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Designing the perfect cricket feed

Hello guys,

I would like to develop the most optimum cricket feed possible. There is a big local mill who wants to work with us in order to create something perfect for our needs/market needs.

We're raising the Gryllodes sigillatus.

Right now we have been using High Quality chicken starter with good result.

Proteins: 20% Fat: 4% Fiber: 4.5% Na: 0,18% Ca: 1% P: 0,75%

I have seen a @gringojay recipe previously on the forums but wanted to know if it was considered the optimum one. The diet is: crude protein = 22.3% crude fat = 5.5% ash = 4.4% <- Why ash? crude fiber= 4.9%

Let's discuss about this =)


  • thesis (2018) shows cricket diet is more than just protein % & such. I think what a commercial operation should consider is not the “optimum” diet, but more the cost of a diet in light of the financial return.

    CIted thesis has good data comparing some of the differences dietary tactics result in. For example: Table 11 shows how chicken feed may make for longer cricket bodies this doesn’t mean total weight is necessarily the most compared to some vegetative diets’ outcome.

    Then too, one may want to consider how much.ot the cricket weight is not only in their wings & legs, but what the wings alone might weight. Thus in thesis diets chicken feed creates more wing weight & alternative diets result in comparatively less weight in wings, leaving legs to weigh relatively more.

    Table 8 illustrates how variable amino acid contents can be on different diets. Chicken feed left you with high dry matter & low ash. Yet some amino acids were higher & some lower than alternative thesis diets, so if you have a target end product use that involves rate limiting amino acids (ex: fish/animal feed) this.may be more relevant than a “maximum” cricket diet if you then need to buy amino acids to balance your product.

    Which leads back to early thesis Table 4. Author shows chicken feed protein content (23.4%) & fat content (9%) in comparison to 3 vegetative diets. Which needs to be considered in interpreting Table 8 (& Table 11) to see how it is not only % of protein that determine the end product (cricket nutritional composition).

    Table 9 shows how variations in mineral content of crickets on different diets. Of course the thesis chicken feed brand’s composition is probably not the same as what you are getting; meaning thinks like levels of lead/mercury/selenium/cobalt/chromium should not be assumed exactly the same. Likewise all the chicken feed data can not be assumed to extrapolate uniformly to your chicken feed — the relevant point of the thesis charts’ data is that it demonstrates the ways a ‘maximum” cricket diet might be interpreted.

  • edited May 12 by Fuad, Sirengr & Endrawati is insightful how cricket diet impacts egg productivity. They trialed 3 kinds of crickets on diets consisting of broiler chicken feed with 20% to 22% protein content (fed 1 x every 5 days) plus vegetation (fed 1x every 2 days) of either cassava leaves (“Me”in text) or papaya leaves (“Cp” in text); “... with a very significant effect on egg production .... [and feed intake, as per Fig.1].

    Fig. 2 shows feed intake variability over the egg laying period & Fig. 3 shows both total & daily egg production on different diets. Fig. 4 graphs the daily variation in egg production under different regimens.

    Fig. 5 looks at mg of feed consumed/ egg laid on different diets. While % of mortality during every 5 days of laying period for 3 kinds of crickets on the different diets is graphed in the next Fig.

  • edited May 12 by Houslay, Hunt, Tinsely & Bussiere (2015) fed Gryllodes sigillatus either high protein (32%, as cat food) or low protein (11%, as equal parts oatmeal + cat food) diets & also tried to see if when the diet changed in protein content between a cricket’s juvenile stage & it’s adulthood whether these kinds of dietary shift mattered.

    I will only highlight the results in regards to female fecundity (egg laying) & not refer to the data regarding males. Fig. 1 graphs the number of eggs laid from day 20 to day 70.

    Authors determined that juvenile females fed high protein were determined to “... increase fecundity early ... [and] ... senesced rapidly.” Cited Fig. 1’s legend remarks that the periodicity of eggs was less about diet than lifespan; in that females fed high protein had peak egg laying earlier, yet females fed low protein lived longer & as a consequence laid a greater total number of eggs.

  • Hi Grevio, - If you want to see a clear photograph of your referenced cricket’s alimentary anatomy check out the Brazilian teams’ (2009) Fig. 1 in “Digestive morphophysiology of Gryllodes sigillatus (Orthoptera: Gryllidae)”; free full pdf available on-line.

  • edited May 12

    Thesis of Mykell Reifer (2017) titled “The effect of dietary protein and carbohydrate availability throughout development and adulthood on life history and sexually selected traits in male Jamaican field crickets (Gryllus assimilatus)”; is a very good read as a free full pdf available on-line.

    Author points out that although high protein diets bring males to adulthood faster & larger (which both appeals to females more & give the male a larger signaling anatomy) the male juveniles left to themselves consume double the amount of carbohydrates than protein. The male adults, likewise left to themselves for selecting food, will also consume about twice the amount of carbohydrates as protein. Thesis points out that since signaling itself is fueled aerobically & carbohydrates are more utilitarian in that regard this may be a factor for the adult males.

    Reference is made to the fact that “... long-lived G. sigillatus .... signaled more than short-lived males....” & we know high protein diets result in less longevity for adults (which may be why juveniles self-select lower protein diets despite needing more developmental time). And it seems that, in crickets, although high protein creates larger body mass in adult males these adults’ call duration & mean call expression are less than what smaller adult males produce. So, despite female crickets preference for larger males there are other factors to take into account than just what our human observation notices.

    Reifer discusses many interesting aspects & I will not try to highlight anything else here, leaving it for those interested to read the thesis. Rodent chow, with 24.3% protein + 40.2% carbohydrate, was used to build several diets around in order to test out several concepts; meaning I have only generalized the diets researched. .

  • So Grevio, - In view of my suggestion minimizing bug feed cost is a strategic goal I want to bring up the following. However, my input is limited because it is from observation(s) of Korean language insect research & I don’t understand much beyond the brief abstracts in English.

    Here’s what caught my attention & how I interpreted the relevance. A Korean report abstract determined the best survival & body weight for 3rd star nymphs of Gryllus bimaculatus was with a diet of 50% soybean flour + 20% corn flour + 10% rice bran + 0.5% multivitamin mineral + 0.5% “micro-organisms”.

    So I wondered what the “micro-organisms” translation meant & believe it refers to “fermented sawdust” (is: the microbes were living in the sawdust). This inference comes because another Korean insect diet found 2.5% dog food with “fermented mulberry sawdust” was find for larvae.

    To be precise, I do not know that “micro-organisms” means fermented sawdust & it may refer to a commercially sold innoculant. In the Gryllus bimaculatus Korean research text I saw (in parenthesis) “EM”; which is what popularized “Bokashi” is known as. You can find Bokashi (EM) recipes on-line & uTube videos if look.

    Related to the fermented sawdust w/2.5% dog food Korean larval study I can only say that have found the following insight in a different report (in other words not take from the dog food + sawdust publication). In that other kind of insect (sorry forgot which bug) study they compared the dietary inclusion of both fermented mulberry & fermented oak sawdust’s: the fermented oak sawdust had egg laying going on for an average of 9.6 weeks giving an average of 76 eggs, where the fermented mulberry sawdust had egg laying going on for an average of 9.1 weeks giving an average of 83 eggs.

    Now, I was only able to find a tactic for fermenting sawdust in a totally non-bug related study. Fermentation was done by moistening sawdust to 90% water content & adding 20% bran (rice bran was used: bran supplied the minerals, nitrogen & carbohydrates for microbes to colonize the sawdust). You can find pictures of spas in Japan offering fermented sawdust treatments for humans.

    The sawdust, bran + water was stacked up for 6 days (“outside” in Korea). After 6 days the mass was turned & rehydrated if needed, when it was left for another 3 days stacked outside. After that time the mass was again turned & rehydrated, when it was stacked outside for a final 7 days.

    With the bran (as opposed to other researched plant based additives for nitrogen, carbohydrate & minerals to feed the microbes) the fermenting sawdust reached 70C on 6th day & dropped to 58C by 16th day. Also my interpretation of “stacked” means a pile & not a layer; while “turned” means inverting the pile & not re-mixing everything (in order to not break any microbial arrays that develop).

    Why do I bring this up? There seems to be a carbohydrate benefit in cricket diets & there are cellulose (sawdust) degrading bacteria. My interpretation of the Korean research is there are bacteria with endo-glucanase enzyme capability (this enzyme breaks cellulose apart) & exo-glucanase enzyme capability (this enzyme attacks, “hydrolizes”, the newly exposed cellulose ends) & beta-glucosidase enzyme activity (this enzyme releases glucose).

    In closing let me try to contextualize this comment. I leave it to you to consider the applicability to your project & if worth trials of any aspect.

    It is my interpretation that in the 1st cited study above, where 0.5% “microbes” are added to the diet this is for their enzymatic capability (endo- & exo- glucanases + glucosidase) to help in breaking down the cellulose in the soy/corn/bran.

    While the other studies involving fermented sawdust added to the diet is a distinctly unusual ingredient it appears enzymatic activity (endo- & exo- glucanases + glucosidase) has (&/or is still) broken (breaking) down the cellulose of sawdust into a utilizable carbohydrate (glucose).

    [Note: I am skipping fermentation of sawdust’s non-cellulose components & also that different origin sawdust has different tannin content.]

    By the way: in another translated scientific abstract the phrase was “fermented wood flour” & not “fermented sawdust” so, assuming these are interchangeable & in view of Japanese bath pictures, I believe the sawdust substrate that is used for subjection to fermentation is very fine textured at the start.

  • Thank you so much!

    I do agree that there it needs to be cost effective. So far, it seems like broiler starter feed is the best cost effective solution. Nonetheless, I'd like to research the "best" feed so perhaps I will be able to tweak the feed and make it cost effective.

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