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RE: Whats average grams lost weekly?

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Posted by: PHLdyPayne at Sun Jan 2 13:41:00 2011  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by PHLdyPayne ]  
   

very small levels of coccidia are fine, providing the dragon is healthy otherwise. Any stress can allow the coccidia flare up to dangerous levels.

During brumation, you want temps 75F or less during the day and between 60-70F at night. its fine having lights on 8 hours a day, just reduce the wattage so temperatures don't go over 75F in the cool end of the tank. However many people place the dragon into a completely dark place without any lights or heat for 2-3 months without any harmful effects. The idea is to keep the dragon cool so it goes into a hibernation state...Once in this state weight loss should be extremely minimal. I would say less than 10g a month.

When my dragon brumated, she was in temps around 70F or less and stayed in deep brumation for 3-5 months. Though I didn't weight her before and after every year (or the dragon I had before her) the times I did, the weight loss was no more than 30g. She was a full grown adult of about 450g or so, so the weight loss was less than 10% of her total body weight.

If your dragon is loosing a gram of weight every day...and lethargic...most likely something else is going on than brumation. Treatments for coccidia can be harsh and it can take awhile for a dragon to recover from it. Make sure he's getting a probiotic and plenty of liquid to get appetite back. I would be less inclined to allow it to go into brumation and keep temps up at proper levels, and plenty of bright lights in the tank and even in the room, so the dragon doesn't associate a dark room despite a light cage as time to brumate.

As for egg laying being stimulated by brumation...they don't always produce eggs even if brumated and often dragons will lay eggs without it too. SO even if your vet is against breeding, it doesn't mean the female won't produce eggs. Only if she's been with a male will she have fertile eggs.

Alot of vets are against breeding as more often than not, most people who decide to breed do it more on a whim or due to carelessly keeping males and females together, and babies end up suffering in the long run. A single bearded dragon can produce 100 eggs in one year, that is alot of mouths to feed, not to mention finding space for and new homes. So I can see why your vet would not be supportive of breeding. He probably gets alot of poorly treated pets or knows all the local shelters are full of unwanted animals, from cats and dogs to exotics of every kind. Saying he's against breeding doesn't mean he's a bad vet, just one who is well aware that there are huge amounts of animals being born who end up dead, or abandoned because irresponsible owners can't care for them or don't want to be bothered finding good homes, or just not breeding.

This isn't to say you or many other people who come here are not responsible breeders who take the extra time to ensure all their pets are properly cared for and all babies go to good homes. However between these forums and the chat rooms...as well as other areas, I have encountered many people who's only reason to breed their animal, is a simple 'wanted to try it out for fun'...Breeding shouldn't be 'for fun'. Especially with a species as prolific as bearded dragons.

I have bred reptiles before but always in small numbers, and I haven't bred dragons. I could have, I certainly have the knowledge to do it successfully but I never really had the space, time or money to care for 50-100 or more babies, much less confidence I could find homes for that many babies within 6 weeks of their birth. The reptile shows have tons of bearded dragon breeders, the local classifieds always have baby bearded dragons for sale...most nothing special in coloration etc...but I saw this as a sure sign the market is rather gutted in my area. If I sold all the babies, I doubt I would break even on the cost of caring for so many babies.

However If a person takes the time to research, is prepared for the space, cost and likelihood have having to keep babies who don't sell right away even into adulthood, then I certainly have nothing against them wanting to try their hand at breeding. If its just to have the experience of breeding a reptile, I definitely suggest they pick up a gecko, whether its a leopard gecko or crested gecko, or any other reptile who isn't likely to lay so many eggs as bearded dragons. Crested geckos are great for this as they are painfully easy to care for...aren't expensive, not hard to find at any pet store or reptile show (which will be alot cheaper), even adults aren't that expensive..they are easy to keep, don't' take alot of space and lay between 6-10 eggs a year. Very easy to get them to breed and incubate the eggs but give the same experience of breeding a reptile and caring for the babies till a new home is found. With such a small number of eggs per clutch (typically just 2 per clutch) the new breeder isn't overwhelmed by eggs and babies.

sorry for the long post...just had alot to say. Just keep in mind this isnt' directed towards anybody specifically..I know many of you are successful and wonderful breeders who focus on the health of the adults and babies they keep/produce. I am also certain you have fun doing it too...but more importantly love the animals you are breeding/keeping.
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PHLdyPayne

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