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It really isn't hard to get Fat Tails to breed. A lot of people have told me that I need to cool them down over a period of two or three months. Also I need to not offer them food for a month. After the cooling period is over, bring the temp up slowly over a period of a few weeks. After the temp has returned to normal, begin feeding them again. At that time, mating will occur.

In my experience I haven't had to do that. The best way, I have found, is to separate the male from the females in November. This allows him to forget them and the females can relax from being mated with all the time. When January rolls around, I introduce one of my females to George (in his cage) and let them live together for about three days. After that I take the female out and place another female in there. You should see the male's tail twitch really quickly when he first spots the female. He might even puff himself up and bite the female on the neck or tail. Sometimes the female will submit to his advances and sometimes she won't. That is why I give them three days together. It almost guarantees me that they have bred.

After about ten days, you should notice the eggs in the female's abdomen. I have a cheap small hide box turned upside down and filled with about 1 1/2 inches of moist vermiculite. I then cover it with a larger hide box. The females will find it really easily. Be sure to check the hide box (twice a day). They will bury the eggs in the vermiculite. A good sign that they have laid is finding vermiculite pushed out of the laying chamber. Another obvious way is that their abdomen is skinnier. Remove the eggs immediately and place them in the incubator.

When I started breeding fat tails, I used what the books told me, Vermiculite. It is a great medium for fat tails to lay eggs in, but it is not what you want them to lay on while they incubate. Perlite is the way to go. You can find it at any gardening store and it is really cheap. Perlite will not mold or dry out eggs like Vermiculite. I lost a lot of eggs last year because of mold. Once I switched to Perlite, I haven't had that problem.

Humidity is the key to successful incubation. You would think that keeping the eggs moist is important, but less humidity is best for Fat Tails. Don't actually mist the eggs, this could cause them to drown in water and kill the embryo.

Here is the setup I have:

1. Hovobator View Turbo Fan Model at 85 degrees F
2. Perlite and water mixture
(1 part Perlite to 0.8 part water by weight)
3. Rubbermaid Containers 24 oz. Servin' Savers Rectangle

Here is how you setup the Rubbermaid containers

Weigh on a scale an empty container without the top.
Record the weight or Zero out the scale
Add the Perlite into the container until 2/3 full
Weigh the container again.
Take the weight of the perlite and multiply it by 0.8
That is how much water weight you need to add.

With the container with perlite on the scale, take a water mister and mist the whole area until the right amount of water weight is added.

Cover the container and place in the incubator until eggs are laid.

Once you have set up this egg container, you will not need to add water to it at all during the egg's incubation period. Sometimes you can use it several times before needing to rehydrate it. Each container can hold up to 20 fat tail eggs. After the container sits for a while, you will notice that the perlite will be dry. Don't worry about this. You should be able to see the water droplets on the bottom and sides of the container. This keeps the eggs at the proper humidity level.

When the eggs are laid, place them in the container and close the lid over them. This keeps the moisture trapped in the container for the eggs. Leaving it open will cause the perlite to dry out.

Open the container once a week or more to let out any Carbon Dioxide that has built up in there. A temperature of 85 degrees F will produce both female and male off spring. If you want mostly females, drop the temp to around 83 degrees. Increase the temp to 87 for mostly males. It will take 60 - 80 days for you to see the eggs hatch. The percentage of actual hatchings is around 40%, so don't be discouraged if you lose a few eggs.

I hope that this information helps you become more successful with breeding Fat Tails. E-Mail me if you have any additional questions I can help you with. A special thanks goes to Albey Scholl for teaching me the incubation technique.

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