Cricket questions

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Steve VB
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2020 8:37 pm
Location: Bloomington, IN

Hello, I am a new member and have four martins that have chosen our home this year. I appreciate all of the help this forum provides. I have read much of the info concerning feeding with crickets in the event of rain and cold weather. I am in Indiana and so far, so good, although we are expecting rain all week and strong winds. FYI - I have a large pond.
Questions are these:
1. I am planning to order crickets this week in advance so I can teach when the weather is ok in preparation for difficult weather. Any feedback on that decision is helpful. I do not want them to become dependent on me but knowledgeable if needed. Is it best to do that in advance or will they only eat them if they are in a dire situation?
2. I have seen online that crickets come in three sizes (small, medium and large). I believe the large are 3/4 inch. Recommendations?
3. If the weather turns difficult, do you wait until the third or so day (a timeframe i have read in several places) before you begin the supplemental feeding or do you begin earlier as you look at the forecast?
Thanks in advance.
Steve in Indana
Dave Duit
Posts: 1756
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Hi Steve,
It was a great idea to buy your crickets in advance for bad weather. Your martins will not become dependant on your supplement food (crickets).
Typically, martins will start seeking out supplement food after the end of the second day or beginning of the third day without available flying insects. You can begin offering food the second day and definitely on the third day. The bigger the better when it comes to cricket size. So, 3/4 to 1-inch crickets are the ones you want to buy. Keep in mind, that even with your best efforts and making supplement crickets available to your martins, there is no guarantee that will eat them. Some martins simply will not eat supplement food even with your best efforts. There are alternatives to methods for supplement feeding which include cricket flipping with plastic spoons, placing crickets on a raised platform feeding tray or roof wit dark shingles nearby, or on your driveway. I try to keep them off the ground by using a raised platform. Another and cheaper route to supplement feed is scrambled eggs in small 1/4 to 1/2 inch bite-sized pieces. Don't overcook the eggs, try to keep them light and fluffy. Never use oil to prepare scrambled eggs since martins have a difficult time digesting fat / oil. Some martins prefer scrambled eggs over crickets. Offering both at the same time is a good idea to get them started in taking to supplement feeding.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Steve VB
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2020 8:37 pm
Location: Bloomington, IN

Dave Duit wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 8:44 pm
Hi Steve,
It was a great idea to buy your crickets in advance for bad weather. Your martins will not become dependant on your supplement food (crickets).
Typically, martins will start seeking out supplement food after the end of the second day or beginning of the third day without available flying insects. You can begin offering food the second day and definitely on the third day. The bigger the better when it comes to cricket size. So, 3/4 to 1-inch crickets are the ones you want to buy. Keep in mind, that even with your best efforts and making supplement crickets available to your martins, there is no guarantee that will eat them. Some martins simply will not eat supplement food even with your best efforts. There are alternatives to methods for supplement feeding which include cricket flipping with plastic spoons, placing crickets on a raised platform feeding tray or roof wit dark shingles nearby, or on your driveway. I try to keep them off the ground by using a raised platform. Another and cheaper route to supplement feed is scrambled eggs in small 1/4 to 1/2 inch bite-sized pieces. Don't overcook the eggs, try to keep them light and fluffy. Never use oil to prepare scrambled eggs since martins have a difficult time digesting fat / oil. Some martins prefer scrambled eggs over crickets. Offering both at the same time is a good idea to get them started in taking to supplement feeding.
Thank you Dave. Helpful.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1756
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

You are very welcome Steve. I'm glad I could assist you.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2936
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

I've not heard of martins taking flipped food for their first time ever unless they need it. I'm not too far north of you (just east of Indy) and I don't think our weather will be bad enough this week for them to need food. If you try, ,the only thing you will be out is a few dollars worth of crickets. Even if it were to rain for 6 or 7 hours straight each day, as soon as it stops or if there are breaks in the rain they will go out and feed. I'm not saying it can't happen but I have never had to feed due to continuous rain (active colonies since 2010). It is very uncommon for it to rain non stop from sun up to sun down for three days in a row in our area. Last year was my first time ever having to supplemental feed in Indiana. We had three days in the beginning of April where temps stayed too cool for insects and on the third day it was spitting a rain/snow mix, in the high 30's. It took less then 10 flipped crickets before the first one was taken and within a few minutes they all caught on.
2020 Currently 42 nest, 110 babies, 64 eggs left to hatch(6-22-20) HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair last count 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional SY's stayed all summer but never paired/nested.
2016 1 pair fledged 4
2015 Visitors
2014 Visitors
2013 Moved 6 miles away, 1 pair fledged 2.
2012 30 pair fledged 100.
2011 12 pair (11 that nested), 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair, 21 eggs, 16 hatched, 14 fledged.
Steve VB
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2020 8:37 pm
Location: Bloomington, IN

flyin-lowe wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 8:56 pm
I've not heard of martins taking flipped food for their first time ever unless they need it. I'm not too far north of you (just east of Indy) and I don't think our weather will be bad enough this week for them to need food. If you try, ,the only thing you will be out is a few dollars worth of crickets. Even if it were to rain for 6 or 7 hours straight each day, as soon as it stops or if there are breaks in the rain they will go out and feed. I'm not saying it can't happen but I have never had to feed due to continuous rain (active colonies since 2010). It is very uncommon for it to rain non stop from sun up to sun down for three days in a row in our area. Last year was my first time ever having to supplemental feed in Indiana. We had three days in the beginning of April where temps stayed too cool for insects and on the third day it was spitting a rain/snow mix, in the high 30's. It took less then 10 flipped crickets before the first one was taken and within a few minutes they all caught on.
Thank you. This is very helpful too. I agree that I am "jumpy" to do everything right. We are recognizing how blessed we are to have Martins this first year and want to be prepared to do what we can! Thanks again. Steve
Archer
Posts: 757
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:09 pm
Location: Manitoba/Altona
Martin Colony History: six pair in 2014, have grown to 52 pairs in 2017.

I got a few tips for you that might help for flipping crickets. When you flip, get as close to the house as they will let you. Also if you can get a little higher like standing on a picnic table will help. What you do is scare them off of the house, then just as they start to come back down to land on the house, flip up the cricket as high as you can. As they are allready airborne, it doesn't take much for them to make a swipe at it. I found it much easier this way then to get them to fly up off of the house. Hope it works for you if they need it. After you have them trained with crickets, you can make the switch to microwaved eggs. One egg smashed up in a cup, 50-60 seconds in the microwave, cut up and let cool, ready to flip.
2011- first year trying, a few visitors.
2012-One ASY pair, raised two young, lots of subby visitors. So thankfull.
2013-daily subby visits.
2014-Six SY pairs
2015-18 pair, 83 fledglings
2016-36 pair, 147 fledglings
2017-52 pairs, 192 fledglings.
2018-60 pair, 246 fledglings.
2019-59 pair, 238 fledglings.
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