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Diatomite is used as an insecticide, due to its abrasive and physico-sorptive properties. The fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects' exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate. Arthropods die as a result of the water pressure deficiency, based on Fick's law of diffusion. This also works against gastropods and is commonly employed in gardening to defeat slugs.
Hi @edepro53, - this may answer one of your questions. Figure that 76% of the calcium in mealworm larvae can be used (biologically available) by a growing chicken
The following is a guideline for mealworm larvae that weighed about 135 mg. each when analized. Without any calcium carbonate supplement those size larvae will contain ~ 0.25 gr. calcium/Kg.
Give them calcium at the proportion of 20 gram calcium calcium/Kg of the feed & those larvae will contain ~0.75 gr. calcium/Kg; feed with 40 gr. calcium/Kg & get larvae with ~ 1.5 gr. calcium/Kg, feed with 60 gr. calcium/Kg & get larvae with ~ 2.0 gr. calcium/Kg & feed with 80 gr. calcium/Kg & get larvae with ~2.25 gr calcium/Kg.
Data above is from: (2003) "Gut Loading to Enhance the Nutrient Content of Insects As Food for Reptiles: A Mathematical Approach"; published in Zoo Biology 22
There are some differences in calcium requirements for different chicken growth stages. (2004) "Calcium supplementation of breeding birds: directions for future research" may be good orientation; but not specific to chickens.
Free full text = http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1474-919x.2004.00298.x/full
spelling correction: 2nd paragraph should read - "analyzed" - ending 1st sentence.
Hi edepro53, - The previous data of how much calcium supplement fed mealworm larvae resulted in how much calcium those larvae contained also pointed out that their phosphorus content still was 3.2- 3.3 grams of phosphorus/Kg.
For "eating" classification (broilers, not breeding stock or egg producers/layer) of chickens there are trade offs in just aiming for maximum calcium. (1990) "Effects of dietary calcium:available phosphorus ratio on calcium tolerance of broiler chickens"; http://www.publish.csiro.au/?paper=EA9900483 gives one dynamic; below is taken from that report.
It is one thing to get an increased rate of utilization (feed conversion ratio) from what feed broiler chickens & it is still another to get this to actually result in more growth. For example (as per above study): ramp calcium content of diet up to 30 gram calcium/Kg (of feed) & they grow less even though assimilate what ate more. And if fed only 10.6 gr calcium/Kg of total feed while simultaneously increase the metabolically "available" phosphorus to 10 grams phosphorus/Kg of feed you get that same paradox of exceptional feed conversion yet less than would expect growth.
A ratio of 2.5 parts by weight calcium to 1 part by weight of phosphorus seems to get past the issue of unsatisfactory growth despite a good feed utilization. In other words: a lot of what they ate might be inside them, but the relevant issue is where inside them (this also is different for males or females).
Author's concluded that up to 21 grams/Kg of calcium can be fed chickens but then you need to formulate the feed so there is more phosphorus in it as well (ie: 8.4 gr/Kg phosphorus if give them 21 gr/Kg calcium); and your mealworm larvae alone (ie: 3.3 gr/Kg phosphorus) wouldn't provide enough to assure you get full benefit of the growth for the investment you made in feed.
Look back at previous comment's data note & you will see that without adding calcium the mealworm larvae only had ~0.25 gram calcium/Kg. Yet they have 3+ gram phosphorus/Kg & so these 2 minerals have a ratio that is not this (above) report's ideal for actual growth.