Mealworms provide a safe, nutritious source of protein for most garden birds - especially adults to feed their young. This most desirable of foods is easily served, a few dozen at a time, from a shallow, steep-sided dish covered from the rain. Many of our feeders are also ideal, such as our I Love Robins® Feeders.
They are a perennial favourite with robins, blackbirds and other soft-food eaters - they may even take them from your hand!
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Almost all birds that visit gardens feed on insects at some stage in their lives. (Exceptions are pigeons and doves which are exclusively grain and seed eaters.) Many birds need live food during the breeding season when their chicks require the additional proteins they cannot get from seeds and vegetation. A number of species are totally insectivorous, such as swifts, swallows and house martins. Others, such as robins, wrens and blackbirds, prefer live food even if they will happily eat other foods.
For many small birds there is no better food than mealworms. These are the larvae of the flour beetle and are clean, fat and juicy. They may look like maggots but are very different: maggots are invariably fed on carrion or waste meat, which means they may well be contaminated by disease, whereas our mealworms are reared on vegetable matter - just like the leaf-munching caterpillars the birds naturally eat in the wild. They are safe and suitable for adults and chicks alike. Chicks reared on them don't need water since the mealworms contain sufficient moisture.
Mealworms thrive if they have sufficient supply of food and a little moisture. Some bran, or crumbled breakfast cereal such as Weetabix®, and a small slice of apple or potato will keep them happy. They should be stored somewhere dry and cool (ideally 10°C) such as a shed, or in hot weather, the salad compartment of a fridge.
Mealworms can be fed to the birds, directly on the ground or, better still, in a smooth-sided pot so that they can't crawl away. Alternatively our I Love Robins® birdfeeders are ideal. Feed a small quantity at a time until your birds know where to find them. Avoid putting them out in wet weather unless they are covered since they will quickly drown. They can also be put in holes bored into tree trunks to attract birds like treecreepers and woodpeckers. And they are the ultimate way of making a garden robin hand-tame.
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