I know a few of you here raise your own feeder mice, asf rats and other things my question is well everything lol! i have read every thread on this forum about this topic and have done a ton of researching on other sites, I have 4 ferrets currently all under a year old and only 3 of them are actually eating whole prey atm. I use about 14 mice in a week, 2 guineas and 2 rats (supplemented with frankenprey) the rats they never eat all of but the cavies are usually all gone and there might be a couple of mice that don't get eaten in this time also.
So since I will have to find a supplier of asf rats before I can start that I was thinking of starting with the mice. I'm thinking 2 10 gallon tanks for 2 breeder colonies and well I'm not sure of the best idea for raising the feeders. I am thinking another 10 gallon tank would be too small for the potential numbers that would be housed there.
Space is also a limiting factor. In the end I would like to do the same setup for the asf rats. I'm wondering if with my limited space if this is really feasible for me to do with 2 types or if given what my beasties eat if one colony would be sufficient. My concern with only one colony is what if something goes wrong with it then I have to start over, but is this really a big deal? Could be with the lack of asf rats easily available to me. Suggestions and input please and thank you!
Last Edit: Aug 17, 2015 15:35:40 GMT -5 by FireAngel: Title edited to reflect current happenings!
I am glad to see some girls interested in doing this, as my husband occasionally reminds me about the cost of feeding our ferrets---mostly whole prey here. If y'all can get it going--------Maybe me,too
Last Edit: Jul 19, 2015 15:39:26 GMT -5 by Deleted
I often wish I could bring myself to do this. I just don't have the stomach for it. It would be so much cheaper though, and great knowing exactly what has gone into their food and that they have been cared for properly.
I'd want to do it and keep the mice as happy and healthy as possible for their short lives, giving them the best food and plenty of space for exercise. Stress, poor diet and lack of exercise IMO has a big effect on nutritional value of meat. I'd want the best for my ferrets and their food. I'd be cautious about any inbreeding, so after each group of breeders is done with it would probably be easier to get a male. Now before everyone pipes up, most, if not all feeder breeders argue that genetic abnormalities in rodents don't show up for a number of generations. So at the end of the day it's your choice.
Cage size, the bigger the better usually. With mice ideally you need somewhere for the male to live. He could service both of your groups of females, but shouldn't live with either permanently. Too frequent breeding with have a big impact on the health of the breeders and therefore their offspring. This could be smaller sized individuals or smaller number per litter. I'd do a couple of litters and then a rest, and repeat.
For a grow out cage, I'd have a few storage bins handy. The sort that stack easily when in use or fit inside each other when not needed. That way they don't take up much room and if you suddenly have too many for 1 tub you can easily set up a second or third. It does depend a lot on how many females you have and how long you want to grow out the feeders for. You will need to separate or cull the males before sexual maturity, which doesn't take long.
In terms of ASF rats, I've read that their males need to be kept with the females all the time as it can be difficult to get the females to accept him back (or a new one). Having never looked into it much I don't know more about it.
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Tagging bitbyter since I know he raises ASF rats (and previously mice) and is constantly upgrading his system and is active on breeder/feeder groups. I think Heather raised mice and Desiree is just starting out raising ASF rats.
Lots of other people too, but there are so many members I find it difficult to keep track
10 gal tanks, much too small. Just remember mice stink and have to be the dirtiest creatures on the planet. Make sure you've got a place to keep them. They make ferrets look like "rank" amateurs. I raised mice for about 5 yrs. I sat down one day and did my costs (that includes my time and allotted space) and decided it cost more for me to raise the mice than it did to buy. I destroyed my lines and found a descent supplier. At one point I could comfortably feed a dozen ferrets 2 mice meals a week. I only fed adults. ciao
I just culled the last of my mice today. Heather is correct. They stink to high heaven. ASF's are far better. "Feeder Breeders Only" is a great FB page on breeding feeders. This is also the best page I've found for raising ASF's:
Ohh that rack looks amazing... Thank you guys. I will think a bit more before doing anything. Do you think 2 breeding groups is more then enough though? I'm not trying to sell any extra or anything just feed the 4 I have.
Once they get going 2 colonies of 3:1 or 4:1 (female to male ratio) will be plenty for 4 ferrets as long as you are looking for it to be part of the diet.
On average mine produce about 21 to 27 babies every 3.5 weeks. Then it takes about 2 to 2.5 months for them to get to 2 oz in weight (when I cull them). You need 1 grow out tub (much larger) for every colony you have. By the time I am ready to cull I usually have enough weaners to fill the tub again and the mothers are already nursing a new litter (with the weaners just getting in the way).
Last Edit: Jul 19, 2015 17:30:23 GMT -5 by bitbyter
So I went ahead and started 2 mice colonies. I'll keep it at that at least until I get some asfs. I have 3:1 and a 2:1 a 10 gallon tank and a 15 gallon tank for now. I'll get bins in the next couple of weeks and the stuff for the co2 chamber also. bitbyter I will probably make a pest of myself when I'm ready to set up the chamber and I apologize in advance for that lol! Desiree I can't wait to see your set up!
Last Edit: Jul 20, 2015 19:26:06 GMT -5 by FireAngel
Rodent tubs are not as easy to make as I thought (or maybe I just don't have the right tools! Lol). I'm still working on my first one and I'm not even sure if it is usable, I cracked one side pretty badly. Pictures hopefully tonight or tomorrow.
Last Edit: Jul 23, 2015 15:02:30 GMT -5 by FireAngel