Raising higher number of monarchs

Talk about all things relating to monarchs and Monarch Watch

Moderator: Monarch Watch

Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby stacey16 » Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:17 am

How does one do this on a large scale? Do you keep each one separate?
stacey16
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:17 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby blazing star » Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:18 am

Right now I have 27 large cats in one 24"x10" (approximately) container. I think this is about maximum what would be comfortable together, but I'm not sure. I have around 75 baby cats and eggs in another container of the same size. I start splitting them up as they grow larger. They seem to coexist fine most of the time. You just have to make sure leaves aren't stacked over each other to where it prevents circulation or you risk disease like Black Death. This happened to me last year. I now stand the leaves all around the sides of the container so air can circulate. Also, you may have an occasional loss as I did this year when a large cat going to a j bit an already formed chrysalis. Frass has to be changed daily, if not more with the large cats.

Do you have specific questions? Let me know and I can ask the person that's helping me with my rearing. She's a wealth of info.
blazing star
 
Posts: 512
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:21 pm

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby stacey16 » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:02 am

How are things going with the 75?
stacey16
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:17 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby blazing star » Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:31 am

The 27 cats are now j's and the baby cats are no longer babies. :) Some of the other eggs hatched and I have new babies and some eggs were not viable. However, I found 20 more eggs the day before yesterday. I didn't have a chance to look for more eggs today. So far I am having an excellent year, comparatively speaking.

How are things by you?
blazing star
 
Posts: 512
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:21 pm

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby stacey16 » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:00 am

9 are starting to make J's, 3 are babies and I found one egg two days ago . I'll probably look for more today. Do you have all the milkfeed to feed the cats in your yard? I can't imagine how much food is needed for 27+ monarchs.
stacey16
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:17 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby blazing star » Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:15 pm

I found more eggs and a baby cat today. You ask me a question that has me very stressed out. How to feed them all. I have a lot of common in my yard. I have let it pop up where it wants with the exception of the lawn. If it's growing where I don't aesthetically want it, I use that plant's leaves first and then cut it to the ground. It the will send up a new shoot with fresh leaves and it doesn't get as tall. The plants I cut in Spring have large new leaves but are now just about 15-20 inches tall. This is another trick I learned from my local monarch expert. This way the garden doesn't look too weedy but I still have the food source. I use the leaves of the plants that are situated well last. So, you ask how do I feed them? I may, or may not, be able to and then I am supposed to get help if I can't.

There is plenty of milkweed at that natural area by my house but I have my own business, which means i amy have to work crazy long hours or that my hours aren't my own. My hours are my customer's hours so I cannot commit to getting to that natural area to pick leaves. Like I say, very stressful.

I'm learning something new with this new batch of cats I'm raising. One day, I didn't have time to transfer the cats from the old leaf to the new leaf so I leaned the old leaf against the new leaf. The next day I went to put fresh leaves, the cats had eaten almost all of the old leaf and were just getting started on the new leaf. This will waste a lot less leaves as I can't tell you how many almost full leaves I have had to discard. I'm thinking the old leaves (meaning 24-48 hours old) were still nutritious or they would have not finished eating them. This is a guess. Do you have thoughts on this?

I am in a regular subdisivion but my neighbors haven't complained about the native prairie growing all around my house. In fact, my neighbor said he likes it and just installed a large native plant garden in his front yard. Just a side note on this as it made me very happy. He has swamp in there, which I've been unable to grow. I'm hoping he has better luck.
blazing star
 
Posts: 512
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:21 pm

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby stacey16 » Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:54 am

I notice that too in instars one and two that if I put a new leaf near an old one they sometimes keep eating the old one. I thought maybe in the wild they would stay on one leaf for a while before moving on but that's just speculation on my part. It's difficult to know how much milkweed to use isn't it?
I often wonder if captivity changes their behavior. The fresh food is given to them so they tend to stay in the same place. In the wild they hide, maybe even leave the plant to shed their skin, move to find a new leaf etc. What do you think?
stacey16
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:17 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby blazing star » Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:14 am

I think you're probably right. They don't usually migrate off a fresh leaf until they're molting or sick. In the wild no one is giving them a fresh leaf so they probably do travel more. I'm looking for more eggs than ever as I now know that I can raise more cats with my set up. I will go look for more eggs and find more cats on plants I've scoured for eggs so I do think they travel about more outside.

Just an FYI that I have at least 30 large cats in my container and they are doing well but I do clean the cage twice daily as the frass is unbelievable. I'm not sure I can pack more in as I think the air flow would be compromised. Most are going to a j now and I have had to break up fights. They seem to tussle more at this stage. One was a real bully and I had to move him to a separate container. Raising communally sure does seem to extend my feeding ability as I'd be out of common leaves if I raised them separately.
blazing star
 
Posts: 512
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:21 pm

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby stacey16 » Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:58 am

They really eat a lot don't they? Sounds like you have plenty of milkweed to feed them! It's interesting how some crawl around a long time trying to find the right spot for a chrysalis. Probably a survival trait as the caterpillar tries to crawl away from the place it left a trail for a predator to find it (chewed leaves, frass) etc.
stacey16
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:17 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby blazing star » Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:36 pm

They are surely a pain when they're large! Gluttonous. :) I've never had so many going to a j at the same time. Yes, they were all at it for a while fighting, laying on top of other cats and resting downwards on formed chrysalis.
blazing star
 
Posts: 512
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:21 pm

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby stacey16 » Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:41 am

Someone just gave me 18 baby cats. Are you still wrapping the stem in paper towel or no?
stacey16
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:17 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby Mr. Lund » Sun Aug 10, 2014 10:53 am

Greetings blazingstar,

You mentioned that you stand the leaves around the perimeter of the container to aid in circulation. Are you able to provide a photo of this? How do you "stand up" the leaves? What secures them in place?

I have been placing leaves on top of each other, and have not experienced anything negative by doing that...yet! I was unaware of the "black death" that you mentioned. (This is only my third year of rearing the caterpillars.)

Thanks for you time and help!
"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." -- Carl Sagan
User avatar
Mr. Lund
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:06 am

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby stacey16 » Sun Aug 10, 2014 2:23 pm

My question was for Blazing Star as well. I wrap the stem in wet paper towel and put foil around it and stand it in a 3 ounce paper cup. That way most of the frass falls off and the cats aren't crawling around in it. I am looking for a more efficient way and would welcome suggestions.
stacey16
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:17 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby blazing star » Sun Aug 10, 2014 10:50 pm

Hi,

Yes, I am still wrapping the stems with wet paper towel. It seems to extend the leaf viability a second day. I used to swap fresh leaves daily and transfer all cats to the new leaf. Now, I leave the old leaves leaning against the fresh leaves. The majority of cats will then crawl to the fresh leaves after finishing off the old leaves. I face the fresh leaves, and the day old eaves, in different directions so I know which to swap out the next day.

To answer the question about leaning the leaves, yes, I do. It helps frass roll off the leaves. The tinfoil wrapped wet paper towel helps the leaves stand. I am going to try cleaned cat food cans with wet floral foam but I haven't had a chance to get the foam. This will be so much easier than wrapping leaves. The person that told me off this did confirm it works well with both swamp and common.

If I have very small baby cats I do still transfer those to a new leaf and discard the old leaf simply because they don't eat as much and would probably not migrate to the new leaf themselves.

I tried uploading a pic but the file is too large. I will try to figure it out.
blazing star
 
Posts: 512
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:21 pm

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby stacey16 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:09 am

I think your system is good and that's what I'm doing for my 18 large cats eating common except I put each wrapped leaf in a 3 0unce paper cup for stability. Saw some floral foam at the dollar store yesterday. Almost bought it to try. I take it you cut it to size, put it in a container, fill with water and put the leaf stems in the foam. It's the same stuff they make flower arrangement out of.
stacey16
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:17 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby blazing star » Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:02 pm

I, too, have tiny ceramic cup type things I put the wrapped leaves in. I only have 4 so some leaves just stand on the tin foil. The little cups do help the leaves stand better.

When I was at the person's house, she took the empty cat food canned (cleaned, of course) and placed it over the floral foam block and pressed down on the foam. It cut perfectly to the size and shape needed. I did not see how she moistens the foam. I will ask her and post this. I will also ask about the risk of tiny cats falling in the holes, or sides, of the foam. I will be back with this info.
blazing star
 
Posts: 512
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:21 pm

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby blazing star » Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:23 pm

I cannot add any pics. It keeps saying the file is too large. Stacey16, can you upload a pic of your set up since it sounds like we are doing the same thing?
blazing star
 
Posts: 512
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:21 pm

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby stacey16 » Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:34 am

I don't have a piicture of either set-up, but I had about 10 cats (4 and 5 instars) per 9inch width x14inch length x 9inch height critter keeper container and I used the wet paper towel wrapped with tin foil like you do.
stacey16
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:17 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Raising higher number of monarchs

Postby blazing star » Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:49 pm

Thanks. Hopefully, you provided a good enough description for someone to visualize. It seems like you did.

I have more info on that florist foam idea in cleaned out cat food cans. This is not a good set up for small cats because they can, indeed, fall into the holes in the florist foam and die. She only uses this set up on the larger cats that can avoid this. She said a number of common leaves will fit in the foam and if there's a common leaf with a big fat bottom, she'd just tear the bottom of the leaf to create more of a stem. I am almost done raising for this year but am definitely going with this set up for next year.
blazing star
 
Posts: 512
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:21 pm


Return to All Things Monarch

cron