This forum is for discussing topics of caring for and breeding feeders (crickets, roaches, etc.) for those interested in raising their own bearded dragon live feeders.
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I got back into reptiles with my new beardie because my daughter and wife caught the reptile fever along with the other neighboring families who added reptilian and amphibian additions to their homes over the holidays. I remember my first pet reptile which was an Iguana who I raised well into adult hood and over 6ft long. Feeding Iguanas is about as easy as it gets but these Beardies have much more varied diet.
I've actually jumped head first into the feeder aspect of ownership and I wont lie, this is more exciting to me than even the dragon itself because as an engineer I like planing, constructing and watching the results, learning from them and improving to this produce and even better product. I'm new to the whole Dubia thing but it seemed like the best option opposed to any other (I hate crickets with a passion but as a kid could never convince my parents to let me use roaches no matter what...) I've accumulated a few abandoned colonies from my boxing instructor of all people, and want to transform them into one super colony that I can split off into 2 later, one for feeding and the other for sale to help maintain the first batch and expand even more.
I'll hopefully have my own pics up tomorrow along with some videos of hopefully something successful. I have a nice head start so next up is seperating everything and getting a true count of what I have. An estimate of over 1000+ adults is quite likely.
Ok so I am going to sort of use this as my personal "build" thread as we call it in the racing world I come from. Give a little time to time updates and hopefully keep this thread alive long enough for others to chime in as well..
So here is where it all starts:
The colony had gone pretty dormant. There were 2 "colonies" a large and a small with this larger one being in this 50/60gal tote (HUGE!) and the other in one closer to 25gal or so. This bigger one was in a make shift box, wrapped in a comforter and had heat wire along the bottom on one end that even on the coldest nights according to my buddy they never saw bellow 70 degrees. Needless to say it stunted the growth cycle but seeing that he went from feeding 5-6 dragons to only 1 snapping turtle he didn't want it being too out of hand. The smaller colony was just out in the open with a small UTH. I am sure it saw temps in the 50s (Its CA so its not like it got super-super cold *although anything under 65* might as well be a blizzard to us ) When we opened that bin the roaches were alive but moved like sloths or kept still. They bunched on the bottom and still didn't wanna budge. We dumped a bunch in the big tote for me to take as well (he kept some for his turtle and placed that box into the make shift insulator which it fit MUCH better and probably will be able to keep proper 80+ temps in the cold) and off we went.
So! I made a plan of attack
-Purchase all needed supplies
-Clean bin and assess 'inventory'
-Separate small nymphs from adults and mid sized nymphs (all of the mid sized nymphs will remain with the breeders. I only have 1 dragon that I am trying to rehome until I can get a baby leather back so I'll be able to build a good sized brood)
-Find my original recipes for other roach/cricket feeders I use to make and replicate
-Sit back and enjoy...
The bin SMELLS... It surly due to the few inches thick of frass in what is a GIGANTIC tote. I'm purchasing a respirator specifically for this (don't wanna waste my expensive rebreather for my painting on the roaches so off to harbor freight my wife will be going) It will eventually find its way out into the garage but with its current setup I wouldn't be able to be very productive until I move some things around to build an insulated enclosure. I am hoping that cleaning this filthy thing will get it to a point I can at lease house them in my bedroom closet.
So back to my list!
-Purchase all needed supplies:
Lots of cool stuff and I kept the price LOW. I would say roughly $20 or so worth of additional stuff.
First off, BINS! The biggest addition to the effort. Color codded to keep me from needing to label them, the dark slate blue one was originally there to house the larger sized nymphs and the aqua for the smalls (I have plans to eventually offer these FS anyways) but instead the gray bin will be used to thin the main breeder colony of the extra males if there are way too many. (look out in the FS section soon) or if the number balance out enough to warrant it I will be using the darker tote to start a secondary colony that will be much smaller and dedicated solely to producing for my own personal use the the larger will keep breeding for expansion.
Small 2Gal or so buckets with pour spots that will make sorting a lot easier to do. I actually almost considered using these to separate the colony because at only $1 a pop the price was right but it was much too small. I will be using it to help hold small quantities and its shape is PERFECT for pouring them back into their colonies.
A measuring cup I will be using for counting (I will still be putting it on the scale)
Cheap and heavy duty HD buckets that will last FOREVER... These will be the separator buckets for the time being.
With a clean up job of this magnitude, I expect to find some nasty crud on the bottom of that bin and can only imagine just how many damn babies are that uber thick layer of frass... Picking through a 60gal tote is not even an option... Next I figured I could make a 3rd bucket for sifting but kept my options open. When we hit the Dollar Tree I found some small strainer options that didn't seem like they'd cut it but then my wife (who was tired of waiting in the car for half an hr) literally walks in, finds me asked me what I was looking for and before I could say anything other than 'frass' she spun right around 180* points at what you see bellow, it was like a 'magnet attracting awesome.'.. The god of all frass strainers:
I'm actually excited now..
More progress pics from yesterday.
Grabbed my marker and ruler to make a grid on my separator bucket just so that I could end up eyeballing it anyways.
Stacked and ready to go-
I forgot I switched memory cards some where around that time so when I get the other I will post more of the progress.
Nice! Pretty soon you'll have a lot of roaches to feed your pets.
On a side note: I find feeding iguanas more complicated because they're herbivores and so are more prone to nutritional difficiency. That's how i learn to make the salads for my bearded dragons. Haha!
They definitely require you pay more attention to what you are feeding but needing absolutely nothing but fruits and veggies just like my family always had around made it easy lol.
Ok so I got more of my pics ready to post up.
Ready to goto war!
Both are cheap items. I already had the gloves but the respirator was only $15 or so at HarborFrieght and I had a 20% off coupon on top of that. Well worth it and with the filth I had to deal with it was the smartest decision.
So here I am, ready to goto war with the Dubia:
Time to tape up the tops of the bins with some packaging tape (temp.)
It was a simple procedure... Take egg flats 1 by one and shake them off into the secondary bin..
Then shake that into the seperator bucket then shake that so them nymphs fall into the bottom one..
After that, the adults go into their own bin (bad pic)
Then repeat the process over and over until its done..
I got one side done the 'cool' side of the bin...
Estimate that to be a few thousand alone..
Now I decided to clear the tubes.. (Tubes have no place in a breeder colony anyways so they wont be returning)
This is what ONE tube produced..
Crazy... Now lets clear the rest of them out..
Lol, more dubia from a few tubes than most have in entire colonies... Those things were HEAVY but the thing about them is they don't provide much breeding area. I don't want the females hiding in tubes I want them laying eggs. If you take away their options then they will do as you need them to do.
Now onto the 'hot' side-
On trick I used was throwing the tubes back in there to get the adults that were running around on the bottom in the open a dark place for them to hide making it that much easier to pick them up later.
At this point there were so many adults in the secondary bin that I feared the ones on the bottom would be crushed.. Even though it was like 60 degrees out they managed to keep their bin at almost 70 degrees.
Here's a couple videos (unedited) of all the ones after the egg flats were cleared.
Never mind, site wont allow embedding so no videos..
What a mess...
More to come later..
They love cucumber, romaine and redleaf lettuce and oranges as water source... They go throug that stuff like crazy. And I don't feed mine dog food anymore, just veggies and fruits and they still producing babies inspite of it...
The biggest issue is they don't get all of the nutrients they need from just fruits and veggies. Having something like a special Chow helps them get everything they need easily just like us taking a multi V instead of a crazy diet. With as many roaches as I have feeding them solely on veg would add up FAST. These guys absolutely demolish anything that is put in there within hrs...
I think they're like herbivores which can get all the nutrients they need just by solely eating plant matters. Im sure that's what they feed on in the wild. I don't know where you live but around here a bag of 2 lb of carrots is only 98 cents. Romaine and redleaf lettuce is cheaper than mustard and collard green in some places...
But I guess we have our own methods when it comes to feeding these guys.
Oh I never said it was necessarily "expensive" I simply said it would add up. And yeah in the wild I doubt they stay as healthy as any of the roaches we as reptile lovers feed to our babies. I definitely get what you're sayin' I like feeding them both personally. My colony is so large that I cant even keep water crystals in the bin because the humidity goes far too high so I supplement that by lowering the veg and increasing the dry as well. At the same time I make sure to give them plenty of wet fruits etc to help with nourishment and oranges are a staple as are apples. I normally get my carrots shredded int he bag and sprinkle them all over the place since it does seem that some never really come out to eat. Seems like the same guys over and over lol.
I only feed the roach once a week, and I give them all the stems of the veggies that my bearded dragons eat (thye only eat the leafy parts). They seem to do fine... I'm scared of giving them the high protein diet because of what was discussed over at Allen Repashy's forums. Here is the link: http://www.forums.repashy.com/diets-live-foods-supplements/38413-roach-revolution-revelation-theory-about-reptile-gout.html But you're right feeding the veggies the cost does add up...but the price I'm willing pay for my pets to eat healthier, I guess.
My roaches has more red on them than yours, though. I know a guy who had a lot of red dubia roaches and traded me a bunch of his roaches for mine to cross the bloodline. Now, I got a bunch of dubias which are reder than heck....
Very awesome read!! Thanks a bunch!
Something to definitely look at... The only thing that is odd to me is I am 100% positive the breeder who saw losses due to the bug burger probably had his own canine/cat food based roach chow himself. This would revert back to the idea that there is something more to the chemical make up of that product that led to the death of the bugs. Too many breeders have been doing this the same way for years yet when the introduction of a product that has LESS protein than even the cheapest of dog foods kills some bugs and the creator is honestly thinking the protein make up alone is what did it then I think they should do a much better job of analyzing the situation lol.
I am sure the is a fine medium... One thing to note is our roaches aren't wild anymore. They have been domesticated for many generations and the way they behave in the wild will greatly differ from the products we have bred. Never the less it is an interesting read for sure and will definitely be noted. You got guys like The Roach Hut who claims his food chow is well over 50% protein and yet his yield is crazy. I know increased protein calms them down and helps in the production of babies, I think the biggest thing to note though is that he says the dry food might not be consumed in the quantities that the burger was.
Then again what better way to get people to stop making their own and buy your product than to give them a reason to doubt what they had been doing for all this time could possibly be harmful lol.
Nah! Allen's a great guy. He only wants what's best for the people. He's not greedy like some people; I've been on his forum more than once and I can tell that he is. I have a great sense when it comes to judging people characters.
Try feeding your roaches a lot of the veggies (all they can eat) and dog food at the same time... You'll also get a lot of die-off... Just like eating the original Bug Buger. When they eat high protein food and then consume a lot of water at the same time, they'll shortly die.
And yeah I read more into the forum, he's definitely a stand up guy. Looks like the big issue is simply over doing it on the protein. At the same time the top breeders all feed this way. ALL of them. So its kind of hard to put too much into a small study like that with inclusive results vs what has worked for the highest producing roach breeders in the communities. They ALL run a roach chow of some sort with a catfood base. I make 2 different chows and my adult chow does indeed have less protein but that is just from me using what worked before in the past with other insects I kept. I am sure there's a happy medium some where but for now I gotta stick to what works and feeding roach chow with greens is the ticket.
I guess different people have different ways of feeding them... Whatever works for you I guess.
Well more pics up (still trying to figure out how to post the videos..
For now here is a still picture of the video depicting the thousands of adults and babies seperated:
Adults in a 20G tote-
Nymphs in a 3Gal bucket-
Ok so work began on my "Baby Blue-Baby bin" Since they are all color coded (Baby blue/auqua bin = small nymphs, Slate blue = large nymphs, Tan = Adult Males, Gray = breeder colony):
18/20Gal Sterilite tote-
Special heat reflective tape used instead of regular clear packing tape-
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-_OiR ... CF1904.JPG
7 full size egg flats for the first part-
2 egg flats cut in half for the second section-
Second layer of tape-
Once I get the videos working it will explain my reasoning for doing it the way I did and using the materials I used..
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