free junk newspapers per month that I use as worm bedding. Colored cardboard and newspaper is supposedly not harmful like it used to be in the olden days because it's understood that it generally gets landfilled and leaching into ground water is verbotten* within the current time period... also, in the '70s legislation* was put in place to prevent anything that may be mouthed by a reasonably parented child from containing harmful compounds. If newspaper and cereal boxes don't say "keep out of reach of children" it's likely that they don't contain lead or other toxic compounds and I put them in the bin.
*I'm speaking specifically about the USA. Most countries have environmental protections that meet or exceed US standards. Some countries may not have standards, or items that can be standardized, or may not enforce their standards.
Hmmmm. "verbotten* *legislation* sorta rhymes.
Hmmmm. As to the theory I never quite heard it put exactly that way. Although I do like your rendition better because of the clear cut interesting way you explained it rather than than the dreary, convoluted way I first heard it as depicted online. First off yours was a fully encompassing of the facts version and second because it was a way shorter version. It sounds like a better write of the college student who raised 80 bazzillion vermicomposting worms in his dorm room by the secret, magic method of keeping the worms tiny until when they were needed to sell super feeding the worms for a tiny bit of time before packing them.
So a zillion points for the imaginative story about the true life of vermicompost worms. For all I know it could be exactly the way things happen. It certainly is a great story. It sort of feels things work that way when raising worms. Does anybody have any "Clive" type evidence this is how it all works?