Frozen Rats and Mice in Pet Shops

Discussion in 'General Reptile Discussion' started by Yellowtail, Feb 24, 2019.

  1. Yellowtail

    Yellowtail Subscriber Subscriber

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    This has been covered before but it still shocks me.
    I breed all my own rodents and recently started selling my excess locally, until today I have never purchased a rat from a pet shop, I wanted to clear up just what weights are expected for adult, large, extra large etc as my customers are confused so I checked out Pet Barn and as research bought a packet of 3 "extra large" Dolittle Farm rats. The pack of 3 cost me $58.99 and weighed a total of 489gms including a fair bit of ice present, that's 163 gm per rat, probably less than 150 without the ice.
    I define all my rodents by weight and don't give them size names but my definition of a 163 gm rat is only sub-adult, adult are 200-240gm, large 250-280, extra large 300-350. How do Pet barn and their supplier Dolittle Farm (no Wokka they did not have yours) justify calling 150 - 163 gm rats extra large and the price of almost $20 a rat is ridiculous, I bought a large leg of lamb today (not from Pet Barn) for less than that.
    A 500gm 3 pack of my sub adult rats is only $15 total and my 300 - 350 gm are $7 each.

    IMG_3549.jpg

    3 sub-adult $15 with no ice.

    IMG_3559.jpg
    What started as a way to sell some excess rodents is now becoming a crusade, I can easily expand my rodent production and I am looking at low cost distribution methods, I don't care about profits as long as I can cover costs and feed my snakes for free. A lot of people with one or two snakes are reluctant to expand their collections as it can cost $100 a month to feed 3 pythons and what about the price of small mice. Mice breed like crickets or flies and should not be $3 each for fuzzies and hoppers.
     
  2. nuttylizardguy

    nuttylizardguy Active Member

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    Refer to this :
    [​IMG]

    The graph shows the marginal cost, marginal revenue and average total cost of a monopolistic competition. You are seeing the action of a monopolistic market structure where Dolittle is the sole supplier and sets the wholesale price and has all the market power.
    [​IMG]

    In monopolistic competition, the producer from sells product that is different each other but there are no perfect substitutes for their products in terms of quality, branding and location, they have a 100% or very nearly of the market share.
    Hence they set a price that has little to do with cost of producing the product (frozen rats) and has do not pass on economies of scale ( reductions in price ) to the consumer.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
  3. Wokka

    Wokka Well-Known Member APS Veteran

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    The market is obviously prepared to pay for convenience and reliability. PB has over 150 stores @ $1m plus each, and pays wages, freight, tax etc, so has to charge more to cover those costs which a cash business doesn't need to cover. Most backyarders make good money selling for cash ex their home by avoiding a lot of the business costs and obligations that business has to wear. If you don't include wages or profit then rats should be a dollar or two and mice 10-20 cents. There have been hundreds of backyarders come and go working on that basis. Snakes are one of the cheapest domestic pets to feed!
     
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  4. Yellowtail

    Yellowtail Subscriber Subscriber

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    Yes but there is reasonable profit and monopoly exploitation or there is something wrong with the business model if they need to charge those prices. Yes a lot of people think they will make money as backyard rodent breeders until they find out about the problems and hard work involved. A lot of people thought they would make money breeding snakes.
    I'm different, I don't need to make money and have an established elaborate rodent breeding setup to feed my own animals, I'm not going away till I drop dead and my mother just celebrated her 100th so that might be a while.
     
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  5. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    Hi Yellowtail,

    Mate I think you (and others) might find that commercial breeding and supplying rodents to the retail trade is a bit more complicated and costly than you may realize. I've got a diploma in small business and although my principal line of work is as a Self Employed Private Investigator I also run a couple of small businesses on the side and do business plans for friends and associates.

    I considered setting up a large scale rodent wholesale farming business In NSW some time ago, initially to supply the pet shop trade with the intention of increasing the business to eventually supply zoos and wildlife parks but didn't proceed due to the initial costs of establishment as per regulations set down by Animal Welfare and NSW Dept of Primary Industries which are based on the guidelines for housing rats in Scientific Institutions (I've included a link if you're interested in having a gander). After completing a business plan I established it would take a minimum of between two and three years to recover costs and start turning any sort of profit. I admit I don't know the current situations in other States or Territories but assume that the regulations set down wouldn't differ that much.

    https://www.animalethics.org.au/__d...2512/housing-rats-scientific-institutions.pdf

    What I established is that the commercial breeding of rodents comes at a far higher cost than for those who are backyard breeders. I'll add that further research undertaken as part of the business plan indicated that due to the costs involved in raising mice to adulthood and rats to a reasonable size suitable for larger reptiles there did not appear the opportunity to allow for a great deal of scope to make a reasonable profit and most profit would come from providing pinky, fuzzy and weaner rats and mice .

    In addition...to cover all the costs of running a retail business (some of which has been outlined in Wokka's post, but there are other cost to take into consideration as well...for example; rent, electricity, water, bedding, and a number of different types of insurance), it is generally accepted that a retail outlet needs to sell a product at at least twice and often three times the wholesale price.

    I'll add that it's my opinion that those people who thought they'd make a profitable business from selling snakes failed to consider the costs involved because they failed to undertake a detailed business plan.

    Cheers,

    George
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  6. Yellowtail

    Yellowtail Subscriber Subscriber

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    George, I understand all that and I have a business background as well. I know australia has a lot of red tape and to set up a large scale operation is expensive but I still see glaring differences in the price of frozen rodents in Australia compared with not just USA ($2 for an extra large rat) but also UK and Europe. USA has a more direct distribution model avoiding retail margins and maybe the Australian national breeder - large retailer system is not the best way here. I know Wokka does this but his delivery costs and quantities don't work for smaller collectors.
    The major "discount" pet store price is an impediment to the hobby and anyone with more than a handful of snakes has to be well off financially or breed their own food. This does not happen in other countries where prices are reasonable and hardly anyone breeds their own food. Electricity prices for heating are also a burden here, especially in the cooler states.
    Selling a few rodents helps me with scale in my breeding, I buy food and bedding by the pallet, have elaborate air conditioned and ventilated breeding facilities and have a professional packing setup but I have no intention to go back into business, I'm retired, don't need the money and staying that way. I can however help a few local reptile people with better quality rodents at a quarter of the pet shop price and I am looking at a way to distribute them more widely at very low cost.
     
  7. nuttylizardguy

    nuttylizardguy Active Member

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    Most small businesses fail , often too highly geared , other times unrealistic expectations are the cause.
    Very few new businesses are profitable inside their first 2 or 3 years , but this is fine if you are a one man band operating from home part-time while working a day job and you are able to offset the losses and costs of the small business against your taxable income ( ie akin to negative gearing the investment housing ).
    Takes scale to make this kind of business work. It is largely absent here in Australia and this leads to monopolies being established who set a much higher price than they can really justify.
     
  8. Gears

    Gears New Member

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    This is very relevant to small collection owners. Every time I need to go "up" a size in feeders I spend the month before trying to source & compare pet shops for the "best price" I have 4 Pet shops to choose from & compare them for feeders size/number of items per pack/price. I narrow that down to price per feeder & then I purchase from the shop that offers "best price per item".
    The best I can do right now is $2.42 per Hopper Mouse.

    Buying bulk is better but I have only a single yearling Spotted Python, so I'm restricted to buying small packs because she will simply outgrow the feeder size & need the next size feeder by the time I finish a pack of 7-10 feeders.
    I have 4 Hoppers left but my girl will be needing to go to Weaners now, so starts the comparisons for shop prices again :) *sigh*
    My daughter used to work for a company that provided wholesale to Pet Shops, & that included frozen Mice/Rats, but she quit :(

    Hey Yellowtail. I'm in South East Qld (actually I work on the Gold Coast). Can you help a lady out? :)
     
  9. Pauls_Pythons

    Pauls_Pythons Power Seller Power Seller

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    That just means you need more snakes lol
     
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  10. Yellowtail

    Yellowtail Subscriber Subscriber

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    No problem, hopper mice $10 for pack of 15, weaners $10 for 12. I have some large hoppers that are probably what you need, you can pick up at Nerang, Oxenford or Southport with a days notice.
     

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