I am new to the herp world but not to breeding animals and I'm considering starting my own colony for convenience/cost/ease of feeding. I'm trying to do as much research as I can so I can begin planning everything out as soon as I can.
I have 1 normal BP now since I'm living with the in-laws till January(no room) but after that my wife and I are moving into our own house and will have room for a lot more. She wants to start breeding birds(another story) and I want to breed snakes. We want to start an exotic pet business eventually.
Enough backstory, next year when it warms up enough to ship I plan on getting 2 YBs, a spider, a pastel and 3-5 normal ready to breed females next year. This means my current unsexed normal(will be sexed soon) and another 7-9 so lets say 10 ball pythons total to make this easy. Obviously I could buy all f/t online or just go grab a bunch of live feeder rats/mice from a local Petco but I'm wondering if I could do a few tanks of 1.3 or 1.4 ASFs and feed all my snakes that way. Would 2 or 3 tanks of 1.3 or 1.4 be enough for the snakes and 5 clutches? More?
As for buying f/t online, from American Rodent Supply online 10 medium rats is $20 so at one rat a week per snake that means $80 a month so around $1,000 a year if I buy all at once. This doesn't factor in if I get some really fat BP females that need bigger food or the pups/weanlings I'd have to buy for the babies so probably more like $1,500. That's alot of money to drop at once on f/t. Then if I get a snake that won't eat f/t I have to go spend MORE money on live food locally... This is why I'm so interested in breeding my own food.
I know starting up I'd have to buy the first ASFs, tanks, make food hoppers, buy water bottles, substrate, hides etc... After that what would roughly be the food/substrate costs to feed a colony big enough for 10 snakes plus probably 4-5 clutches the first year?
Sorry for all the noobness of this thread but I'm trying to educate myself in all aspects of the hobby for my own benefit, but more importantly, for healthy reptiles. I do know that ASFs are how I want to go if I do breed due to the smell, litter size, ease of breeding and ease of feeding finicky snakes.
I can tell you that raising domestic rats will cost more than ASF's purely because ASF's don't get up to 700 grams and eat you out of house and home.
However, they do take about a month after being weaned for the males to reach a desired size (about 70 grams) for ball pythons.
I find that the biggest thing with ASF's is providing enough spaces for the grow ups to live in without killing or fighting. They dont do well very close to each other like domestic rats, and I feel like I have to dedicate a lot of space to them for only a few rats because they are a bit high strung.
For one breeding group of 1.2, I currently have 2 tubs for holding (males and females). I can definitely feed off the litters (about 35-40 rats) in the 3 weeks I have before another group of ASF's is weaned. If you don't think you can do that, you will either have to use very large tubs, or feed them off to snakes in multiples while they are still young.
The plus is they just dont get too large for BP's.
The down side is they aren't friendly and dont like to really be held.
The plus side is they breed very well
The down side is they chew like it's their mission in life (provide them things like untreated wood to chew on and wheels to occupy their little minds)
The plus side is some people cant smell them
The down side is, if you can, it smells BAD LOL
Where are you located ? Most reptile shows have them know, a tleast around me (Cleveland) I can get them without any terrible effort. Check k-snake and look at the show list and check the nearest on to you if no one has any better info.
So basically start with 3 groups of 1.3 and go from there? Where is a good place to get them from? I'd buy some offf mcavana except I'm way too far away and you can't ship live... Sucks.
I would start with 2 groups first of 1.2. Your looking at potentially 48-72 rats being weaned every 3 weeks. If you feel you need a third, you can always hold back another group, or leave a female to group up with your already made groups.
I'm in NJ so I doubt I'll have any major problem finding a herp show at any time of the year. I don't need them yet, just doing preliminary research. Probably around may-june I'll be looking to start. I want to do a cheapo tub setup like I've seen in many other threads here. So a few setups of 1.2 then? I guess I'll just start small and if I need to move up I'll just hold back 3 rats. Not like I can't just go buy f/t locally to supplement until I figure out exactly how many I need.