Been pretty busy lately, but figured I'd drop in with a quick picture that I haven't posted yet. I've got my fingers crossed for some lesser bees! 😀
If you've never been bursting at the seams with rats, then I think I might envy you.
It seems so often that we rat breeders never have enough product to meet demands. Demands from our collection is certainly the highest, but there also comes from time to time, a request for a large number of rats for a customer. It always seems like I never can produce enough to feed my own group of animals, but then to turn around and supply someone else.
Then it gets to be time to make a decision. Take into account the needs of your own animals to feed. What is our goal?
Our goal here at MMX is to ultimately produce and sell ball pythons, blood pythons, and maybe down the line, corns and Brazilian rainbow boas.
To have an edge in the market, we need to make sure we can give our customers the best animal we can. Once aspect of this is having the animal imprinted on a readily available food type. African soft furs are not what I would consider "readily available". In some densly populated areas of the country, it can be easier to get African soft furs to begin breeding your own, but at the same time, it is very rare to see them in a Pet Food store, much less for sale as a feeder animal.
Secondly, our goal is to run our business as profitably as we can. I am convinced that raising African soft furred rats is far more expensive than their more common counterpart, the Domestic Norway Rat.
This may not be true for everyone. Certainly, if you have only a need to feed off small prey items, the ASF can easily fill that void, but for anyone who is trying to feed breeding female ball pythons that can take a larger meal, or trying to feed the ravenous fat sausages that are blood pythons, then the small snack of an ASF seems so much more inefficient.
You may say, "Connie, just feed off multiples". I would reply, "Tell Chris to spend even longer in the snake room feeding multiply little meals!"
What this all boils down to is simple; increase our Norway rat production, and we are doing just that. We are growing our rat colony by 3 times it's size to fill the gap the ASF's had in our colony. Chris has begun switching our animals over the the Rats, we are optimizing our turnaround rates, our space management, and also, downsizing our ASF colony.
We used to run with 6 groups of ASFs, generally a 1.3-1.5 across the board. At the same time we are downsizing, we are also cycling and holding back new groups.
I think I may have over estimated our needs for hold backs, over the past several weeks, we have 4 colonies still going, and no one eating enough to make a dent in the numbers we have. We are literally running out of room!!!
So, check for it soon, there may be bags of small to medium sized ASF's going up for sale within the next two weeks as we cut our production, and once we successfully have all of our animals over to domestic rats, we will be selling ASF's full time for our customers.
That's a win-win right?