Animal Products

Composition of Four Commercial Feeder Cricket Gut-Loading Diets

  • Cayla Iske (Iowa State University)
  • Kelly Kappen (Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium)
  • Cheryl Morris (Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium)


Gut-loading diets are fed to crickets immediately prior to being consumed by insectivores to increase their nutrient density. A variety of gut-loading diets are marketed to pet owners and zoos, but nutrient composition is not always thoroughly evaluated and published. The objective of this study was to evaluate four commercially available cricket gut-loading diets for nutritional composition including minerals, vitamins, and carotenoids. Nutrient composition of the 4 commercial gut-loading diets varied by as much as 30-fold with key differences in protein, fat, calcium, and vitamin A. While the Cricket Aid (Timberline, Marion, IL) gut-loading diet was highest in total vitamin A, it was as much as 97% lower in fat and protein and as much as 8 times lower in calcium concentrations compared to other analyzed diets. Protein and fat concentrations were highest in the Better Bug (Mazuri, Arden Hills, MN) diet (33.2 and 14.3%, respectively). Very low fat concentrations were measured in the Cricket Aid diet (0.4%) and may hinder absorption and availability of fat-soluble vitamins. It is recommended that crickets gut-loaded with Cricket Aid be supplemented with additional calcium. Outcomes may help animal managers and insectivore owners in selecting a gut-loading diet for insectivores.

How to Cite:

Iske, C., Kappen, K. & Morris, C., (2019) “Composition of Four Commercial Feeder Cricket Gut-Loading Diets”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 16(1).

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Published on
12 Aug 2019