Birds     |     Dogs     |     Cats     |     Horses     |     Small Pets

Hatching and Raising

Crickets for Pet Food

Help Rescue Homeless

Pets with a Gift

of One Dollar

How to Hatch and Raise your own Crickets for Pet Food

Hopefully you have read the first article in this series,
"How to Raise Crickets for Pet Food," it shows you the
basics of cricket raising, setting up the cages, what to
feed your crickets, and the like. Here we will go into more
detail about how best to hatch and raise your crickets for
nutritious food for your pets.

You presumably have a breeding box to your cricket cage so
that after breeding your female crickets may deposit their
eggs. Our recommendation is a box made from a small
disposable transparent plastic container full of good
sterile potting soil, (if you are sure that the soil doesn't
have insecticides added), peat moss, or turf substrate from
the pet store. Cover the soil with a layer of window
screening, the females can still lay their eggs by sticking
their ovipositor through the holes. Use unchlorinated water
to keep the soil moist but not sodden, and watch for mold.

Choose healthy looking, whole adult crickets of both genders,
or slightly more females than males. Crickets are adult and
ready to breed once they have developed their wings. The
male cricket rubs his wings together to make the familiar
cricket chirp to attract a female, and the male will have
two "spears" jutting at angles from his hind end. Females
are larger than the males and have one long spear-shaped
ovipositor extending from the rear of the abdomen, which is
used to deposit the eggs into the soil.

Once everything is set up and your adult male and female
crickets have been added to the cage, watch for singing and
egg laying. The eggs will be white and about the size of
this - hyphen. After a few days of breeding and egg laying,
remove the breeding box from the adult cage and replace it
with a fresh box of clean soil or moss for the next batch of

Depending on the size of your cricket breeding operation,
either take the breeding box and put it into a safe, warm
place that stays between eighty-six and ninety degrees
Fahrenheit (thirty to thirty-two Celsius), such as on top of
a heating pad inside a closed cardboard box so the newly
hatched tiny crickets won't escape, or into your cricket
incubator. The "pinhead sized" (about the size of the egg
they came from) baby crickets will start to hatch about two
weeks after the eggs are laid.

To make your own cricket incubator, get a small Styrofoam
cooler or other insulated container into which you can cut a
hole for a six watt nightlight. Cut the hole for the light
high on one side of the box. Mount the nightlight through
the hole you have cut, and tape it very securely, both to
stop baby crickets from escaping and to prevent the light's
shifting and burning the box.

Tape a thermometer to the inside wall of the box so you can
monitor the temperature, and make a few very small holes in
the top and glue screening over them, for ventilation and
temperature control. Test your incubator before the breeding
box is added for the first time, and if the temperature
stays too high, make more air holes. If it stays too low,
tape over some of the holes you made.

Once your breeding box has plenty of eggs, place it into a
small plastic bucket or box (to make it easier to get the
baby crickets out of the incubator and into their growing
cage) and put it all into the incubator. Cover the breeding
box, but leave an opening so the new hatchlings can get out
and you can collect them, and so and air can get in. (Note:
Some cricket breeders also put clear plastic tape around the
inside top of their cages to help keep the crickets from
climbing out while they are being fed and watered.)

At the proper temperature you should see hatchlings in
twelve to fifteen days, maybe a bit longer if the
temperatures are on the low side. In the last week, add a
jar lid with a damp cotton ball and another with a little
food so the new babies can eat. Once no more babies are
hatching, remove the breeding box, throw away the soil, wash
and dry it, refill, and swap it for the current breeding box
and repeat.

Your baby crickets, if not fed to your pets, will need their
own growing cage separate from the adult cricket cage so
that the adult crickets won't eat them. Set the baby cage up
just like you did for the adults, and give them plenty of
food and unchlorinated water soaked into a sponge or cotton
to keep them from drowning in it. Keep their cage very clean
so you don't lose them to mold or bacteria.

Check your incubator every day to feed and water, move
hatched babies to the rearing cage, and to make sure that
the breeding box material stays slightly moist and doesn't
mold. The same advice holds for the rearing and the adult
cages, check them daily.

At the recommended temperature, your crickets will grow
quickly. In thirty-five to fifty days you should have many
adult crickets. Be sure to save some of the new crickets to
replace your breeding stock as they die.

More about Crickets & Invertebrates

Just the Cutest Plush Crickets you've ever Seen

Custom Search


Happy Cricket Calendars