Raising Alabama Jumpers

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Raising Alabama Jumpers

Postby The Worm Expert » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:12 am

Greetings all,

In case you were not aware I have been keeping an online journal of my different techniques when it comes to raising Alabama Jumpers in captivity or in a worm bin.

In case you have missed it, even though online websites state one cannot raise Alabama Jumpers in a worm bin while maintaining their reproduction capabilities, you can 8-)

I have been raising Alabama Jumpers by two different mean now in a larger wooden worm bin as well as a five gallon bucket. Both have cocoons and young, adolescent Alabama Jumpers!

I have posted the latest entry on raising Alabama Jumpers in black peat moss here.

Bruce
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Re: Raising Alabama Jumpers

Postby Worms N Things » Sat Jun 26, 2010 3:00 pm

Hi Bruce,
I recieved my 1 lb shipment last Thurs. I put them in there new 2x3 ft. worm ben. Dumped soil and all on top of the bedding. The jumpers did not take to there new bedding, and go right into it. They are staying in the pile of there bedding they where shipped in. I would guess that it is that Black Michigan Pet moss that you have been having success with. I put several layers of new paper over them and wet it.

The second day, they are staying in there shipping bedding. I sprinkled some of my worm chow around them, and rewet the news paper.

Third day, it looks like they have eaten some of the worm chow, not all. It looks like they are all still in the shipping bedding. I rewet the news paper and will watch and see of they eat the remainder of the feed. If it is gone tonight I will sprinkle a little more feed over there new bedding.

I remember reading that it may take upto 2 weeks for them to take to a new bedding. They are not trying to escape yet. I keep a light on in the worm barn at night.

Should I just hold the corse and keep an eye on them to see what they do? I guess I will find out if they like my Arizona bedding.

I did not count the pound to see how many jumpers was in it. I didn't wont to stress them anymore after shipping. I was guessing about 300. With the recomended 100 per sq. ft. have plenty of room in my 2x3 ft. worm ben.
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Re: Raising Alabama Jumpers

Postby The Worm Expert » Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:16 pm

Worms N Things

Actually a pound is roughly closer to 400 Alabama Jumpers still should be plenty of room in your bin :-)

One thing Alabama Jumpers like is hard packed bedding. The Michigan Black Peat is one bedding another can be clay mixed with a little Sphagnum peat moss. Again once mixed, packed down.

The Alabama Jumpers do OK in hard packed manure also.

If you have any rich humus soil around that does not have any chemical fertilizer... you might try that on half you bin. Be sure to compress it down then add the worms.

Apparently they are not liking the surrounding bedding material if they are not going into it. I would try as I suggested above changing the bedding material in half the bin to see if they move into it while not disturbing the are they are currently active in.

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Re: Raising Alabama Jumpers

Postby jimhunt » Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:44 pm

Hi Bruce,

I really appreciate all the help you keep giving us concerning worms.

If you don't mind answering, I have some questions about raising Jumpers.

1.) I spoke with you on the phone a few months ago and you seem to have simplified some things. Do you still pack the black peat? If so, part of it or all of it? What is the best depth for the peat?

2.) My main interest in the Jumpers is to raise them for eventual local sale. What's the best temperature for encouraging reproduction and growth?

3.) What's the best moisture level for encouraging reproduction and growth? I have one of the cheap green meters that Lowes sells and a round long-stemmed no-name combination that VirtualVillage.com sold (currently sold out).
http://www.virtualvillage.com/long-prob ... 0-011.html
The meters track together at around 7, but the Lowes meter reads relatively lower at moisture levels below that.

If you'll let me know what meter you're using, I'll try to match it so that the numbers will be meaningful.

4.) How much and how often do you feed them your "secret" supplement?

5.) Lastly, is a 5 gallon bucket as good as anything for raising the Jumpers or would you recommend a larger (or smaller) bin?

There! I've outlined your new E-book. Write it up, put it on orderworms.com and sell it to me.

Seriously--you've done the work--I don't mind contributing a little to defray expenses. I WILL buy the worms from you when I finally get a room built in my shop where I can control the temperature, but I still don't expect to get the results of your research for free.

Thanks in advance for any of these questions you choose to answer.

Jim
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Re: Raising Alabama Jumpers

Postby The Worm Expert » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:54 am

Jim

1) As for packing the bedding material, yes and no... Let me explain. Yes I usually pack it for the way I am raising them, however still have experiments going on, one in which the bedding material is loose bedding however I have been feeding differently. One thing I can say, is that by packing the material the Alabama Jumpers begin eating within 24 hours. When it is not packed, the worms can take up to 2 weeks to begin eating. I cannot get too much into detail as my test results are not completed... I am awaiting the stalk to arrive with little Alabama Jumpers.

As for depth, 4" to 6" when packed otherwise at least 6" if the bedding is loose material.

2) As for temperature, I raise them at the same as my African nightcrawlers which is at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. This works well for breeding as well as other reasons.

3) As for the moisture levels some of this gets more complex than meets the eye and would take my eBook to explain. I will say this, if you study them in an environment where they do well in the wild, a packed bedding material should be about 60% to 70% moisture. In a loose bedding material this would equate to approximately 30%.

Here is one of the cheaper soil moisture meters you can purchase that we use for quick sampling when needed. There is no need to go to a high end moisture meter costing hundreds of dollars. Luster Leaf 1820 Rapitest Soil Moisture Meter

4) I have been working on the "secret feed formula" as I have not been able to get the growth rate I ma after. George a fellow worm farmer in Australia has been a great help being the materials they have access to their differ from what we have here.

Anyone in Australia looking for worms... I highly recommend visiting Worms 'R' Plenty.

5) As for the container, I have not had as much success using the five gallon bucket with the Alabama Jumpers. I do recommend using a worm bin, either a Rubbermaid style or homemade worm bin made out of wood...

I will get back to writing as soon as I finish the new Worm Harvester plans.

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Re: Raising Alabama Jumpers

Postby ALC » Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:49 pm

Hi Jim,

You wrote:

3.) What's the best moisture level for encouraging reproduction and growth? I have one of the cheap green meters that Lowes sells and a round long-stemmed no-name combination that VirtualVillage.com sold (currently sold out).
http://www.virtualvillage.com/long-prob ... 0-011.html
The meters track together at around 7, but the Lowes meter reads relatively lower at moisture levels below that.


The Virtual Village kind is the kind of meter I have. I find that it is easy to change the moisture content with bedding compaction: the denser it is packed, the higher the moisture reading. Do you see that as well?

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Re: Raising Alabama Jumpers

Postby jimhunt » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:39 pm

WOW, Bruce. When you answer a question, you answer a question. Many thanks!

Things have been really hectic. I was using the guestroom for my Africans, now we've got company for the next two months. (They're close friends and NOT relatives, so it's a good thing.) The Africans are stuck in a junkroom next to the guestroom and there's no room to work. With the really cold weather here in Lexington, SC, I've been unable to keep the temperature stable anyway, so reproduction is down. As soon as I get a chance, I'll screen all the fibers out of a bucket of coir and see how the castings turn out using just the pith. Even with a lot of short fibers left in, the Africans seem to really like it and do well. A lot of the fibers work up to the top and create a condition that is conducive to springtails and gnats, so that's a big point against it.

Thanks again. I promise I'll buy a Jumper e-book whenever you get it written.

---------
Hi Frank,

As Bruce pointed out, the moisture percentage would have to go up when the material is packed. With loose material, you're measuring the bedding moisture combined with air at 0%, so the combined figure will be low. When you press all or part of the air out, you're getting a reading on mostly bedding, so it's a truer reading in some ways. That's one of the things that drives me crazy with the coir--it's so fluffy that I'm not sure what the moisture content really is. You can almost get a better idea of the moisture content by the squeeze and see if it holds its shape method.

The pH on the Virtual Village meter tracks well with my more expensive pH meter, too. I'm pretty well pleased with it.

Jim
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Re: Raising Alabama Jumpers

Postby cwsooner » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:06 pm

Hi Bruce,

I finally got the Alabamas in yesterday. I put the worms in 30 gallon for now. I didn't drill holes in the bottom but in the top and the lid. I put about what I figured to be 20% peat moss in there and old dried up dirt out of the backyard like you told me too, watered it down, mixed some tore up card board in it, put some worm chow around the sides w/ moist shredded news paper on top and then released them on top of the shredded paper. So far so good. Two worms were cut in half but none tried to escape. The moisture is around or was around 80%. This might be too much, not sure. I was going to make another bin like it and stack it on top but it is way too heavy to do that. Not sure how I'm going to separate them out yet to make more room since you told me 200 per one of the sterlite bins which is 13 gallons and I am going off of that formula. The bin is so packed that I can't get the lid to shut on it. I am thinking about making two metal u's to set the bin in so that it would bring it back to it's original shape and be able to put the lid on.

chuck.
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Re: Raising Alabama Jumpers

Postby The Worm Expert » Sat Apr 16, 2011 9:40 pm

Chuck

80% moisture is too wet for the Alabama Jumper. When using a packed bedding material more like 40% is where you want to be.

As far as raising them in a controlled environment, the Alabama Jumpers need more room to grow out than other worms.

As for the room required I was not trying to associate with one bin or another but rather emphasize they need much more room to grow out than other worms. A good rule of thumb would be 400 Alabama Jumpers per cubic foot of bedding material.

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Re: Raising Alabama Jumpers

Postby TStarkey » Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:30 am

Question, I just ordered 1000 of these guys and am waiting for them to arrive. I've currently got a worm bin full of red wigglers.

I just built a wicking bed. It's 8' x 5' and 20 inches high. It's full of a mixture of high quality soil and compost. It's definitely not compact though. I'm growing veggies in there. The entire grow bed has a pond liner under it to keep all the moisture in. There are only two drains out the side to keep it from filling with water during a rain. My intention was to throw the worms I ordered in there. Is that going to work? Will they eat the compost and soil or do I need to provide some other form of food for them?

I'd release them in the yard but they'll just move off somewhere else I imagine. We've got some of the hardest packed clay I've ever seen in my yard. I tried to put a post for a bird feeder in. It was maybe 1/2 inch wide with a point on it. I watered the area and bounced on that thing over and over with my 200+ pounds trying to drive it into the ground and couldn't get it more than a couple inches into the ground. Thus the raised beds.
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