How to feed new Monarchs

  • Creator
  • #50862


    Hi All,

    We have a problem to solve.

    Last Tuesday 20th about noon number one Monarch (of four Chrysalis) hatched. Large, looked healthy, wings perfect, etc., 3hrs later we thought it was ready to fly. Took it out of the castle, but after a couple more hours no attempt to fly. Back in the castle, out the next day, but again just sat around and no attempt to fly. That evening back in the castle. Meanwhile on 22nd Monarch number two hatched (again large, healthy, wings perfect) but weather wet and windy so kept in the castle. 23rd Monarch number three hatched (as with the others a perfect specimen). Weather wet and windy so kept in the castle.

    So, the problem we have is that Monarch number one has been in the castle going on four days and the others two and one day in the castle respectively. We have soaked Gatorade in cotton wool on a small dish at the bottom inside of the castle (even put a couple of saturated buds on the outside roof of the castle) but none of the three seem at all interested in drinking (number one is now the most concern).

    Reading up on “feeding” prior to release, suggests that the Monarch’s will make their own way to drink when they are ready. Is this correct? Or is there some other way(s) we can do to encourage them (especially number one) to rehydrate. Looks like Monday in Auckland is going to be lee wind and fine and we will release the three then.

    Help would be much appreciated!!

    (P.S. Jacqui – If you happen across this forum, we got to listen to your interview early this week with Jesse. Brilliant!)

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Author
  • #50867


    That sounds like a plan S&K. Open the door towards the north (sun) if you haven’t done that already.





    Hi Jacqui,

    We actually purchased a “Castle” from the Trust at the beginning of the season and it has been brilliant – 100% success rate Cats to Monarchs! The Castle stays outside in a fairly dry sheltered place (have a body board as the roof).

    Looks from what you say the 3 Monarchs will survive until we release them tomorrow (with the first hatched now 5 days in the castle and the other two 3 and 4 days?? Did notice this morning that one of them was down by the gatorade dish/soaked cotton wool buds…maybe had or about to drink?

    Reason waiting for the sun tomorrow is that the wind and rain (even though they are waterproof) has been heavy. Might leave the Castle door open this arvo and give them a choice to fly away or stay??!!




    Thanks Michelle

    I don’t feed my monarchs – some people do – unless I want to keep them (e.g. for a show etc). If you put it outside and leave it – even overnight – it will do what it is meant to do.

    Remember butterflies have been doing what comes naturally for millions of years. They don’t really need our help. Probably by bringing them in overnight you are “confusing” it. Indoors in your house would be like a summer’s night, and outdoors during the day is not like a summer’s day. I suggest you put it outdoors in the morning somewhere where it will get maximum sun, maximum shelter.

    At this time of the year a wild butterfly will have found somewhere to overwinter. During the day the butterflies stay in a “dormant” state (it’s called diapause) where they conserve their energy, and don’t need to feed. When the sun comes out they – or some of them – will fly to find flowers and top up their nectar reserves. When it rains the raindrops run down the side of the butterflies, they are water resistant.

    I hope that explains things and is helpful.

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.