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06/06/2015

Feeding your Leopard Gecko and Gut-Loading your Meal Worms - Small Population

Overview:

My goal in this article is to provide you the knowledge to properly feed your Leopard Geckos. The most important part of this process is feeding your Meal Worms prior to feeding them to your Leopard Geckos. This is called Gut-Loading.

Before we start, how many Leopard Geckos do you feed each day? If adults or sub-adults figure 30 Worms per day. For hatchlings figure 15.

Yes I know this number does appear high, bear with me and you will understand the process. We don’t actually expect them to eat this many per day. 

Things you will need: 

  • Meal Worms – Calculate this way - 30 for each adult/sub-adult and 15 for each hatchling daily. Buy enough Meal Worms to last one week. So if you have one Adult. 30 X 7 = 210, or just round it off to 200 as you can buy meal worms 100 per container. 
  • 2) Plastic containers to hold the Meal worms. Usually storage type containers are best. 2 quart or approximate.
  • 1) Bag, Chicken Lay Mash. Most feed/Tack stores will have this. Usually in 25lbs bags or bigger, should cost about $15.00 for 25lbs.
  • Carrots and Potatoes 
  • Metal Screen strainer 
  • 1) Plastic container, 6 quart size or slightly larger. For use when you strain the worms to separate them from the Wheat Bran they come in and later from the Chicken Lay Mash. 
  • 1) Bag Wheat Bran – Available also at your local feed store. Again will most likely need to buy a large bag, but very inexpensive. 
  • Vitamin Powder – Osteo Form (Horse Vitamin) for Adult Leopard Geckos and Vionate (Dog vitamin) for Hatchlings, Juveniles and Sub Adults up to 10 months old. You will most likely need to buy this online. Is much more cost effective than typical Reptile Vitamin supplements.

 

Gut-Loading process:

 

  • Strain about 1 inch of Chicken Lay Mash for each plastic container you plan to place your Meal worm’s in, remember you need two. Run the Chicken Lay Mash through a Metal strainer to get rid of all the large pieces of the Lay Mash. Only place the strained Lay Mash in the containers. This process serves to make it easy for all feedings as the materials used will all go through your strainer except the worms themselves. 
  • Place 3 days worth of Meal Worms in each Container that has the Lay Mash in them. So now you have two plastic containers with Lay Mash (1 in) and 3 days worth of worms. Make sure you calc how many worms you
    will need. 
  • Place several thinly sliced potatoes on top of the lay mash. Cut very thin. Then thinly slice some Carrots and also place some of the slices on top of the Lay Mash. The Meal Worms will eat the Potatoes and the Carrots as well as the Lay Mash. 
  • Mark the containers #1 and #2. You need to rotate these containers daily. 
  • Place the containers with the worms in a cooler place of your home. Don’t seal the tops, your worms need air and a cool environment. The worms you bought and are not yet using, keep these in your refrigerator until needed. Note that Meal Worms will go into a state of hybernation, non-movement when in your refrigerator.

 

So you have now Gut-Loaded your Meal Worms - Easy right? So here is the feeding process on a daily basis.

 

  • Take your container for the day and strain all the Lay Mash and the worms through your strainer. Remove the bigger Left over potatoes and carrots from the container first. Also remove Pupae in the container by hand. Remember Meal Worms are larvae that in turn will become Pupae that will eventually turn into small beetles. So remove the Pupae as they turn and throw them away. 
  • Place 30 Meal worms for Sub-adults and adults, and 15 for hatchlings in their dish each day. Place a very small amount of Wheat Bram (1/16 of a table spoon) in the dish so the meal worms have some thing to eat while in the dish. You can also add a couple of small pieces of carrot in each feeding dish. 
  • Feed your Geckos – Best if fed early evening each day. Remember you don’t expect your gecko to actually eat all the worms you place in the dish. The reason you place so many in the dish is so there is movement in the dish. If your gecko does not see its food moving they wont eat. This is very important. 
  • Take the worms from the prior day that were not eaten and place then in the container you have for tomorrows feeding. Recycle your worms. Make sure to remove any dead worms or any Pupae. I suggest you collect all the old worms in a small dish and run them through your strainer before you place them in the container for re-feeding again. 
  • Make sure you have placed a small amount of Vitamin Powder in a small Cap in the cage that your geckos can lick up when they need it. Trust me they will do this.

 

Hatchlings - With the hatchlings you don’t place any Wheat Bran in the dish. Only 15 worms and a dusting of the Vitamin Powder (Vionate) on the worms. This way you absolutely know your hatchlings are getting their needed vitamins.

 

Repeat this process each day. After a while you will get his process down and will find its easy to maintain. This is why our Geckos look so healthy and grow so big. We are what we eat.

 Please contact me with any comments or suggestions.

 I do plan to place a more extensive version of this process on-line on the next month that will include extensive amounts of pictures to show the process.

 Take care,

 James Steinert - Embergecko.com