Are there any good projects to generally get into generally in the industry? Im mainly planning to breed ball pythons and crested geckos, but any other suggestions would be great!
My advice would be to look at what has sold and what is listed, then calculate a % of whats sold, then look at the prices they are selling for minimum and anticipate that as what youll get before you have a reputation. Then, of that list, select only the morphs you have interest in personally, because this will be a labor of love.
Now, depending on your budget, select a 1-4 morphs you want to work with that have a high sale % and decent minimum sale price. Now, try to get 1 or 2 pairs of snakes that contain at least 1 of each of the genes youve selected you wish to work with. The more the better for getting started, but obviously the more stacked, the more expensive. If any of the genes you chose are recessive, make sure the partner animal of the pair is at least het so you get some visuals.
To be continued. Breaks over.
Edit: time to continue.
Do not go overboard, there are many great options, but if you go too deep too quick, it adds up. As an example, i have 28 snakes, my electric is 460$ a month with solar panels. You also need to think vet bills, the more animals, the more frequent the vet bills, and if its infectious you should have a quarantine bin for each animal ready to prevent its spread. Calculate food costs in advance, add 25% to the cost +shipping, assume your budget needs to account for 1 in 4 snakes skipping meals and wasting food. Hopefully the ratio will never be that bad, but almost never will it be 100% consumption, so the 25% rule will make sure you have enough.
Source a vet familiar with breeding problems such as prolapses in reptiles, and being egg bound. Hope for the best, but again, plan for it to happen so you arent caught off guard if it does.
If you have the funds, i would buy young adults 1200g+. They usually cost more, but short of power feeding if you start with babies, expect to be in the red for 3 years before seeing a penny of return. Starting at young adult of 1200 grams should have you only waiting 6 months ti a year for breeding ready weight and for males, 1200 is good to go already. Remember, just because they arent breeding yet, doesn’t mean you arent paying for their upkeep. Usually, breeders are taking a loss selling adults even if it is 3 times the cost. 2-3 years of upkeep (feed, electricity, vet care) is worth far more than the extra cost. The difference is that cost is split over time by raising animals yourself, where as with buying already grow, the upkeep to adulthood was already done.
Lastly, prepare mentally that even with the best setup and business model, you might still never profit. The market changes rapidly and your research now may be obsolete in the future, so be prepared to have to adjust fire, and do not burry yourself in debt expecting there to be babies fast that will sell fast.
Im sure theres more, ill update again if i think of it, but i think i covered most of it.
I’ll add with cresties-
Unless you get decent morphs that are clean with no spots, (unless your working with Dalmatians) with amazing structure, lineages etc, atm it’s harder to sell them.
Suggestions from an upstart breeder (though I work with colubrids): Always have money stashed away for worst case scenarios with your breeding animals. I almost lost a female this year who ended up egg bound, $1500, multiple vet visits, one surgery, and she’s thriving but is spayed and will never produce/takes up space as a beloved pet now. You also have to be prepared to have animals that refuse to breed, as well.
I also suggest researching your market locally. Many places are oversaturated with breeders of the two species you want to work with, and like previously mentioned, unless you invest into less common morphs with a higher price tag, you’re going to struggle to move animals. While I did pick the species I wanted to work with, I also looked at how many breeders in my state and what they worked with to narrow down what might have higher demand. This is especially important because in many places, shipping can only be done certain months of the year, so for the rest of that time, you’re either going to have to travel with animals to expos or sell locally. It will also be important if you’re ever hoping to make money to cultivate local interest so you have a customer base to work from.