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Butterfly Farming for Kids...and Adults
We think of butterflies as wildlife...but so were dogs and cattle and sheep at some point in history. Now they have become domesticated.
Butterflies can't be "domesticated" -- as in made tame...but they can be raised and make a great urban farming experience for a family that will pay attention to the details involved.
Butterflies are losing their natural habitat, and some butterfly enthusiasts simply raise and protect the different native plants that their favorite local native species need for laying eggs, feeding the larvae (caterpillars) and crysallises.
Others take the farming process a step further and create a safe haven for the breeding, egg laying and feeding processes. The 200 to 500 eggs that a butterfly pair can lay is great stock for selling to wedding planners...or releasing in the wild. However....
Farming is never that simple!
There are things to learn in order to do this wildlife management responsibly. There are regulations by the USDA, there are proper feeding procedures, diseases to manage, and daily and seasonal work routines to establish.
But just think of the opportunity to learn about the wonder and life cycles of butterflies!!!
A great resource for those interested in "farming" butterflies is the International Butterfly Breeders Association. Their extensive website (www.butterflybreeders.org) provides practical information and discussion by their members that will help you get started and handle the butterfly breeding process responsibly.
They show you in Special Reports how to build butterfly cages out of laundry baskets and how to make a display post butterfly cage ... and many other helpful tools and techniques.
With global climate change, wildlife of all kinds will be facing more habitat challenges, and quality care for wildlife will need to take many forms, and will need the help of thousands of caring enthusiasts who will learn, advocate, and take practical steps to help them through traumatic populations shocks due to more severe weather events such as droughts, storms and floods.
If butterflies are special to you...maybe you have what it takes to be a special advocate and farmer of butterflies!