Breeding & Gutloading Feeders

iisamuel

New Member
Okay so I've only been a chameleon owner for about 2 weeks now so still pretty new. So far what I've been doing for food/diet is crickets I buy from petsmart, then i put them in a container with airflow and also through in some collard greens or carrots to try to gut load them. I then dust them with calcium no d3 everytime I feed. Will be doing calcium with d3 twice a month once at beginning and one in middle. Same goes for multivitamin.

Getting crickets from them every three days or so is getting kind of annoying because of how long it takes them to count them out etc.. and I don't think I am giving them enough time to actually "gutload." Because of this, and reading posts saying people should vary their diets I want to learn how to breed the feeders myself.
The ones I am currently interested in are the crickets and superworms. This is because I know I can easily obtain a starting colony of them and from what I've seen they seem to be fairly common feeders.
I would also like to look into the dubia roaches but am unsure currently of where I would buy those to get started.

So my question to experienced chameleon owners is, 1 are these actually decent options for food and 2 can you educate me on breeding and gutloading process or post a good link. I have tried searching myself on YouTube etc.. but just haven't found any that I feel comfortable actually following their instructions.
Help would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
@Decadancin
 

Decadancin

Moderatoris Americanus
Staff member
He he... I just wrote this a few minutes back...

https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/feeder-suggestions-for-apartments.166053/

"I find it difficult to raise insects for just 1 chameleon. I order crickets, or pick some up at the local store, and I have found that getting silk worm eggs is the best way for me to raise the worms. I just make sure to feed them the silkworm chow and keep the container clean. Hornworms are tougher to slow their growth, so you may want to invest in a small wine fridge to keep them in. I also get Black Soldier Fly larvae and wait for them to hatch out. The flies are definitely a good item for your chameleon to hunt. You can also keep most of the larvae in the wine fridge to prevent them from all hatching out at the same time."

As for gutload and crickets, they only need a few hours or so to get some quality nutrients in them. Overnight is what I generally do. One thing is I don't have to feed my entire supply of feeders the "good" stuff the entire time, and it is easier to keep clean. I generally get a few dozen crickets at a time and have a couple bins for them. One bin is for those to be fed the next day.

As for variety, I think Silkies are the easiest worm to raise from eggs because they do not grow as fast as Horns. They generally will not outgrow your chameleon. They can eventually turn into moths and can be fed as well. If you have the time and patience they can even breed and lay eggs for you.

I like to use the BSF larvae but prefer to let them turn to flies. It offers a great hunting opportunity and they are already nutritious and don't need gutloading or dusting.
 

NickTide

Avid Member
I love raisng feeders....
Crickets are kinda easy but unforgiving when trying to breeding them. Things get a little too dry or a little too wet and everything dies. Roaches are way easier. Not as fast but easier. they can go weeks with no food or water and live... it will slow down production, but try going on a weeks vacation when you have crickets breeding. I recommend orange head roaches. a little bigger than dubias but move more and seem to attract picky chams better than dubias. I don't breed them anymore. I stopped when my chams outgrew pinheads. I seldom buy them either.

This is what I recommend for 1 cham...
10 gallon aquarium of roaches. dubias are ok but I think orange heads are better. I keep a little bit of rabbit food on the bottom if they want more protein but they eat mostly fruits and veggies. I don't use water crystals either. I get the ugly carrots from walmart at about $.50 /lb. they don't mold and dry out slowly. Egg crate for hiding. They get a nice mix of scrap fruits and veggies from the kitchen and I feed dandelion leaves. keep it cheap. If you want a better gutload, do it in a separate container.

BSFL (aka phoenix worms, calci worms, repti worms, black soldier fly larvae). They will keep for at least 6 months in a $60 wine fridge. Buy them by the 1000 to save money. They don't need to be dusted (still need to feed something that is dusted with d3). I prefer to let mine turn into flies. Chams love them and they are easier to feed off than the larvae. I think I paid $15 for 1000.

Super worms. Easy to breed but take a long time. Larvae must be separate before they pupate into beetles. In the mean time you could buy a few hundred and they will keep. as long as you throw some fresh veggies in there for water, very few will die and none will pupate over a few months.

You could buy a dozen crickets here and there as a treat and to help round out the diet.
 

iisamuel

New Member
Hmmm thanks for the ideas I'll look into them. And I would love to get another chameleon <333 but want to get more experience first and also find someone i trust to buy one off of instead of going to petsmart. Also maybe try out a new breed as well would be fun but like I said that won't be for a long timeeeee.
 

iisamuel

New Member
He he... I just wrote this a few minutes back...

https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/feeder-suggestions-for-apartments.166053/

"I find it difficult to raise insects for just 1 chameleon. I order crickets, or pick some up at the local store, and I have found that getting silk worm eggs is the best way for me to raise the worms. I just make sure to feed them the silkworm chow and keep the container clean. Hornworms are tougher to slow their growth, so you may want to invest in a small wine fridge to keep them in. I also get Black Soldier Fly larvae and wait for them to hatch out. The flies are definitely a good item for your chameleon to hunt. You can also keep most of the larvae in the wine fridge to prevent them from all hatching out at the same time."

As for gutload and crickets, they only need a few hours or so to get some quality nutrients in them. Overnight is what I generally do. One thing is I don't have to feed my entire supply of feeders the "good" stuff the entire time, and it is easier to keep clean. I generally get a few dozen crickets at a time and have a couple bins for them. One bin is for those to be fed the next day.

As for variety, I think Silkies are the easiest worm to raise from eggs because they do not grow as fast as Horns. They generally will not outgrow your chameleon. They can eventually turn into moths and can be fed as well. If you have the time and patience they can even breed and lay eggs for you.

I like to use the BSF larvae but prefer to let them turn to flies. It offers a great hunting opportunity and they are already nutritious and don't need gutloading or dusting.
Any chance you could post some links to reputable websites where I could find the silkworms and black fly larvae?
 

iisamuel

New Member
I love raisng feeders....
Crickets are kinda easy but unforgiving when trying to breeding them. Things get a little too dry or a little too wet and everything dies. Roaches are way easier. Not as fast but easier. they can go weeks with no food or water and live... it will slow down production, but try going on a weeks vacation when you have crickets breeding. I recommend orange head roaches. a little bigger than dubias but move more and seem to attract picky chams better than dubias. I don't breed them anymore. I stopped when my chams outgrew pinheads. I seldom buy them either.

This is what I recommend for 1 cham...
10 gallon aquarium of roaches. dubias are ok but I think orange heads are better. I keep a little bit of rabbit food on the bottom if they want more protein but they eat mostly fruits and veggies. I don't use water crystals either. I get the ugly carrots from walmart at about $.50 /lb. they don't mold and dry out slowly. Egg crate for hiding. They get a nice mix of scrap fruits and veggies from the kitchen and I feed dandelion leaves. keep it cheap. If you want a better gutload, do it in a separate container.

BSFL (aka phoenix worms, calci worms, repti worms, black soldier fly larvae). They will keep for at least 6 months in a $60 wine fridge. Buy them by the 1000 to save money. They don't need to be dusted (still need to feed something that is dusted with d3). I prefer to let mine turn into flies. Chams love them and they are easier to feed off than the larvae. I think I paid $15 for 1000.

Super worms. Easy to breed but take a long time. Larvae must be separate before they pupate into beetles. In the mean time you could buy a few hundred and they will keep. as long as you throw some fresh veggies in there for water, very few will die and none will pupate over a few months.

You could buy a dozen crickets here and there as a treat and to help round out the diet.
Magic Chef MCWC6B 6 Bottle Countertop Wine Cooler, 13" x 23" x 18", Black https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0077JLHKO/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_GdvTBbT8X6HRY
That good?
 

NickTide

Avid Member
Magic Chef MCWC6B 6 Bottle Countertop Wine Cooler, 13" x 23" x 18", Black https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0077JLHKO/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_GdvTBbT8X6HRY
That good?
That looks like the one i have. I set mine at 56 degrees. The temp was kinda random but it has kept them alive for 6 months. Im not changing. It was a great investment. I was paying $5 per 100. And dont under value the benefit of always having feeders. Hurricanes, wild fires, snow storms, strikes can all delay shipments.
 

NickTide

Avid Member
not sure what their shipping is but if it reasonable I would go with them. I bought mine from ebay. $15 shipped i think. But I would gladly pay a bit more to buy from someone reputable. Bsfl can be raised in straight manure. Id rather not.
$3.50 shipping to my state. Very reasonable.
 

Remkon

Chameleon Enthusiast
As for gutload and crickets, they only need a few hours or so to get some quality nutrients in them. Overnight is what I generally do. One thing is I don't have to feed my entire supply of feeders the "good" stuff the entire time, and it is easier to keep clean. I generally get a few dozen crickets at a time and have a couple bins for them. One bin is for those to be fed the next day.
I tend to do this aswell but I also put a little bit of superload over their "not so good" stuff in case I forget to prepare the "good" stuff so it's still atleast "decent" stuff...

For supplementing I use Sticky Tongue farms miner-all indoor and vit-all which also requires you to provide the "good" stuff (Vit-all) a day in advance.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
I tend to do this aswell but I also put a little bit of superload over their "not so good" stuff in case I forget to prepare the "good" stuff so it's still atleast "decent" stuff...

For supplementing I use Sticky Tongue farms miner-all indoor and vit-all which also requires you to provide the "good" stuff (Vit-all) a day in advance.
What is your supplement schedule with miner-all? I’ve heard of people doing it every feeding, every 3rd feeding, etc. I’ve got adult panther chams, so if I do it as the bottle says, they’re only getting supplemented every 6 days.
 

Remkon

Chameleon Enthusiast
What is your supplement schedule with miner-all? I’ve heard of people doing it every feeding, every 3rd feeding, etc. I’ve got adult panther chams, so if I do it as the bottle says, they’re only getting supplemented every 6 days.
Sticky tongues is the same for every feeding. So before every feeding vit-all and miner-all every feeding.
 
Start a roach colony that will reduce how often you need to go buy crix. Crix aren't hard to breed but it's just kind of a headache and they aren't as hardy as roaches. I've cut back on the amount of crix I breed just because the savings isn't worth it to me anymore. I would still do it if I needed lots of pinheads, though. Superworms tend to last a long time, you can buy them a little smaller than the maximum size you need and so they don't get too big before you can use them. You can breed them if you're on a tight budget but it's less work to just buy them already at the size you need, so if you have more time than money, by all means start a small colony, otherwise buy them now and then. The soldier flies are definitely a good high calcium feeder. If you have a wine fridge or cold basement you could put them in there so that they last longer. I haven't shopped around too much but I usually get them for a place called Symons or something like that and the price was better than several other places I checked. There is another feeder I use called butterworms that you can get from the fishing section of Walmart. Most of my lizards seem to eat them although they are not as energized about them as the roaches and crix.
 
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