In Japan now the area will be buzzing with activity.
The Koi have all been spawned and the fry are now out in the fry ponds growing.
Its quite an amazing thing to get your head around about how it all works.
Lets take Shintaro Koi Farm for example. They have bred around 7 sets of parents this season. If we are conservative in our estimates we can guess that each female has dropped a minimum of 500,000 Eggs.
So we have 3.5 million fry…
With the culling process which each breeder does differently, to their own bloodline and their own traits. Go-Sanke (Kohaku, Sanke and Showa) are very difficult because these are the main players in Koi Shows and most collections all over the world, they have to be perfect.
Now a MASSIVE number of the fry will not make the grade, they will not make a saleable grade so its not worth growing them on. Also imagine the size of a farm that can grow 3.5Million Koi, its impossible.
Showa can be culled after 5 days because they are either black or white, they keep the blacks, as they are a black based Koi. Then, like the Sanke and Kohaku they are released into the fry ponds which are pretty big.
After 30/40 days they are culled again, on each cull they take out 90% of the fry which have no value to the farms. 90% after every 30/40 days, leaving 10% to carry on growing.
Each breeder knows which fry to cull to their own standards, and their own traits. So they know from YEARS of experience how to pick at this stage.
When we go in March/April to select Tosai from breeders, the 3.5 Million fry have been culled down to around 2500 saleable Koi. Incredible numbers really, and this shows why its a very difficult process. Out of those 2500 Tosai, maybe if the breeder is lucky he will keep 250 of those to grow on to Nisai (2yr olds) out of those 250 Nisai, maybe 30 pieces will be grown on to Sansai (3yrs) Its hard to get your head around…
Below are some videos send direct to us from Shintaro Koi Farm, as you can see its fascinating to see how they do it.
Here are some pictures I took myself when I visited Japan during the breeding season.
It really shows how hard it is for Koi Breeders to produce high class Koi.