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    Default No expense spared roach diet (a personal trial)


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    I enjoy rearing my own feeder insects, it is rewarding in many ways one of which is that I get to experiment with different insect diets at my leisure.

    This week I purchased a food dehydrator and decided to dehydrate a number of fruits and vegetables with the intent being to create a unique dry insect diet.

    I have been grating and drying these fruits and vegetables for several days (multiple batches each 1 pound batch takes about 6 hours to dry and typically yealds close to 3.5oz of dry material.

    Once dry I am processing the ingredients into a powder.

    At the moment I am drying a butternut squash, just prior to that I dried a sweet potato, and batch prior to that was carrot and pumpkin.

    It is not my current intent to devise a recipe for a perfect diet, rather I am just experimenting with the method.

    I will add some greens to the mix once our market produces some that are fresh and not sadly wilted beyond use.

    I really like the ability to compress so many fruits and vegetables into such a small space.

    As for the process, using a cheese grater to shred the ingredients allows them to dry to a crispy texture that lends itself to being powdered in a home blender.

    I did not think to assemble an entire layout of fresh fruits and vegetables for a before picture, that will be very interesting to say the least.

    I am excited to see how well the insects react to this diet, I suspect they will be overwhelmingly accepting of it.

    Issues I have run into so far are minimal, dehydrating bananas is not hard, removing them from the drying screen is another matter entirely. I dried only one for this very reason.

    I suppose someone will want to know why don't I just feed the insects whole fresh vegetables and fruits, I do, but the insects when offered a dry diet as well certainly grow faster due to the concentration of nutrients. I have colonies that regularly consume 5.5oz of dry diet and a similar quantity of fruit every evening, 11oz of fruit wouldn't come close to providing the same level of nutrition. These colonies simply are not able to consume a higher volume of feed, so packing as much nutrition into the smallest possible space is the aim.

    I welcome any thoughts and suggestions.

    Maurice Pudlo
    To learn and to teach

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    I would be very interested in hearing the results of this, and how your insects respond to it.

    What insects will you be feeding these to?

    If your process works better (and is just as, if not more, nutritious) for your feeders, I would love to start offering dried fruit/veggies to mine as well.

    The issue I have with fresh stuff is that it goes bad so fast and needs to be replaced often. Then you have issues with mold and too much humidity in with your feeders.

    I'm wondering too how yours would respond to greens. Currently, my crickets go nuts for greens and devour them the day I add them, regardless of how much I put in. Dried would last so much longer.
    ~Cassi~

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    The feed will mainly be trialed on dubia roaches, hissing roaches, and crickets. I will use some to supplement mealworm colonies too.

    I only offer enough food to support a colony of insects for 24 hours, this prevents any food waste or spoilage. In general you can find the weight of a colony and feed based off that figure, or use your own judgment and estimate the need as best you can. Keeping records helps more than you can imagine, waste simply sucks the motivation out of me.

    My insects typically consume a dry diet that is mainly grains, dried legumes, vitamin supplement, and a number of other ingredients. I also provide hydrated water crystals and fresh vegetables and or fruits at the same time for hydration.

    As for nutrition level of this diet, when I get to the recipe portion I will most certainly share the nutrient list.

    Maurice Pudlo
    To learn and to teach
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    Elizabeth Freer's Avatar
    Elizabeth Freer is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MauricesExoticPets View Post
    The feed will mainly be trialed on dubia roaches, hissing roaches, and crickets. I will use some to supplement mealworm colonies too.

    I only offer enough food to support a colony of insects for 24 hours, this prevents any food waste or spoilage. In general you can find the weight of a colony and feed based off that figure, or use your own judgment and estimate the need as best you can. Keeping records helps more than you can imagine, waste simply sucks the motivation out of me.

    My insects typically consume a dry diet that is mainly grains, dried legumes, vitamin supplement, and a number of other ingredients. I also provide hydrated water crystals and fresh vegetables and or fruits at the same time for hydration.

    As for nutrition level of this diet, when I get to the recipe portion I will most certainly share the nutrient list.

    Maurice Pudlo
    So are you planning to feed the exact same diet to those above-mentioned feeders?

    Have you any plans to have the feeders themselves analyzed for nutritional content after they have been reared? Don't know how expensive this would be.

    Has your insect diet changed since the sticky about Feeding the Feeders was posted here?
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 11-29-2012 at 06:48 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Freer View Post
    So are you planning to feed the exact same diet to those above-mentioned feeders?
    The meal worms will just have this used as a daily bedding topper, the other insects will get this as their only dry feed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Freer View Post
    Have you any plans to have the feeders themselves analyzed for nutritional content after they have been reared?
    I would love to Elizabeth, yet doing so is not in my near term plans.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Freer View Post
    Don't know how expensive this would be.
    At the lab I have used it is $750 for each species, $295 for the diet itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Freer View Post
    Has your insect diet changed since the sticky about Feeding the Feeders was posted here?
    Yes.

    The diet I use is milled for me at two different commercial facilities, each having differing components, I then combine the two finished products to complete the formula.

    This is to protect my exact formulation from being used by another company. In the not so distant past one of my insect diet formulas was stolen by a company that now offers it online and at reptile shows. My lack of protecting the formulation left me with no legal protection.

    Maurice Pudlo
    To learn and to teach
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    Quote Originally Posted by MauricesExoticPets View Post
    The meal worms will just have this used as a daily bedding topper, the other insects will get this as their only dry feed.



    I would love to Elizabeth, yet doing so is not in my near term plans.



    At the lab I have used it is $750 for each species, $295 for the diet itself.



    Yes.

    The diet I use is milled for me at two different commercial facilities, each having differing components, I then combine the two finished products to complete the formula.

    This is to protect my exact formulation from being used by another company. In the not so distant past one of my insect diet formulas was stolen by a company that now offers it online and at reptile shows. My lack of protecting the formulation left me with no legal protection.

    Maurice Pudlo

    Maurice ~

    Analysis of feeders is very expensive! Nice if someone might have a grant for you.

    What you report in your last paragraph is distressing ! We do learn from experience, but learning that way sucks.
    "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Freer View Post
    Maurice ~

    Analysis of feeders is very expensive! Nice if someone might have a grant for you.
    As for the cost, to test all of the insects I plan to trial this with it would run;
    Diet dry: $295
    Diet dry added to meal worm bedding: $295
    Insect Cricket: $750
    Insect Dubia: $750
    Insect Hisser: $750
    Insect Meal worm: $750
    Total: $3590

    So if anyone is interested in doing a third party collection have at it, I don't ever want to see the money in my hands.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Freer View Post
    What you report in your last paragraph is distressing ! We do learn from experience, but learning that way sucks.
    Yes it does.

    On a lighter note, I am dehydrating 1lb 7oz of collard greens at the moment, they were chopped quite finely with my trusty and very sharp chefs knife (wifey please stay away from the knives, I love you).

    The USDA nutrient data base has them at 89.62% water so I should end up with around 2.5 to 3oz of greens when dried. We shall see.

    Maurice Pudlo
    To learn and to teach

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    Sounds awesome Maurice. I'm looking forward to hearing results. So is the plan to add these fruits and veggies to your already existing diet? Or to replace it all together?
    Ethan
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    It really depends on the outcome. If it blows me away with its performance I would consider marketing it, at the moment it is just an fun trial.

    Maurice Pudlo
    To learn and to teach

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    The greens came out at 2.7oz fully dried and still just as green as they were when they went in, perfect.

    I am very impressed with how this is going to turn out. Here is a cellphone picture to give you an idea so far.



    I hate how the color is so off in this picture, I'm not sure how to correct this with the camera on my or my wifes phones, I may need to spring for a real camera or at the very least borrow one for a short photo shoot.

    The above picture shows the unscreened first run of dried and processed carrots, pumkin, sweet potato, banana, and collard greens mixed together.

    In with more butternut squash.

    I need a larger dehydrator, but it seems to be going quite well with what I have now, it's just a bit slower than I am used to doing things around here.

    Maurice Pudlo
    Last edited by MauricesExoticPets; 11-30-2012 at 07:45 AM.
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