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Keeping Feeder Crickets

 

Feeder Cricket Tub PictureAfter buying new feeder crickets from a pet shop or breeder, the first thing is to move them to a larger container. Feeder crickets can usually only can be kept for a few days (less than a week) in the container or tub they were bought in before the container becomes too damp and unwanted mould starts to grow. Too damp and moldy environments cause high morbidity and mortality (death) amongst all sizes of crickets. The housing container should be high enough to prevent escapes (remember crickets can jump quite high) and the container sides should be smooth to prevent escapes. A raised 5 / 1.3 gal (US) ice cream container with small holes in the lid is adequate for housing one or two small tubs of crickets. 80 / 20 gal (US) containers, such as the ADDIS™ "Store It" or the "SA Leisure" rollerbox containers (55 x 42 x 32 cm / 22 x 16.5 x 13 ") should be more than enough for at least 500 adult feeder crickets (about 4 x 250 tubs).

Crickets are territorial and need to be supplied with adequate hiding. Egg crates stacked on top of each other, with or without a sheath of newspaper in-between will be more than enough. Newspaper crumpled into balls can also be used. The cartons and the newspaper will also be consumed over time as a source of fiber and must be replaced at least every fortnight.

Food & Water
Water must be supplied ad lib. Shallow containers stuffed with cotton or sponge (Fig. 2) should be used to prevent drowning of smaller crickets.

Crickets are omnivorous (eat both plants & animal matter). Dry food include chicken starter or growing mash, but some people also feed koi pellets or dry fish flakes as maintenance diet. Greens and vegetables such as carrots, carrot greens, half cut apples and oranges should also be supplied for moisture and extra vitamins and minerals. Spoiled pieces must be removed daily, especially apple which tend to soften and molt fast. Food can be dispersed on the floor of the container or given in additional shallow containers.

The cricket keeping container should be kept at room temperature (24 ºC / 75 ºF). Higher temperatures are not necessary for keeping feeder crickets, but is obviously better. Temperatures below 24 ºC will cause morbidity, cannibalism and mortality. The keeping container should be cleaned regularly, or at least before a new batch of feeder crickets is added. Egg crates must be cleaned or replaced when they become clogged with faeces.

 
a Feeding Crickets b Cricket Housing c Cricket Container d Cricket Housing e Cricket Water
 

 Figure 2  a Shallow containers, available from nurseries, used as feeding & drinking containers. Water containers can be filled with cotton or sponge to prevent smaller feeder crickets from drowning; b Egg crates together with newspaper stacked on top of each other used as hiding for crickets; c 80 ℓ / 20 gal (US) ADDIS™ "Store It" or "SA Leisure" rollerbox container (55 x 42 x 32 cm / 22 x 16.5 x 13 ") should be large enough to house about 500 crickets over a relative long period; d 80 ℓ container complete with food, water & stacked egg crates; e A normal coffee bottle with a 5 mm hole drilled in the lid, filled with water, can be placed in the water bowl to keep cotton wool or sponge wet for longer.

 
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