Last year we sold one of our more time/stress intensive businesses, and while I still run it, it’s freed up a lot of time and money for a new venture.
We decided to invest in a friend who had a small but successful rodent breeding/insect supply business. It currently supplies a decent sized pet store chain and our initial focus is scaling the business to cover the majority of pet/reptile stores in Northern California before we worry about the online/frozen market.
We currently have a carrying capacity of 1000 female breeder rats, and a similar number of mice. I have a lot experience breeding and raising quail so we will be quickly expanding in that direction too.
And so begins our new venture Fat Rat Feeders LLC!
Wow! Looks like a great sized and well designed rodent breeding facility! I know you can do great with rodents for sure, every snake owner needs them. If you already supply pet stores, that’s a great boon to have as well! I know absolutely nothing about raising quail, but am sure you can do great adding in that as well! Wish you the best of luck! Will be looking for: FAT RAT BREEDERS in the near future!
That is really cool.
I’m curious, how often do you guys introduce new blood to your colonies?
Thank you! We’re pretty excited because this is such a habitually undersupplied industry. We see a lot of potential for growth.
Currently we work with a friend who has a small setup and periodically bring in their overage to cover our needs which ends up with a healthy amount of their blood getting mixed in. Our big worry about bringing in truly fresh blood though is colony collapse. I plan to set up unrelated control groups in the same facility and use those for periodic mixing. Disease and outbreeding depression are a definitely a concern so I’m always trying to find a way to have new blood that won’t potentially be detrimental to our production.
On a smaller scale, I ran a closed colony in my rodent room for 8 years and never really had production issues. Because I obviously had a pretty high level of inbreeding going on, we didn’t add my rats into the facility. That’s a case where I was more afraid of outbreeding depression ie my rats bringing in deleterious genes that weren’t being expressed under my system or exposing them in the facilities rats.
It’s a tough one, and I really don’t know what the best practice is at this stage lol.
Honestly with rodents I tend to think “new blood” is not as important in a established colony as people think. I think it’s more important making sure any new blood doesn’t spread mites or disease. A couple of the bigger rodent facilities here in Colorado have had huge issues in the past with tropical rat mites spreading in there colonies, really disrupting the whole supply and demand here not too long ago.
Like you say @ballornothing
Which is quite correct! We need more great rodent breeders! Of course any breeder should know (like @ballornothing obviously does) not to breed inferior or not as healthy as possible stock, inbreeding depression really may not play such a huge factor in negative effects in breeding rats as one might think.
Keep us updated on your progress with this new venture!
Love the name! Do you guys ship frozen rats, or just sell live locally?
I definitely will!
Right now it’s brick and mortar stores only. By mid 2024 we should be able to scale enough to dip a toe in the frozen market.