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Posted by Allen Repashy on March 24, 2003 at 20:17:45:
In Reply to: Re: Cresty favors bugs over baby food....... posted by GECKOS UNLIMITED on March 24, 2003 at 13:18:04:
Hello Nathan, I welcome your debate..:)
I agree, that the most important thing here is to provide the best nutrition for the geckos. I also agree in that there is more than one way to skin a cat. A well balanced insect based diet with correct supplementation, can provide all the requirements a gecko needs. My point was not to be that there is something wrong with an insect based diet, but to show that there is an alternative to it, and more importantly, to discourage the feeding of "out of the jar" babyfood (for the reasons we both agree upon). This was my main point. I don not recommend that people feed babyfood more than twice a week to their rhacs in combination with an insect based diet. An insect only diet is definitely better than one that is half babyfood and half insects. My point was that my diet is designed to replace the need for any insects at all in the diet, and that it replaces all the nutrients provided by crickets and then some. It makes keeping rhacs much easier in that it is a lot cheaper than buying crickets, and an option for people who don't like crickets.
On to your gut loading issue. Gut loading crickets can help balance the nutrition of a cricket, but it is not nearly as effective as dusting. A combination of the two is the best we can do. You don't mention dusting, but I assume that you do. I recently was able to discuss Gutloading with Todd (owner of Timberline) at a trade show where we were side by side. He just spent a lot of money with an independent Laboratory, who analyzed and gutloaded crickets with some very potent feeds. (so strong they kill the crickets that eat them within 24 hours. The results were surprising and interesting. The bottom line is that ( I will have to confirm exact #'s with Todd) a gutloaded cricket carries between 1 and 2 % of its weight in gutload. Also, the cricket quickly processes and degrades many of the vitamins in the loading formula, so only the first part of the gut contains value.
If we take these numbers and use them on a DMB (dry matter basis, a cricket is 70% water) we get about 3-4 %. gutload content at the very best.
Lets compare this to dusting crickets. If you take 100 grams of live medium crickets (.225 gm avg weight each) and dust them with a very fine supplement, minerals,vitamin,protein, you will probably get results similar to this. (I have done it many times) You will probably stick about five grams of powder, ten minutes after dusting. On a DMB, we have five grams sticking to 30 grams, or about 17% compared to gutloading at 3-4 %, or in effect, nearly five times as much influence on your cricket value.
So what I am saying is that gutloading can help, but it is not as effective as dusting by any means.
To look at it another way, consider the gut of a cricket. It is about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch long in a medium cricket, and about as big around as a pin. how much can it hold? compare this to the surface area of a crickets body. There is no comparison.
Sure, dusted crickets loose their dust, but loaded crickets digest their loads also.... at probably similar rates.
This isn't an exact science, but even with a large variance in either calculation, it is significant. The best thing we can do is provide balanced nutrition from all angles available. And what I am saying in direct response to you, is that your dusting (assuming you do it) is a big part of what your geckos are getting.
Anyway, I am getting long winded here, and am not trying to attack your methods in any way. Just help the others who read this understand all of the influences on nutritional values, and that it is all important.
And as far as financing your research.. how much could it cost.. you would save money over crickets, and if you put a value on what you learn, then you shouldn't be concerned with your time involved. If you learn something, isn't it worth it? Not following you on that one.
Respectfully, Allen Repashy