Friday, April 17, 2009

Buffalo Worms - Part 1

Several years ago, my good friend Axel, from Canada, told me of a worm that he thought was a very good live food for insectivorous birds. He said that he had been feeding great quantities of it to his shamas without any apparent ill effects. In fact, his birds were so healthy, they "were jumping over the wall". He referred to the worm as, "Buffalo Worms" ("buffaloes"). I did some checking over the internet but left it at that.

Some time later, while harvesting my Pineapple Beetles, I took notice of the other beetles in the container. These beetles were much smaller in size than the P. Beetles. Together with the small beetles, there were also worms that were somewhat similar to mealworms but were only about a centimeter long and also moved very quickly. I assumed these worms were the larvae of the buffaloes. I again did some checking on the internet and came to the conclusion that the smaller worms were Buffalo Worms of the same species as that fed by Axel to his birds.

This is what the buffaloes look like:

With further observation, I noted whilst the P. Beetles are strictly vegetarian,the buffaloes are carnivorous. As I feed the P. Beetles fruit and vegetables which are not suitable food for the buffaloes, it seemed to me that buffaloes must be feeding on the eggs of the P. Beetles as the adults did not seem to be bothered by the buffaloes.

I separated the buffaloes from the P. Beetles and began to cultivate them. As the BWs are carnivorous, they require a protein rich diet. Dog food pellets soaked in water make a very suitable food. For moisture, I offer carrots and slightly damaged apples that are available at 6 for a dollar.

According to information available on the internet, the nutritional information of the buffaloes is as follows: Moisture 61%, Ash 1%, Protein 20%, Fat 14%,Other 4%

[I will post more on the Buffalo Worm when I can]

1 comment:

  1. Hi David
    I used to keep songbirds almost 15 years ago and used to feed my birds grasshoppers often and it seemed to help during their molts. I have just started keeping oriental white eyes again and have discovered that buying grasshoppers is almost impossible these days. Do you happen to know of a reliable source with regular supplies ?
    I recently went to Hong Kong bird street over a weekend and grasshoppers of every size were available in very large numbers Simply amazing. Any help and advise from you will be great. Thanks.