We all want shooters on our farms! Shooters are the best part of a fish that was hatched. They grow very fast and are obviously bigger than their peers. However, here is why you should not buy 5000 catfish shooters!
The label ‘shooters’ is thrown about very loosely amongst the fish hatchery circles. People who sell fingerlings and juveniles are always quick to claim the fishes they are selling you are ‘shooters’. But how true is this?
Here are 5 reasons why the fishes you’re are buying may not be ‘shooters’
1. There is no prefixed number
I am an experienced hatcher myself. This experience has taught me that we can’t foresee or predict the number of shooters when the fishes are hatched. The shooters start being obvious from the second week after hatching. We separate them from the general pond because they would eat their peers.
Separating would further allow them to continue to grow absurdly larger than their peers. They can eat the fishes (their peers) and reduce drastically the total number of fingerlings or fries in the pond.
Generally, the shooters into are separated pond from the second week. Now, we can’t know the total number of shooters we would see in advance. We would just remove them as we see. Most times, in the hatching of 1 female to 1 male, this ends up being about just 200 shooter fingerling. How then would we get you to buy 5000 catfish shooters?
2. We stock the shooters for Broodstock.
Now Catfish Hatcheries in Nigeria run through Broodstock at an alarming rate. We are always seeking for new Broodstock. As a hatcher, when you spot good fast healthy growing fish, the first instinct is to keep them for yourself! You would keep the best performing percentage of the fishes in your own farm to raise as grow out table-sized fishes. You can also keep the best percentage of shooters for future broodstock. Almost every catfish hatcher does this. So you cant be hope to buy 5000 catfish shooters from them.
3. You are not the first buyer in the fish batch.
If you are not the first person to buy from a batch of fish, it is almost impossible that you are getting the ‘shooters’ from the batch. Let me explain.
Fingerlings and Juveniles sales business is a time-sensitive business. You have this large amount of fingerlings that you have to sell within 2 months or else you would not have the space to keep them beyond that time.
So what do you do? From 3 weeks old, you start advertising the fishes as Ijebu-fingerlings. Yes, that’s a thing!- It is a direct reference to people who don’t want to spend so much to buy fingerlings and so would take a smaller size of fingerlings. It would interest you to note the writer of this article is a proud Ijebu boy! (Eweeso omo alaare!).
This also depends on the reach of the hatcher. Let’s assume he isn’t able to get an immediate market for his fish. As they get to 4 weeks, he now markets them as fingerlings. The first person to come would most definitely pick the biggest of the fingerlings. Thus, the best-growing part of the batch of fish (shooters).
Remember he has sold say 4000 to 2 people. But he still has about 6000 fishes to go and they are still on his farm growing. By the 7th week, he advertises that he has juveniles for sale. He does have juvenile for sale. But if you were to see the size of the first 4000 fishes he has sold wherever they are all factors being equal, they would be bigger than the ‘juveniles’ that he now has for sale.
Except if its a very large hatching production with about 60,000 fingerlings available, the chances of getting 5000 shooters from an average batch of 10,000 fingerlings when you are not the first buyer is pretty slim.
See here for how to get the best fingerlings or juveniles to buy
4. The obvious size difference means they would eat your fishes.
Shooters are always obviously different in size from the regular fish batch. If kept in the same pond with their peers, they would eat their peer and the wideness in the gap of their sizes would continue.
The shooters would also not all be consistent in size, if we were using numbers to represent sizes, if the regular fishes were all 2 in size, think of having a 4,5,6 and 7. That’s how jarred up the shooter size distribution usually is. So you would not want to just keep irregular-sized fishes in your pond and most likely won’t be offered such by the hatcher.
Now, this is not to say, if you cant get shooters or you won’t get good fishes to rear on your farm if you are not the first buyer of a batch of fingerlings. See tips on how to get the best fingerlings or juveniles to stock on your farm here.
With every successful hatching done with good broodstock and proper rearing of the fishes, you would normally get a distribution of 5 per cent shooters. 40 per cent first class, 30 per cent average, 15 per cent lower class and 10 per cent runts.
Here is how to raise your own fingerlings or juvenile on your farm
I hope this article has helped in demystifying the myth of buying shooters in catfish farming.
The first class is what one should always strive to buy when buying fishes, and here are tips in identifying the best fingerlings to stock.
If you are just starting your fish farm project, these are things you must know here.
You can ask your questions or leave comments in the comment section.