Hi guys, so as some of you may know I breed corn snakes and this year will be my second go at it. Later in the year, I plan to buy another pair of snakes, such as hognose, milksnake, kingsnake, or maybee ball pythons. My only problem is that the closest live rat supplier is an hour and a half away and I don’t plan to raise live at the moment. I am just wondering, how hard is it to start newly hatched ball pythons on frozen/thawed? Should I not even attempt it and just go a different path or is there a moderately good chance I could pull it off without having to start them on live? Thank you in advance to anyone who answers.
Some hatchling BPs will take f/t but I wouldn’t count on it. Most usually don’t and you would likely need live rodents.
I start all my baby balls on hopper mice. Once they take a few of those I try a F/T adult mouse and if they take that then the females transition over to F/T rat pups. Males I keep on mice
In the uk, not a lot of people use live as its not really allowed over here, well unless a last resort that is, and then you can.
So it’s frozen/thawed here, I’m sure there are some who use live but most I know don’t.
I will be using frozen/thawed when I start breeding Royals.
I’m sure I’ll be fine then with a bit of patience.
I would make sure to have a back up source on live. I breed mice strictly for ball python hatchlings, live hoppers is the best way to get them started. I fed f/t when I had a smaller collection and I could never get ball python hatchlings to take frozen thawed for there first meal.
I do have a backup supplier an hour and a half away if it is really necessary.
I’m not trying to be the bearers of bad news but if you are producing a decent number of balls I can almost guarantee you will have a large number of them that won’t take f/t right off the bat. Might be something to keep in mind if your not wanting to constantly make the hour and a half drive.
I plan to stay corn snake heavy and just have 1-3 pairs of ball pythons unless I find a live supplier near me. I watch Brian Kuskos youtube videos and he has successfully fed all his ball pythons frozen/thawed for years without having to feed live, but maybe he is just lucky
I’ve read something where the feeding response can be bred for. So if Brian always bred/bought the pythons that ate f/t first he would likely produce mainly pythons that will eat f/t. Also, each person has their own process for getting them to eat f/t. So he likely figured out what worked best for him.
Interesting point, I will keep this in mind when buying my first pair of ball pythons.
My first year breeding, I hatched one clutch of ten babies. Two took F/T as their first meals… Three months after first shed
My second year breeding, I hatched one clutch of six babies. Two took F/T as their first meals, again, months after first shed
My third year breeding, I hatched thirteen clutches of 104-odd babies. Maybe two dozen took F/T as their first meals
While I had the patience and time to waste a few hours teasing babies for the first two seasons until I got them to eat and then having to assist feed those that were just stubborn, there was no way I could spend entire nights teasing 80+ babies. That was when, on the advice of a couple very big names in the industry, I switched to starting babies on live hoppers.
Now, I offer live hoppers 48-hours after hatchlings leave the egg and >85% will take. Most of my babies have had two to three meals before they even shed their egg skin.
Can you start baby balls on F/T? Sure.
Is it vastly easier and more efficient to start them on live and then transition to F/T after a couple feeds? Very much so
That… is a massive jump from one clutch to thirteen lol. How did you manage that? Or I suppose the better question is how did you prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed?
I would not plan to try and start them on FT. You’ll have enough to stress about with your first clutches without having to deal with non feeders.
Note that there was lag time between each breeding season. So if we take my first breeding season as Year 0, then my second season breeding was Year 3 and my third season breeding was Year 5. And I have been keeping and building my collection starting at Year minus-4. So third season breeding was basically all the females I had grown up over many years
I did not prevent that. It sucked and I hated it. I have never paired that many females again.