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  1. #1
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    ASF female stealing pups from other females

    Hi to all here in the forum! I got into breeding my own feeders (mice and asf) and both had the first litters already. While the mice femals are all taking care of all pups I am running into a problem with my female ASFs. I have 1 male with 3 females in a 30g tank, they have a wheel, water bottles, get a good variety of foods and are doing really well so far. The first ASF gave birth about 2 weeks ago and ALL femals took care of the litter of 13. Now my second ASF just had a litter and the female of the first litter is always stealing the newborns and drags them into her nest with the 13 bigger pups and there they end up on the bottom of the tank, under the other 13 bigger pups. The second ASF and mom of the second litter seems in distress as she hears her pups "whine", but does not try to get her pups back. I moved the new borns out of the nest once back to the second hide where they were born, but the first ASF right away ran again and pulled them out.

    Will I lose the second litter as they most likely won't get fed? Should I separate the females? (I hoped I did not need to do that). Any ideas and suggestions are more than welcome!

  2. #2
    Registered User Erie_herps's Avatar
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    What I often see ASF breeders recommend is to cull the rats that show unwanted behavior. If this is something that you don't want then the female is best removed from the colony.

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  4. #3
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    I have no experience with ASFs, but plenty of other rodents, & every now & then one female gets "possessive" & tries to steal babies but isn't nursing them. You need to remove the offending female if you want to save the litter. Not all females co-hab peacefully & help each other- many do, but there's always some exceptions. But again, I'm mostly talking about rats & mice, & you mentioned mice- I know ASFs are quite different so please go by those posting answers who raise them specifically.

    FYI, I don't give wheels to breeding rodents either. They appear to get addicted to running, at the peril of offspring still trying to nurse. Just saying. And for productivity, mice do best as 1:2 (one male, 2 compatible females). More females (3+) = less reproduction, usually, or more chaos over the pinks.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 11-16-2021 at 07:35 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  6. #4
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    Re: ASF female stealing pups from other females

    Yes, I read about that as well, but was unsure at this point if it is only a one-time behaviour as being the first litter or if I should get rid of her after she weaned her pups.

    The first female that had the first litter is a very dominant female, whereas the other two are fairly "shy".

    Do you think it would be possible that this is only a one-time thing? Or is it a permanent thing to you knowledge?

  7. #5
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    Re: ASF female stealing pups from other females

    Thank you for your reply. So far, the 3 female mice are getting along very well with all three litters and everything is going well. The wheel is no problem, neither for the mice nor the ASF, as the pups are taken well care of (except the fact that one rat tries to steal the pups of the other rat).

    Would you recommend that I separate the first female rat with her 13 older pups into another setup until the pups are fully weaned and then feed off the female rat (the "mom")?

    As the other two female rats get well along and even nurse the first litter I do not think it would be a good idea to take out the second female rat with her newborn babies as it might not be able to introduce her back to the colonie afterwards?

  8. #6
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    Normal behavior for ASF. DONíT CULL ANYONE!

    The first one will raise pups till the day she dies. The pups should be fine.

    Now, you might want to keep one of your new males. Why you ask, because if you lose your male itís three months for one to grow up.

    I raise rats an ASF. Youíll see some in my pics.

    Good luck!

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  10. #7
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    If you havenít read this please do. ASF should never be kept alone or removed an put back in a colony as the females may kill the new one.

    Read this:

    https://ball-pythons.net/forums/show...-ASF-Caresheet

    Good luck!

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  12. #8
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    Re: ASF female stealing pups from other females

    Thank you for your reply! I had read the care sheet and did a lot of research before I started with my mice and rats. Even though I am breeding them as food source for my 1 ball python and 2 garter snakes, they are treated as "pets" and get the best they can get (food, housing, space etc.).

    I was aware that they can nest together, but was really unsure if the newborns would get enough milk? Right now the female rats decided to put their pups together in one nest and the newborns (now 2 days old) are seeming to do fine now. Before that the bigger pups were in a different nest and such their "mom" always stole the newborns.

    The first born pups are 2 weeks old and are starting to run around the enclosure. I did not intend to take them out until they are weaned. My thought was also to keep/make a new colonie from the second or third litter, as my breeding rats are still young (got them as weanlings, so just the very first litter in life).

    I feed live pinkies to my two Garters as they just stopped eating frozen/thawed. (After 4 years without any problems.) They are going good for it and finally started eating again! Yes, before I started them on my own mice I tried to buy frozens from different sources, but they would not go for them for nearly 4 months, neither on fish nor worms. The pinkies/fuzzies seem to be the best size for them and I don't think I will end up with too many that I might have to freeze/cull.

    I am planning on feeding my ball python live ASF as well, as she is a very finicky eater in general. So I was thinking - as the python and I are new to live feeders - to start her on the rat hoppers. She is big enough to be able to eat an adult ASF but I am unsure if she would take adult ones. Is this in general ok to do? I mean, starting her on hoppers? Or will they be too small for her to be interested at all? She is 5 years old and as thick as my arm. She is hit and miss with f/t mice. So I want to try to get her on the ASF. If all fails, I will have to euthanize the rats/mice before feeding. But that is not my main goal.

    What would be the best approach for my ball python to introduce her to live feed?

    P.S.: The reason I started breeding my own feeders is simple - it is very hard to get frozen feeders for a fair price here where I live. One adult frozen mouse is sold for 4.50 Canadian Dollar. Sorry, that is getting too much for my budget. Bigger packs are often already freezer burned....

  13. #9
    BPnet Veteran nikkubus's Avatar
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    This is desired behavior in ASFs. The reason they have so many nipples is because they have a group feeding instinct where they take turns nursing all the young from the colony. They should all be taking turns, though you may not see the other mother's feeding shift.
    7.22 BP 1.4 corn 1.1 SD retic 0.1 hognose

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  15. #10
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    I would never feed a live weaned or older ASF to any snake. They are and can be Deamons! Read some of the other posts about ASF. An google raising them. It took me about a year to cull the Deamons out of my colonies. If you put your hand in the tub one or more females would attack. Some breeders just wear gloves as the behavior is normal.

    If you feed adults ASF live make sure you don't leave them in the snakes encloser long. If your snake didn't strike and wrap when the ASF hits the floor DON"T leave it in over five minutes. I can't stress enough feeding ASF live (over crawlers) is a bad idea. Hungry Norway Rats are tame compared to ASF.

    I would build a CO2 camber and gas them and freeze them. CO2 tanks can be found local if you google them or beer supply store. Or for fresh killed, pick the ASF you don't like an use a .50 mouse trap to break its neck. Safer for your BP!


    Good luck!

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