Some Very Sad News
First some very sad news, unfortunately my Blue Tit family in the camera nest box are no more. Two of the babies died, leaving three healthy babies but I soon realised from watching on my computer screen, that the mum and dad were nowhere to be seen. I think the mum had died, the dad was trying to cope alone and the babies starved. I rang St Tiggywinkles wild animal hospital and they told me how and what to feed the babies. It was a job climbing up and removing the chicks without falling off the ladder (and into the pond below) but I managed and after I had fed the chicks I took them up to St Tiggywinkles hospital. I would love to have cared for them but it wasn't just the feeding, the chicks were two weeks old and almost ready to fly, they needed their parents to teach them how. At the wildlife hospital they have the facilities to house them properly until they can be released. I was worried that I would end up releasing them straight into one of my cats!
The bugs have fared much better, everything is breeding like crazy. I have way too many stick insects (hence a free pair to anyone making a purchase at my open afternoon), Hissing cockroaches and spiderlings but I am just about coping with the feeding and cleaning regime. I have had some large orders this week and for once I have taken some 'proper' money, which certainly helps. I have bought in new spiders again this week and sent out quite a few too. My Domino cockroaches are breeding really well, they are so pretty and much more like beetles than cockroaches. I think I have finally solved the problem of why the adults die so quickly. It seems the nymphs are fine to be kept like all the other cockroaches in a closed plastic box (with some ventilation holes) but the adults seem to require a far more airy environment and also one that is drier. What I have done this time is to move the adults out of the breeding box as soon as they mature. I have another deeper box with a mesh lid and once in there I haven't lost a single one. I have had these cockroaches for several years and have bred them but never managed to establish them as a proper breeding colony before.
I am seriously looking at getting a more automated web site. I'm not sure how much it would cost, quite a lot I expect but it would be brilliant if people could order and pay online without contacting me. I know that sounds terrible but I really do spend ages answering the same questions over and over again and I try to answer politely but it isn't easy. People are always asking how to order and how much postage is. Both these questions are easily answered by looking at my 'ordering & terms page'. If I had an automated site people could just pay online, they would be taken through the procedure step by step. Everything would have to be reorganised as I think the site would need to be linked to a database that had an exact number of individual bugs in stock. What a nightmare, how on earth could I count all the bugs that I continually breed, numbers change all the time. I suppose I would need to underestimate. Anyway it is only a thought at the moment, it sounds like there would be an awful lot of work to initially set it up. I would still be happy to answer 'real' questions and chat on the phone but it would certainly help with time management. Time is something I never have enough of!
I am also very busy at the moment with organising my mother in-law's move from Kent. She is moving to a flat about five minutes from us, it's great but there is an awful lot to sort out in a short space of time. She is moving in next weekend. This Saturday is my second open afternoon. I do hope it will be as successful as last time, especially as my daughter has double booked herself. She is miffed that I have said she has to help me because she had evidently arranged to go out for the day. I did get in first and as my hubby is working she will certainly be required, I can't possibly manage on my own (if you think I'm being mean, I would just point out that I am paying her and at a much better rate than she gets for her Sunday job at the aquatic centre).