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  1. #1
    BPnet Veteran lord jackel's Avatar
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    Should I Breed? How Many to Breed?

    What this thread is about - Should I breed? How do I breed? How many should I breed?

    Lets address the first question - Should I breed?

    Here is a little math just so you can see how this works (I assumed an avg 5 snakes - just multiply if you have more)

    I assumed all the same size rats just for ease of math
    5 snakes means 5 rats per week * 26 weeks (6 months) = 130 rats

    To buy at the pet store = 130 rats * $4 = $520 (avg.)
    To buy F/T from a .com = 130 rats * $0.92 = $120 (avg.)
    ($0.69 each rat + $0.23 ) ($0.23 is what is costs to ship each rat total = $30)

    To breed = $146
    I assumed 12 breeder females (to produce 10 feeders per week) and 2 males * $4 = $56 + Monthly Food/Bedding = $15 * 6 month = $90 (and you have to buy/build housing for all of them = $??)

    Take this to a year: 260 rats
    Buy F/T = $192 (since you could buy the whole year at once the per rat cost goes down)
    To Breed = $236 (getting closer but still not worth it)

    Breeding makes sense when your snakes will only eat Live but not when they will eat F/T. There can be other reasons to breed (like time to feed, wanting rats as pets as well as feeders, etc.) but for this purpose lets just stick to money as the reason.

    So you have decided to breed so the next question is How?

    I won't go into a lot of details here...there are tons of great threads on how to setup breeder tanks, or rack systems. Becky has an awesome food mix (sticky above).

    The only thing to really talk about it quality. Yes most people forget that quality is everything when it comes to your breeders. These animals are going to produce the ONLY food your prize snake will eat. You MUST make sure they are healthy and well taken care of. Your goal should be large litters, healthy babies (that could grow into great breeders themselves) and breeders that live a long fruitful life. With this said...DO NOT buy your breeders from a big box pet store. Ever wonder why when you walk into Petsmart all the rats are big...usually because they are left over breeders (from a rat farm) or what was left over after all the good ones were picked up, not to mention alot of them carry Megacolon and other undiserable genetic traits. (If you want all the gory details about pet store rats just shoot me a PM). Find a breeder, your local reptile show can be a good place, others on this forum etc. You need to feed them a complete nutritious meal (this means variety and/or specific high quality rat breeder food). And yes, you need a Vet fund ready so you can take them to the Vet as needed (again I won't go into details but rats are prone to all sorts of issues - PM me if you want more details)

    So you found some breeders now the big question - How many do I need?

    To breed effectively takes more then just putting a boy and girl together - sure this will give you rat babies but will you have the right number or the right size at the right time? This line is key...the right number, right time, right size.

    It is my belief and with lots of experimenting....that sets of 12 are the ideal number. What a lot of feeder breeders forget is that rats need a break after you wean a litter. They need time to regain weight, bone mass and minerals. Keep in mind there is only about a 2 week period when you can feed rats before they grow to big to be what most on this forum consider the perfect size feeders.

    Here is how it works
    * I typed this out in another thread and Thanks goes to Richard <Halfdawg> for this graphically version and littleindiangirl (for the initial layout - I think?)

    Quick explanation of what you are looking at: The male goes in with the first female for 2 weeks (after 21-23 days the female gives birth, 4 weeks later the babies are ready to be fed off and the female gets 4 weeks to "vacation" - to gain weight, bone mass and nutrients before the male comes back to visit. Every 2 weeks the male moves to another tub.



    So why 12? Because 12 is the number of weeks it takes for one female to start the process and complete the birth, weaning and rest before starting over. So with 12 breeders that means every week you will have 1 litter ready to be fed off. If you assume 10 weaned babies each week (this is a very broad average) you can then figure out how many sets of 12 you need. ie. if you need 20 feeders per week you need 2 litters every week so that means twice the number or 24 breeders, need 30 feeders you need 36 breeders, etc. etc.

    I have this same setup but using 5 females for each week (60 females total) and for the past 3 years and have always had the correct number of feeders needed (any excess are sold off to a local pet store or friends)

    You can work with less females but you will stress their bodies by over breeding them without the necessary rest period so they will die quicker and produce less.

    This system is designed so you produce all the feeders that are required each week...you can have less breeders if you want but the risk is the need to occassionally buy extra feeders (bad week, small litter, sick breeder, etc.) or to feed F/T on occassion.


    Hopefully this information helps anyone considering breeding and with the question of How many?
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by JLC; 09-11-2007 at 07:52 PM. Reason: Adding File Attachment
    Sean

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  3. #2
    BPnet Veteran lord jackel's Avatar
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    Re: Should I Breed? How Many to Breed?

    I have had several people ask about this information over the past few months and Halfdawg (Richard) suggested I post the graph to help everyone visualize the breeding Calendar. Hopefully this is helpful for some. If you notice any glaring issues please let me know so I can correct them.
    Sean

  4. #3
    BPnet Veteran littleindiangirl's Avatar
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    Re: Should I Breed? How Many to Breed?

    Not for self promotion in anyway, but I did originally have a 10 female set up as well. It's also in the feeder section. The major difference is the females only get 3 weeks off instead of 4.
    http://www.ball-pythons.net/forums/s...ad.php?t=52380

    The 12 female set up was Lord Jackels original layout, I just transferred it to excel for better visualization.

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  6. #4
    BPnet Veteran Halfdawg's Avatar
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    Re: Should I Breed? How Many to Breed?

    Its great to see what a little team work can do. When we are all heading to a common goal of providing the best care for our Rats and the best food for our Herps.

    Richard
    Richard Go Red Wings
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  8. #5
    BPnet Veteran littleindiangirl's Avatar
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    Re: Should I Breed? How Many to Breed?

    Thats what I'm talking about! I say we make our own club. The club for promoting excellent feeders, or something like that. LOL, oh well, I like the extra work I guess.

  9. #6
    BPnet Veteran catawhat75's Avatar
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    Re: Should I Breed? How Many to Breed?

    Sticky worthy!
    12.21 BPs
    0.1 Macklots
    2.0 crazy dogs (Chow mix & Houla mix)
    4.2 even crazier cats
    0.1 Red-Eye tree frog
    0.1 Daughter who loves this crazy house as much as I do
    1.0 Boyfriend who puts up with the craziness & finally has snakes of his own!- 0.1 Dumerils & 0.1 BP

  10. #7
    BPnet Veteran lord jackel's Avatar
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    Re: Should I Breed? How Many to Breed?

    Quote Originally Posted by catawhat75
    Sticky worthy!
    Thanks...I am glad you found it worthwhile and helpful.
    Sean

  11. #8
    BPnet Veteran frankykeno's Avatar
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    Re: Should I Breed? How Many to Breed?

    Excellent work! Definitely worth being stickied. As soon as I get a new color cartridge this is a print-out worth having. Good job Sean!
    ~~Joanna~~


  12. #9
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    Re: Should I Breed? How Many to Breed?

    Awesome work, Sean! Very excellent, indeed! 'Tis stickied!
    -- Judy

  13. #10
    BPnet Veteran lord jackel's Avatar
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    Re: Should I Breed? How Many to Breed?

    Quote Originally Posted by JLC
    Awesome work, Sean! Very excellent, indeed! 'Tis stickied!
    Thanks Judy I am honored you found it so valuable.

    Joanna...thanks for the kind words...when I printed out the table the paper was wet from all the ink...LOL
    Sean

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