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  1. #11
    Registered User ApathyAngel's Avatar
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    Re: Feeding question for breeders

    Quote Originally Posted by christineho View Post
    I would be careful about the lines you draw in the sand when it comes to feeding bps. Even if you receive a baby that has been fed on f/t, it's possible it could refuse once in your home and at some point you will do anything to get it to eat, and the next step after the hairdryer/wiggling tricks is to feed live. As you mentioned, they're notoriously picky eaters and you don't want to let a hatchling hunger strike (especially if it's because of your feeding preference).

    I wouldn't let someone who clearly didn't feed live correctly sway your perception of it. It can and is frequently done responsibly by taking steps like weighing both the snake and its prey to make sure it's the correct size, always watching, feeding in the enclosure, etc. Time and patience should give you success in transitioning to f/t but I would be prepared to have to feed live with any bp you take on. All of ours eat live we've had no hiccups (over 12 years)!
    That makes sense, and I understand where you're coming from.

    But I wasn't really talking about the live vs f/t debate. I have no problems with those who feed live, and I'm aware that the scars along Eden's back were because of neglect (my friend's retic wasn't a case of neglect, just a freak accident that he couldn't stop in time. He was a great owner and helped me out a lot with my own retic). I know that it's extremely unlikely that a ball python would be injured by a rat.

    Personally, I choose f/t because it's what works for me. I don't expect everyone else to agree with that choice, and I don't assume that it would work as well for everyone else.

    I was more just asking about why breeders do it that way, when I would think that maintaining a large rat population would be time-consuming. And I was asking if it's realistic for a buyer to ask the breeder to help transition from live to f/t after the baby has been paid for, if it's still too young to ship.

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    christineho (06-28-2020)

  3. #12
    Registered User Spicey's Avatar
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    My KSB came to me eating f/t, but this past spring he quit hitting them (he wasn't a year old yet and wasn't nearly as big as I'd been told he should be) and adamantly refused every offering, even when I brained it and confined him with it in a deli cup. After two months of his not eating and starting to lose weight, I caved and threw him a live hopper. He hit it so fast that it made my heart sing. Now I'm feeding live and don't even have to show him it's there, I just put it in his feeding bowl and he comes and gets it, as the saying is. I may try to get him back on f/t some day, but probably not until he reaches full growth. His breeder told me that the parents were both small but he (my snake) has only just got to 13 inches and 62 g, so he's got a ways to go.
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  4. #13
    BPnet Senior Member GoingPostal's Avatar
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    Breeding rats for your own feeders is a ton of work, it's also considerably less cost and you are in control of quality. Most hatchling or newborn snakes aren't going to take f/t straight off the bat and it's better to get an animal eating eagerly then switch, vs start them off in a pattern of refusing food. Feeding live isn't very risky if done properly, both of your examples were not. Leaving a live rat in the cage unattended? Feeding a live rabbit? This is like saying heat mats are bad because some people use them without thermostats and cook their snakes.
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  6. #14
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    Re: Feeding question for breeders

    Quote Originally Posted by ApathyAngel View Post
    That makes sense, and I understand where you're coming from.

    But I wasn't really talking about the live vs f/t debate. I have no problems with those who feed live, and I'm aware that the scars along Eden's back were because of neglect (my friend's retic wasn't a case of neglect, just a freak accident that he couldn't stop in time. He was a great owner and helped me out a lot with my own retic). I know that it's extremely unlikely that a ball python would be injured by a rat.

    Personally, I choose f/t because it's what works for me. I don't expect everyone else to agree with that choice, and I don't assume that it would work as well for everyone else.

    I was more just asking about why breeders do it that way, when I would think that maintaining a large rat population would be time-consuming. And I was asking if it's realistic for a buyer to ask the breeder to help transition from live to f/t after the baby has been paid for, if it's still too young to ship.

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    Makes sense! Totally was not a judgement as I would feed f/t if I thought I could transition my hatchling without him protesting (the two others are just so used to live that I gave up), but he's been proven to be a very stubborn brat . Good luck in your search and will look forward to seeing which morph you choose!
    /chris

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    ApathyAngel (06-28-2020)

  8. #15
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    I start my ball python babies on f/t fuzzies when I can (about 67% of it will take it first try), and most of the rest are on f/t by the 4th meal. The few remaining don't get sold until they're well established. F2 and onward tend to be near 100% success rate with minimal effort, just sight feeding right away, while F1's can sometimes take a bit of extra work and patience. I'm pretty small-time, with about 6 clutches a year year though.

    But I know some much bigger breeders who have been at it for longer, and who get close to 98% success rate with f/t first try. Too many breeders breed for morphs and not for health, or focus on quantity over quality.

    Regardless, ball pythons are super easy to get started as babies compared to most other species. Green tree pythons for instance, can take several hours to feed just a single clutch when getting babies established.
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    ApathyAngel (06-28-2020)

  10. #16
    Registered User Moose84's Avatar
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    Re: Feeding question for breeders

    Quote Originally Posted by ApathyAngel View Post
    @Kerimac

    Thanks for the info! I follow Chris on youtube and really like his videos, and I've heard good things about Dynasty, too.

    I've got a couple of different possibilities for morphs I'm looking at, but I won't be in a position to buy one for at least another 6 months, so nothing is set in stone. I wouldn't be opposed to a yearling/juvenile either. I was more just curious about the reasoning behind breeders feeding live.

    @AzJohn

    That's what I was thinking, but then wouldn't you then also need a large rat population, to ensure that you have a steady stream of the right sized babies? I had pet rats when I was a kid, and if I remember correctly (though it was awhile ago, so I may be wrong) they don't stay small for very long. And cleaning their cages felt like a full-time job.

    Granted, I've never owned more than 4 snakes at a time, so obviously having a large collection is a totally different thing, but wouldn't maintaining a large rat population be incredibly time-consuming? Wouldn't it be easier to just thaw a handful of them out in water and then just toss them in the baby bins?

    Or am I missing something? As I said, I'm not a breeder, and I know that keeping a large collection is completely different than owning a handful of pets, so I'm curious about that process and why it's easier to feed live.

    And to the other replies...

    I should stick with lizards? You won't sell to me?

    Gasp! How terrible! But then how will I ever get a ball python? There are so few breeders out there, whatever will I do?

    Calm down, Karen. I wasn't bashing how you run your business. I was asking why breeders do it that way, and if breeders will help transition to f/t when people buy their animals.

    Which I assumed were innocent questions. Silly me, apparently.

    I mean, defensive much?

    Whatever your reasons for feeding live, cool. It obviously works for your setup. You do you. I never once bashed feeding live, I only explained why I personally won't do it.

    I know it's safe most of the time. That's literally not the point of my post. The live vs f/t debate bores me. Literally everything that can possibly be said on both sides has already been said. I'm not looking to turn this into yet another iteration of that same tired argument.

    I don't have to feed live, so I won't. Simple as that.

    I've had ball pythons, jungle carpet pythons, and a retic, and never once had problems feeding them f/t or pre-killed. Never once had a food strike that lasted longer than 2 feedings (though to be fair, I've only owned a total of 4 ball pythons, which is a small sample size. And the youngest is my current one, who is around 6. The others were over 10 when I got them). Literally never once had a snake refuse f/t, regardless of what they were fed before I got them.

    Whatever your reasons for why that makes me a bad person, I promise you I do not care. F/t works for me, so it's what I do.

    I was asking breeders about it because I've heard babies can be pickier than adults, and since almost all of my experience is with adults, I want to make sure that when I get a baby, I know what I'm getting into and will be prepared for it.

    Yeah, silly me.

    I was also asking to get a better feel for etiquette, what is realistic to ask from a breeder, because (shocker) I'm not a breeder. I don't know how labor intensive the process is, and if it's realistic to prepay for a hatchling and ask the breeder to transition the baby I prepaid for to f/t until it's big enough to ship. I'm trying to get a feel for where that line is between respecting the breeder's time and protecting my own investment and my future pet.

    I know, I know. So incredibly silly of me.

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    so much wrong with this post. Have a great week, mam!

  11. #17
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    Re: Feeding question for breeders

    Totally lost. Iím out>

  12. #18
    BPnet Veteran rufretic's Avatar
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    I start my hatchlings on live hoppers because I have a near 100% success rate with it but I transition to f/t asap and all my collection eats f/t. So some breeders do f/t, most don't because with a large amount of animals live is easier. I only have around 100 animals and it is a pretty big ordeal feeding everybody f/t but I still prefer it. A lot of people do appreciate my effort and are happy to get a hatchling already eating f/t rat pups consistently so it works for me but I definitely understand why most breeders feed live. If you want to get a hatchling on f/t already, it's possible you just have many less options so depending on what morph you want, it may take a while to find what you're looking for on f/t. I would not recommend getting a hatchling on live and then trying to convert it. If you know you want to feed f/t, buy one that is already on f/t. Good luck.

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    ApathyAngel (06-30-2020)

  14. #19
    Registered User ApathyAngel's Avatar
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    Re: Feeding question for breeders

    Quote Originally Posted by rufretic View Post
    I start my hatchlings on live hoppers because I have a near 100% success rate with it but I transition to f/t asap and all my collection eats f/t. So some breeders do f/t, most don't because with a large amount of animals live is easier. I only have around 100 animals and it is a pretty big ordeal feeding everybody f/t but I still prefer it. A lot of people do appreciate my effort and are happy to get a hatchling already eating f/t rat pups consistently so it works for me but I definitely understand why most breeders feed live. If you want to get a hatchling on f/t already, it's possible you just have many less options so depending on what morph you want, it may take a while to find what you're looking for on f/t. I would not recommend getting a hatchling on live and then trying to convert it. If you know you want to feed f/t, buy one that is already on f/t. Good luck.
    That makes sense.

    I guess I'm having trouble picturing how it's easier to feed live vs f/t. GoingPostal pointed out the cost, which I hadn't thought of, and their answer makes total sense. I can absolutely see how the cost could quickly add up in large collections. And as they pointed out, breeding them yourself gives the breeder more control over the quality of the rats being fed to their snakes.

    So that, I can completely understand. But as far as saving time, I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.

    Breeding and maintaining rats seems like way more work than just tossing a handful of frozen ones into a bowl of water, then dropping them in with the snake when they're thawed and warm.

    I'm assuming the reduction in cost and the added control over quality offsets the amount of time required? Is that correct?

    And thanks for your advice. I can definitely stick to buying a baby that is already established on f/t instead of trying to transition it myself. I wasn't sure what the best way to handle that was, so I appreciate your suggestion.

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  15. #20
    BPnet Veteran jmcrook's Avatar
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    Re: Feeding question for breeders

    Quote Originally Posted by ApathyAngel View Post
    I guess I'm having trouble picturing how it's easier to feed live vs f/t.

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    Quite simple.
    Live=throw rodent in tub/enclosure and move to next tub/enclosure.
    Frozen=get rodents out of freezer, thaw over a duration of time, wiggle in front of snake for 0-? seconds/minutes, move to next snake.
    Multiply that by possibly hundreds of snakes in some peopleís cases. By the time you go down a rack of live feedings you can quickly check the first snakes offered in that rack and remove any rodents not consumed.


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