Here at Loved and Pampered Pets I am all about treating animals just like children. And what better way to do that than by putting some thought into your pet’s food’s food. We do that for ourselves right (vegetarian fed chicken eggs and grass fed beef) so I can’t think of one good reason not to give our pets the same benefit. That said, home making a diet for your feeder crickets ( or meal worms or night crawlers) is an easy, inexpensive, and overall great habit for creating super healthy bugs for your pets to eat.
Even if you don’t raise your own crickets, thinking about your pet food’s food is a great way to make sure your pet stays healthy and happy. I’m going to assume that, if you’re reading this, you don’t raise your own crickets. Neither do I; there’s no time for that. I buy them about twenty at a time and care for them until they’re gone. Though work and home experiences I’ve found the most common places to buy crickets are: the pet store, a bait shop, or online. All of these places are fine, but from any of these places your crickets have probably been eating generic food (and not the good kind) and aren’t always the healthiest little insects. That’s where you, the adoring pet owner, come into play.
When you pick out your crickets, no doubt you choose a box with active bugs and very few dead, because you don’t want to feed your pet the dead and dying. But what do you do when you get your crickets home? Do you feed them to your pet right away, or care for them for a couple days giving them the best food possible, and so making them into the best food possible? You should definitely house them for a few days! Not only does this give you a chance to load them up with good stuff, but it also gives you a few days to watch for any signs of sickness. If you’re new to housing crickets, check out this post for all the details. (I’ll admit, I usually get suckered into giving my guy a couple right away, but then save the rest. I get so excited when I know my animals are going to love something I just can’t wait!)
Ok, so now that you have a stash of crickets what do you feed them?
Just an FYI: Making sure your pet gets the very best by feeding his food a diet packed full of essential nutrients is a term known as “gut loading”. I personally think that term sounds gross and painful so I don’t use it. Rest assured this practice is neither gross nor painful; it’s just one of those words that bother me.
Some of the best staples are:
• Sweet potato – provides vitamins A and B6, and some calcium
• Carrots – provides vitamins A and C
• Apple – provides vitamin C
• Greens: kale, mustard greens, turnip greens – provides vitamins E, A, and C, and calcium
I call these foods staples because they are: easy to buy at the grocery store or market, keep well in your cricket tank, and provide essential nutrients that reptiles need. Any leftover fruits or veggies can be thrown in too though, as crickets will eat just about anything. Also, don’t forget to provide your crickets with fresh water with either water cubes found at the pet store or a wet paper towel in a dish.
Even after feeding the crickets, my family still shakes them in a calcium and vitamin powder before feeding to Don. However, in places I’ve worked I’ve put the powder on the greens and left the crickets as is. So I’ll leave that decision to you.
If you’re new to cricket housing please check out this post also. It will keep your crickets happy and save you money.
If this post helped you please let me know. Is there anything special you feed your crickets?