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 Post subject: A tale of 2 dragons
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:20 pm 
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EGG
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Georgia belonged to my young nephew and had become a neglected pet. My sister asked me to take her on. She came home with 2ft viv, with a mesh top and sliding front doors. This had a reflective lamp on top with a daylight bulb in it. Bark substrate and ceramic bowl and small bark tunnel.

When we got home I went to a local pet shop that dealt in reptiles for advice. I came away with a red heat bulb as dragons cannot see 'red' so it could also be used at night, a new daylight bulb and a 'branch'. I was told that I did not need a branch as dragons did not climb. Feeding advice was on the lines of fruit and veg dusted with vitamin powder, crickets, locusts, & occasional waxworms.

Over the next couple of years we muddled on with a main diet of living lettuce, crickets, locusts & waxworms (more recently morio worms & calciworms). Georgia was not really keen on fruit & veg, but did eat the living lettuce. But in the main preferred critters. Now, that's a real learning curve, feeding the critters! without them escaping, sometimes it seems as if I spend as much time feeding them as I do Georgia

We have used various different substrate from sawdust, newspaper and numerous other bedding as deemed suitable after being told the previous was 'unsuitable'. We have used newspaper (didn't like it) reptile carpet (didn't like that either) some sort of wooden wool that packed down quite nicely, calci sand, etc etc. we are now on orchid bark and some sort of repti wood chip.

When we upgraded her viv to a 4ft one she looked 'lost' in it. She spent a lot of time glass walking in-between sleeping. We had thought about getting her a friend but did not go actively looking for one. Females around here are not readily available.
Then along came dragon number 2. Whilst in a local reptile shop they had a female that no-one wanted, they said she was about 2. She had most of her tail missing and looked very wrinkly. Anyway she ended up coming home with me.

We put them in together all seemed to be going well, new dragon arm waving and very quiet. Georgia did have a few head bobbing episodes and her beard went black. Thinking they needed time to get to know each and it being unfair with this new dragon put in her home we took them out and let them roam the lounge. What a mistake, Georgia went nuts and took at her at a run biting the back of her head. We put the new dragon back in the viv and let Georgina have a roam about outside. About now we're thinking maybe this is not such a good idea but with 2 dragons and 1 viv we were a bit stuck. When we put Georgia back in the tank all seemed better and the new dragon (will someone please help me find her a name) was quite happily sitting on top of Georgia under the basking lamp.
It appeared that all might work out ok. We found that the new dragon loves veg & morio worms and was not as adept as Georgia at catching crickets. There were moments when Georgia would turn on the new dragon and latch on to the back of her head. intervened and thought again about splitting them up, then all would be well again.

3 weeks down the line new dragon is looking nice and plump, but things were not going well, Georgia had started biting new dragon on the back of the head and was head bobbing a lot of the time with her beard black. New dragon was going nuts in the viv and kicking up a hell of a storm as if desperately trying to escape. Georgia retreated to the cool side of the viv and went to sleep in the corner. Previously unheard of and new dragon is still doing her nut in the viv.

All seemed to then go quiet and new dragon seem to have decided to wedge herself under the small log tunnel and against the 'branch'. Thats when I noticed the eggs! a very nice pile of snowy white eggs. She was then obviously trying to bury them. A quick internet search later and I have several take-away trays lined with damp cotton wool I put the eggs in this put the lids on and put them in the airing cupboard. All the time this is going on Georgia is blissfully unaware at the other end of the viv. It now appears that Georgia is a George and we have 19 eggs to incubate.

Next day we went out and bought an incubator for the eggs and set up a new viv for new dragon. The week that follows, Georgia is doing a wall of death in her viv and new dragon is lethargic and not really eating much, the only time she seems to have any energy she is also doing a wall of death in her viv. Feeding wise - Crickets yes but not the calci worms I got to try and help replace her calcium. During this time I have searched the internet and read just about every site I could find regarding breeding.

Thats when I stumbled across this forum. I am now going to be posting all over the place on this inadvertent breeding journey I have started, I will need as much information as possible on what to do during the next few months.

Back to the dragons, I was fed up of them trying to get out, so put new dragon back in with G. You wouldn't believe it, black beard gone, sitting side by side unless new dragon is on top of G No fighting at all!

What I am wondering is. Could new dragon have already had fertile eggs when I bought her and what do I do with them now. they seem to be best friends.
Would love to hear your thoughts on all this - Sorry about the long post but I wanted to get the basics covered x


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 Post subject: Re: A tale of 2 dragons
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:50 am 
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Location: Victoria Australia
OK given the performance you've described Georga is George, the whole performance is male mating/dominance display and whilst they're together he will continue to mate from time to time. As it is she could well lay another 2 or 3 clutches from the one mating, in this event I'd freeze the eggs immediately they are laid.
Despite the performance by George they do need to be separated and to stop his racing around position his viv so he cant see Georga2 (that includes any reflections he may be able to see). She will be flat for a while so make sure temps are up around 39~42C on the basking spot and if she can't be tempted with the worms then ensure the crix are well coated with calcium, if you can face it a few pinky mice will help put condition back on her although you may need to pop the first one down her throat. You've got around 60 days to get some sort of enclosures arranged before the eggs hatch and you will need at least 2 if they all hatch OK.
If you can tell us a little about your set up, temps, type of lights, heating, UV and maybe put up a photo we'll see what else we can do to help out.

Rick

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 Post subject: Re: A tale of 2 dragons
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:31 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:51 am
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Hi Rick
At the moment they are behaving like the perfect couple and seem very happy with each others company. Will I have to move her permanently, or just at certain times? Do they have a mating season?

She is eating very well at the moment (so is G) but already looks like she has been 'blown up' She laid the first clutch in the viv with G asleep at the other end. Will she lay there again or should I try a lay box?

You say the eggs should hatch in about 60 days, they are at 16 days at the mo. Will this give me a chance to breed some crickets for any of the eggs that may hatch? I have a very small dubia colony, but as I only have about 45 it will take a while to get going> I just love watching them. At least breeding bugs

I do seem to be spending a lot of time on dishing up food for the bugs as-well as the beardies, So can imagine what an effort it is going to be.

Will try and upload a couple of pics at the end of this post.


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 Post subject: Re: A tale of 2 dragons
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:32 am 
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I'm afraid that your boy will be in the mood permanently and the risks of damage due to excessive mating or dominance games is to high to maintain them together. I've known dragons to get on well for 2~3 years then for no apparent reason turn and fight, this is a prime example of what can happen https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 822&type=1 (this vet specialises in reptiles). You really won't be able to breed anywhere near enough crix to keep them satisfied so you'd be better buying bulk 3mm size crixs - babies grow at a phenomenal rate and need 2~3 feeds daily plus veg. to ensure that they grow up healthy. A laying box is preferred and helps preserve the decore in the viv a bit - it'll still get trashed but not quite as badly. :D
As a separate issue there are a few things that I feel can be improved in the set up. Dragons do see red and as they actually need a temperature drop at night they will be happier with a normal household spotlight - 60 or 75 watt are best as dragons really prefer basking under a bright white light. Temps need to be around 39~42C on the basking spot dropping to mid 20's at the cool side with overnight temps dropping to around 16C.Do you have digital thermometers? The stick-on dial type are quite inaccurate and can vary by up to 5C :shock: Wood chip itself is dangerous as if swallowed when hunting it can cause blockages and death, a better choice is playsand plus sandstone slabs (crazy paving style) this gives areas to dig in, rough surfaces to help keep nails short and varied surfaces to help exercise their feet.

Keep asking questions we're here to help and don't mind how long your posts are!

Rick

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 Post subject: Re: A tale of 2 dragons
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:53 am 
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EGG
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Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:51 am
Posts: 13
Thanks for your comments, but it gets really confusing with advise regarding substrate. Both local reptile shops say you should not keep a dragon on sand and that orchid bark and that other stuff that looks like woodchip is the preferred substrate. Over the last 2 years we must have had every substrate out there. But just to recap, can you explain why most forums say 'no sand' as it causes impaction. Maybe this should be a debate for a different thread.

We are just off out to buy some new bits for them, bearing in mind all of the above. I suppose a household spot is going to be quite a bit cheaper than the reptiglow ones we have. Just in case anyone else is wondering, Why do they have a hot spot and a cool spot, I thought the reason for this was so that they could choose which temp they needed.

I do have a separate viv for her, still seems weird to think of G as a boy now.

On a different note, one of my roaches has just shed, its amazing to see a bright white roach in the tank. Roaches may have to be re-housed to make way for babies.

I really wish I had come across a bearded dragon forum before now. Before I go, do you think there is any possibility that new dragon could have already have been gravid before I bought her, as she had only been here 3 weeks before she laid the eggs?


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 Post subject: Re: A tale of 2 dragons
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:54 pm 
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Sand - over here the areas that they live in are covered in a very sandy topping interspersed with baked hard earth or stone so a fine sand is quite natural for them and whilst I've seen deaths due to impaction from substrates such as bark and wood chip I've yet to come across a death caused by impaction from something like playsand. Calcisand is a different matter as it actually clumps and sets in a lump when wet and has caused impaction problems. Personally I've used a mix of sand and sandstone for 10+ years and have never yet had any problems and the only death we've had on this forum was due to impaction from wood chips. A temp gradient from 39C down to mid 20's is needed so that they can thermoregulate as you thought and "yes" it is possible that she was already gravid when you got her but it could also have been your other guy. If you can take a clear well focussed photo of the area just behind it's vent we can have a go at sexing him definitely for you.

Rick

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 Post subject: Re: A tale of 2 dragons
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 12:17 am 
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Thanks for your input Rick
Today they are both driving me mad, they were in together until last night. They were both going nuts, digging and glass walking, food all over the place. I decided to let them both out. George immediately pounced on G2 grabbed her by the back of the head. Obviously I separated them and put them in separate vivs.

Bring on today. G2's eggs are 19 days old and yesterday I could feel nothing in her belly, today maybe a small lump or 2. She is going mad digging glass walking, digging, scraping at the corners won't eat the lovely calci worms I fattened up for her. Q1 Could she be getting ready to lay a 2nd batch this early?

Meanwhile in viv 2. George is also going nuts, scraping and hitting the glass, (divider so they could not see each other) I was worried that both of them were going to get sore noses, I put them back together and G2 jumped all over George. I was worried about Georges's eyes, so split them up. This glass scraping continued all afternoon, not a moments peace from either of them

This evening I put them back together George is on the log all flattened out and G2 is sitting on top and peace at last. This lasted an hour, when G2 starts going nuts again, This time Goerge isn't too happy with the commotion so is now trying to bite her again. Split them up again.

G2 is going really ballistic now digging and scraping where ever she can. does seem to prefer the temporary cave I have created for her, Pretty much where she had the first batch.

If this is how they behave I do not know why on earth anyone would want to breed from these animals, its heartbreaking to see all this commotion, she is definitely desperate to find a laying spot and the commotion from George is just as bad.

The next batch of eggs are going in the freezer.

Q2 What is the best way to keep these 2 together in seperate viv's. Once she has finished laying will peace reign?

Mx


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 Post subject: Re: A tale of 2 dragons
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:25 am 
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OK - generally they will go between 21 & 28 days between clutches and eggs get laid a few days after the pacing starts, so I'd try and put some sort of laying box in for her now. With all ours I have them in separate enclosures stacked so there is no possibility of them sighting each other, it's then a matter of letting them settle down which may take a few days and hopefully then all will be peaceful.

Rick

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 Post subject: Re: A tale of 2 dragons
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:26 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:51 am
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Sandbox made and in viv - little girl is now happily digging away

just out of curiosity, if a male and female are kept together, would this go on every 3 weeks?


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 Post subject: Re: A tale of 2 dragons
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:19 pm 
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This can go on fairly continuously until eithr she dies from calcium deficiency or turns on him they fight and one is so badly damaged it dies. Having said that it is also possible for them to live together "fairly" well but even then breeding may well continue at a slower pace. Basically it really isn't worth the risk to either of them.

Rick

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 Post subject: Re: A tale of 2 dragons
PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:49 pm 
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That's awful, poor dragons.

Marge (finally named because she looks like Marge Simpson) finally laid 24 eggs as soon as she had dug out a corner of the lay box (now put aside for future use).

She buried the eggs 8 inches deep then laid another on top? I put her in a bath of warm water and had a feel of her tummy. There was still one left, which she laid in the viv.
She had a few calci worms last night and a few more this morning along with a bowl of veggies. Now all is still and quiet in both viv's.

I am assuming that this will happen again in another 3 weeks as she has not yet laid an infertile egg.

I have 19 eggs incubating. How many would I be able to keep in a 4ft viv? I have heard that you should only have 5 to a viv, but what size viv?

Marie x


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 Post subject: Re: A tale of 2 dragons
PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 11:27 pm 
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We start with 10 to a 4ft viv and then it depends on how they all behave as to whether we split them up further (down to 5 to each enclosure). If you do see one starting to bully then switch him out of that enclosure and swap him for one from another viv, it usually works but isn't guaranteed.

Rick

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 Post subject: Re: A tale of 2 dragons
PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 11:38 pm 
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Thanks Rick
I am going to get 3 stacking 4ft vivs & 2 x 24" Viv's, As Marge is going to need one to herself, George can go back in his and out of the 2ft prison, which should then leave me plenty of room for the little one's (assuming they hatch)

It all seems too easy at the moment. What is your hatch rate?

Marie x


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 Post subject: Re: A tale of 2 dragons
PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:44 am 
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99.9% :) Then again all ours have been planned. There's still no reason why you shouldn't get that sort of rate - with the 2ft tanks you should experiment with the temps so that you can get a good heat gradient - don't want to cook/dehydrate the littlies. :shock:

Rick

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 Post subject: Re: A tale of 2 dragons
PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:48 pm 
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Hi
Just a quick update really
3rd clutch of eggs have arrived today, 22 days after the second clutch.
They all look fertile to me (no yellow ones), does this mean she will go on to have a 4th

Marie x


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