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 Small Feeder Breeding Project Idea [Looking For Help]

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Strawberry Mink
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PostSubject: Small Feeder Breeding Project Idea [Looking For Help]   Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:02 pm

So, I currently have two snakes [ a corn snake and a rat snake] who both eat f/t large mice. The Arctic ones you can buy from the pet stores are what I currently have them on, but I'm not fond of the price. I looked at ordering in bulk online or from a few local stores, and while it would most likely be cheaper to go that route to feed my current snakes, I do plan to start breeding one day.

As a result, I've come to the conclusion that having a small feeder breeding project might be a good idea. I'm not looking to have a huge amount of mice/rats running around, but I think I've found a way to easily manage a small population. I'll post my thoughts, and I'd love some feedback. I've never done this before, and I'd like to have input from other, more experienced individuals before I just start buying and breeding.

+ For the sake of size/weight I'm using the estimates given on Rodentpro.com.

First off, I currently plan on doing both mice and rats. My adult snakes currently eat one large mice every other week. So, if I were to breed mice for them to eat, I'd be waiting around 12 weeks [5-6 weeks for pregnancy, 5-6 weeks for development] before they'd be of use to my adults. Averaging a litter at 10 mice, I'd need to have at least 3 females going just to keep up. [2 females = 20 mice every 12 weeks, and my snakes eat 1 mouse every other week. So, 20 mice = 10 weeks of feeding my snakes. I could potentially fall behind.]
Also, I would have to purchase separate housing/food and such for the mice as I waited the 5-6 weeks for them to develop. All of this gets very expensive very quickly, and I end up with having to manage a lot more animals than I'm looking to right now.

The way I think I've solved this issue is by raising rats. If I had 4 rats [2 male/2 female] I figure I'd only need 3 tanks. [10 or 15 gallon]. The females would be housed together and the males would be housed together. When it came time to breed, I'd pair them up by swapping one of the males with one of the females. They do their thing, then I return them to the same sex tanks. About a week before I can expect the litter, I'd move one of the females into her own tank, giving both females space for their birthing.
I would be taking the young about a week and a half to two weeks after birth, which has them at around the same size as adult mice. I wouldn't have to feed them, as mom does that, and I wouldn't have to rehouse them. [2 females = 20 rats every 6-7 weeks, so that's 10 weeks of feeding my snakes, enough to keep me paced just fine]
Extra rats would be packaged, dated, and stored in a freezer for future personal use or possible local sale.

Then we're back to mice, as I'd like to have a good stock of frozen mice pinkies ready before I attempt ANY snake breeding project. I'd hate to have a successful clutch starved because I can't keep up with their hungry little mouths. However, rat pinkies are much too large, so I'd need to go back to mice.
Now that I'm not looking at adult mice, managing a small number of breeding mice doesn't seem so scary. If I had three mice [1 male/2 females] I figure I'd only need 2 tanks [most likely 10 gallon]. I'd split both tanks up with a solid, floor to ceiling divider. I'd house the male on one side, and the two females on the other. I'd put one female in for a week, take her out, and place in the other female the next week. When it comes time for birthing, I could place both females in another divided 10 gallon tank.
I am worried if this will not be possible for stress reasons, as I'm not sure if possibly smelling/hearing other mice would be a problem. I'd get separate 5 or 10 gallon tanks if need be, but I'd like to see if I could consolidate.

Since I'd only be breeding mice for pinkies, I wouldn't have to worry about additional housing past 4 weeks of development, or feeding. Again, this keeps the number of animals running around my home to a reduced amount. Extra pinkies would be treated the same as extra rats.



So, in summation, I'm looking at possibly keeping 4 rats [2 male, 2 female] between 3 tanks to collect rat pups, and 3 mice [1 male, 2 female] between 2 tanks [each solidly divided in half] to collect pinkies. I'm figuring this will keep my current snakes fed, while stocking up on food for future plans/sale. I'd love feedback, I'm new to this, and eager to learn.
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mamasmarco
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PostSubject: Re: Small Feeder Breeding Project Idea [Looking For Help]   Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:36 pm

Hello and welcome here at VAHerps!

I personally would recommend, that you just go and buy some feeders from one of the guys here at VAHerps up in Richmond. I'm sure one or the other has some feeders to spare and it seems that you really don't need that many.

It's more of a hazzle to take care of them and deal with the smell than a profit of breeding them yourself. Many of the people here have many more reptiles to feed and even then they get decent hook ups from other VAHerpers.

Our community here is awesome and i know for a fact that there are some really nice guys in your area that might be able to hook you up.

Mice and rats smell. I breed my own and know what i'm talking about. It sure is convenient to have them at your place, but then again, feeding them, buying the bedding, medicine if needed, keeping the moms seperate to make sure nobody eats the babies.. long list of do's and do not's.

If you should plan on expanding your collection, there are a couple of websites that show you how to build racks or even how to hold them in tanks.

www.rodentracks.com
www.baileyreptiles.com

just to name some..

good luck and again, welcome Smile
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Focal
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PostSubject: Re: Small Feeder Breeding Project Idea [Looking For Help]   Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:40 am

Quote :
So, in summation, I'm looking at possibly keeping 4 rats [2 male, 2 female] between 3 tanks to collect rat pups, and 3 mice [1 male, 2 female] between 2 tanks [each solidly divided in half] to collect pinkies. I'm figuring this will keep my current snakes fed, while stocking up on food for future plans/sale. I'd love feedback, I'm new to this, and eager to learn.

Just a couple tips, I would just go with one male for the two female rats. One male smells like five females in my opinion. Reducing the males will help with the smell more than anything. Females go into heat every five days so you have a nice window for rotating males. Also, I may have misunderstood, but you would be better off keeping the male rat with the female through nursing, rather than having two nursing females together. They can fight over babies in certain situations.

A little more info that might be of help.

Rats go into heat every five days.

Females will birth appx 21-24 days and I think a little bit longer if it's their first time.

Research Postpartum Estrous if you plan to breed back to back. This can help you schedule appropriately.

Rats can be weaned 21-28 days after birth.

If you are farming for pinkies, do not pull all of the babies unless you plan on using the parents ONLY for pinkies. If you continually dry the mothers milk out early, it is believed they will quit producing milk.

There is no breaking even with rodents, in regards to production. You either produce too many or not enough. Make sure to have a euthanizing setup or an outlet. If you are new, I would be careful of homemade euthanizing like cervical dislocation and unregulated CO2 inhalation. Both can have horrible effects on the rodents if not done right.

Look into a rat rack setup. I made a rack out of tanks years ago and tanks are a pain. They also stain easily and are most likely "destroyed" after a rat has lived in one. If using a tank, you need to come up with a method of suspending the food away from their feces, urine and litter. This can be solved by going with a rat rack.

If you are keeping indoors, I can recommend a diet that I have had good results with that have kept the smell down. Many diets are fine, but I breed indoors and the smell limits my options.

Stay away from cedar as a bedding and make sure they have a wood block to chew on.

Make sure you have a strong stomach. If you can stand watching mothers rip apart and eat their young, lovers tear the faces off each other, and the occasional smell of rotting flesh, then this might be for you. These things don't always happen, but the only time I regret breeding is when they do.


Last edited by Focal on Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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mamasmarco
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PostSubject: Re: Small Feeder Breeding Project Idea [Looking For Help]   Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:43 am

Like that one Nick.. The last paragraph was a little rough but it sure does happen..!
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PostSubject: Re: Small Feeder Breeding Project Idea [Looking For Help]   Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:44 am

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PostSubject: Re: Small Feeder Breeding Project Idea [Looking For Help]   Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:41 pm

Nice Nick. I read the end of that and that smell came back to me and the feeling of regurgitation overcame me. Gotta love summer and a tub full of drowned rats that has been sitting since friday and it's monday afternoon!

Breeding rodents is interesting to say the least. If your doing it for money, don't. If your doing it for less than 10 live feeding animals, don't. It's not worth your time or money because, money = time and time = money. I spend 2 hours once a week just cleaning rodent tubs. That doesn't include 2 or 3 times a week when it starts warming up looking for dead rodents and refilling water and food! I will never ever get the time I have invested in my rodent colony back in the form of time or money.
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PostSubject: Re: Small Feeder Breeding Project Idea [Looking For Help]   Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:45 pm

Oh, one more thing.
There are 96 other people wanting to breed and sell rodents for profit. So you are splitting pennies with all these other people! So when you have a ton of rodents to sell, so does everyone else and when you have none, so does everyone else.
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crazedone12
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PostSubject: Re: Small Feeder Breeding Project Idea [Looking For Help]   Thu Mar 28, 2013 11:25 pm

I agree some times its not worth breeding your own stock. I spend a hour before work filling up water bottles and separating babies and preggo moms just to come home after work and do the same thing. while trying to maintain the amount of huge snakes I own. while being on the subject of talking about this i managed to burn a peperoni pizza lol. some times they get out and the smell is pretty bad. ive got a garage full and has to be completely opened time to time to get the smell out.
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Strawberry Mink
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PostSubject: Re: Small Feeder Breeding Project Idea [Looking For Help]   Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:03 am

Thank you very much for the information guys, I'll be sure to catch up on more reading.

As for the smell, I've kept rodents before and haven't found it unbearable. I figured that if I was keeping the number down, and treating them more as pets that I am also breeding, things won't get out of hand. [I was intending to buy two females just to have as pets alone before, how bad could one extra male be, yeah?] I also am glade to hear I don't need another male. I only included him because much of what I was reading told me he'd become depressed and such, which I would like to avoid. I suppose increased handling of him might counter that though.

The mice I only intend to use for pinkies. I also think I'll hold off on them and just mess with the three rats. That accomplishes the pet and food thing.

I'm still leaning towards using tanks only because that's what I grew up using, I have the time in my life to keep all the tanks clean, and I find such chores slightly cathartic. XD I also feel that racks are for larger production, and that's not what I'm really looking for here. I'm treating them as pets while at the same time getting a feel for what I might be in for if I ever do decide to seriously breed snakes and need that much food. At which point I would invest in feeder and snake racks, as well as an incubator.

Having kept rodents before, I'm familiar with the terrible face munchies. I believe my gerbils were doing bath salts way before it was cool.
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PostSubject: Re: Small Feeder Breeding Project Idea [Looking For Help]   Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:41 pm

It seems like you have done plenty of research on this, as i had done when i first started breeding rats. I was always an aminal lover and didnt care too much about the smell or hard work, but now tht i have been breeding for 2 years its getting exhausting. I spend 2 hours a day taking care of all my rats, and their babies, also i didnt see anything mentioned about myco, make sure you do your reaserch on that. One more thing tht i stupidly didnt anticipate when i started off was medicating all of my rats if they got sick. *tip* make sure you have small animal baytril on hand as well as doxycycline to treat them if they become sick.

and as others have said, you would probably be better off buying the babies rather than breeding because in the long run breeding rats is expensive (only reason i started breeding was because my snake population jumped from two corns, to 2 corns 5 balls and a burmese)

good luck with what ever desicion you make Smile



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Strawberry Mink
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PostSubject: Re: Small Feeder Breeding Project Idea [Looking For Help]   Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:30 am

I think maybe holding off on this would be a better idea, now. I'm sure I could do it, but I think I get over excited a bit sometimes.

I'd like to breed my male corn, and I'm thinking I might just hold off, buy a nice female and wait until she's up to age, then try. That gives me a few years to toss extra money into a "baby snake" fund, and I can just order their pinkies and racks and incubator slowly over time. I can also invest in a morph that I really like. Currently, I've got my eye on a Amel Motley Cornsnake, het for Sunrise and Stripe. Razz

I suppose now I just need to find the best place to purchase bulk large mice. Since it was mentioned up above, I'll put it out there to sellers on the website: I live in Richmond, very close to the VCU Monroe Park Campus, and I'd be interested in purchasing from locals over sites like Rodentpro if possible. Price is important, of course. Razz I do have a car now, so I can do a bit of driving to pick up.
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PostSubject: Re: Small Feeder Breeding Project Idea [Looking For Help]   Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:13 am

I'm sure you'll find somebody here on vaherps..
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PostSubject: Re: Small Feeder Breeding Project Idea [Looking For Help]   Sat Mar 30, 2013 11:04 am

After reading my post again, I realized most of it was the bad side of breeding and didn't want to discourage. Low scale breeding wont have near as many downfalls, but as with most hobbies, it can escalate quickly lol. There is a neat, quick gratification that comes with breeding rats, even more so with mice when you start playing with the colors and morphs. If you have good self control, I think a pair of some neat rats or mice would pay off in more than one way. You won't make much money back, but if you shop right, $40 in supplies could last you well over six months. Euthanasia is probably going to be your most expensive purchase but the gear holds it's value until the hydrostatic test date runs out on the tank you are using. I have a bunch of info on that if you wanted to look into it.
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