Powerfeeding. Yay or Nay?

GreyPsyche

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You can't powerfeed a sling from what I've gathered. It will just go into premolt sooner and stop eating for a longer period of time. You can't speed up the time that is needed to form a new exoskeleton underneath the old one. The concept of powerfeeding came drifting from the herp-hobby but is not applicable on Theraphosidae.
When a sling is full and has all the resources that it needs, it will simply stop eating.
i have very limited experience but I've drawn the same conclusion from all of my little slings.
 

The Grym Reaper

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I feed my slings every 3 days, juvies every 7 days and subadults/adults every 14 days.

My slings get to pig out on whatever they'll actually eat until they go into premoult but I feed fairly small meals (no bigger than the abdomen) to everything else.
 

GreyPsyche

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I fed my OBT sling a large cricket that was bigger than herself, I crushed the head first, of course. She hasn't eaten again since so I wish I hadn't. Then again I haven't given her another cricket, I've only tried meal worms ever since maybe it's time for a cricket.
 

sasker

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You can't powerfeed a sling from what I've gathered. It will just go into premolt sooner and stop eating for a longer period of time. You can't speed up the time that is needed to form a new exoskeleton underneath the old one.
I think the whole idea behind powerfeeding is that you can shorten the time between (pre-)molts, thus shortening the time the spider remains in its sling stage.

I only 'powerfeed' my slings during summer. It can get crazy hot during summer in Bulgaria and my Ts are more hungry then. Temperatures drop during winter and I put my 'glutton' species on a diet to avoid overly large spider booties. :D
 

Nightstalker47

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You can't powerfeed a sling from what I've gathered. It will just go into premolt sooner and stop eating for a longer period of time. You can't speed up the time that is needed to form a new exoskeleton underneath the old one.
I don't like the term "power feeding" but I believe that slings who are fed regularly will outgrow their siblings that are not. Feeding is most definitely in direct correlation with how fast the exoskeleton forms underneath, if you don't feed a sling enough it will take forever to molt. They need food to grow as any living creature would, so yes it does speed up the process. This is why "power fed" slings grow at a faster rate.
 

Andrea82

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I don't like the term "power feeding" but I believe that slings who are fed regularly will outgrow their siblings that are not. Feeding is most definitely in direct correlation with how fast the exoskeleton forms underneath, if you don't feed a sling enough it will take forever to molt. They need food to grow as any living creature would, so yes it does speed up the process. This is why "power fed" slings grow at a faster rate.
Powerfeeding as I understand it, is the practice of feeding an animal a lot to get it to molt. You can't force a spider to molt. You can feed it a lot, to get it to premolt phase sooner, yes. But the exoskeleton forming underneath the old one needs time to form. I don't think you can quicken that process, especially when the spider is already in premolt and not eating anymore.
Feeding alone doesn't get the spider to grow quicker.
If you add the temperature rise as @sasker mentioned, you might get it to grow quicker. But even then, the forming of the new exo takes time, and the bigger the spider, the longer that is going to take.

I'm not saying i'm against feeding the slings a lot, on the contrary, I feed mine every two days or so, with slightly elevated temps to indeed fatten them up after molting. But the premolt fase is just as long as slings that I kept cooler and/or fed less.
I am not an expert, so this is purely based on what I've read and seen for myself.
 

Nightstalker47

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Powerfeeding as I understand it, is the practice of feeding an animal a lot to get it to molt. You can't force a spider to molt. You can feed it a lot, to get it to premolt phase sooner, yes. But the exoskeleton forming underneath the old one needs time to form. I don't think you can quicken that process, especially when the spider is already in premolt and not eating anymore.
Feeding alone doesn't get the spider to grow quicker.
If you add the temperature rise as @sasker mentioned, you might get it to grow quicker. But even then, the forming of the new exo takes time, and the bigger the spider, the longer that is going to take.

I'm not saying i'm against feeding the slings a lot, on the contrary, I feed mine every two days or so, with slightly elevated temps to indeed fatten them up after molting. But the premolt fase is just as long as slings that I kept cooler and/or fed less.
I am not an expert, so this is purely based on what I've read and seen for myself.
I see what you mean, but your point is much more prevalent with juvies/adults, who will have a much longer fast or pre molt if over fed in a short time frame.
@Nightstalker47 @Andrea82
It would be pretty easy to test that. I think I'll give it a go with my L difficulis slings.
Funny you mention that, I briefly tried this with my L.difficilis slings as well. Only I stopped the experiment when I noticed how the 4 well fed slings skyrocketed in size compared to the one I wasn't feeding as much. They all lived in the same temps, only one was fed much less and clearly it had an affect on its growth.

I've since started feeding it heavily and it's now almost caught up to the siblings. But the largest of the group is easily double the size of the smallest, and even amongst the well fed slings there is some variation in growth. I'll see if I can snap some pics when I get home. In order to properly conduct this experiment it would require more individuals, as I only had one less fed sling to observe, how many slings do you have? If your working with a good amount you could conduct this experiment in a much more reliable way.
 

Venom1080

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I see what you mean, but your point is much more prevalent with juvies/adults, who will have a much longer fast or pre molt if over fed in a short time frame.

Funny you mention that, I briefly tried this with my L.difficilis slings as well. Only I stopped the experiment when I noticed how the 4 well fed slings skyrocketed in size compared to the one I wasn't feeding as much. They all lived in the same temps, only one was fed much less and clearly it had an affect on its growth.

I've since started feeding it heavily and it's now almost caught up to the siblings. But the largest of the group is easily double the size of the smallest, and even amongst the well fed slings there is some variation in growth. I'll see if I can snap some pics when I get home. In order to properly conduct this experiment it would require more individuals, as I only had one less fed sling to observe, how many slings do you have? If your working with a good amount you could conduct this experiment in a much more reliable way.
I don't know if it would work the same for me. I feed my two pretty much the same but one is easily double the other. I guess it could be male, but it would be interesting if it wasn't.
 

Trenor

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I see what you mean, but your point is much more prevalent with juvies/adults, who will have a much longer fast or pre molt if over fed in a short time frame.

Funny you mention that, I briefly tried this with my L.difficilis slings as well. Only I stopped the experiment when I noticed how the 4 well fed slings skyrocketed in size compared to the one I wasn't feeding as much. They all lived in the same temps, only one was fed much less and clearly it had an affect on its growth.

I've since started feeding it heavily and it's now almost caught up to the siblings. But the largest of the group is easily double the size of the smallest, and even amongst the well fed slings there is some variation in growth. I'll see if I can snap some pics when I get home. In order to properly conduct this experiment it would require more individuals, as I only had one less fed sling to observe, how many slings do you have? If your working with a good amount you could conduct this experiment in a much more reliable way.
I usually buy 4-6 slings from the same sack at the same time when I buy slings. I feed them all on the same schedule and they sit side by side on the same shelf. Which keeps them at the same temps. I've never had a group where all the slings all grew/molted at the same rate. There are always some who out pace the rest of the group and others that seem to grow slower than the rest. Out of about 11 or so sling groups (60 or so slings) this has happened.

With my 4 G.pluchripes slings the biggest one is 3 inches and the smallest one is 1.5 inches and the other two are in between. They were fed the same with the same temps. Totally different growth rates.

My slings (and the rest of my Ts) are kept at around 75-83F all the time and now I feed the slings weekly. I used to feed my slings every 3 days and since I changed I haven't noticed much change in their molts either way. Either way the slings were plump so if they got it all in one meal per week or in 2 meals per week didn't seem to matter much. They are just going to store up the extra until it is needed.

I think a sling will only molt so fast. That is because the new exo needs to be grown before the next molt can happen. I do think if you keep your Ts in a cooler environment and hold back on the food they could slow down the molts to conserve their energy. I think that would require consistent cold temps and very little food. I base that on what I've read of people trying to grow males slower so females from the same sack can mature before the males mature. Baring that, I think with adequate food and warm regular temps a T will molt as quickly as it can regardless of if it gets the food in 2 three day meals or 1 weekly one.
 

Angel Minkov

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But the exoskeleton forming underneath the old one needs time to form. I don't think you can quicken that process, especially when the spider is already in premolt and not eating anymore.
You're joking, right?
 

Nightstalker47

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I usually buy 4-6 slings from the same sack at the same time when I buy slings. I feed them all on the same schedule and they sit side by side on the same shelf. Which keeps them at the same temps. I've never had a group where all the slings all grew/molted at the same rate. There are always some who out pace the rest of the group and others that seem to grow slower than the rest. Out of about 11 or so sling groups (60 or so slings) this has happened.

With my 4 G.pluchripes slings the biggest one is 3 inches and the smallest one is 1.5 inches and the other two are in between. They were fed the same with the same temps. Totally different growth rates.

My slings (and the rest of my Ts) are kept at around 75-83F all the time and now I feed the slings weekly. I used to feed my slings every 3 days and since I changed I haven't noticed much change in their molts either way. Either way the slings were plump so if they got it all in one meal per week or in 2 meals per week didn't seem to matter much. They are just going to store up the extra until it is needed.

I think a sling will only molt so fast. That is because the new exo needs to be grown before the next molt can happen. I do think if you keep your Ts in a cooler environment and hold back on the food they could slow down the molts to conserve their energy. I think that would require consistent cold temps and very little food. I base that on what I've read of people trying to grow males slower so females from the same sack can mature before the males mature. Baring that, I think with adequate food and warm regular temps a T will molt as quickly as it can regardless of if it gets the food in 2 three day meals or 1 weekly one.
My observations have been similar with my L.difficilis. I have 3 P.irminia that are all about the same size and none seem to be outpacing each other. With slower growing spp. like G.pulchripes I'm in the same boat. I have two slings and one is much larger, both are fed just as much.
even amongst the well fed slings there is some variation in growth.
However, the less fed sling was way behind the others in size. I can attribute this to much less feeding, as the others got maybe 3-4 feedings a week and he was once every 2 weeks. Plus when I started feeding heavily he began growing way faster.

@Venom1080 it's very possible your larger one could be female, the biggest of my L.difficilis is a sexed female, and I have a group of 3 L.parahybana slings with the largest being a suspect female, IME males dont always grow faster. I've had many pokie females outgrow males as well. Anyway it was hard to get decent pics of all the slings together so I got a side by side of the largest/smallest who just recently molted.
 

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Angel Minkov

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You can speed up the forming of the new exoskeleton?
The new exo isn't formed beneath the old one, its secreted during the molting process, after apolysis. Feeding more increases the spider's metabolism, meaning faster growth e.g increased frequency of molting. I'd know, because I don't feed my spiders that much and I have Poecilotheria slings at L1-L2 taking months to molt, because they have a very steady diet and aren't kept very hot. ^^
 

Andrea82

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The new exo isn't formed beneath the old one, its secreted during the molting process, after apolysis. Feeding more increases the spider's metabolism, meaning faster growth e.g increased frequency of molting. I'd know, because I don't feed my spiders that much and I have Poecilotheria slings at L1-L2 taking months to molt, because they have a very steady diet and aren't kept very hot. ^^
It looks like I have some homework to do. But where does the notion of the new exoskeleton forming under the old come from then? I see that being posted all the time....
 

Trenor

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its secreted during the molting process
Yes, during early premolt where it forms up underneath the old exoskeleton like a soft bag. Most people just refer to this as it growing underneath the old one. Once it is ready and the T is ready it kicks off the molting process.

It looks like I have some homework to do. But where does the notion of the new exoskeleton forming under the old come from then? I see that being posted all the time....
Here is a good write up of the whole process if your interested. :)
 

Andrea82

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Yes, during early premolt where it forms up underneath the old exoskeleton like a soft bag. Most people just refer to this as it growing underneath the old one. Once it is ready and the T is ready it kicks off the molting process.


Here is a good write up of the whole process if your interested. :)
Thank you for the link and info...but this article is also saying the old exo is formed underneath the old one. So where was I wrong then to illicit a response from @Angel Minkov that I must be joking?
o_O now I'm confused...
 

Trenor

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Thank you for the link and info...but this article is also saying the old exo is formed underneath the old one. So where was I wrong then to illicit a response from @Angel Minkov that I must be joking?
o_O now I'm confused...
I don't know. The new exoskeleton is secreted very early during the molting process but it does require time (not sure how long but I imagine it increases the bigger the T is) to form. What we refer to as premolt (the abdomen darkening) takes place after it's formed up and the T is separating the old exoskeleton.

All of this takes time. That's why, regardless of how much food you shove it's way, and how much you raise the temps, at a given point slings are not going to molt any faster. If you try to push food past this then eventually the sling will stop eating and you get your long time premolt fast.

You also can't just go with how frequent you are feeding. 1, 2, 3, 4 times a week doesn't really tell much. A person feeding slings meal worms 3-4 times a week are likely not feeding much more (if any) than I am feeding a small plump dubia once a week. However, if you feeding 1 meal worm every two weeks then you are likely to notice a big difference in growth rates. You are cutting way back on what the T needs and that will increase it's time between molts.

Just like in my post above, if you drop the temps enough and cut way back on food you can dramatically slow down the Ts molts. No matter how extreme you "Power Feed" a sling there is a limit to how fast it can molt.
 

Angel Minkov

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So where was I wrong then to illicit a response from @Angel Minkov that I must be joking?
Saying you can't quicken the process of molting. The premolt itself - perhaps not, but the time leading to the premolt stage can be lessened by feeding more frequently (with "good" food, by the way - what you feed your tarantulas impacts their growth rate, as you can imagine) and raising the temperatures, thus making your tarantulas' metabolisms faster. And of course there is an upper limit to how fast a tarantula can molt, and no matter how much we feed or raise temps, we can't trick their biology, that's pretty obvious and I thought that stating it would be redundant ^^
 

Andrea82

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Saying you can't quicken the process of molting. The premolt itself - perhaps not, but the time leading to the premolt stage can be lessened by feeding more frequently (with "good" food, by the way - what you feed your tarantulas impacts their growth rate, as you can imagine) and raising the temperatures, thus making your tarantulas' metabolisms faster. And of course there is an upper limit to how fast a tarantula can molt, and no matter how much we feed or raise temps, we can't trick their biology, that's pretty obvious and I thought that stating it would be redundant ^^
In that case it was purely semantics then, because I stated premolt itself can't be sped up, and this whole discussion is redundant ;)
 
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