If you have a pet that eats live crickets, you have probably realized that it can be expensive to keep buying packages of live crickets to feed your pet. A healthy, growing pet will eat more and more food as it grows and matures. This can quickly become an expensive way to feed your pet. Breeding your own crickets at home is an effective way to decrease costs and ensure that your pet eats the highest quality food.
How to breed crickets at home
Learn how to breed your own feeder crickets at home for fun and profit.
Why breed your own feeder crickets
The advantages of breeding crickets
- You control both the diet of your crickets eat and their environment. Therefore you can ensure that your pet is being fed the highest quality food.
- Breeding your own crickets is much cheaper than buying a steady supply at the pet store.
- You can breed a steady supply of crickets to keep your pet well-fed.
- If you have a cricket surplus, you can make a profit by selling your crickets to other pet owners.
Crickets make excellent feeders.
The disadvantages of breeding crickets
- You will have to deal with cricket noise. When there are hundreds or thousands of crickets in a small area, it can get very loud. While there are certain breeds which have a quieter chirp, it will still be loud when there are many of them. You can minimize this annoyance by keeping your crickets in an isolated section of the house. You can also keep your enclosures in an outdoor area such as a garage if you are in a temperate climate.
- Crickets are malodorous insects, especially in an enclosed environment. The best thing you can do to reduce odor is to maintain a rigorous cleaning schedule for the cricket living quarters.
- It is a lot of work to keep crickets. You will have to check the water and food each day, clean the containers, and move crickets to separate containers based on their current stage in the life cycle.
Care and feeding of your crickets
Choose your container
There are many types of containers that can be used to house your crickets. It is up to you whether you use a plastic tote or bin or buckets or aquarium tanks. You can even make your own cricket cage, but if you prefer this route, a basic aquarium with a screen top would be a better choice. There are also pre-built keepers that are specifically designed to pen crickets. Keep in mind that you will need at least three separate bins or tanks for your cricket farm because you will be separating crickets at certain stages in their life-cycle. In addition, the eggs will have to be incubated separate from the adult crickets.
|Exo Terra Cricket Pen Size: Large (12" x 8" x 7.6")|
This is an excellent, sturdy cricket keeper that can hold several dozen crickets. I recommend buying a spare of these right away so you have a safe place to stash crickets when cleaning the in-use cricket pens. It is easy to switch pens as needed.
Once you have at least three large enclosures for raising your crickets, you will need some heating lamps to maintain the perfect temperature for the adult crickets and the eggs. If the temperature gets much colder than 75° F, the crickets are in danger of dying. You may need two or three heating lamps per each bin depending on the temperature of the area where the crickets are being housed.
Basic cricket maintenance
Daily maintenance can become a frustrating task if you do not set things up properly from the start of your breeding program. For example, if you use sand on the bottom of the bins, you will have to transport the crickets into a separate bin each time you need to clean out the bins. When you have several bins to clean, this can quickly become tiring. The more you have to move the crickets, the more inevitable escapees there will be. Do you want to spend all your time chasing down escaped crickets?
Feeding the food supply
What you feed your feeders is ultimately what you feed your pet, so this should be your top priority. Crickets are natural scavengers who will eat anything that is available to them. Mold and mildew are the two things to watch for in your enclosure. You can avoid mold and mildew by removing uneaten fresh food promptly. If any mold or mildew begins to form in the housing, the crickets may get sick from eating it. When the sick crickets die, the others will eat the carcasses unless you remove them promptly. Remove any corpses on a daily basis to stay ahead of it.