Date:  Monday September 4, 2000
Subject:  Experiment gone way wrong

Thought I'd let you all laugh at my expense here. I tried something the other day that should not be tried by the weakhearted.
Someone had told me a while back about how they fed crickets to their finches so I thought I'd try it. (Anything to make the little guys happy). This person freezes live cricket first (smart girl), then thaws them out and feeds a few at a time. Well I went to the pet shop and purchased two bags of a dozen small ones, placed the bag in the
freezer for 5 minutes, then dumped one of them in one of the aviaries (this aviary is screen and wood, the only place the crickets can get out is through the large spaces between the doors and the frames). The finches were ecstatic. The crickets disappeared in short order. I noticed that in the second bag that I didn't feed right away, some of the crickets started moving slowly when defrosted, they hadn't
actually died. These got eaten with gusto also. So then I bought a couple of dozen more a few days later, and froze them for only 3minutes. Same results, only a few survived, they all got eaten in short order.

Eventually I got brave enough to put one dozen totally live unfrozen crickets in there, between the finches and the button quail, they got eaten. So now this is where the dangerous part comes in. Instead of paying a dollar for a mere 12 crickets, my pet store also sells them 1,000 for 14.95 -- a whole lot cheaper.  They come in a box with
eggshell shell cartons and screened air holes. The pet shop suggested putting them in a 10 gallon aquarium to store them in. Did I listen ------ no. I thought if I just put a small hole in the box, and put the whole box in the aviary, the  crickets would come out slowly one at a time. Once the finches saw where the crickets were coming from,
they would lay in wait for said crickets and devour them one at a time.
Ok, well, crickets don't come out one at a time slowlly. They poured out one at a time at about the rate of twenty per second. I immediately stuffed a paper tower in the hole to stop the flow, it seemed to work so I walked away. I checked back a few minutes later and still saw them coming out through the paper towel After I noticed
I had about 200 crickets in there I grabbed the box and sealed the pening with tape and removed the box to outside. They were crawling everywhere in the aviary, on the floor, up the screen walls, every where. (The finches were just looking at them in awe). For the next few days, I had crickets everywhere!!!! Kitchen, living room, etc.
climbing walls, walking on the floor, everywhere. I gave up trying to catch them. I walked around the house with a fly swatter, stunning them and throwing them in to the quails and finches in another aviary. It's been about a week and I rarely ever see a cricket now, but do occasionally. Quite a few got into the cellar somehow, I saw three in my washing machine and a friends cats that I keep for her in my cellar had fun catching them, I saw about a dozen dead ones in the cat room.
So I now have the rest of that box in the spare freezer and I guess I will thaw a few at a time and feed them. Will I ever buy them again? I don't know but certainly not a thousand. Oh boy!!!!!

(4/8/01)  PS: I did buy them again.  I freeze the whole box of 1,000 in the freezer for at least an hour, usually 24 hours to be safe.  Then I dump the frozen crickets in a margarine tub and put them back in the freezer.  This way, they do not stick together.  Then each evening, I dump a few into a paper cup, and thaw them out in the fridge.  You can thaw them at room temperature, but I notice they turn dark whereas if defrosted in the fridge, they stay light.  My birds prefer the light ones, but will eat them either way.

These thawed crickets are loved by at least the following:
Senegal fire finches
Blue Capped Cordon Bleus
Swee Waxbills
Goulds (yes, goulds)
Blue Billed Fire Finches (African Fire Finches)
Parrot Finches

Yes, this an actual experiment I tried in September 2000.  It taught me several lessons.