To feed or not to feed

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  • #7334
    Maybelle
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    In the past I was quite generous with the mealworms offered to our bluebirds. More recently, due to some information I have come across, I have really cut back on quantity. It appears that since they lack needed calcium, too many mealworms can create an unbalanced diet detrimental to bluebirds. So I’m wondering how others choose to feed or not to feed.

    Cari
    Willamette Valley, Oregon

    #7335
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Cari, I’m glad you found this information, and it apparently is true. The worms are only to be fed as a treat to the blues & to help out when they have babies to feed. WE MUST remember these are wild birds and they must be able to find food on their own. I believe the rule of thumb, according to Sialis.org and the mealworm companies info, is to give them about 10 worms per bird 2 times a day. Many variables could come into play, such as size of worms, availability of other insects, etc. Yes, my blues always want more, but I am a true believer they need to hunt on their own – we feed them worms to help but mostly for our own enjoyment.

    SUCH AS – this morning my newly fledged finally came to the worms bowl with the parents, which is truly a treat to watch. Enjoy feeding but do not give them an unlimited supply. My blues usually eat their worms up (when not feeding babies) in less than 5 minutes. Also, you will not break the bank quite as soon!

    #7336
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
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    No matter how many you feed you can do a little to fix the calcium problem. Most pet stores have calcium carbonate in the reptile section. You can dust your worms with that. It adheres better if they are a tiny bit moist. The brand I buy is Jurassi-Cal. Whatever brand you get, it should be calcium carbonate and not calcium citrate. Can’t remember why!

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #7339
    Maybelle
    Participant
    • Topics started 23
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    I have already ground egg shells in a coffee bean grinder, placed some of that in the bird feeder dish along with the worms, hoping the birds would get a bit of egg shell along with their worms.

    Cari
    Willamette Valley, Oregon

    #7343
    Chris
    Participant
    • Topics started 2
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    I feed lots of mealworms (10k monthly). A couple of years ago I too learned of this calcium deficiency, potentially caused from live mealies.
    I Found out two things:
    Blues will only get 10-20% of their daily intake from us.
    Exotic nutrition has a fairly inexpensive solution- calcium fortified food for mealworms. It is made to gut load your mealies a couple days before you feed them to your blues. The worms love it!
    I have been monitoring all our blues, very closely, while they lay there eggs each day. There have been not one problem with egg issues or early hatching. None, for 3 years.
    I personally believe that providing worms at the time of fledge is the best possible help for at least the first few days, especially for the first clutch of the year.

    Chris
    Rochester, NY

    N

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