msav I gave up on the homemade mix. It was giving my mice diarrhea. I'm just using lab blocks now. Much cheaper and they seem to be doing fine on it.
Once my ASF's are in full production mode I'm probably going to get rid of the mice. ASF's are just so much easier to deal with (less smell, much easier to transfer between tubs, etc).
ASF take a bit longer for them to reach feeding age but, they give more meat per rodent, Besides. Now that I have been feeding ASF rats my ferrets don't seem to like the mice much anymore. I came to that conclusion because when i feed mice they just eat them, But when I give them ASF rats they fight over them. Mogwai had a stack of them on the top shelf 4 high and was guarding them. He is such a little brat. He just won't share.
They do however act similarly with guinea pig, but not with the same intensity.
I love not having to clean their bin but every 3 weeks. I think I am going to have to do it every week to week and a half for the crowded baby bins though.
Well, I think I'm officially done with producing mice as feeders. As soon as my ASF's get up to production speed I'm going to cull all my mice. It's something I've been considering ever since I got the ASF's because they are MUCH cleaner, far less smelly, easier to move from tub to tub and produce more of a meal for the ferrets.
I think the deciding factor was tonight though. I separated out all the males from that large litter I had at Christmas time (19 males out of 48 babies). While catching them all, many of them peed in the CO2 chamber, the smell was atrocious!! It really is the males that stink. I couldn't believe how strong it was. Secondly, I've started getting interested in the coat patterns and their appearance. Not something I can afford to get interested in.
So in the end, I think it best to shut down the mice colonies (eventually). I'm guessing that will be in about 2 months. It's been interesting but the smell from the mice is just to hard to deal with. I do find them more interesting to watch than the ASF's but that is also leading to interest in them other than feeders which is not the point of all this.
I am now looking at about 80-100 juvenile ASF rats. I am trying to get a feel for the most economical time to Cull them. Trying to get their weight high enough to supply the most amount of food for the ferrets to the amount of food to keep feeding the rats. doing some weight calculations on my Adult males, I have found them to be 2.4 - 2.8 oz. Right now my largest Juvenile male is about 1.9 oz.
Organic rat mix is expensive so as soon as they reach the target weight they need to be culled. Just need to determine that target weight.
I have used only males in the measurement above, Because I am not sure if any of my Adult females are pregnant and nursing and that would throw off the measurement basis for the Juvenile females.
The big question is how much feed is it going to take to get the males to the Adult weight of 2.4 - 2.8 oz and is it worth the feed to do it. I just hate wasting a life and would like to get maximum food per life while minimizing cost to feed once their weight hits the target weight.
I imagine you have already thought this through with your mice and wondering what you determined.
Unlike your mice My ASF rats are living in perfect harmony with almost 50 per bin. so No need to Cull them because they are fighting, As long as I don't accidentally toss a female in there they will not be any drama.
Yeah, as far as I know it takes ASF's quite a while to reach full size (about 3 to 4 months but probably closer to 4). Also, a full sized ASF would probably be a bit more than a day's worth of food for one of my girls.
I switched to a purina lab block a while ago as I was finding the DIY food was very expensive and it was giving my mice diarrhea. I am moving on to a better quality lab block. I do supplement the breeding ASF's with a seed mix to up their fat intake for nursing / gestation. This is the stuff I will be using as soon as I'm out of the purina...
The ones I just weighed are just under 2 months old and some are 1.9 oz each. They seem to be already sexually mature, as their testes are prominently displayed. so if I can get Their weight up to the weight of a fully grown adult in a little over 2 months that would be fine with me.
I have boosted their feed with 50% black sunflower seeds due to it being so cold here, that may be why they are so hefty at such a young age. (found 40 lb sacks of the seeds on clearance for $16 so I had to stock up)
I would go with a rodent block, But I want to eliminate Soy from my ferrets diet as much as possible. That includes the food I am feeding to their food.
That's why I'm switching to the one I linked above. It got the lowest soy content I could find and the best fat content along with good protein as well. Most of the rat / mouse lab blocks seem to be much lower in fat.
I've found that in my large grow out bins they poop and pee in one spot. In my smaller breeding bins they don't seem to. I've settled at culling them at 1.9 oz because you're right, I takes them quite a while to grow much past that.
Last Edit: Mar 29, 2015 11:42:08 GMT -5 by bitbyter
I also found that my breeders are slowing down on the litters. They seem to now be having fewer babies and they don't seem to be getting pregnant as fast. I think it may be the season. I have not read that there is any particular time of year that they breed at but maybe that is the case. Right now not that big of deal as I have almost 300 in the freezer and about 60 growing to size. The latest batch of pinkies is only at about 38 so they are producing less and less. Perhaps I should be culling the breeders after 2-3 litters and selecting new breeders from the offspring. Perhaps I will experiment and retire one of the breeding groups and replace them with a group of the offspring.