Crayfish in the pond - breeding features
Breeding crayfish is an interesting and profitable activity. If you already have a reservoir in the country, then the costs will be minimal, and the result can be impressive. If there is no reservoir, then, of course, the idea of breeding crayfish in a pond will be unattainable until you dig it. But a pond in the country is not only crayfish or fish! It is also stable access to water for irrigation, it is also a beautiful design (unless, of course, you set yourself such a goal), and for the soul, a reservoir of water in the country is the very thing! In general, if you do not have a pond, read this article. Perhaps the idea of breeding crayfish in the country will push you to organize a reservoir. And there, even before the crayfish - a stone's throw!
Benefits of Breeding Crayfish in a Pond
Crayfish is a delicacy that owners of grocery stores, cafes and restaurants are eagerly buying up. But even if you can’t find a market, you will always have tasty, fresh produce rich in proteins and microelements - for the family and your own consumption.
These arthropods are omnivorous, and the females are very prolific. One per season will be able to reproduce 50 of their kind!
Crayfish can be raised not only in a reservoir, but also in an aquarium or in special containers in the basement. Unlike the last two cases, crayfish in the pond will hibernate in the winter, not build up mass, and, in general, will be inaccessible for consumption.
But on the other hand, crayfish in the pond will not require the purchase of special equipment to create optimal conditions, and no room is needed. And if you work correctly to create a favorable microclimate in the pond, then you will not require crayfish in the pond to care for and feed, since over time they will switch to full self-sufficiency. From you, in fact, you only need to regulate their population, promptly serving delicious and healthy delicacy to the table.
Where and what to buy crayfish for the pond?
Experts advise to contain no more than 9 crayfish per 1 m² of pond. They can be purchased at special farms. Find the latest help ads on the Internet. It is very useful to ask if there are similar farms in your region, or maybe someone from the summer residents or residents of the nearest villages are already breeding these arthropods. Then you can buy "zoned" crayfish, they will definitely feel good in your area.
When buying, it should be noted that for 1 season 1 the female is able to lay up to 450 eggs (but on average this figure is 100). And only half of the crustaceans then emerge. That is, next year your number of cancers will increase by an average of 50 times (sometimes up to 200 times). But small crustaceans will need less space than adults (up to 300 individuals can live on 1 m²). This must be taken into account when you acquire the first crayfish.
As a rule, adult cancers 3-4 years old are bought for breeding (for one male of two females). This is done in August-September. And in October they will begin the mating period. Cubs will appear in May-June. Already at the age of 20 days they will begin to eat on their own.
Long-toed (narrow and long claws and rough shell, body length 20 cm, male weight more than 300 g) and broad-toed crayfish (wide claws, smooth shell, body length about 15 cm) are most suitable for breeding crayfish in country ponds.
Long-toed crayfish (Pontostacus leptodactylus) in vivo live in the suburbs, on the Middle Volga, in the Astrakhan region. They are very prolific.
Broad-toed crayfish (Astacus astacus) in vivo live in Northern Europe. They have a massive neck, abdomen, paws, but they grow very slowly.
Important! Only one breed of crayfish can be bred in one pond!
The pond in the country should be checked for readiness to accept crayfish as newcomers. If a stream flows into the pond, you need to drain. Otherwise, running water will warm up poorly, and in cold crayfish they grow poorly, sometimes they die.
It would be nice to check the quality of its water before launching crayfish into the pond. It is better to take the samples to the laboratory, where they will say if there are any chemical contaminants in the liquid. If this is not possible, then take a spacious basin, pour water from the pond there, provide an aeration system for oxygen, put some food and start a few individuals.
If the crayfish try to get out of the container after a short time, then this water is most likely not suitable for breeding. If they behave here calmly, then you can use this water to breed them.
Crayfish are not in vain considered indicators of pure water. They will not live in water contaminated with household or chemical waste. In addition, a pond with an acid reaction will not work for them. And in such a pond the crayfish will like:
- depth 2-5 meters;
- rich coastal aquatic vegetation, covering and part (but not all) of the bottom;
- sandy or clay coastal bottom with the presence of limestone rocks, stones;
- the soil of the shore and bottom is such that crayfish can easily build their holes, although they can live under snags, stones and stumps.
For crayfish, you can make small houses in the water. To do this, take plastic pipes, on one side of which you must put on the covers. Then the cancer will creep into the free hole and feel protected on three sides.
How to feed crayfish?
Great if you start to breed crayfish in the "old" pond. The necessary ecosystem has already been formed here - there are plants necessary for crustaceans. Eating elodea, haru, hornwort, and other plants and algae, crayfish accelerate calcium metabolism, and this helps to harden the shell after molting.
In natural conditions, in addition to vegetation, crayfish feed mainly on invertebrates - worms, mollusks, insects and larvae, small crustaceans and small fish. Despite the careful care of females for offspring, large crayfish can eat smaller ones. Therefore, in summer cottages it is advisable to feed them, even if the pond is old - with an ecosystem suitable for crayfish.
Crayfish begin to feed in the spring, when they have already intensified after the winter dormancy period. Here's what plant foods can sometimes be given to these arthropods:
- almost all cereals, steamed or boiled until soft;
- legumes in an amount of not more than 10% of the total feed;
Also, crayfish will not give up:
- pieces of fish:
- chicken giblets;
- lean meat and offal;
Crayfish feed can be scattered throughout the pond. But it’s better to put it in feeders to see if all the food is eaten. Then you can determine how often you need to feed the crayfish in a particular reservoir.
They usually consume food in the evenings. You can feed these animals every 2-3 days. But if there is a developed ecosystem in the pond, then with the help of feeders you should find out how often crayfish eat in your pond.
When these arthropods grow up, they are caught with rakolovki or removed from coastal houses. Large specimens are used for food, and small ones are again released into the pond for rearing.
Where do crayfish hibernate?
Care for the natural body of water and the cancers that inhabit it will be minimal. It is important to maintain the depth of the pond so that it is at least 2 m. Since over time the depth of any body of water becomes less, it is better to immediately use a pond with a "reserve" depth. The depth of the reservoir, in the first place, is important for the wintering of crayfish.
In the cold season, the water below in the pond is warmer than above, so the crayfish will hide here, burrowing into the clay bottom. If it’s not like this, you should pour clay with a layer of 30 cm at the bottom of the reservoir or put pipes from this material (where the crayfish will climb), then pour gravel in some places. It is also important to put large branches, small sawn trees, which will be natural shelters for these animals, right in the water, right in the water.
If the pond in winter begins to become covered with a thick crust of ice, it is necessary to make several holes for the access of oxygen. This technique is also necessary when fish live in the pond along with arthropods. You can make holes using a conventional submersible pump or use other available tools for this.