This is a translation of a page I wrote in Swedish (You can find it here)
One day my children came home and asked for glass jars. For what I asked them?
- Cause we are going to get Stick Insects, they don't cause allergies, we will feed them ourselves, what jars can we use?
They came home with four Stick Insects, more like walking small needels, two in each jar. We headed off to the pet store to buy better cages for them, I read that they could get a size of 7 or 8 cm and those jars were too small for them.The Stick Insects were of the most common species Carausius morosus and they ate and grew big. In summer feeding them was no problem, we just picked leaves from the garden and put in the cage. Their favourite was raspberry leaves but they ate other things too. But when autumn came it was more diffcult. No leaves to pick. We had to buy biodynamicly grown salad for them (we were afraid of insect poisons) but the salad did not stay fresh for long and was quite expensive. And I learned that salad is not very nourishing. There had to be a better way to feed them.
To put a few sunflower seeds in a pot is not difficult, and The Stick Insects gladly ate sunflowers, but sunflowers don't grow very fast in a pot in the middle of winter. My pets were too hungry for sunflowers. I needed something that would grow faster. The answer was alfalfa sprouts. Alfalfa ( Medicago sativa ) sprouts are very common, and it's easy to grow them at home. To keep the sprouts fresh in the cage I used a selfwatering construction made using simple means.
This is what you need.
This is how you do:
Put the compress over the flowerpot.
Fasten it with the rubber band.
Put the flowerpot in the glass jar and pour on water. Fill it all the way up.
Spread the seeds over the compress. About a ½ teaspoon is usually more than enough. If you want to give your seeds a quick start you can put them in water for a few hours first.
A plastic bag over it all will keep the seeds wet until the sprouts have roots. It just takes a few days for the sprouts to grow. Just make sure they get some light so they can get the right green colour. Then you just put the whole glass jar into the cage. The sprouts stay fresh and grow, the Stick Insects will always have fresh food to eat. If needed you just pour on some more water. The water that evaporate helps keeping the humidity up, that's good for the insects and for the eggs. On this diet our Stick Insects stayed healthy and produced lots of offspring. No extra watering of the eggs was needed, the humidity stayed high enough by just keeping sprouts in the cage.
We no longer keep Stick Insects but if we get new ones, we will feed them Alfalfa sprouts.
The sprouts in the picture were eaten by our gerbiles. They had great fun.