Cricket Breeding

Jakama

Member
I have received recommendations from this site to purchase crickets from Ghann's in bulk, and I figured it would make the most sense economically to just get a thousand or whatever and try to breed them. I am using this guide http://www.edubook.com/how-to-breed-crickets/25852/, but this says that I should only use about ten. Is there anything wrong with buying a thousand from Ghann's, and then keeping them all in a big breeding slurry?
If not, how should I partition my tank for the different types of crickets?

I figure I might as well put in my chameleon info sheet, never hurts:
Female veiled chameleon, about five months old. Owned it for four weeks. I handle her about one time every two weeks. I feed her medium to large crickets- about ten per day on a normal day. I feed the crickets fresh carrots and broccoli. I dust them with Zoomed Repti Calcium without D3, and twice a month with Calcium with D3. Soon I will be purchasing multivitamins as another dusting supplement, which I will use twice a month. I mist her twice a day with hot water (comes out lukewarm), and I have a cup of water with a hole in it that I fill up about twice a day. I do see her drinking water from this. Fecal matter is dark brown, sometimes with a white section. I have never tested her for parasites. She received a burn on her left side on the second day we got her, but the situation that caused this has been remedied- I moved the lamp.
Cage is about 24x24x36 inches, wire mesh. During the day, I use a 60W house lamp and a 15W UVB tube lamp (33% UVA, 10% UVB). At night it gets pretty cold, so I use a space heater to keep the temperature at about 60 degrees. I switch it to daytime lighting at around 8:00 AM, and switch it to nighttime lighting at around 8:00 PM. I am using two live ficus in my enclosure, as well as a climbing vine, a large piece of driftwood, a piece of bamboo, and a fake bush. I keep the temperature in the enclosure between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and I try and keep the humidity at around 60%. The temperature of her basking spot is 80 degrees. The table that the enclosure is resting on is about three feet off of the floor. I keep her enclosure in my room, and people do tend to walk around this room several times a day. This provides the advantage of being able to keep an eye on her throughout the day. Her enclosure is next to a window, so she gets plenty of natural light during the day in addition to her two normal lights. This window is always closed, but I keep the blinds open. The sun never shines directly through this window. I am located in Sonoma County in California. I live about an hour north of San Francisco.
 

Dupontman2

New Member
I just started breeding crickets and I have a zillion pinheads right now from 3 sandwich sized laying bins!! And I mean tons! Hatched in about 10 days so I will find out how hard it is to raise them cause it sure was easy with the egg laying process.
 

Dupontman2

New Member
I just have a big platic bin for my breeders (1000). I put in sandwich sized or a little larger plastic bins in with the breeders with potting soil in it. I let each one stay in there for a day, then removed it and put a new one in. Put the container with eggs in a aquarium with a household 60 watt lamp which maintains the temp at 93 degrees. They started hatching after 10 days. I have 3 bins currently in a seperate plastic bin which is now overloaded with pinheads. I am currnetly not putting anymore breeder bins in with the adult crickets until I see how hard and long its going to be to raise them. Man there are still hundreds of eggs left in the breeding bins and more are hatching everyday! I should sell pinheads!
 

fluxlizard

Avid Member
If you search youtube for dirty jobs crickets you can watch the dirty jobs episode where he works at ghanns cricket farm and you can see how the professionals breed crickets, step by step.

Roaches are much easier to breed than crickets (you just care for them and they reproduce and babies are born live and left in with parents), but the more variety for your chameleon the better, so learning to breed crickets is a great idea.
 

Jakama

Member
My chameleon has only ever eaten crickets and mealworms, do you think she'd be able to adjust easily to cockroaches? If so, what size is good for a 6 mo. old female?
 

Dupontman2

New Member
Mine will eat roaches at times, but crickets they will always eat. Roaches are definately easier and dont have the smells, so it just depends if your cham will eat roaches.
 

reptoman

Avid Member
All of mine eat roaches as well. You do have to deal with the fact that they dont hop around like crickets so its a little more work to get them to notice the dubias at times. If you get yours used to hand feeding, roaches are great to have around.
 

Jakama

Member
I am thinking it would probably be best for me to stick to crickets, because cockroaches are probably too big for my chameleon to handle, and because my chameleon is not very receptive to hand-feeding. Generally has a fear of humanity, dunno how to properly acclimate her to hand feeding. She was kept in terrible conditions at the pet store where I bought her, which might have had something to do with it. She is a veiled, so that might also have something to do with it.
 

reptoman

Avid Member
One of the nice things about breeding dubias is that once the colony starts going there are always a good variety of sizes to feed. Tiny nymphs can be fed to 1 month old neonates, mid sized can be fed to juvis to adults. If you only have one chameleon and they will readily eat roaches it really is a great staple feeder. A varied diet is always preferred so you could keep a small colony and supplement crickets and the occasional horn or silk worm. JMO
 

fluxlizard

Avid Member
I currently keep 4 species- mellers (several adults and a few yearlings from babies from a couple of my adults), panthers (adults raised from babies I got last spring), veileds (several from adults a few years old to juveniles a few months old from my own adults), and jacksons (a single pair). I have kept many other species in the past and have no doubt that roaches will be accepted if that is what you offer your chameleon on a regular basis.

In my case, I offer roaches from day 1 at hatching until adult size. I breed lobsters, hissers, and dubia roaches. Dubia are my favorite- but a little large for most baby chameleons (maybe baby melleri can take the smallest baby dubia), so I use baby lobsters for those. It's worth noting that I switch wild caught adults over to roaches without difficulty.

I tend to think those who have problems offering new food items to their lizards aren't patient enough to give their animal time to discover it, try it, become familiar with it, develop a taste for it, and finally reach the stage of enjoying/preferring it. I have never had problems like this and I've been keeping and breeding chameleons since the early 1990s and other lizards since the 1980s.

Roaches aren't my sole food source (I also regularly offer mealworms, crickets, superworms, etc) but roaches are my main staple for all my insect eating lizards. I would quickly go broke without them.
 

fluxlizard

Avid Member
Well, first let me say I hand feed, bowl feed, and toss feeders into the enclosure to be hunted sometimes, so roaches don't have to be only a hand fed item. Dubia especially are nice for feeding from a bowl- toss a few shredded vegetables into the bottom of the bowl and then the roaches on top.

To hand feed, you just have to be patient and hold still for a long time. Get your chameleon when he is hungry. If he doesn't go for it right away, try again later. Offer favorite food items at first by hand and not favorites from the bowl, so he can still eat, but gets his favorites only if he hand feeds until you get him feeding by hand..
 
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