Updated: Sep 25
So lets start this from the beginning- what is gut loading? Gut loading is the phrase given to describe the act of allowing insects to gorge on nutritionally varied foods before the bugs are fed to your animals. The reason we want to feed our insects beforehand is because most feeder insects lack sufficient amounts of nutrients that would help promote the health of your insectivores animal.
Let's take one of the most common feeder insects- Crickets. Crickets are particularly deficient in Calcium, Vitamin D3, A, E and B1. Gut loading your feeder insects with a variety of beneficial foods before feeding, allows the insects to carry the nutrients from the food they ate in their digestive tracks to your animal. Just feeding vegetation/salads or fruit is not a balanced diet so it is important that you use proprietary mixes to give the correct balance of nutrients required. Your animal will absorb the nutrients from the feeder insects giving them a more nutritionally balanced diet.
Now, feeding your insects up with a varied diet is incredibly important for gaining extra important nutrients into your animals diet- but we also need to 'dust' our insects right before feeding to help balance those nutrients out. When we 'dust' our live-foods it is usually with a powder mix of our Calcium and Vitamin D3 powder (Repton/Nutrabol), this is mixed to a specific ratio and can be used daily. At Birmingham Reptiles we use this mix but if you are using different products, please follow directions stated on the bottle.
When feeding your feeders you want to give them enough time to be able to eat and begin digesting. Leaving food in with your insects allows them to have a constant supply of food so that they are consuming adequate nutrients at all times meaning they are almost ready for feeding whenever you need them.
Right before feeding is when we would take our live foods out of their housing containers and dust them with our premade D3 and calcium mix. The reason we do this right before feeding is because crickets can sweat and kick the powder off their bodies meaning that they would not be viable for feeding.
So remember, feed your bugs so they are better quality feeders for you animals!
Thanks for reading todays blog - Let me know what you think!