Is anyone else noticing a singificant increase in herp feed pricing?

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-Adam-

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Weaner rats - cost me $12.60 per rat the last lot that I purchased. The next size up was around $20/rat.

I live in a regional area, so not many choices on where to buy. Just wondering if this is only a local thing, or if others are seeing prices increase substantially. The local pet shop was really apologetic. Apparently they switched supplier because their old one was even more expensive.

I don't have much free time but I am beginning to wonder how involved it is to start breeding my own. Seems like a lot of work just for one herp though. (And don't tell me to get another one - misses is not going to allow that) ;)
 

Herpetology

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A large breeder that supplies pet stores has closed up shop, causing other large breeders the room to bump up their pricing for pet stores to use instead

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punkinhead

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It's worth asking local people who keep large amounts of snakes where they get theirs from.

I know that the pet shops around here get their mice and rats from a guy who's just two blocks from me and they charge nearly triple what he does. All his rat's and mice are currently $12 a bag, depends on size how many are in a bag. $25-30 a bag last time i was in a pet shop.

My little guy is on weaner rats too. They are $12 for 5 weaners. Truly, at $12 each i would just breed my own. The big fellas are on large and there are 2 to a bag.

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They look so cute.
 

-Adam-

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It's worth asking local people who keep large amounts of snakes where they get theirs from.

I know that the pet shops around here get their mice and rats from a guy who's just two blocks from me and they charge nearly triple what he does. All his rat's and mice are currently $12 a bag, depends on size how many are in a bag. $25-30 a bag last time i was in a pet shop.

My little guy is on weaner rats too. They are $12 for 5 weaners. Truly, at $12 each i would just breed my own. The big fellas are on large and there are 2 to a bag.

Ouch. My pet shop used to be $25-$30 a bag. That's doubled recently to over $60 a bag. (Which ends up being that $12-$20 each depending on the size).

$12 for 5 weaners - you're living the dream.

I'm not sure I have the time/resources for breeding rats at the moment - especially for one snake. I wouldn't even know where to start tbh - but other life committments and challenges have me stretched thin already. I guess for at least the next couple of months I just need to suck it up and revisit if nothing changes soon.
 

dragonlover1

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The last year has seen a dramatic rise in prices for all feeder animals. First there was a disease problem for a couple of large cricket breeders which led to a massive national shortage which led to a price hike.
then the rodent breeders had a shortage due to power prices so those prices went through the roof.
Then some suppliers had fires, which wiped out stocks and production.
The guy I buy my rodents and birds from has problems with supply and price.
I would suggest anybody who has multiple critters should look into producing at least some of their own food supply.
Personally I keep lots of dragons so I breed woodies and superworms to assist the food supply but I can't breed rats and birds for the snakes and monitors.
 

Herpetology

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it’d be in best interest to buy a trio or 2 of rats from @Yellowtail and breed them for 6months, you will be able to easily keep up with feeds for your animals and most likely end up with excess stock

We have 6 trios of wistars and in 9 months have bred 1000+ babies from weaner to large 400g rats for feeders
 

Cakie

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I remember attempting to breed mice about 15 years ago. I bought a male and two females. Had no idea what I was doing, just put them together and expected babies to happen. Couple days later I went to check on things and found the two females eating the male. That was the end of that experiment.
 

-Adam-

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I remember attempting to breed mice about 15 years ago. I bought a male and two females. Had no idea what I was doing, just put them together and expected babies to happen. Couple days later I went to check on things and found the two females eating the male. That was the end of that experiment.

Yowsers. OK - I guess there's a little more involved than just throwing them together.

Just off the top of my head I wouldn't know where to start.

It seems as though there needs to be multiple cages for them (separate them from males and females at some times - as your post would suggest, but also separate the offspring at a certain age as well). So there's multiple cage setups.

Then there's the cost of additional substrate (which ain't getting cheaper either), plus the feed.

And then there's how to euthenaise them. I'm guessing I'd have to invest in a CO2 canister and some sort of setup that allows me to do that ontop of the rest.

For one herp - it seems like a bit of an overkill, both for equipment as well as for the potential quantity. I am curious about learning more - not sure if there's a good resource on the internet. I tried google but keep on getting lab information - not so much about feed/breeding.

As I understand, the rats are only good for breeding for 18 months as well - so I guess there's replacements to buy. (Unless there's not as much issue with using offspring but I would have guessed in breeding could be an issue).

Mind you - if the cost keeps going up - maybe it might be a profitable side business. :rolleyes:
 

GBWhite

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With a dozen Coastals between 1 metre and 2.7 metres plus a 4 metre Olive and another dozen adult vens there's no way I could afford to buy my snake food from pet shops. On top of these I've got 3 adult Ackie Monitors and a coupe of Water Dragons that don't mind the odd mouse to munch on,

My son-in-law sent me some pics of DoLittle Rats for sale in Pet Barn. $67.99 for pack of 2 XXL. Wife saw some feeder mice locally (can't remember the brand name) and from memory pinky mice were something like $12.50 for a pack of 5 and medium mice (-20g) @ 7 for $37.99

I breed my own and and have done for the past 30 odd years and sell excess off to a small customer base to offset the costs. Much better value than buying from a pet shop. I don't sell pinky mice unless I get asked for special orders from people who breed Childrens or vens. I breed Quackenbush Mice and Black Headed Wistar Rats . I also do meat rabbits ranging in size from 260 - 359grms (same as XXL rats) up to 701grams -1kg for selected customers who have some very large Coastals and my Olive knocks 600-700 gramers regularly.

When I was doing the live reptile displays I often had in excess of 120 snakes, made up of 5 or 6 snakes of each species (both highly venomous and non-venomous), that were needed to rotate on a regular basis for demonstrations to avoid overworking individuals and naturally if I had to buy food I'd have pretty much gone broke...hahaha. Especially considering large active vens would knock over half a dozen large mice or a couple of small rats at least once (and sometimes twice) a week.
 
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Sdaji

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It's times like this I wish I was currently in the rat business! Haha, my old regular customers wish it even more than I do.

I miss the business and look forward to getting back into it one day, but my current lifestyle isn't at all compatible with being tied to rodent colonies.

If you're really good at breeding rodents, it's a great business. If you're about average you might break even. Most people give up within a year of setting up and most of the rest give up in their second year, hoping it will be better than the first, but it usually isn't. I'm certainly not trying to put anyone off doing it - I'm currently a buyer of rodents not a supplier, and don't expect to be a supplier again for the best part of 10 years, so by all means, everyone, set up some successful rodent farms ASAP! Haha.

But, the reality is that for most people it's not worth it unless they either enjoy it and don't mind spending a lot of time, or they're very talented at doing it well and quickly and they're able to maintain a very consistently high level of dedication to the colony; it only takes a brief period of neglect to destroy your colony, and if you have a colony disaster it takes the best part of a year to get the colony back to full output. Even ignoring disaster events, you need a very keen eye for picking problems and nipping them in the bud, and good management skills keep planning a life cycle ahead so your colony will always be at the right size and age structure at all times of the year, or alternatively you need a lot of freezers which you know you can rely on. If you just put in a lot of consistent time and work you can certainly make more money worth of rodent than the hard expenses you put in, but if you value your time at more than a few dollars per hour you'll be squandering it. Most of the small and medium suppliers make reasonable financial returns on their small businesses until you consider the number of hours they spend and the fact that they have a stinky rat shed on their property and can't ever leave the colony unattended and they're still making under $10 per hour.

But, if you know how to run a colony very efficiently, you can definitely pump that up to more than $50/hour, and if you enjoy it that makes it even better. It's all about managing it efficiently (or loving it and not caring that you're making low $/hour as long as you're making money while enjoying it).

Most people who start up small rodent farms do it during peak demand season around this time of year when they lament paying high prices, which means they get to full output around the time of the year when supply is highest and demand is around the lowest, then they have a colony disaster event around the start of the high demand season when the first heat wave of the year comes and they don't know how to manage it, which is where most of them give up and go back to being buyers after a costly and heartbreaking experience. I can't count how many times I've seen different people making the exact same mistakes, or how many operations I've seen where people just don't know how to manage the animals. Once someone gets out of the market for whatever reason, the whole system ends up with a supply shortage/price jump and it's unpleasant for everyone other than the remaining suppliers (I must admit, I loved those reasons when I was a supplier, haha!).
 

-Adam-

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Thanks for the replies.

This is exactly my concern - I have no idea if I did go down this path what I'd be getting into - and risk a lot of work and expense to end up in tears. By the sounds of it - it's something you have to be on regularly (daily by the sounds of it) - so heading off for a long weekend, or a couple of weeks holiday sounds out of the question. Strewth - it almost sounds as bad as running a dairy!

I guess I can wait it out for a few months and see if things change / get better. Failing that maybe I can average the cost out by letting my herp brumate during the winter and turning down the temp so she only feeds more regularly during the warmer months.
 

Sdaji

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Thanks for the replies.

This is exactly my concern - I have no idea if I did go down this path what I'd be getting into - and risk a lot of work and expense to end up in tears. By the sounds of it - it's something you have to be on regularly (daily by the sounds of it) - so heading off for a long weekend, or a couple of weeks holiday sounds out of the question. Strewth - it almost sounds as bad as running a dairy!

I guess I can wait it out for a few months and see if things change / get better. Failing that maybe I can average the cost out by letting my herp brumate during the winter and turning down the temp so she only feeds more regularly during the warmer months.

If you're any good at all at setting your colony up you should have no trouble leaving a rodent colony for a long weekend. A week is a big stretch and you're taking a risk with a large colony. The longest I've managed was when I made special custom modifications to a rat colony (no mice in that one) so it could be left alone for up to three weeks... that was in very challenging circumstances in Asia, in what is officially the world's hottest city... haha, those were some fun times! It was only tested a handful of times, but after three weeks it would still look like they'd have feed and water to last another week or so if it came to it and the animals were fine... but gee, that setup stank and needed a clean after being left alone for 2-3 weeks, haha! Generally speaking you should check them daily and you more or less need to maintain them weekly. Two weeks, yeah, you need to have someone go check your colony during that time unless you want to get right into engineering some very creative cage mods and you'll need low animal densities and a crazy amount of water (I wouldn't ever leave them two weeks on mains-fed automated water without being monitored, the risk of coming back to a disaster you just absolutely would not want to deal with and would give you traumatic flashbacks for life is too high). I wouldn't have a rodent colony of anything more than micro scale without someone else able to assist in an emergency or when I need to get away for a couple of weeks or more.
 

kankryb

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I think it's a world wide thing, here in Denmark it's gone up in pet shops 1 pinkie was 20 aussie cents a year ago now 1 aussie dollar. lights, cork hollows all you need to set up a tank have explored here and some foods also, repashy crested gecko diet 1,8 kg was 800 danish a year ago now I have to pay 1300 danish
 

dragonlover1

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I think it's a world wide thing, here in Denmark it's gone up in pet shops 1 pinkie was 20 aussie cents a year ago now 1 aussie dollar. lights, cork hollows all you need to set up a tank have explored here and some foods also, repashy crested gecko diet 1,8 kg was 800 danish a year ago now I have to pay 1300 danish
WOW that's crazy, price surges in Australia are due to disease, power shortages, power price increases etc. What do you think the European increase is due to? Surely not the war ?
 

TwistedBambi

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WOW that's crazy, price surges in Australia are due to disease, power shortages, power price increases etc. What do you think the European increase is due to? Surely not the war ?
Well in Ireland it's similar. Covid had an effect and now they say due to the war fuel went up more. Now gas and electricity have doubled too. Then food and everything because of fuel prices so its a knock on effect. Since then rents have more than doubled and the government has done nothing really to help. Reptile stuff was always pretty expensive here (Like everything) but I paid €50 for a water bowl for my corn the other day.
In pet shops frozen pinkies (small ones 1-2g are €2 each. I found a site who ships them next day Delivery packed in dry ice though 25 for €6.95
 

-Adam-

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Hmm - I wonder if there are any breeders that will ship with dry ice here in Australia maybe instead of buying from the local pet store. Inflation is inevidable and I'm concerned we've only just begun to see the start. Hopefully we can find ways to find some cheaper options out there. Thanks for the idea.

Quick question - if I buy in bulk - how long can rats and/or chickens keep frozen before they will go off and aren't suitable for feeding?
 
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-Adam-

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Plenty of bulk delivery breeders that ship frozen aus wide

Yup - that's what I'm beginning to consider. The only concern I have is 'bulk'. I don't mind buying 12 months worth - as long as it will 'keep' for that 12 months. I'm not sure how long frozen supplies will stay suitable for a python.
 

Herpetology

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Yup - that's what I'm beginning to consider. The only concern I have is 'bulk'. I don't mind buying 12 months worth - as long as it will 'keep' for that 12 months. I'm not sure how long frozen supplies will stay suitable for a python.
12months is fine imo, aslong as you keep everything sealed in their bags. I wouldn’t have that much stock for 12months, but I’d probably start chucking stuff after that
 
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