The Art & Science of Chahoua Pairing

MichaelMDG

Administrator and Gecko Guru
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279
Location
Atlanta, GA
Hi All,

I find myself in the midst of my second "crappy" chahoua season - lots of dud eggs, which makes me think my males aren't getting the job done. Females are reliably laying beautiful eggs but they're infertile.

Over the years, I've left some pairs together, swapped out others, repaired them, and more. I'd love to hear from some of you on:
  • Do you leave pairs together for life?
  • Do you split up pairs - if so, when?
  • How do you determine what animals to pair together?
  • When do you break and then repair your animals?
  • What has your success rate been with pairs that have been together for longer or shorter amounts of time?
Needless to say, I've been thinking through my strategies for 2020 and would love the insight from others :)
 

ArborealsAnonymous

Moderator
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116
So, last year I had one chahoua pair that laid 8 eggs total, 3 looked good when laid, only one hatched to survive. This year I had laid 73 eggs total, and of those only 32 looked good when laid. I am only about halfway through hatching season now, and a significant portion of the eggs that looked good have not hatched. I will need to get to the end of the season to see what the final numbers are. Some pairs have laid all good eggs, and some have laid all dud eggs. I don't know what the correlation is, as some are new pairs and some are old and there doesn't seem to be a relation between new pairs and old with their rate of fertile eggs. I pair all of my geckos in early december when temps are low, and I have had almost no fighting between pairs. From all appearances, my pairs seem compatible and sleep and eat together. What do you consider a successful/good ratio of fertile to infertile eggs, and of your fertile eggs, what is a good hatching rate? My leachianus are much more productive overall.

That was all eggs. As to other questions- if a pair seems to really like each other and is laying a good percentage of fertile eggs, i leave them be. No reason to fix whats not broken. I don't split up pairs that i plan on keeping together for the next season unless they look like they need a break, but if i want to switch them around ill split in october. I pair up animals based on what they look like and what their lineage looks like and what i think their potential babies could look like. If I am pairing up, I do it in early december when its cold and I have had pretty good success that way. I don't have long term success/failure rates on pairs because i just havent been breeding chahoua that long.
 

MichaelMDG

Administrator and Gecko Guru
Staff member
Messages
279
Location
Atlanta, GA
This makes me feel better - like I'm not the only person struggling! I've bred Chahoua for 10 years and these last two have really been a struggle. In the 2013 - 2014 seasons, every pair was laying 6+ fertile eggs and they were all hatching. I was swimming in babies and could barely control them all.

Now, I personally think I am struggling with some environmental factors living in the south, and having mild winters that don't cycle the geckos correctly. I just can't express how frustrating it is to have a record number of pairs and a record low number of offspring. I'm so frustrated. I'm hoping some others chime in to provide their thoughts as well.

My overall approach is very similar to yours with prolific pairs vs. unproductive ones, pairing timeframes and introducing in winter. Oh well!
 

ArborealsAnonymous

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
116
New caledonia has mild winters! I really, truly don't believe it to be a factor of mild winters- in fact I think that gives those of us in the south an advantage. New caledonia winter nighttime lows are only around 55 degrees. Inside, when i turn off heating for their room in the winter, thats about what the room stays at for night and basking lights on during the day which mimics the new caledonia winter daytime temps which still reach 75 degrees during the day. There is something missing from the way we treat these guys, but I don't think its poor cycling. Ive been researching a lot about green tree pythons lately and there is a new book on their habits in the wild, and it turns out that when they did a massive study on wild ones, our popular literature had been telling us to care for them the wrong way for 40 years. There was a measure of success in keeping and breeding them the old way, but as new keepers are shifting their habits, they are noticing increased health and productivity. We just havent had our eureka moment yet.
 

MelissaSR

Moderator & mad scientist
Staff member
Messages
114
Location
Toledo, OH
I had an amazing season last year, this season has sucked for me. I only have a few pairs so I don't have nearly as many, but last season one pair laid 4 clutches, all but one egg was fertile, another pair (my oldest pair) laid 3 clutches, all but one was infertile, the newest pair had 2 clutches, again 1 infertile egg. This season I have 2 clutches from my power house pair from last season, my oldest pair has laid 2 clutches one set being infertile and she is gravid again, and the newest pair has laid 2 clutches. I've had a couple pip and die. Now I had eggs laid in March which was a bit later than in previous years, I had trouble warming up the gecko room so that may be the cause for delay when normally I start finding eggs at the end of January as they naturally start going before I really heat the room up. So next year I am going to try and heat up in January and bit the electric bill bullet.

I keep my pairs together, they get along I don't want to ruin a good thing, and thus so far I like the babies they produce so I don't want to split them. I do know I will likely split up a pairing in a couple of years unless I find a different male sometime between this year and next year. I have an available male for that female but he isnt exactly what I would pair with her, and I plan to put him with a different female once she is old enough. So that will be my first time splitting a pair.

As far as what determines my pairing, the first pair, well was the only female I could get my hands on lol. The second pair I bought them as a pair, they complement each other so well. They didnt produce for their previous owner but they obviously have for me and their babies turn out with with really nice color. The last pair I am pairing based on pastels, and pastels running in their line. I kept one kid, an early 2019 hatchling from the 2018 season, so I cant wait to see how she turns out. Like I said I don't have a lot of pairs, but my plot will be much like the other species I work with, I look at the lineage to see how consistent the lines are and compare it to what I have and when I plan to produce. For me white collars are not my biggest concern, color is more of my top priority, I however have a white collar in each of my pairings so I still produce a good number of those also.

I do want to note though when we look at temps we have to remember where those temps are taken, and we also have to take into consideration the air pressure also. Ever wonder why hermit crabs act the way that they do when its high tide and you live nowhere near an ocean? Because they feel pressure changes. Breeding is stimulated by photo period, air pressure, and temps, people often forget it is more than just temperature. I think my biggest problem was I let the room stay at 70 degrees, but with their basking light it was around 72. This season I am going to push the daytime the daytime temps to 72 and that will push the chahoua up to around 74.

Not enough research has been done on the wild population of these guys, I think we pretty well touched base on that with the PI/ML is keeping locales separate post. I think we are missing key information, could be dietary, could be husbandry, really no idea since nobody has spent enough time there yet to do a several year study on them.
 
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