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 Power Feeding

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Stray
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PostSubject: Power Feeding   Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:51 pm

I just saw an ad on Fauna that had a 2011 female Ball Python who weighed over 1000 grams. The snake appeared healthy, but very fat.

Do you agree with power-feeding? Do you do it to put size on females? Do you think it is bad for the snakes or does it matter?

I'm not trying to start an argument, I'm just curious. I think even at 1000+ grams, 2011 is pretty young for a female BP to be bred. :/ That just seems unnecessary, when you're likely going to have to wait another year to breed her.
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PostSubject: Re: Power Feeding   Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:20 pm

Most of my breeding experience has been with colubirds with some boas, pythons and other species. Breeding females were selected by size and age. Wasn't breeding as a business and typically gave females an extra year to grow/mature after they reached maturity. With colubirds, waiting an extra year resulted in healthier clutches that were less problematic for the females.
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PostSubject: Re: Power Feeding   Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:49 pm

As far as I know, power-feeding produces more slugs than viable babies a lot of the time. I wouldn't do it myself. I think it's more important for the female to be mature enough age-wise, as opposed to being heavy
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PostSubject: Re: Power Feeding   Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:02 pm

I have a 2011 Ball Python Female that is close to 1400 grams and I don't power feed. She (like all my bps) gets one rat equal to 10% of her body weight once each week. The rats max out at 90 grams so she's been getting significantly less than 10% once she hit 1000g.

I should add that she is large but isn't fat. Her bulk is proportional to her length.
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PostSubject: Re: Power Feeding   Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:38 pm

A BP at 1000 grams a year old is pretty much on target for me. Just about all of my 2011 hatchlings are near or at that. I don't know what the definition of power feeding is. It seems to be different for different people. I feed every three days until around 300 grams, then every five days until 1000 grams, then once per week. I never feed anything larger than the width of the snake and almost never anything larger than a small rat.

I do not breed 1000 gram females at one year, that is too soon for me. Generally, I usually wait three years and 1800 grams.
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PostSubject: Re: Power Feeding   Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:29 pm

Yeah, I was mostly concerned not because I saw this one (this guy was not offering her as a breedable female, in his defense), but because I recently saw a different ad for a 2011 Bumblebee female who was 1200 grams and was being sold as breedable, and it just seemed really young to me. :/

I agree that the definition of power feeding does vary, but to me, I kind of consider any snake that is obese, rather than just a plump healthy weight, to be powerfed.

That's kind of interesting that it seems to produce more slugs. I feed my guys weekly, but all but three of my collection are too young to breed, so I don't really worry about them being chubby enough to potentially fast for a breeding season yet.

I definitely wasn't out to accuse or offend anyone, I was just wondering what other peoples' opinions were. I would rather my guys be a healthy weight, because BPs don't tend to move around much. Not like they can work off any extra chub. It was mostly just that this Yellow belly from today's ad and the Bumblebee from the ad last week were not chubby, they were fat. When they were coiled in the pictures, there were fat wrinkles, and you could plainly see where their vents were from the pinch in their tails. A one-year-old "breedable" female just doesn't seem like a good idea :/
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PostSubject: Re: Power Feeding   Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:57 pm

My breeding rules are 1500 AND at least two years old. If either of these are not met she doesn't go. Now with that being said if I have a female at 1480 grams and still pounding food when I start pairing she will probably get paired up also. People just have to realize that this hobby is a marathon not a sprint.
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PostSubject: Re: Power Feeding   Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:34 am

Personally I think one year 1000 seems about right. Some snakes grow faster.

Also, as my snakes grow, they seem to put on extra fat just before a growth spurt. When my fire bp male hit 600 grams he stopped growing long and just grew wide for a while. I was nervous but I didn't want to cut back his food too much since he was still growing. Over winter he made like silly putty and stretched. Now he's pushing 1000 and hes long and lean.
I expect similar spurts from my pastel boy and my het albino boy.
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PostSubject: Re: Power Feeding   Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:39 am

I am not a breeder at the current time but the first time i took my bp to the vet he weighed 1000g.. not sure if that is healthy or not but i feed every two weeks.. medium rats and occassional bunny pups.. but like i said i am not looking to breed him.. now that i have had him for over two years he weighs about 1700-1800g..
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PostSubject: Re: Power Feeding   Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:07 pm

BlackboxStar, I didn't even think of that. Maybe the girls I saw were just due for a lengthening spurt. Although selling a one-year-old as breedable still seemed rough.

Thanks for everyone's input! I like gathering consensus from people. Helps us learn!

AND KNOWING IS HALF THE BATTLE. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Power Feeding   Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:18 pm

To me a one year snake is an early 2012 being bred in late 2012. What if it's an early 2011 being bred over the 2012-2013 winter? I know a lot of people prefer 3 winters but I think 2 years old or at least 18 months is more much accurate in describing an early-mid 2011 snake being bred in Jan 2013.

I'm not saying it's okay to breed an 18-24 month female (and I'm not saying it's not) but I don't think the seller was selling a one year old snake.
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PostSubject: Re: Power Feeding   Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:51 pm

I've always defined "power feeding" as feeding daily or more meals in one feeding than what should be offered. Also, with bigger snakes, I have heard of power feeding as a large meal fed which is immediately followed by a second before the first is down. I don't practice any of those and they can be dangerous.

There are times of the year when I have some ball pythons eat once every three to four weeks. Those same snakes will go on to eat every three days in the fall if they are going to go that year.

I have some snakes that will eat every three days after laying eggs. These same snakes are usually off feed for the last several months and are weekly feeders.

I have some hatchlings that will eat every three days. Some grow at an alarming rate, proportional to there length, and some will get a little chunky. The chunkier ones get cut back.

My brother has a 2009 Super Pastel that is around 1500 grams and looks obese even though it has never been breed or fed more often than weekly.

The reasons I listed all those is because these are what separate ball pythons from most of the snakes I know about. They are all over the road when it comes to feeding schedules and at one moment a yearling can hit 1000 grams, then only be at 1400 a year later.

What I've started to practice more, is feeding when they are ready and cutting back on those that I feel are loosing their tone. I'm not sure if what I am doing is the best, but I was a once a week feeder and I think my snakes have trained me to suit their needs. I just keep an eye on how they look and adjust from there if needed.

I've only had two slugs in the last five clutches. No deformities or any other problems. Egg sizes are good and all hatched fine.

I'm still relatively new to breeding so take it with a grain of salt, but I have noticed that most of a ball pythons personalty is in their feeding habits.
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PostSubject: Re: Power Feeding   Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:20 pm

Focal wrote:
I'm still relatively new to breeding so take it with a grain of salt, but I have noticed that most of a ball pythons personalty is in their feeding habits.

Thanks, Nick, that is ridiculously true and another great way to look at it. Smile

Brian, that is something else I did not think about! I guess the Bee could have been an early 2011, being sold to breed the upcoming season. He didn't have any indication as to when in '11 she was hatched.

All of this is very indicative of how severely I need a good gram scale. The one I have is so battered I don't even know what brand it is anymore Facepalm My 2011's were well-started when I got them, and my 2012's are still pretty new, so I haven't really gotten to see much growth in them yet.
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