Mealworm nutrition – How important this can be for the health of the birds

Wisbroek - Meelwormen in vogelvoeding

Mealworms

Mealworms are an excellent source of protein for your birds. Live mealworms are packed with protein and moisture and are an excellent bird food. However when we buy them it’s really difficult to know exactly what was feed to them before. And from one perspective yes, they are “bags” of protein, but these “bags” can also carry more undigested feeds that might be not good for our birds nutrition.

With this in mind, we at Wisbroek, as soon as we buy the live mealworms, put them on a diet for 5 days of 70% Wisbroek Softbill Diet 7.0 and 30% Wisbroek Ibis-Flamingo Floating pellets. Both soaked in water. And why soaked? Because if the mealworms don’t have the proper humidity they will start the metamorphose to the next stage and we don’t want that. Normally it’s given apples and carrots to provide the needed water, but if the pellets are soaked, there’s no need to do it. And because of the manufacturing of our pellets they will soak the water but stay in the original shape of a ball. Just a little bigger. It takes more than 2 days to turn into pap which give the mealworms enough time for eating all pellets.

You might wonder why we mix these 2 kinds of pellets (Wisbroek Softbill Diet and Wisbroek Ibis-Flamingo Floating)? The Ibis-Flamingo pellets contain Canthaxanthin from the spirulina algae. So this will be a natural source of carotenes that will not be digested from the mealworms and will be carried by them as a vessel and eaten by the birds. That will give the birds small but enough quantities of carotenes that will enhance their colors! All the things that we don’t want to give to the Softbills like the fish oil present on the Flamingo food, the mealworms will digest! Then with 70% of Wisbroek Softbill Diet the mealworms will carry all the necessary nutrients that our bird needs.

It’s known how difficult it is to make an insectivore bird eating a pellet, but it’s also clear for us that our Wisbroek Softbill Diet is perfect for their nutrition! So feeding these pellets through the mealworms is how we provide the birds the necessary nutrients to thrive. And it works perfectly!

I strongly believe that nowadays even with the best feed (which we believe we have), it’s crucial to provide also advice in the nutritional husbandry. Because we can offer the perfect feed, but if the bird doesn’t eat it, that’s a problem. The Wisbroek team is continuously researching to find the best feeding techniques and we are always available to share this knowledge with all the bird technicians around the world!

Tiago Nabiço – Manager Operations of Wisbroek Research & Development Center
May 2018

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