New at home raising

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  • #41434

    Sandra CA

    I’ve been searching monarch sites for several weeks and this is the first forum I’ve found to connect with others raising Monarch. I actually live in Southern California, US where we have butterflys year round. Last June we moved to new property where many tropical milkweeds have attracted the butterflies. All through the summer, I saw two cats though many butterflies. Last month, and suddenly, I found dozens of cats. This made me realize that the summer cats were being killed off. So I bought a habitat a couple weeks ago- I believe you call them Castles. I had five cats and now have one chrysalis and two in the J position. Yesterday, one of the cats couldn’t get through the chrysalis process and is still hanging with the bottom half exposed. I’ve learned so much about rearing but I’m still very new at it. I have two first insar cats that I’ve just put in the habitat. I collected 24 eggs and today I transferred two newborns into a container. (I’d love to hear from anyone who has raised cats from eggs.) I had also found two tiny cats and they are also in the habitat as of this a.m.. And yesterday while I was clearing the garden around the milkweed I found a health-looking chrysalis on the ground and taped it to a branch I put in the habitat. And yesterday one of my J cats actually rigged itself on the side of a pot I have in there. One thing I’ve noticed is that the cats don’t turn active until the sun starts to warm up their habitat. I’ve never read anything about that.

    Two things, or really three: 1) is it OK to be on your forum if I live in the States? 2) I’d love to hear how any of you have been successful or not, in dealing with OE and other diseases. Lastly I want to say that researching your forum archives is so educational. That’s how I found out that several people have had their cat “poop-out” prior to finishing the chrysalis process.

    Thanks so much,

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  • Author
  • #41440

    Sandra CA

    Thanks Jacqui,

    I live in Santa Ana which is between Los Angeles and San Diego. We’re about 10 miles from the ocean. Many sites here emphasize sterility in dealing with habitats to avoid disease. Like wiping it down with bleach cloths and then rinsing. But my habitat is huge; probably 2′ X 3-1/2H’. I keep it in the back garden. I use vases and floral foam in containers to keep the milkweed as fresh as possible. The floral foam is great for long branches of milkweed to stand strong and the cats love the long stems. I put bark mulch over the top of the containers because I’m concerned about foreign things that may harm them. So there is rarely any (frass?) poo on the floor. But I still clean it out once a week. This being said, my thought is the mulch is keeping the poo away from the cats and that is what can be harmful for them. I think there are two different ways of raising. One is using a small container which must be cleaned regularly and then my method, where you re-create living outdoors. I read somewhere that the later is “the easy way”, lol. I had my last large cat move to the top of the habitat, so that will be the third going into chrysalis, if they make it. I’m so hoping they do after the last one died without getting through the process. Can you tell me more about raising cats from eggs? Or I think I’ll post this as a new topic.

    Thanks again for your welcome hello



    Hi and welcome Sandra.

    1. Yes that’s absolutely fine. Welcome!

    2. Hope others will contribute. My philosophy is that disease (also predators, parasites etc) are here for a reason. When they occur I don’t try to annihilate them but learn from them and avoid them or “out think them” by natural means if possible. Observing my swan plant I have seen lots of ants on the plants and know that they will take eggs. So I’m afraid I use ant killer around the base of the plant. Ants on other parts of my property except in the house I will leave to do their thing. Wasps – I rescue eggs and caterpillars and put them into my butterfly house – imagine a green house size caterpillar castle.

    What part of Southern Calif are you from?



    Good to hear of your experiences from a land far away Sandra,
    keep up the good work, and welcome to our forums.

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