If you own a pet who loves to chow down on some tasty crickets, then you will be pleased to know that you can breed them at home. This will save you a lot of money as well as eliminating regular trips to the pet store.
Anyone who has ever owned an animal that eats live crickets will know that they can get through quite a few of these little insects in a short amount of time. This can mean repeated trips to the pet supply store to stock up, and this can get expensive over time.
However, many pet owners have wondered whether they are able to breed their own crickets at home, and the good news is that this is entirely possible.
In this article, we are going to be looking at how you can successfully breed crickets and have a constant supply of food for your beloved pet.
What Types Of Animals Eat Crickets?
There is a vast range of animals that use crickets as a staple part of their diet, and many of these have been domesticated. Feeding your pet crickets may feel a little gross at first, especially if you are not used to dealing with live food, but you will soon become used to it, and it will feel like second nature.
If you own any of the following pets, it is likely that crickets will form an important part of their nutrition.
How Do I Breed Crickets
When we think of breeding any sort of animal, it is easy to think about the precision that is involved in pedigree dog breeding, for example. Fortunately, breeding crickets at home is far easier and something that can be achieved by any pet owner who is willing. What’s more, it is highly unlikely that you will form an attachment to the little guys, which would prevent you from using them as food for your main pet.
Getting Set Up
Of course, without crickets, you cannot breed them, so the first thing that you need to do is source some good quality crickets. In the main, most experts recommend buying 3/4″ crickets to get started.
Most crickets will have already been bred when you purchase them, but this should not be a problem since these creatures will breed around every two weeks.
You will also need to find somewhere to house your cricket supply. When you buy them from the pet store they usually come in a container, but this will not be sufficient for crickets that are going to be breeding, they need somewhere a little larger.
In most cases, a tank that is between 10 and 20 gallons should be more than enough for your cricket colony to thrive.
Key Things To Remember With Housing
The size of the cricket housing is important, but there are other essential factors to keep in mind. Crickets can jump, and you may be surprised to learn that a fully grown cricket can jump as high as three feet! This means that you will need to ensure that they cannot clear the top of the enclosure – unless you are happy to have them hopping around the home, which most people will not like.
You can use a cover but do make sure that it is vented so that the crickets have good airflow through the tank.
Any live food that is bred for pets should be gut-loaded. This simply means that the crickets have been fed an appropriate diet that will be beneficial for the animal that will be feasting on them. The idea is that the crickets will eat a nutritious diet that will then be passed on to their predator.
You can feed your crickets fresh fruit and vegetables, but there are plenty of other foods that are perfect for gut-loading this type of prey.
- Tropical fish flakes
- Leafy greens such as kale
- Potato peelings
It is important to remember that the gut-loading process should be done for at least 24 hours before you offer the food to your pet; this will ensure maximum nutrients.
It may take a while for the mating process to get started since crickets do not mature for between one and two weeks, but once they do, things might get a little noisy. The crickets will begin chirping a lot, and this is your signal that the females need somewhere to lay their eggs.
You should provide your crickets with a shallow container and fill this with vermiculite and water. You will need to make sure that the crickets are able to access the container, so making a little ramp for them is a good idea.
This should be left in place for a few days to give them plenty of chance to lay, but you must then remove it so that the eggs can be incubated.
For incubation, you will need to cover half of the container with some paper towel as this will collect any condensation and then you will need to leave the eggs to incubate for around 10 days. Providing the right temperature is essential and optimal conditions would be at around 30ºc – you can buy a specialist incubator for this purpose.
When the baby crickets hatch, you have two choices – you can either feed these directly to your pet, or you can rear them so that they are bigger.
If you do decide to rear them, you must be aware that the living conditions for babies are significantly different from that of the adult crickets. Primarily, the babies will need a far more humid environment.
If you want to avoid multiple trips to the pet shop then raising crickets as food for your snake, spider, lizard or other cricket-loving pet is quite a lot more simple than you may first have imagined.
Provided that you give the crickets a good home and plenty of nutritious foods, you will be able to successfully breed them and have a continued supply of fresh live food for your pet.