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Feeding whilst away

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HI all, just wondering what people do / what advice you have for feeding a colony of roaches when away? It will be for six days and there won't be anyone else I can ask to feed them, so I need to make sure they have enough food for that time. I'm definitely going to leave them a larger bowl of oats and cat food so the dry food should be covered but I don't want to leave them with no fruit or veg at all during the six days either. 

What food is recommended (i.e. that won't go off in six days if it's not eaten) and what do others do?

I have 2 colonies now, Gromphadorhina (sold as hybrids but look like oblongonota to me), about 50 individuals, all adults and large nymphs, and Elliptorhina javanica, 18 adults and about 10 really tiny nymphs about 2 weeks old (I did get those females I was looking for!) which are the ones I'm most worried about. Can tiny nymphs like that survive on dry food without fruit and veg for a week, or do they need it?

Also will they start to turn on each other (especially the little ones, and the javanica seem to fight a lot more than the oblongonota!) and cannibalise each other if there isn't enough food? 

They should be OK for humidity as I've bought an automatic misting system that sprays them twice a day for 20 seconds or so and I've been running it for the last couple of weeks and it's keeping the humidity at around 60-70% (in several cages), without any mould showing up, but should I also leave out more water for them as well? The sprayer is directed slightly towards one of the tank walls so there are droplets of water on it after it has been sprayed but I've not really seen them drink from it (not that I've seen them drink from a water bowl either!).

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Yeah, just drop whole carrots in their enclosure while you are away, they are one of the best foods for trips, since they don't rot fast and typically last a long time in an enclosure. :)

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Thanks all for the suggestions, I will try leaving carrots in each cage although I'm not too hopeful they will eat it, as they have always ignored carrots when I've fed them those before. Having said that if there's no other choice I suspect they will eat it - they are roaches after all!  :P

I also think I'll leave lettuce - it does go limp after a few days if they don't eat it but I've noticed that it doesn't seem to mould in my cages and both colonies love it and will eat it even if it's a bit limp. I've also seen the baby javanica eating lettuce so at least I know they will have something they like at least for the first two or three days. I might try putting the stems of the lettuce leaves in a bowl of water stuffed with cotton wool to try to keep it fresher a bit longer, with the added advantage that the roaches can drink from it if they want to as well.

Still worried about leaving my "babies" for this length of time though! 

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I will be leaving for 6 days as well, so i was wondering for just two roaches would a carrot and dog food suffice? I could also purchase watering gel so they have water the whole week. Also, would I need to worry about humidity for Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches?

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That would be aye ok for a six-day period, the water gel would be nice as well, but you could alternatively just mist a corner of the enclosure.

Also, nope, hissers do just fine in a dry enclosure as long as they have a source of moisture regularly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Quick update now I'm back - the hissers ate absolutely every morsel of what I gave them (including three large whole carrots and what I thought was plenty of lettuce leaves in water, oats and cat food) so clearly I should have left them more than I did! I hadn't realised quite how much a colony of about 50 hissers, about 75% adults by now, could eat in six days :o

I did lose a couple of nymphs whilst I was away unfortunately - I don't know whether it was anything to do with not leaving them enough food, or whether it was because it has been particularly hot (30 degrees Celsius plus - very unusual for this time of year) in the UK whilst I was away, or whether it was just "one of those things" and they would have died anyway even if I had not been away and had been feeding them properly. However the rest of them all looked healthy and active on the day I got back (if hungry - they hoovered up a couple of pesto jar lids full of oats and half a banana in one night after I fed them when I got back!) and so far I have not had any other losses, so I am hopeful that having no food for a day or two hasn't had any lasting effect.

The javanica are all doing fine including the tiny nymphs - as far as I can tell (I haven't been able to count them definitively as they are so tiny and hide away in the smallest cracks in the cork bark) they have all survived and I have seen a couple of them successfully go through their first moult too since I returned, which I hope is a good sign. So there were no problems with leaving them at all, and they had enough food, but that colony is much smaller (18 adults and probably about 10-12 babies) so they don't seem to eat anything near as much.

The best thing is my automatic misting system (Mistking) is working absolutely brilliantly - it is one of the more expensive systems out there but I can say now it is worth every penny. You do need to experiment with the spraying intervals and timings over a week or two to get the amount of humidity right, but once I'd worked out a routine I found it keeps their cages nicely humid without being so damp that mould becomes a problem. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone going away for more than a couple of days and it really takes the worry out of humidity control in their cages for me in the future. The intention was to use it just for holidays but in fact I think I will probably just keep it running from now on to save me the bother of having to hand mist every day :D

Thankfully I'm not going to be away that long again for a while although I have a couple of long weekends coming up, and this time I'll be sure to leave the hissers a lot more food than I did before!

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