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Cotswold Raw Dog Food – Blog
Cotswold Raw Blog

Raw Dog Food & Treats –

As we have a new range of frozen food in store from Cotswold Raw I thought I would do a blog about Raw Food for dogs (Also applies to Cats).

A relatively new trend in pet food is “biologically appropriate” (BARF) raw food diets, as typified by the Bones and Raw Food Diet.

Dogs and cats are carnivores and the structure of their teeth, jaws and digestive system is designed to deal with natural prey. Cotswold RAW complete meals provide all the benefits of this natural species-appropriate diet, in easy to handle sausages or mince form.

Dogs were in existence long before man created processed pet food. Processed food was invented for the convenience of man, not for the benefit of your dog. They are, both domesticated and wild, carnivores, and are anatomically built for eating meat.

BARF diets acknowledge the dog’s evolution and natural diet and contain 60-100% raw, meaty bones, with up to 40% carbohydrates. At Cotswold RAW our recipes follow this principle – containing raw meaty bones and fresh vegetables with NO grain.

Canine nutritionists differ as to the ideal relative proportions of raw, meaty bones to vegetables. Our standard recipe, specially prepared to meet the nutritional requirements of an active working dog, follows the 80/20 rule – 80% raw, meaty bones and 20% fresh vegetables. Cotswold’s 90/10 recipe is prepared for working dogs that need extra energy to get through the day and the 70/30 recipe is lower in fat and suitable for all breeds.

Handling Raw Meat

I’m going to keep this section brief as it should be common knowledge; however, it’s still worth mentioning.

Stay clean. Wash your hands after handling raw meat, also clean off any surfaces, utensils and of course, the dog’s bowl. Do anything you can to avoid spreading bacteria when working with raw meat.

Freeze right away. Once you’ve got your raw food home, freeze it as soon as possible, if it has arrived partially defrosted it should be okay to freeze again, if it has fully defrosted you may not be able to refreeze it – check with your supplier. If you have acquired fresh meat, it is best to freeze it for at least three days to kill off any potential bacteria it may be carrying.

Defrost safely. When defrosting meat, don’t just leave it on a plate on the worktop, or in the fridge, always keep it in an airtight container until you’re ready to serve.

As you can tell, this is all just basic food hygiene, something you likely follow when cooking for yourself with raw ingredients, feeding raw to your dog shouldn’t be any different.

Now moving on to dogs…

Can my dog get salmonella?

Truth be told, your dog may already have salmonella. Around a third of healthy dogs carry salmonella as part of their natural gastrointestinal flora. Don’t worry, though this is perfectly normal.

Dogs have a short GI tract, designed to quickly digest food minimising the time bacteria has to colonise, they also have immensely strong stomach acid (PH1) which helps to break down and destroy a lot of bugs which would affect us humans.

Their saliva is a bactericide it contains many compounds which are antibacterial. These enzymes break down and destroy bacteria, meaning salmonella and e-Coli are unable to exist within a dog’s mouth. Combined with healthier teeth with zero plaque to bind on to, bacteria doesn’t stand much of a chance.

There is one thing to be wary of though, dogs can pass on salmonella through their stools. It is important that any waste is picked up and discarded as soon as possible to eliminate any possible spread of bacteria.

I spoke to Cotswold Raw regarding their products, they said –

Their in-house production facilities are DEFRA approved and they receive monthly visits from their regional office in Worcester. To comply with their certification, they also regularly test their products at an approved independent laboratory.

They do test for Salmonella with every batch sample that they send to the lab. Salmonella is not an issue to dogs – it is only the human risk.

They use fresh, traceable sources of chicken, they test for Salmonella, their sausages also minimise the handling required by any raw feeder.

The information off their website is –

Preparation and Hygiene

How do I keep and defrost your frozen meat products?

Our sausages can be kept in the freezer for up to nine months. Every two to three days transfer the amount that your dog requires, using a Cotswold RAW resealable container, and defrost in the fridge overnight or at room temperature or, if you’re in a hurry, soak in the kitchen sink. Our Cotswold RAW sausages will keep for 48-72 hours in the fridge. Just as with all raw meat, do not refreeze food that has been defrosted.

In order to make RAW feeding easier, our sausages are individually wrapped in their edible skins and all our packs are the perfect size for stacking in the fridge or freezer.

Can I use my microwave for thawing RAW?

Thawing our food in the microwave is NOT recommended and indeed microwave cooking will alter the composition of the food such that it will no longer be a complete and balanced meal.

Can you cook your raw foods?

We do not recommend this. Cooking alters the composition of the food and destroys nutrients hence we cannot guarantee that the meals will be complete and balanced after cooking as they are designed to be fed raw. If necessary warm the food in an oven dish (not in the microwave).

Is my dog at risk from infections by eating raw meat?

Dogs have a very different digestive system to humans. It is designed to cope with a certain level of bacterial contamination and food moves through it much more quickly. A happy, healthy dog is much less likely to present a health risk to humans but sensible hygiene precautions must still be followed. Raw products must be handled and stored in the same way as any meat purchased for human consumption. Cotswold RAW’s design and packaging make this easy – the sausages come in their own edible wrappers, all packages are heat sealed and easy to store in the freezer, the Cotswold Raw resealable, airtight, container fits neatly into your fridge and there is no waste.

What about salmonella?

The safety of their foods is top priority at Cotswold RAW and they face the most stringent food safety protocols.

All their fresh foods are presented in such a way that handling is minimised and, wherever possible, waste is eliminated. This means no contamination of bowls, feeding areas, kitchen surfaces or bins and no unwanted smells. Our containers are resealable and neatly store in your domestic fridge or freezer.

Human grade meat and vegetables often contain traces of bacteria. The Animal and Plant Health Agency tests all pet food manufacturers (raw, wet and dried) for bacterial contamination. Nevertheless, ALL raw meat has the potential to contain traces of bacteria. These bacteria are not harmful to your dog but they can be to humans – which is why we are always so careful in handling raw meat for our own consumption.

The same rules apply when handling raw food for your cat or dog. Keep the product in a sealed container (as supplied by Cotswold RAW), once defrosted use separate utensils for serving raw meat and wash them and surfaces with hot water and a bacterial soap. Wash your hands thoroughly.

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Common Fish Diseases, Fungus & Bacteria

White spot / ICK

Signs – white spots on the skin/scales that look like salt or white sand, they may also be raised. The fish may scratch against objects or flick itself off the substrate, it may have clamped fins and/or gasping at the surface of the water. Darting around the tank and seem agitated.
Cause – Usually seen in stressed fish and/or where water quality is poor or water temperature rapidly changes/PH fluctuations.
Treatment – Raise the temperature slowly to about 28 °C and increase the oxygen levels, Rapid increase will create more stress & possibly bacteria.
Treat the water – remove the carbon from the filter, treat as directed, we recommend either Waterlife Protozin White Spot & Fungus or King British White Spot Control.

Tail, Fin & Mouth Rot

Signs – A progressive deterioration of the tail and/or fins. Fins become frayed or their colour may fade.
Cause – A bacterial infection may cause tail, fin and mouth rot in susceptible fish, those who are bullied or injured by fin-nipping tank mates, especially in aquariums with poor conditions.
Treatment – Follow instructions on the bottle, remove the carbon from the filter. We would recommend Waterlife Myxazin Fin Rot & Ulcers (will treat pop eye, cloudy eye, red veins, wounds & bacterial infections) or King British Fin Rot & Fungus control (Tatty or torn fins, fish have open sores, mouth appears damaged and eroded, white cotton wool like growths appear)
Cotton Wool Disease

Signs – Cotton wool like growths appear on the fish. ‘Cotton wool disease’ is a general term applied to the most common fungal infections that infect the skin, fins, and mouth. The fluffy white growths often colonize areas where there have been previous infections, parasites, or injuries. The most common types of fungi in these infections are Saprolegnia and Achyla. Other fungi may also cause these infections and there may be more than one species at the site of an infection.
Cause – Poor water quality, poor hygiene, Fish that are injured, old, or have other diseases, Dead fish or large amounts of decomposing organic material in the aquarium.
Treatment – Treatment for cotton wool disease in freshwater fish includes salt baths using Freshwater Aquarium Salt or Waterlife White Spot & fungus / King British Fin Rot & Fungus control
Salt water baths

Salt has long been a popular treatment for white spot and velvet. On the whole, it is a safe therapy and a good choice for use with fish that react badly to commercial medications. Copper and formalin are both widely used in commercial white spot and velvet medications but are known to stress, even kill, sensitive fish such as loaches, puffers, knife fish, stingrays and some catfish. A salt bath will also stimulate the protective slime coat, which will further enhance the fish’s’ ability to cope with the disease.

Unlike the situation with white spot and velvet, salt is not a useful treatment against external bacterial infections. Infected fish should be treated using commercial antibacterial and antibiotic medications.

There are two types of salt, freshwater aquarium salt and marine salt, for a salt bath you should use freshwater aquarium salt. Marine salt is used for replicating sea water conditions.

Adding salt to your freshwater aquarium is not recommended as you could cause problems to the fish as they won’t be able to cope with the elevated salinity and adds no benefit long term.

To salt bath your fish you will need a bucket, water the same temperature as your tank (chlorine removed) add 1 to 3g of salt per litre of water for about 30 mins.

Fish dips should only be used for new arrivals and when required due to fish disease.

We recommend that you keep an eye on the fish during this time, heavy concentrations of salt can cause fish to lose their equilibrium and ‘roll over’ at this point, the fish should be immediately removed and returned to the tank.

Chloramine T

As Chloramine-T dissolves, it slowly breaks down to produce hypochlorous acid (HOCl), which in turn releases chlorine and oxygen.

Do not use it as a high dose dip. Its chemical action will cause serious damage to fish
Do not allow it to come into contact with metal surfaces as toxic compounds can be formed
Wear a particle mask and goggles when handling to prevent injury to skin or eyes.
Toxicity is greatly increased in soft acidic water – only use the low dose.
Aerate the water vigorously during treatment
Turn off any UV lamps when using any pond or tank treatments
Ponds should be cleaned and vacuumed prior to treatment in order to reduce free organics that would affect treatment efficacy
The breakdown of Chloramine-T is speeded up in sunlight, so treatments are best carried out evenings or on cloudy days.

When treating fish always make sure you read the instructions and measure doses accurately.

Top Tip! When stocking your aquarium, ensure fish make suitable tank mates and have plenty of places to hide to prevent bullying or fin nipping.

When the treatments are completed do a 20% water change, put the carbon back into the filter, and slowly put the temperature back too normal. When cleaning your tank make sure you use a gravel vac to remove the cysts that may be resting.

It is recommended to test your water to make sure the parameters are correct.

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How To Help Your Pets During The Firework Season

Fireworks can be a source of fear for many animals, ignoring the problem won’t help, but we have some advice & product that may help keep your pet calm during the firework season.

Provide your dog or cat with somewhere to hide, like under furniture or in a cupboard.
Walk your dog in the day time as the fireworks will only be at night
Keep your cat indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off
When It starts to get dark close the curtains and play some music to help cancel out the loud noises.
It’s ok to comfort your pet if you think this will help, or leave them alone if you think they won’t hurt themselves.
Make sure your pet can’t escape if they get startled by loud noises.
Have them microchipped just in case.

Take your dog to a firework display, even if your dog does not bark or whimper, don’t assume he or she is happy. Excessive yawning and panting can indicate that your dog is stressed.
Tie your dog up outside while fireworks are being let off.
Assume your garden is escape proof. If your dog needs to go out keep him on a lead just in case.
Leave your dog on his own or in a separate room from you.
Try to force your dog to face his fears – he’ll just become more frightened.
Forget to top up the water bowl. Anxious dogs pant more and get thirsty.
Change routines more than necessary, as this can be stressful for some dogs.
Try and tempt him out if he does retreat, as this may cause more stress.
Tell your dog off. This will only make your pet more distressed. It is important to remember that it is natural for a dog to be scared of loud noises and unfamiliar sights and sounds. Never punish your pet for being scared, try not to act stresses yourself, this will only make things worse in the long run.

Planning ahead can make help your dog/pet cope with the firework season.

Close the curtains in the room where your dog will be, put their bed in and favourite toys. Ignore the fireworks yourself, play with toys with your dog but don’t force them. If your dog has a friend who isn’t scared, then keeping them together is a good idea to help comfort them.

Make sure your cat has somewhere to hide if they want to, this may be under furniture or a quiet corner.

If your pet lives outside, partly cover the hutch/aviary with a rug, duvet or carpet to make sure one end is sound proofed, make sure your pet can still look out.

Check if there are any displays local to you & ask neighbours if they have anything planned.

Halloween can also be stressful for dogs, they may find the costumes scary, they could even cause an aggressive reaction out of fear. So it’s a good idea to walk your dog before the trick or treating begins.

We have many products in store to suit your pet, please check out our seasonal lines on our website just follow this link,

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Feeding Wild Birds

During the winter months, birds can often find themselves with a shortage of food. Providing them with supplementary food (I.E. Fat balls, suet, bird seed etc.) can help them to survive this harsh period of the year. It is, however, important that you do so responsibly and safely. It’s important to remember that supplementary feed is not a way of providing your wild birds with a balanced diet, as much of the natural proteins and vitamins that adult and young birds need is found in natural foods. Well-managed lawns, shrubs and flowerbeds can be a source of this natural vegetation.

How To Feed:

Bird Tables –Bird tables are okay for most bird feeds and many species of bird. The table must have a rim that is raised in order to retain the food and a gap at each corner of the rim to allow any rainwater to be drained away. It will also provide you with an easier way of cleaning away droppings and uneaten food.

Feeders – Nut feeders are the only safe method of offering nuts to wild birds and are made of steel mesh. The mesh size needs to be large enough to prevent any damage to their beaks but small enough to prevent them from removing large pieces of nut – (about 6 mm).

Seed feeders are designed for sunflower seeds and other ‘feeder’ seeds. The birds will access the seed through small holes in the tubular container.

Niger seed, however, is much smaller. This means it requires a special type of seed feeder.

Make sure that all of your bird feeders can drain easily. Otherwise, the build-up of old food can cause health issues.

What To Feed:

Bird seed mixtures
Different feeding methods can sometimes require different seed mixtures. Mixtures that contain flaked maize, sunflower seeds, and peanut granules are the best, but mixes that contain chunks or whole nuts are suitable for winter feeding only. Pinhead oatmeal is also excellent for many birds.

Do, however, avoid seed mixtures that have split peas, beans, dried rice or lentils as only the large species can eat them dry. Some cheaper seed mixtures contain them as it bulks them up. Pink or green lumps in bird seed mixes should be avoided too, as these are pieces of dog biscuit that must be soaked before they can be consumed.

These are rich in fat so are perfect for winter feeding. However, salted or dry roasted peanuts should not be used. Peanuts can also be high in a natural toxin, called aflatoxin, which can kill birds. The best way to prevent this from happening is to buy them from a reputable dealer.

Food bars and fat balls.
During the winter, fat balls and other fat-based food bars are really good to provide but do ensure that any nylon mesh bags are removed before the fat balls are put out. This is because the soft mesh can trap and injure birds.

Niger seeds
Similar to the black sunflower seeds, niger seeds have a high oil content. Although these do need a special type of seed feeder, as they’re so small.

Black sunflower seeds
Black sunflower seeds have a higher oil content than striped sunflower seeds and can be fed year-round. Sunflower hearts (the husked kernels) are also popular no-mess food.

Mealworms ca be fed throughout the year as they are a natural food. It is crucial that the mealworms are fresh. Any dead or discoloured ones can cause salmonella poisoning, amongst other problems.

Cooking fat
Fat from cooking is bad for birds. In cooked fat, the meat juices and fat have blended which makes it prone to smearing (when allowed to set). This is bad for birds’ feathers and provides the conditions for bacterial breeding, so is bad for a bird’s health. Salt levels depend on what meat is used and if any salt is added during cooking. Lard and beef suet, on the other hand, (on their own) are fine to feed as they are a pure fat so aren’t suitable for bacteria to breed on.

Unsaturated margarines or vegetable oils
These are unsuitable for birds. Unsaturated fats can be smeared onto the feathers. This destroys the waterproof and insulation properties of the feather layer. Unlike humans, birds need high levels of saturated fat, such as raw suet and lard. Birds’ body reserves of energy are quickly used up during cold winter nights, so the high energy content provided by the saturated fat helps to keep them warm.

Dog and cat food
In the warm, dry part of the summer, earthworms can often be beyond the birds’ reach. A substitute for worms can be meaty tinned dog and cat food.

Stay away from dry biscuits as birds may choke on the hard lumps. Soaked dog biscuit are good but in hot weather it can quickly dry out. Pet food can, however, attract larger birds, foxes and also neighbourhood cats.

Milk and coconut
Never give milk to any bird. A bird’s digestive system cannot digest milk so providing them with this can cause death. Give fresh coconut only, in the shell and make sure any residues of coconut water are rinsed out before hanging it out. This will prevent black mildew from building up.

Desiccated coconut should never be used as once consumed, it can swell and cause death.

Rice and cereals
In severe winter weather, cooked rice, brown or white (without salt added) can be provided as it is both beneficial and readily accepted by all species.

Porridge oats must never be cooked since this can cause it to harden around a bird’s beak. Uncooked porridge oats can be fed.

Any breakfast cereal can be used as birdfood but only small quantities should be provided, and it is best to be offered dry with a supply of fresh drinking water nearby. This is because it turns into pulp once wet.

Mouldy and stale food
It is best to be cautious and avoid mouldy food entirely, as some moulds can cause respiratory infections.

Always remove any stale or mouldy food from the bird table as soon as possible, as stale food provides salmonella bacteria a place to breed, which can cause food poisoning and death.

If you have a garden, consider planting items for a natural source of food and habitat.

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How to feed Feeding Malawi Cichlids
Mbuna (rock dwelling) have a digestive system that is twice as long as most other fish. This is because in the wild they live on a diet of aufwuchs which is predominantly algae and small inverts and crustaceans that live in the algae. This aufwuch also contains a lot of grit etc. The reason for the long digestive system is so that the fish can get the most out of their food. It should also be noted that the food that they eat in the wild has a moisture content of about 90% whereas the dry flake food that we normally feed has a moisture content of about 5%. This is a massive difference, consequently you do tend to see a lot of mbuna with bloated bodies and of course fish developing Malawi Bloat.

What we feed our fish is important as the wrong type or the wrong amount can lead to bloating or oversized fish. Tank reared fish grow much bigger than they would in the lake and this is not desirable.

There are many foods available; we feed Tetra pro-Algae, Nutrifin Spirulina and frozen Malawi food. It is important not overfeed your fish. Mbuna will be feeding and scraping all day long and if you were to feed your fish 3 or 4 times a day they would eagerly eat it up, don’t forget dry food is much more concentrated than their natural food and it is made of much more quality ingredients. We feed 4 or 5 times per week. This has the benefit that it encourages the fish to graze off the glass and rocks promoting their natural behaviour which in turn helps to keep their teeth short, which is important for when they decide to attack each other.

When going on holiday it can be fatal to leave the feeding up to someone else. You can quite comfortably leave them without food so long as you put your tank lights on for 14 hours per day. This encourages algae growth which will feed your fish. Bear in mind that females will go 3 to 4 weeks without food when they are carrying eggs/young.

Algae rocks are another way to feed your fish when you are away or just even to promote natural behaviour. They are quite simple to prepare. If you get some pebbles in a tray and place some used tank water in it (tank water will have nutrients in it) covering the pebbles, place it in the sun outside they will soon develop algae you can even add liquid fertiliser to the water.

If you want to leave someone in charge of feeding you can place the required amount of food in an ice cube tray, with water and freeze it. Then the feeder only needs to drop an ice cube in each day. This is a good method as it adds moisture to the food.

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Why is my dog itching and scratching? How Symply Can Help?
If your dog is suffering from itchy skin, dandruff, a dull coat, dry skin, red/inflamed skin or hair loss then he may have a food allergy or intolerance.

Determining which ingredient your dog is allergic to is a tricky business and one which is a case of trial and error. However, there are ingredients which are more commonly known to cause problems such as wheat gluten, corn, beef, dairy products and artificial preservatives.

How Symply can help


An essential fatty acid required for healthy skin and coat. Compare the levels in Symply to other leading brands to see why Symply pets look the best!


Our dog food always contain the ingredients which are considered a lower allergy risk. It is free of wheat gluten, soya, dairy, beef, chicken, growth hormones and artificial additives, all known to be the cause of allergic reactions in dogs which can cause irritations and result in prolonged scratching.


Zinc helps to repair and maintain healthy skin.


No artificial colours, flavourings or preservatives which are all known to cause allergic reactions amongst dogs.


We don’t use unnecessary fillers which increase the likelihood of an allergic reaction and we use a fixed formula so you know our ingredients won’t change batch to batch.

Many dog foods use ‘animal derivatives’ as a description within their ingredients; because this can consist of a variety of animal parts such as heads, feet and intestines, and can come from a variety of animals such as cows, sheep, and horses, it is very difficult to keep a consistent formula and your dog may have a sudden reaction to a food despite having no reaction previously.


Symply Adult Lamb and Rice is our best-selling recipe for dogs with skin and coat problems and it’s easy to see why.

Generous levels of sunflower oil, containing omega 6
Optimum levels of zinc to help the skin repair itself
Hypoallergenic ingredients selected to avoid those known to cause allergic reactions
Preserved naturally
“Dexter’s skin has nearly cleared up completely and his coat is in much better condition than previously”
David Cooper

“Not only has it completely sorted the dry skin problem but her coat is absolutely beautiful and she just loves the food”
Alan Monger

“What a remarkable transformation. The coat on the eight-year-old Border is now lustrous and very shiny. My fourteen-year-old Border has regained his energy and shows his heels to much younger dogs.”
Greg Fossey

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Insect eating Lizards – Feeding

There is still a lot to learn regarding the diets of lizards in captivity. However, we know that feeding shop bought insects and the occasional mealworm is inadequate.

In the wild, most insect eating lizards will consume a wide variety of insects, maybe 25 different species or more.

Insects consumed by lizards in the wild will have themselves eaten a variety of plants and/or animals resulting in plump, healthy insects with a full digestive system. In fact, the gut of the insect is a very important source of nutrients, vitamins & minerals.

In contrast, the shop bought insects usually have a poor diet; in effect, these insects consist of mostly chitin (the outer skeleton) and little else.

The aim of any lizard owner should be to provide a diet that resembles its wild counterpart. To achieve these three things need to be considered

Feed a wide variety of insects and life stages (larvae, pupae and adult)
Feed these insects with an appropriate nutrient-rich diet for at least one week prior to feeding the lizard.
Dust insects with a suitable reptile multivitamin supplement prior to feeding the lizard.
As many of the following to be offered on a monthly basis:

Crickets – house, black, quiet and banded crickets. Available in sizes from a pinhead to adult. Crickets are best kept in a well ventilated, large plastic or glass container with smooth sides and a height of approx. 30cm such as an old aquarium. To increase usable space the enclosure should contain stacks of egg boxes, toilet rolls or scrunched up newspaper. Crickets should be fed a variety of dry and fresh foods, Suitable dry foods include dry dog/cat food, fish food and breakfast cereals. Suitable fresh foods include apple, carrot, grapes, salads and dandelions. Fresh foods are best changed daily and dry food changed weekly. Aim to clean the whole enclosure every two weeks. Water is important to prevent cannibalism and is best provided by soaking a ball of cotton wool or paper towel. Temperatures of 24-27 °C are ideal.
Mealworms – Larvae (the worms), Pupae and adult beetles may all be offered to lizards. The larvae are best kept in medium to large, well ventilated plastic containers. The substrate should consist of dry food such as dog/cat biscuit and/or fish food. For adult beetles, layers of corrugated cardboard or egg boxes should be placed on top of the dry food. Fresh food such as grated carrot, potato slices, apple slices and soft white bread should also be offered. Enclosures are best kept in the dark at a temperature of 20-28 °C Mealworms may be separated from the substrate using a sieve.
Giant Mealworms – as for meal worms above, all life stages may be offered as food. Keeping and feeding is similar to that of the meal worm. Old decaying natural wood may also be included in the substrate. Temperature 27-29 °C preferred. To encourage the full grown larvae to pupate they are best placed individually in a small plastic container such as yoghurt pots or camera film canisters in a dark warm place.
Wax Worms – are the larval stage of the wax moth, both the larvae and the moth are suitable live foods. Small to medium plastic or glass jars or tubs are suitable. Ventilation should be provided by fine metal mesh. The caterpillars may be fed on old honeycomb or alternatively an artificial diet may be offered. Wax worms prefer dark warm conditions of 27-28 °C
Cockroaches – a number of varieties are suitable. Deaths head cockroaches and hissing cockroaches may be kept in a similar fashion to crickets. A tight fitting lid and ventilation holes are required to prevent escape. Green Banana cockroaches are unlikely to breed as UK room temperatures are usually too low.
Wingless Fruit Flies –Starter cultures can be obtained from some pet shops. Flies and their larvae as their name suggests feed on fruit. Fruit flies may be cultured on mashed banana. The cultures do best when exposed to some light and temperatures of 20-23 °C. Adult flies should be moved to a fresh jar after one week. It’s a good idea to have a few cultures on the go at one time to ensure a steady supply.
Curly Wing Flies – A mutation of the common house fly that is unable to fly. Chameleons and gecko's in particular, seem to relish them. Breeding these flies involves feeding meat which creates a lot of mess and odour. It's therefore, easier and safer to buy adults from a pet shop. Fine mesh cages are available to catch the flies without escape.
Silkworms – maybe obtained from specialist suppliers, which also provide suitable rearing foods. They are relatively expensive but a valuable treat.
Locust – adults are suitable for larger lizards such as skinks and monitors, whilst tiny young are suitable for all but the smallest lizards. Adult Locust’s may be kept in a glass or plastic enclosure approx. 40 x 30 x30 cm with a plastic or metal mesh lid. If breeding is attempted a 10cm deep layer of soil is required. The best food for locust is sprouted wheat. A variety of other greens such as leaves of oak, beech, dandelion and fruit trees and vegetables such carrot dry dog food or fish flake are also suitable. All fresh greens should be free of insecticides and washed thoroughly. Preferred daytime temperatures 30-35 °C with night temperature of 20 °C
Woodlice – may simply be collected from gardens, sheds and greenhouses where they are often found under slabs, logs and leaves. Smaller white tropical woodlice are sometimes available from specialist suppliers. Uneaten Woodlice may be useful in humid enclosures by helping reduce fungus and mould.
Laboratory Stick insects – a number of stick insects may be found in pet shops and from specialist suppliers. Some species secrete toxins and / or are covered in sharp spines both may cause harm to a lizard – these species are best avoided. Because of their camouflage, lizards may not recognise stick insects as food and generally need to be offered them by hand or long forceps. Indian stick insects/laboratory are easily kept at room temperature in a well-ventilated Plastic enclosure with a fine mesh lid. Bramble, raspberry and fruit tree leaves are all acceptable foods. Fresh branches are cut and placed in a jar of fresh water, you need to block the gaps to prevent drowning.
All insects should be dusted with a reptile multivitamin supplement immediately prior to feeding to your lizard. For adult healthy lizards dusted insects should be offered once or twice weekly. Sick, juvenile or breeding animals should have their insects dusted at every feed.

Remove any uneaten insects, remaining insects can cause stress to your animal.

What size Food?

As a rule, more, smaller insects should be fed rather than a couple of large ones, smaller insects are easier subdued and swallowed. Small insects are easier to digest compared to a similar volume of large insects. As a general rule, the width of the insect should be about one-third of the lizards head.

How much & how often?

There is no simple answer to this since there are a lot of factors to consider such as species, age, gender, reproductive status, activity level and type of food being offered. As a guide, feeding schedules should be adjusted to the growth rate of your lizard. Most juvenile lizards have very rapid growth rates and therefore require frequent feedings to keep up with the body’s demands. Once daily or multiple daily feedings may be required. After growth slows down and levels off (1-2 years in most species) feeding should decrease to 3 times per week. Breeding females require daily or every other day feedings during the breeding season.

A set of electronic scales accurate to 1-2g is a worthwhile investment to monitor your lizard's weight. Whilst juveniles would be expected to make weekly weight gains, adult lizards should remain at a fairly constant weight. Breeding females may lose and gain weight in line with egg/young production.

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Hand-reared Parrots Vs Parent-reared Parrots for Pets

It is important to realise that parrots are intelligent, adaptable animals, and individuals develop distinct personalities. This clouds the issue of hand vs. parent rearing, as experiences later in life can affect a parrot’s behaviour, for better or worse, regardless of rearing technique.

Hand reared means that the baby birds are taken out of the nest soon after hatching or ideally the eggs are incubated and then hand-reared.

As a general rule, hand-reared birds make ideal pets, being calmer around people and easier to tame than those raised by their parents. Many actively seek out human companionship, stimulation and, indeed, may prefer people to their own species. They tend to be less stressed by changes in their environments and novel objects or animals, and are more easily taught to perform tricks and imitate words.

Most eggs will be incubated in an incubator, some will let the parents incubate the eggs and take the chicks when they are a couple of weeks old, but the idea of using an incubator means the chicks immediately imprint on humans, so the bond is stronger.

This is good for a pet but may affect breeding abilities if you want to use them to breed from. Birds may also display sexually towards humans at breeding times, they could become aggressive or protective over their owner.

Another way to rear pet parrots is to co-parent with the birds, so the parents look after the chick but the human handles the babies often. Some people believe that this lets the parents teach the babies to be a bird, how to fly, hold food etc. Co-parenting can be risky, as the parents will not want you to touch the babies, one study I was reading about on google scholar was about a controlled experiment between hand reared and co-parented parrots, one incident made the mother upset and she bit & killed one of the babies.

Handled babies will generally not display aggression towards the handler & will approach the handler, whereas non-handled babies will be aggressive, fearful and will want to get away from any human. Handing non-tame birds would make them stressed as they are not used to human contact.

So if you want the bird as a pet its best to go for hand reared and if you want them to breed then you want parent raised/wild caught birds.
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