Are Highly Calcium Fortified Foods Deadly to Roaches?

Dave Legacy

New Member
Hey everyone,

I just started my very own B. dubia roach colony today (thanks to Dave Weldon) and I had a question about feeding them your typical highly calcium fortified gutload feeds. I was at the IRBA in Pomona today and picked up a large jar of "mystery" dry cricket feed. I consider it a mystery because there isn't a label or nutritional facts. The guy at the LLL-Reptile Booth was only able to tell me that it's a typical calcium gutload feed.

Anyway, I know that will die a couple days after consuming highly calcium fortified foods because their digestive system can't handle the calcium content. Are roaches the same way or can I feed them this cricket feed as a staple diet?

Right now I offered them some collard greens and celery for moisture. I've been reading dog food is a good feed, but I'm not sure if I want my chams eating the same stuff my dog eats.

Thanks in advance,
Dave Legacy
I never used any commercial feed for my dubia except for the water gels. But that's only if I notice that they need a little more moisture. I usually feed them on carrots, collard greens, and romaine lettuce. I also throw in dry dog food in order to add some protein to their diet. If they get no protein, they will start to eat eachother. They will eat anything you throw in there. If your concerned about the dog food in them, all you have to do is put a few aside. Then the day before you feed your cham, feed the roaches you put aside veggies, carrots, etc. That way their guts will be cleaned out and filled with good stuff before feeding.
Dog food is pretty high in fat and low quality dog food uses quite a bit of corn as a filler. Corn has no nutritional value.

It is true that the roaches will eat pretty much anything. I feed my roaches the same as I do my crickets. Dried infant cereal works well as bedding (if you chose to have a substrate) and the roaches will eat it was well. I grind up alfalfa pellets and mix with the infant cereal and that is the main ingredients in my dry mix. The normal greens and veggies that you would feed crickets can also be fed to the roaches (eg. collards, turnips, mustards, dandelion, squash, sweet potato, zucchini, endive). For protein you can add an egg occasionally(hard boiled or raw.. whichever you prefer). I haven't had a problem with roach cannibalism unless they were not getting enough moisture. I use water crystals with mine with no problems.

Here is a quote from Frye, FL. Reptile Diseases: An Atlas of Care and Treatment. 1991. TFH Publishing, Inc., Neptune City NJ.

"The meat by-products in these feeds are not pasteurized and can become rancid in the GI systems of the crickets. This poses no problem for the insect, but the chronic ingestion of these crix by the reptiles can have damaging results.

Also, the corn used in dry commercial dog/cat food is from a low-grade of grain that did not pass the UDSA's approval for human consumption. Most of this corn has been exposed to blight, (a fungus), and when the chow is allowed to become wet (even in an insect's gut), can produce an Aflatoxin, (usually Aspergillus flavus) which is a poisonous toxin that can can kill your reptile."

Hope this helps some :)
those are some good to know facts. I think I'll try the boiled egg instead of the dog food for now on. Is it okay to put a full boiled egg in there or will it spoil before they finish it?
I suppose that it depends on the size of your roach colony. I usually chop up a hard boiled egg and put it on a paper plate in my lobster colony. I have a colony of about 1000 and they eat it up pretty quickly, within a day or so.
Thanks for all the great information! I'm actually boiling some eggs as I type this. I do have one more question though:

I called LLL-Reptile today to find out what the main ingredients are in the "mystery" cricket feed I purchased. Turns out that it's not a high-calcium feed as it was sold to me, but rather a chicken mash. Chicken mash isn't appropriate to feed to my crickets before offering to my chams, but might it be acceptable to feed to my roaches as a source of protein until it's their time to be eaten?

Otherwise this stuff just becomes trash.

Dave Legacy
Hard boiled eggs seem to be a big hit. Although I haven't seen more than a couple (out of approximately 30) eat at a time one of the females came out to eat it as soon as my hand left the enclosure. I also caught one of the females eating a grape and found evidence of nibbled carrots.

The temperature in the eggcrate pockets, above the heater, is approximately 92-95F depending on the outside air temp. Outside the egg carton on the heater side is approximately 85F. They're definitely more active now, and I can tell they're more interested in feeding.

If it gets too hot on the heater side they'll move right, not allow themselves to get burnt? I got a reading of almost 103F when I put my probe against the glass directly above the heater.
Actually I think some people use chicken mash (or at least chicken feed) as part of their gutload recipe. someobdy correct me if I'm that only for mealworms? Or crix too?

Roaches can injest alot of calcium without dying like crickets do. They are much hardier than crix.
I know this is an old thread but if anyone feeds boiled eggs do you leave the shell or keep it on?
I would take the shell off. When I put a cantaloupe rind in there, they eat everything but the outer/exterior of the rind. So I doubt mine would eat hard shell. But this is just a guess lol haven't tried it personally.
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