A quick video update for you all on how we are getting along with the rearing of our native and endemic live food, ready for the mountain chickens return to Montserrat!
Many of these species have never been reared in captivity, let alone at the high densities we are looking to achieve to feed all of the frogs coming over later in the project. This brings with it its own challenges as many aspects of the husbandry are somewhat the result of a little trial and error.
Our cockroach population was by far the hardest to initially aclimatise to the captive environment, with many of them dying off as quickly as we could catch them, as you can see now though they are doing very well!
The crickets are another entity altogether! Initially they had been thriving in our custom made breeding bins, with just a small founding population of three adults giving birth to over 500 young! This swarming mass of baby crickets was what I was expecting to show you in this video, however as you can see there are far fewer then 500! Just the night before we had a mass die-out of the young offspring (I edited out my shocked pause when Cheska turns over the egg carton). Having reviewed our process we believe it may have been caused by a rapid increase in local temperature and humidity the previous day, or could have been the result of a very low residual level of insecticide on some shop bought veggies they’d been fed that same day.
That being said we are firm believers that the largest part of the learning process is being able to learn from your mistakes and with that in mind we have already detoxed all of the infected containers, recruited more wild caught adults and are well on our way to another batch of babies. We also have the survivors from this incident, who could prove particularly valuable to the gene pool as they clearly possess a higher level of tolerance then their deceased siblings. The higher tolerance levels will certainly come in handy when breeding in high densities.
It seems the saying is true… “every cloud has a silver lining”