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Paley Experiment

Posted by pjames 8/LA (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 31, 10 at 13:32

lkittle: I just read through most of your thread written the last couple years concerning your experiments using Paley's method wrten about in the Burrow.

Your reasons for doing it basically are the same ones I had for doing the research. It would nice to be able to maintain a large number of small worms in a small space and then take a measured amount of worms and grow them to full size when needed.

I got kinda lost reading through all of it. Mainly with all the 'experts' criticism of the experiment.

Can you give me a quick synopsis of your results? Mainly I would like to know a couple things:

1. If worms are overcrowded in a smaller, but otherwise normal environment will they be smaller? By that i mean if they hatch into that overloaded bin.
2.Will they regain their full size even if they have hit a mature age?


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RE: Paley Experiment

Hi pjames and All; To answer your questions about Paleys experiment. The first thing I will say is that Paley was not the first to notice the difference in the physical difference in the worm size when grown in certain conditions. C Morgan also noticed it back in perhaps 1975 or even earlier. He mentions it in one of his books and so with that and Paleys conferming it I figured it would be a good way to have lots of worms and quickly grow them out for sale. I didn't want to have to heat the worm house if I could help it. That has not been the case however. I heat the worm house and keep lots of worms at larger than normal size for experiments.all winter long.

1. If worms are overcrowded in a smaller, but otherwise normal environment will they be smaller? By that i mean if they hatch into that overloaded bin.

You don't have to do a overcrowding for the size change. Its all about density of bedding and airflow and temperature. If the bedding is dense like actual soil the worms will work down into it and two things will happen. First they will shrink down in size so 2" worms will become less than 1". The color will darken and they will all look like young worms. They will be lathargic but firm to the touch. To acheive this keep temps around 50 deg F. If you want some more precise info as to bedding and food let me know and I'll be happy to post.

2.Will they regain their full size even if they have hit a mature age?

The answer to this is yes! Heres how to make it happen. In a bin of prepared bedding using paper shreds, Buss-Bedding. Moisten with water to the point when a drop will just be able to be squeezed out. put about 250 worms to the sq ft for 8 days. Then put them into another bin with same perparations only fresh. Remove any cocoons to the old bedding the worms were in. Put another 250 per sq/ft into used bedding for start of next group grow out. After 8 days shift worms again the first 250 into peat moss for conditioning to sell. The temps should be around 60-62 degF for this process. The worms should be as large as they can be for bait. The air and food and temp causes the worms to really grow very quickly.

If you had all the Morgan books with a little resurch, he has a lot to say about the bait business and how to get a quality product to market. Even if you only want to sell worms for composting or give them away to promote vermiculture he is a wealth of knowledge.


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