If your pet reptile goes through a lot of crickets at mealtime, ordering them in bulk and then breeding and raising more crickets yourself is a cost-effective and easy thing to do. But simply getting the crickets to grow isn't all that there is. To have a successful cricket farm, you want to make sure you raise those crickets right to provide proper nutrition to your exotic pet.
What Do You Feed Crickets?
When raising crickets to use as food, remember that whatever goes into the crickets goes into your pet. Keeping crickets at home for a while before feeding them (or when you raise your crickets) has the tremendous advantage of allowing you to gut load, or feed, them before giving them to your pet.
Gut loading simply means feeding the crickets nutritious foods so that the nutrition is passed on to your pet. You can buy prepackaged cricket foods as well as products specifically fortified for gut loading prey food. Good food items are:
- Tropical fish flakes
- Dark leafy greens (romaine, mustard greens, kale, and collard greens)
- Sweet potatoes
- Potatoes (peelings are fine)
- Baby rice cereal
- Wheat germ
- Prepackaged reptile foods
- Dry cat food
Fresh vegetables and fruits can be offered to crickets as a supplement even if you are feeding a commercial cricket chow.
If you are only feeding a homemade food mix, then feed a wide variety of foods and be sure to sprinkle the food with a reptile vitamin and calcium supplement.
Buying Crickets in Bulk
Online, you can order crickets in bulk (usually batches of 250 up to 1,000), which should save a lot of money if you have been buying small amounts at the pet store. Keep in mind that crickets will only live for a few weeks. If your pet needs smaller crickets, they might grow too big before you can use all the crickets so it is a good idea to carefully evaluate how many crickets you go through in a certain time frame and order appropriately.
If you are interested in ordering crickets there are several sources to choose from. Flukers, Ghann's Cricket Farm, Timberline, and WormMan Worm Farm are just a few of the larger companies where crickets can be ordered in bulk.
Your local pet store may be willing to offer bulk purchase discounts. Reptile shows and expos are also usually full of people who breed and sell crickets at a discounted price.
Drawbacks of Keeping Crickets
Crickets do make noise and have a distinctive odor (but it is not bad as long as the colonies are kept clean) so you have to be willing to live with it.
Escapees are almost inevitable, so you must also be prepared for that possibility (and they can be tricky to catch if they do escape). If you live in an apartment, escapees may affect your neighbors, and your neighbors might not want to share their home with your escaped crickets.