aaaand...I now have my first ASF litter!! Looks like only about 6 or 8 babies. It's hard to tell because true to form so far (ASF's do not appear to be the smartest member of the rodent family) they are in a corner of the tub, not in the nice nest box / hide I made for them. The second pregnant female sound probably give birth in the next 48 hrs or so.
I have 8 breeding groups of ASFs. 2 of the groups have not produced. One of the 2 that have not produced has a couple of Golf Balls females. (large rollie pollie females). A couple of the younger ones that gave birth seemed to have that same behavior. Nice clean nesting box with shredded tissue paper but nurses them in the corner. All my others prefer the nesting box. I guess some are just not too bright. Or over thinking it and think the nest box is a trap. I dunno.
I am thinking of dispatching the un-pregnant female group. I will soon need the spot for the first batch that have just opened their eyes.
I have 1 female that did the opposite. gave birth in the box, then a week after birth she took them outside the box. I thought it was because it was dirty, even after a cleaning she has yet to take them back in the nest box.
I checked on the ASF's today. One of the babies was half eaten and another was dead with a misshapen head. The others appear to be nursing but the litters are quite small (about 12 total it looks like).
They say that their first litter is small. I have found this to be wrong. some have large litters some have small. So far it has been consistently so. The ones of mine that have had a small litter under 10, have still been giving birth to the same amount. the ones that have had 16 - 18 keep having liters the same size. I am only into the 4th litter with my first breeding group so time will tell if this remains true
I have some that eat babies and some the don't. One of my litters had 2 dead ones and they did not eat them. It was 3 days before I noticed them.
So I am currently making new tubs for the mice and possibly ASF's.
I had originally used the 99 L Sterilite tubs. Because they are so deep, I put side vents on them for airflow. Unfortunately this has turned out to be a mistake (at least for the mice). Apparently mice are dirty little so and so's and they LOVE to dig. This has resulted in the mice climbing on the wire mesh on the vents, peeing, pooping and kicking litter outside the tubs. It has been very, very messy.
The ASF's have been MUCH neater in general so not as much of a problem but I figure I'll switch them as well.
Initially, my main concern with the standard tubs used in racks was escapees when cleaning / switching tubs due to the tub height (low). Apparently, this can be avoided by just putting the smaller tub inside a larger / taller one when cleaning / switching tubs.
So lessons learned:
1. Side vents do not work with mice (far to messy). 2. Large / deep tubs are a pain to clean. 3. Use 1/2" hardware cloth / mesh, NOT 1/4" (water system lickers are not made to fit 1/4").
Last Edit: Jan 17, 2015 2:01:24 GMT -5 by bitbyter
Well it took most of the weekend but my new tubs are done, the watering system is installed and everything fits (just barely) on the resin shelves I already had. These are 32 L Steriilite tubs. Lots of room to expand the colony now. Still undecided if I am going to move the ASF's in here as well. I'm going to put one of the flying saucers I use for the mice in their tub and see if it survives their notorious chewing habit (right now they have a large metal wheel).
I made the wooden spacers between the tubs to short so I'll have to cut new ones.
Last Edit: Jan 18, 2015 23:39:28 GMT -5 by bitbyter
Well 24 hrs later and I've had my first water system flood. Why mice are so obsessed with burying / pushing things up against their water source I'll never know. On the plus side, small tubs = quick tubs changes and cleaning!!
Just changed the tubs for the ASF's. The babies opened their eyes yesterday. I must say that baby ASF's are unbelievably cute!! Two momma's also look like they are pregnant again. One well on the way, the other just starting to show.
Wow, so they are producing plenty for your ferrets to eat then. I wish I had someone like you who lived close by. I would much prefer buying from someone who cares for their rats and mice and feeds them a decent diet than buying from a pet shop and having no idea where their frozen mice come from.
Have you thought about selling locally? I can imagine that reptile owners in particular would be very interested.
Korra the Demonic Princess
Rip Mako, my brave soldier. Bolin, my snuggle bear.