Starting a "Feeder Program" Questions

We have decided that it will now be beneficial to start breeding our own feeder rats for our ball pythons and boas. For those of you that have experience doing this I have a few questions.

  1. How many female rats per snake would we need?

  2. How do “math” out when to feed and how to grow out to appropriate feeding size? For example the majority of our collection is on frozen thawed prey and we are considering freezing feeders as well as growing some up for our live feeders. How do you know what to freeze and what to grow out? What method might you follow? We may end up doing just pre killed and live and forget the freezing all together. Even if we aren’t freezing though I want to make sure we have enough to feed those on weaned and pups but still be able to grow out to medium and smalls for the bigger live feeder snakes.

  3. If we freeze and/pre kill what is the best method to euthanize for freezing?

  4. Do you let your rats free feed or do you give them a specified amount and how do you know what that amount is?

We already have a small colony that we are working on that supplies only our live feeders. We have our food chosen and as soon as we move we will be building racks.

Thank you in advance to anyone with input!

1 To allow proper rotation and contant production you want 1 female rat per snake.

2 Everything is euthanized by age 6/7 weeks unless held back as future breeders. So at what size will depends on YOUR needs, how many to grow out each month to replace breeders will also depend on YOUR needs.

3 Gas chamber which consist of an appropriate size tub (not too big since it has to fill with CO2), a coil with regualtor and a co2 tank (check your local airbase for that).

4 They eat their food through a hardware cloth to prevent waste, food is available at all time, filled up once a week during maintenance.


Thank you! How long do you keep your females in service so to say?

Is it cheaper than buying frozen rats at Expos?

We do not have many local expos and they tend to be very pricey, rodent pro is the cheapest i have found frozen thawed. We also buy from a local guy some but here lately he hasnt been dependable and has been trying to over charge us on live and frozen thawed.

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Males are replaced every 6 months females are replaced when production falls under 10.

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Thanks again. I had no idea to retire them that quickly. I just assumed let them go until they can’t any more. I guess in hind sight that sounds pretty bad

Well I do breed for maximum production and my males go through a lot of females and it shows, so after trying many different ways over the last 14 years I found something that works for me and allow me to produce 5k to 7.5k a year.