Using Mouse Droppings As Food For Composting Worms

“An associate of mine is a herpetologist and raises hundreds of white mice (WEBSTER LAB MICE) as a food source for his reptiles. The mice are kept in plastic bins with pine shavings. A large amount of waste is created weekly. Currently he washes it in piles and farmers take it as compost fertilizer. Can mouse droppings be used for worm food?

The conditions for the mice are very clean and mice are very health and kept isolated as they are housed in their own air conditioned environment like a lab. Rabbits pose a problem of urine and I would think that this would be the same, so washing or air aging might be needed. I was thinking that this could be a good source very similar to bat poop (guano). Your thoughts?” ~ Lew Hicks

Hi Lew,

You are correct that the droppings can be a great source of food for worms.

Just a warning for all the other readers though, I will not recommend picking up wild lying rodent droppings and feeding those to the worms. Hanta virus is a problem around the world spread primarily by dry rodent droppings. When dry they become dust like which goes airborne, and can cause problems when breathed in.

Having that out of the way, Lew, you will have no problem using the mice droppings. As you have mentioned even farmers take it to use as compost fertilizer! It will work just as well as guano and rabbit droppings for fertilizing and worm food.

You may think that mice droppings being so small, it will make it a great worm feed. However, because of its size it also dries out faster, and may be harder for the worms to consume. So use fresh droppings where possible. Washing it down, just as the farmer did, is also a great way to prepare it as worm feed.

Since you have pine shavings, do use those and mix it in with the moist droppings. This will help balance your C:N ratio (and not to waste your shavings!)

So give it a try and let us know how it goes!

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