Blog post: Monarchs! →Monarch question?

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This thread is in reply to a blog post by LysmachiaMoon entitled "Monarchs! ".
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
Dances with Dirt
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gardengus
Sep 6, 2021 3:19 PM CST
I know a lot of people keep the cats in some type a cage

Why?
are they in danger of being eaten?
or just fun to watch?

Do you keep them inside or outside?

Thanks for any information
Smiling Cinda

Thumb of 2021-09-06/gardengus/021627
todays find Smiling
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
There is More to Life Than Now
Name: Annie
Waynesboro, PA (Zone 6a)
Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Region: Pennsylvania
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LysmachiaMoon
Sep 7, 2021 1:39 PM CST
Great info at www.monarch-butterfly.com


Monarchs are in trouble in the US. Monarch caterpillars in the wild have only a 5-10% chance of maturing into butterflies. Collected caterpillars raised in containers have a 95% chance of maturing into butterflies (who can then breed and make more!). I use a sterlized white 5-gallon plastic bucket (food grade) with a screen lid (actually a grease spatter screen from Dollar Tree). I put a small twiggy branch in it because when the cats get big they instinctively climb up to find a spot where they can go into the chrysalis stage. They eat ONLY milkweed leaves. I usually put in one fresh good size leave per cat per day. I try to limit the number of caterpillars per bucket to no more than 4-5. They need to be protected from birds, being stepped on, predatory wasps, other insects, severe weather, etc. One of the biggest killers of eggs, caterpillars, and chrysalis is roadside mowing machines.

It is DEAD EASY to raise them. Just set the enclosure where it gets indirect sunlight (I keep mine on a table in the office) and put in the milkweed leaves every day. They don't need anything else. Once every couple days, I remove the dried up chewed up leaves and as much of the droppings as I can. They aren't very active, so I usually lift out any cats that are on leaves, set them on the table, do the housekeeping and put them back. I don't touch the cats...not only are they "icky" but you can transfer germs to them.

You can get very elaborate with a monarch raising setup, a friend of mine converted a small chifferobe/Armoire into a big monarch cabinet complete with lighting, but it's really not necessary. She travels the county collecting eggs and cats and usually releases upward of 100 butterflies every summer. My record is around 20.

I really REALLY encourage you to try it. It makes a great project for kids and it's so rewarding to watch the butterflies emerge (especially if you catch them in the act of transformation...from caterpillar to chrysalis (after 2-4 weeks depending on size) and from chrysalis to butterfly (about 1 week).
The end is nothing, the journey is all.
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
Dances with Dirt
Butterflies Cottage Gardener Birds Vegetable Grower Herbs Frugal Gardener
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Organic Gardener Composter Bee Lover Garden Procrastinator Frogs and Toads
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gardengus
Sep 7, 2021 6:25 PM CST
Thank you for the information and encouragement

We are to get a big storm tonight (need the rain) so I brought the potted milkweed with tiny babies inside the greenhouse and collected a few big ones off the common milkweed into a bucket like you described.

There are a couple dozen caterpillars on various plantings around the garden , don't have room to collect them all Smiling

Interestingly I have seen fewer butterflies than normal and many more caterpillars than normal Shrug!

Thanks again Thumbs up
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
There is More to Life Than Now
Name: Bria
Northern VA (Zone 7a)
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Bschmuck
Sep 7, 2021 7:08 PM CST
I've done it mostly as a project with the kids, so we can learn about the monarch life cycle and get to really watch every aspect of it, which is insanely cool.

I've also been disturbed to watch birds swoop onto my milkweed and snatch up big fat caterpillars that I've been watching grow for days. So, it brings me comfort when I've been able to make sure they're safe until they can fly away.
[Last edited by Bschmuck - Sep 7, 2021 7:08 PM (+)]
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Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
Dances with Dirt
Butterflies Cottage Gardener Birds Vegetable Grower Herbs Frugal Gardener
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Organic Gardener Composter Bee Lover Garden Procrastinator Frogs and Toads
Image
gardengus
Sep 8, 2021 11:19 AM CST
No rain Angry just lots of wind and darkness
I sat the bucket and pot out on the N .side of the greenhouse It gets too hot on a sunny day. All the cats accounted for Smiling


Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
There is More to Life Than Now

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