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Feeders Any and all issues about raising rats, mice, or anything else that you feed your cornsnakes.

African Soft Fur Rats
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Old 04-07-2019, 02:16 PM   #31
Twolunger
My colonies are pouring out babies galore. I have at least 40 being reared now. More every time I look. Hopefully, a long time before I need to buy frozen mice again. But I'll stock pile a bunch of ASF's first
 
Old 04-08-2019, 08:58 AM   #32
67temp
Sounds like your colonies are really starting to take off. Do you happen to know at about what age their reproduction starts to decrease?
 
Old 04-08-2019, 02:55 PM   #33
Twolunger
I think rearing the young is hard on the female, and since they breed right back after giving birth I would assume 12 months is the beginning of the decline. Their life span is supposed to be 2 to 3 years, but I can't believe the females can last that long. I've been told that litter size starts to decrease as the females age, so that is an indication that replacements should be kept. If more than a single female gives birth at the same time it may be easier on the females.

I was
 
Old 04-08-2019, 02:57 PM   #34
Twolunger
I was not expecting litters so quickly, as the breeder said the young I bought were about 2 months old. I did get an male that was 4 months old. so he was a busy rat.
 
Old 04-09-2019, 07:56 AM   #35
67temp
So from what I'm finding is they can start breeding at 3-4 months of age and will produce good numbers up until about 8-12 months of age. So in theory you could get anywhere from 4 to 9 months of breeding before needing to be replaced.

The only bad thing about asf are that they take so long to get up breeder/feeder size vs the growth rate of a rat/mouse.
 
Old 04-09-2019, 09:33 AM   #36
Twolunger
The females could breed well beyond the 12 month mark, but litters would begin to drop off in numbers. My first females began having litters at about 3 months of age and more at 4 months of age. I probably would have raised the females so that they wouldn't have a litter before becoming adults, except I was having trouble determining the sexes, and by then it was too late. That wasn't all bad though, as I have lots of babies already. LOL. These guys seem to eat a lot more than my previous mouse colonies did.

I can't really complain about their growth rate, as mine seem to grow fast on a diet of 21% dog kibbles, guinea pig food, carrots, and apples.
 
Old 04-09-2019, 11:03 AM   #37
67temp
I've heard that if the males aren't raised with the females it makes introductions a lot harder if not impossible because the of the colony structure. So they kinda just breed when ever they are ready and not when they are fully grown. I'm hoping my production picks up some now that it's getting warmer. It seems like they produce way less during the winter months.

I may have to try bumping my % up some, I think my lab blocks are only 18%. Though I also supplement with sow/pig feed, black oil sunflowers, pumpkin seeds, whole oats, apples and lettuce.
 
Old 04-09-2019, 04:51 PM   #38
Twolunger
I've heard the same, however, I tried adding a male to a colony of 4 females just to see what would happen. Nothing happened, he joined the females but they avoided him for a day or two and then all was well. So then I added a female to a male and 2 female colony expecting a fight, but nothing happened and she cuddled up with the others. You can try it but be prepared to break up a fight.

I'm learning more as I go along. I had heard that since they come from a hot climate they like higher temperatures. When I put mine out in the screened lanai when the temps hit 90 they seem lethargic and when they are brought back in to the 79 degree house they perk up. The humidity may play a part in their comfort too.
 
Old 04-12-2019, 07:48 AM   #39
67temp
What were the ages of the ones you tried moving around? I'm just curious if it's only the adults that get territorial. I may have to give this a shot with some of mine as a test.

As for temps, mine had gotten down to about the highs 40's or low 50's this winter. Baby production stopped and they consumed more food. I assumed they are like mice and don't do as well in extreme highs or lows. My mice start having issues around 90.

They seem to use the same corner for going to the bathroom most of the time. Have you thought about maybe litter training yours? Though you might not have a lot of room in your style of tubs. I'm thinking like a small box in the corner with litter in it. If they start using it you only need to change that out instead of the bedding. Also cat litter might be more absorbent than the bedding and require even less changes.
 
Old 04-12-2019, 08:58 AM   #40
Twolunger
The ones I moved were about 5 months old. The only thing I did differently was put the colony in a clean container with fresh bedding. But when I combined them there were no babies. If babies are present you may have a fight.

Those temps are way too low for ASF. My son had colonies of Norway rats, ASF's, and mice and he had a space heater to keep the temps up to at least 76 during the winter.
I put my colonies out in the lanai when the temps were 72 and some of the females looked like they were shivering

I use Sophresh odor control crumbled paper on one side of their container, sprinkled with baking soda. The remainder is aspen shavings. I tried the small box in the corner and they pulled out the bedding and the colony sat in it before chewing it up. I tried putting down a layer of folded paper towels with Sophresh covering it. They had a field day pulling the paper towels up and shredding them. I bought a small flat scoop which I use to remove the Sophresh and then add more. That usually last a day or two before I must clean the whole container again. Once a container is clean I spray it with Healthy Habitat odor control.

I may try the cat litter but suspect the rats will try to eat the stuff.
 

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