starting cricket/ d. roach colony


I have a male veiled chameleon that is about 4.5 months old

I'd kike to start a cricket colony, and possibly a D. Roach colony as well, to cut down the feeding costs.

I'm curious to know how many crickets and roaches I will need to purchase initialy to get the respective colonies started.

Also, what size roaches should I be getting?

Thanks in advance.
I can't help you with the crickets, as I don't breed them. However for the dubia, it really depends on what you want. If you are OK with waiting to feed from your colony (5-6 months) then you would only need a small group of feeders. Say, 5-10 females and 2-3 males. If you want to be able to feed from your colony immediately you will still want to get the adults mentioned above, but also order about 400 medium small - medium dubia. They grow fast, so you could get 400 small and they will grow with him and you will have a constant supply of baby dubia growing up as well.

My colony consists of about 200 adult females, and 60 adult males, with, who knows how many, mixed sizes. I am feeding 2 adult male veilds and a 7 month panther, with more roaches than I know what to do with.
Dubia beetles are fairly easy to keep. Here is my suggestion. Get a few dozen adults. Mostly females with a ratio of 4 or 5 to every male is probably best but not really that important. The males won't fight or anything if you have a higher ratio. And also, get a few hundred babies.. For the simple fact that you will want to feed you lizards some dubia while you waiting the 6 months for your colony to establish.

Here are my tips from keeping a colony for a while with no crashes, diseases, or problems..

For water, get terra cotta pot bases / drainage saucers.


Just fill them with something like soilmoist soaked in water.. The little granules of Crosslinked polyacrylamide will soak up a ton of water.


The gel will hydrate the beetles and keep the enclosure humid. The terra cotta pot base will also absorb some of the moisture and help keep the enclosure humid as well. In a year with several thousand beetles I still haven't used half a bag of $7 worth of soilmoist.... Works great.

For food, just get really high quality dry ingredients. Put it in a blender to turn it to dust.. I think my food is half dog food (As stated below dog food is not for chameleons.), oats, dry kelp flake, fish food, and a sprinkle of NatuRose powder. (NatuRose is pure Astaxanthin antoxidant).. But in reality you can really make any food mix.. I stick with dry food to avoid fungus issues.. I'll watch what they pick out of the mix and alter the next batch of food accordingly. Make sure it is ground up though as they seen to have a hard time food in large hard clumps. I noticed a large difference in the amount they eat once I put my food in a blender.

Heat can be provided in many ways as long as it's in the high 80's to low 90's.

Here is my setup. That small box in the middle was for a select group of breeding females and males and maintained a different temperature than the colony. It has since proven unnecessary and has been removed..

Cleaning the cage can be done pretty infrequently as the smaller beetles benefit from stuff dropped on the enclosure floor.. If the cage smells, it needs cleaned. That's about it.




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I won't argue with most of what was said in the above post except DO NOT USE dog or cat food. Look on here for recipes that you can use for home made roach chow. Dog and Cat food are WAY too high in animal protein for the chameleons. In the long run you have a much higher risk of problems than it is worth. Look for Sandrachameleons blogs on here. She has great posts with lots of ingredients that can be used for dubia chow. There is no QUALITY roach chow that has dog or cat food in it.
Ahhh yes. I will edit that out. Right now i'm balancing out my chameleon cage in terms of humidity control so the dubia's aren't for Chameleons right now.. I'm waiting on having another. They are for a Chinese Water Dragon and a Mountain Horned Lizard.. Much much more muscular and active than a Chameleon, especially the CWD. But, I'll agree to the protein thing.. The Dubia should be taylored to the animal you're feeding.. Otherwise the Kelp flakes, Oats and Astaxanthin are a mainstay of my Dubia diet.
Another thing I'll add to the diet is spirulina powder. It's a type of algae that is incredibly healthy. I get mine in powder form from Seahorsesource. Same place that I buy the Astaxanthin.
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