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RE: Whats average grams lost weekly?

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Posted by: PHLdyPayne at Mon Jan 3 18:30:12 2011  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by PHLdyPayne ]  
   

I am going by average eggs laid and average number of clutches...Not by hatch rates. Of course its possible to just incubate 10 eggs and destroy all other eggs lain...so a breeder only has 10 babies to deal with, even if the dragon continues to lay more clutches for the rest of the egg laying season.

My female dragon, who I feel is average length and weight...about 18-19" long, around 475g, during her third year, laid over 100 eggs spread over 5 clutches. Clutch size varied from only 18 eggs to 33 eggs.

Even going the low end of clutch number and size, you can still easily get 30 eggs. However, average clutch size seems to be more around 20 eggs and maybe 4 clutches in the season. How old and the size of the dragon will affect number of eggs and clutches, as well as the overall health of the female dragon.

I certainly am not against breeding... I have done it myself, but I wish all people try to be responsible breeders. Whether their goal is to make money, produce the next designer morph, help save a species from extinction or even just for the ultimate test of their husbandry skills, breeders need to know in advance, what they intend to do to ensure all offspring go to good homes.

Being responsible means doing the following:

-research care and special needs of the animal to breed them

-ensure animals are healthy and as unrelated as possible (if not trying to bring out a recessive trait, best to ensure they are unrelated)

-know the clutch/litter size averages of the species being bred

-have a plan on how to sell babies once old enough to go (where to advertise, reptile shows, local petstores/wholesellers etc. and make sure these are valid)

-have incubator(s) ready early and tested (before breeding starts)

-purchase caging for babies (hatchling racks, tubs, UVB fixtures, heat lights/heat tape, feed/water bowls etc.) Make sure you have enough for more than average clutch size.

-have several feeder/food suppliers lined up, go as local as possible to cut on shipping costs. (especially important for live feeders like crickets)

-make sure you have places to store feeders (be it tubs for crickets, or freezer for frozen rodents)

-save money to be used strictly for breeding project (to pay for bins, UVB bulbs, heating, food, supplements, extra tubs/racks if clutches are larger than expected. Vet checks/treatments if needed. When you think you have enough, save more.

Saving money and dedicating it to your breeding project is very important. As it can take 6 months from putting animals into brumation and waking them up before you see the first clutch hatching...many things can happen. Over the last few years it wasn't unusual to have people post here saying they need the cheapest cricket supplier online cause they have babies to feed but no money due to lost job etc... Following the steps above will ensure they have the cheapest cricket supplier even before the eggs are laid. And money to pay for food already put aside. If hard times require using the 'breeding' money, then the project should be discarded as humanely as possible...destroy unhatched eggs by freezing or crushing, babies can be euthanize at the vets or CO2 container. Animals shouldn't be starved or frozen once out of the egg. Reptiles can still feel the cold even if their bodies slow down alot faster than ours does.

I am probably being far more long winded than I need to be..but for an idea of cost...just on food, it can range quite a bit.

For 20 babies eating say an average of 25 crickets a day (spread over 3-4 feedings..and personally I think this is a low number, I am sure the breeders here can pipe in on how much a baby dragon can eat) thats 500 crickets a day eaten.

So a weeks supply of crickets would be 3500. If each 1000 box of crickets goes for about $10, that's $35 per week just for food and this doesn't include shipping or taxes..so it could easily be $40 per week. As most breeders like to stick to the 6" rule (don't sell babies under 6" in length) it could be 3-5 weeks before they reach that age and even if sold all at once, it means spending $105 to $175. But this can quickly go up even more if those 20 babies end up eating 50 crickets a day or you have 30 babies. Also, if you have more than one clutch, the next batch is likely to hatch 2-4 weeks after the first clutch hatches.

So, for money put away, I certainly recommend having at least $200 per 20 eggs saved up for food alone.
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PHLdyPayne

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