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Best rodent to breed for feeders..?

Discussion in 'Feeders' started by Dee, Aug 12, 2005.

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  1. Dee

    Dee Elite Member

    Hello all,
    My fiance and I are posting on a couple of sites to see what the general concensus is. We're hoping to buy a breeding pair of rodents to supply pinkies for our AFT and Leopard geckos, as well as feeders for our Corn Snake. Thus far we've used pinkies from mice and dwarf hamsters, purchased from the local chain store. Any time we checked out the rat pinkies they were too big (btw, can anyone tell us if newborn rats are small enough for the average gecko?) The only concern we have is that some rodents are messier (and more odiferous LOL) than others, so we'd like to find something relatively cleaner.
    Opinions please?
    -- Dee
     
  2. Amelia

    Amelia Elite Member

    Well mice and rats do stink, especially when you work with a lot of them, but being that you are probably only going to set up one little breeding group (or at least thats how it sounds) I wouldn't go to rats, rat pinkies are still pretty large when first born, depending on the size of the litter a female has they can be larger or smaller when born, for geckos I think you should just stick to the mice pinkies every once in awhile as treats, and well mice pinkies are great to start baby corns out, and of course as they grow you can always let the mice raise babies up to bigger sizes in order to keep up with the snakes needs for larger food items.

    With a lot of colubrids, they really don't need rats of too large of a size if you choose to go to them, but I suppose it all depends on the keeper, either as adults feed your corns adult mice, or you could go with some rats that are close to the size of adult mice, plus as adult corns, they won't need to stay on the every week feeding schedule, and it can be drawn out a little longer. With corns they don't get that big, and they can easily become obese (in a corn snake sense).

    A male and a few female mice should do you pretty good for breeding stock, and you can always freeze off the excess babies for later feedings. Weekly cleaning should keep the smell down that they produce, some beddings just work better than others at controlling smell too, and of course don't use cedar bedding with any breeder rodents.
     
  3. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    A friend of mine breeds gerbils for her cornsnakes. (They are illegal in some states: well, at least they used to be in California when I lived there.) Because they are desert rodents, they don't drink as much and their urine is less smelly than normal rats and mice. She had a whole colony of them in a tank in her living room and I couldn't smell them at all. (And I have a good nose!) :)
    But it's a luxury food item for feeders, I think. If you ever stop breeding them and your animals are used to "gerbil" you'll have to pay more than for mice or rats. I'm not even sure you can buy F/T gerbils as feeders.
     
  4. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    Yeah, Andrea's right. Gerbils pee a LOT LESS than other rodents, because they need to conserve water in their native Mongolia. They do need a lot of digging space though, as they're an extreme burrowing species. They also chew a lot more than other rodents, but neither of these traits makes them much more expensive to house. Like she said though, if yuou ever stopped breeding them, there's the chance they won't accept mice anymore, and you;d have to search far and wide to get enough gerbil pinkies. For geckos, pinkies are only recommended as a rare treat though, maybe once a month. The turtle can also eat pinkies thouhg, in case you haven't been doing that yet. Maybe one a week for that guy if you have enough to go around.
     
  5. Padfoot

    Padfoot Elite Member

    Just something to add, newborn gerbils are just a little smaller than mice fuzzies, don't know if that would be too big for a leo (reptile experts can tell you there), and if you are planning to have more than 1 female giving birth, you'll need the equal ammount of males with them. You can't have several females with a male like you do with mice, cause females are the dominant sex in gerbils and they fight for a male. Gerbil litters are a lot smaller than mice (average 6, can range from 1-9, while mice average is 10, I think and can have up to 20). Their gestation periosd is just a bit longer than mice, 24 days for gerbils while it's 21 for mice (not a big difference, but know that in about the same time, you'll have a lot of baby gerbils). I think those reasons are what make them more expensive than mice in a pet store, plus many people find them more esthetically pleasing than mice, so are willing to pay more for them as pets....
     
  6. Amelia

    Amelia Elite Member

    The only thing I really hate about using gerbils for feeders, is the babies just seem to take the longest time to get to any decent size at all depending on what they are going to, mice and rats just seem to shoot up to good size within no time at all.
     
  7. Electrophile

    Electrophile Elite Member

    In my opinion, mice are smellier than rats. My 4 pet rats are not bad at all. Just change the cage once every 7 to 10 days with Woody Pet bedding and they are good to go. Mice on the other hand (especially males) tend to scent mark a LOT. And rats make better pets anyways...I have actually steered clear of getting a snake that *must* have rats or bigger (instead of a few mice) because I rather like the ratties...I get my feeders from the culled mouse litters at my research lab. I dispatch them there, freeze them individually, and take it from there. Plus we always have a nice selection of all age mice, so if I need them to be exactly day 18 sized mice, or 21 or whatever, no sweat. :)
     
  8. ReptileMan27

    ReptileMan27 Elite Member

    From what ive heard gerbils are not good to feed your snake because of oils or something on their skin. If you use gerbils you better not feed live because gerbils are nasty and alot more dangerous then feeding live mice or rats and mice and rats are dangerous enough. Corns are not usaully fussy eaters anyway. I would breed rats they are alot better breeders and dont smell as bad as mice and are better for the snake.
     
  9. Dee

    Dee Elite Member

    Well, we've managed to obtain one male and two female mice (stinky buggers, but they're a laugh to watch -- they never stop!) and a mating pair of gerbils. Still waiting for signs of incoming pinkies... and we're also intending to get some rats, not only for breeding but because we like them! ;)
     
  10. ReptileMan27

    ReptileMan27 Elite Member

    Rats make awesome pets to :).
     
  11. goldrockin_froggie

    goldrockin_froggie Well Established Member

    I personally love to raise rats as appose to mice but currently doing both for clients in my area. The smell is better if kept outside. I have dryer sheet(fragrance your preference) over each screen top. I use vanilla in the water to help cut down the smell as well. I have heard nothing but positive for raising rats as being the healthier to raise and they are easier to tame down from birth so easier to handle and have hand in tank as often as needed without biting worries. But burning incense, dryer sheets, glade plug ins and the like all help enormously with the odor except when your nose is right over the tank. This is also helpful for those who raise inside. I love experimenting with the types of foods i give different sets to see the different effects(birth size,growth rate etc) my own mini know how. :)
     
  12. Dee

    Dee Elite Member

    LOL Awesome Diggy, and thanks for the scent reduction info. ;) The glade plugin is already in our herp room, and it seems to do the trick. I can't wait to get the rats, I'm a bit of a rodent nut -- there's a Mini Rex rabbit in my future too (pet, not feeder!) A friend of ours has pedigreed breeders, and they just had a new litter! :D:D:D
     
  13. Ssativa

    Ssativa Subscribed User Premium Member

    I sucessfully bred gerbils but now I can't bear to feed them to our Kingsnake. They just opened their eyes yesterday. They are so cute. I don't believe I could feed any rodent to my snakes after raising them. I wish their was someone local that bred rats and mice. The ones that I get from the pet store aren't healthy. I know this because several times I bought rodents from the store and put them in a nice little plastic house with bedding and food and water to fatten them up a bit. Every time I tried this, the animals were dead the next morning. Sick rodents can't be good for my snakes.
     
  14. Cornyballpython

    Cornyballpython Elite Member

    i love breeding rats i have 2 my female just had a litter they r just about the sizei need i am hoping to get my mom and dad to get me 2-3 more females cause its nicer to have a buch popin babies :) i am going to keep a male from this litter so maby i can get 3 more rats one for my cerent male and 2 for him but he would have to wate till hes biger so they would stay with daddy :)

    i almost cant bear feding the babies i have raised mice or rats but i know more will come :)
     
  15. chamluvr

    chamluvr Member

    And this is why I stick to non-"cute furry, little critter" eating types. I have rescued too many poor rodents that were sitting for days in a snakes tank with no food and water. Bad snake owner! - Not you guys, the one who left them in there. The rat actually turned out to be one of the smartest critters I have ever owned (and that is saying a lot!) He'd walk on a leash, ride on my shoulder, fetch.... No, I'll stick to watching the demise of creepy crawlies like crickets, roaches, mealworms....
     
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