Chicken Feed Shocked From Earth With “Worm Wands” (Nov, 1932)

Chicken Feed Shocked From Earth With “Worm Wands”

PATROLMAN Walter O. Lickert, of Omaha, Nebraska, whose flock of chickens numbers 13,000, is materially lowering the cost of his feed bill by the development of what he calls his “electrical worm extractor,” or “worm wands.”

To a pair of bicycle pump handles sixteen inches long, Mr. Lickert wired electrical connections below the handles, as illustrated at the right. Twenty-five feet or so of cord and a plug into an electric light socket at the house comprise the mechanical equipment. An electric bulb is swung between the wands to show whether current is on or off.

Plunging the wands into the earth up to the handles, which are placed two feet or more apart, Mr. Lickert turns on the “juice.” Then the electrical current between the poles brings worms to surface.

  1. Toronto says: September 19, 20137:31 am

    My dad did this! As I recall, he made the handles out of 2×2 wood, and used grounding rods for the conductors. No bike pumps were harmed. (Although a few worms and pickerel met their makers.)

  2. Rick Auricchio says: September 19, 20138:29 am

    I wonder if they should have referred to him as “the late Mr Lickert.”

    A safer way this is done is using an old hand-crank generator from a vintage telephone (if you can find one today). Those generate about 90 volts, enough to shock the worms. And you won’t electrocute yourself, because you can’t continue cranking.

  3. Hirudinea says: September 20, 201310:17 am

    What would PETA say? And who cares?

  4. Tim Crow says: February 24, 20142:11 pm

    My father did this as well. He would put two metal stakes in the soft, damp ground under a stairway in the back yard, and, once clear, would call out to my brother and I “Power!”
    We’d flip the switch and then run over to him to watch the worms boil up out of the ground. Very cool.
    Flip the switch off and just scoop up all the worms and it would be dinner time—I mean time to go fishing. 🙂

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