These days, it is very easy to get virtually any food type for most common household pets. This is great as we can now give our dogs or cats what they need to thrive and keep them healthy.
However, some may not know that many animals already have access to a wide variety of foods. Some are even vegetarian!
Many people believe that all animals eat meat, but this isn’t always the case. Certain animals are able to survive just like us due to eating other things. Birds are no exception to this rule.
Some bird species are known to be totally vegetarian. They will instead opt for fruits, vegetables, and seeds over meat products.
This article will talk about the truth about mealworm diets for birds. It will also discuss whether or not these worms are appropriate for your parrot.
Update: There has been an uproar about this article talking about how much nutrition mealworms contain. Many people claim that they are misinformed or exaggerate the importance of these worms.
While it is true that there is iron in mealworms, none of those studies took into account the amount ingested. The average person only eats around 10-20 at a time!
When you ingest enough calories, nutrient rich foods you will absorb more of them. So yes, mealworms do have nutritional value, however, the amounts needed per day are quite high.
History of insect eating
For most animals, including humans, consuming other organisms is either impossible or requires special diets to be done so. This is because many components of an organism are not food nor essential for their survival.
Insects contain protein which can be an adequate source of nutrition for some species. However, most birds and mammals do not require this nutrient due to their skeletal structure.
Birds have beaks that help them process these nutrients more efficiently, making insects unnecessary as a nutritional supplement. Even mammal teeth are designed specifically to break down hard foods such as nuts and berries, eliminating the need for eating insects.
However, there are several bird and animal species that eat insects as a part of their diet.
Research on insect eating
Recent studies have shown that many birds, especially young ones, are able to eat insects as an appropriate food source. Birds in general seem to enjoy eating them!
Many bird owners claim their pet eats insects. This seems plausible because most birds love eating fruits and vegetables, which contain lots of minerals like iron and potassium.
In fact, some veterinarians recommend feeding cooked meat to certain dogs or cats who are missing key nutrients. Since birds are made up of more than just bone and muscle, they can also be fed cooked insects.
However, this is not always easy to do since most birds cannot swallow large foods. That’s why most people start with offering small amounts of insects and see if your bird will try one at first taste.
If your bird does not seem interested after trying several times, you may want to consider other types of edible insects for her/him. You can also look into nutritional supplements for birds, but only get those certified by a professional.
Can parrots eat mealworms
There are several types of birds that can enjoy eating mealworm as an off-the-wall treat or snack. Many bird owners claim that their bird loves them!
Mealworms are not a healthy food option for dogs or cats, but they are a popular human junk food ingredient. As humans ourselves, we know what tastes good to us and may be exaggerating just a little when describing how much our dog or cat loved them!
For some animals though, including your pet owl, snake, lizard, frog, or turtle, feeding them worms is a healthier alternative to using chicken or fish products as a source of nutrition.
Most birds love the texture and taste of cooked worms so they don’t have to worry about finding them in other foods like kibble. Some birds even seem to develop an attraction to them and will try to grab a worm from the hand or spoon even without being asked.
Ways to feed insects to birds
For many bird owners, offering their pet food is more of an occasion than a need! They either provide their animal’s natural diet or something much healthier.
Many dogs and cats are fed commercially prepared diets that contain little nutritional value. This can be very harmful for certain animals, such as puppies and kittens who depend on maternal nutrition during crucial development stages.
For example, puppy mothers do not produce enough milk when they are hungry due to lack of nutrients in the mother’s diet. A low milk supply may also put stress on the pup by requiring longer periods of feeding to satisfy its needs.
This could cause weight loss, poor growth, and/or death if it continues long enough. Adult dogs suffer the same problem when they are placed on dry foods with limited nutritional content.
Dogs that are exposed to less nutritional matter can become malnourished and vulnerable to illness. Fortunately, there are ways to give your dog or cat the nutrition he or she requires without having to prepare his or her own meal!
You can buy dried insect snacks, dried worms, and even cooked larvae (maggots) at most grocery stores.
While most birds do not eat insect larvae, there are some parrot diets that include them. You can either purchase dried or fermented beetle, cricket, mealworm or other insect larva as an ingredient in your parakeet food or you can capture them yourself!
Many birds enjoy eating different types of insects and thus they have special diet recipes containing these foods.
Beetle grubs, crickets, and cockroaches all make good additions to bird feed. Just make sure to cleanse the bugs thoroughly before adding them to the recipe so that none of the important nutritional components get lost.
Some birds may taste differently when eating insect parts than others. Like dogs who know what meat tastes like, some parrots have distinct flavors of cooked bug snacks.
Overall though, many birds seem to simply want something crunchy and salty which is why people often add roasted ants or roach eggs to their diets.
Make sure they are cleaned
While some birds may enjoy eating mealworm larvae, it is not recommended for all parrots. Only feed dried or fresh foods to your bird, otherwise their digestive system will have too much work to do!
If you decide to give mealworms to your bird, make sure that they are either cooked or dehydrated first. If they are raw, then your bird will need to eat them together with water or an oral wash like apple cider vinegar. This way, there is no chance of any poisoning.
Birds usually taste test food by putting a small amount in their beak. If your bird does this, let it chew and swallow the worm alone before offering more. Your bird might try to spit out the worms if they feel uncomfortable.
Provide mealworms in a suitable container
For most birds, their first exposure to insects is as a snack. Birds are very instinctual when it comes to eating anything that moves!
Many bird owners get tired of having to keep buying new snacks for their parrot every few days. This can be expensive if you’re trying to give your pet a variety of foods or if they like an unusual food type.
Insects such as mealworms are easy to acquire and almost any bird will try them once. Since they’re so popular with birds, there are many brands and types of insect treats available at low cost.
Most birds enjoy feeding on these soft-shelled creatures and some even eat them raw. However, not all birds are keen on meat just like humans aren’t! Some birds may need help changing their diet if they’re not accepting the worms as edible.
Monitor for your bird
If you are ever unsure if your parrot is hungry or not, try introducing a new food item. Most birds enjoy eating mealworms!
Many avian experts suggest offering several different sized mealworm pieces to see if your bird likes them. Some may even say it is impossible for most birds to tell the difference between meat and non-meat items.
If your bird seems more interested in the mealworms after they have been introduced for a few minutes, then they likely enjoyed them before. Try giving your bird one of these every day to see if she/he enjoys them again!
It is very important to be careful with how much worm your bird eats, but also make sure that her/him does not seem overfed.