Making my gravid female comfortable

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Making my gravid female comfortable

Postby carolinelucy » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:25 am

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Hello!

I was just hoping for some advice from more experienced bearded dragon owners.
I have two lovely beardies that I rescued, both about 5 years old, they lived in pretty neglected conditions. They are housed separately. The female, Moana, is due to lay her monthly infertile eggs. She is at the point where I am pretty sure I can feel them, eating mountains and desperately trying to scout out a nesting area.

This leads to my first question / predicament. She is so restless, which I know can be normal because she wants to find her perfect nesting area, however; I have set up her lay box (exactly how a topic on here said to do) She doesn't like it. All she does is desperately try to escape and climb out and claw at the walls. So i put her back in her tank and she does the same. I know this is probably because she isn't quite ready to lay yet (especially as she is still eating and hasn't lost her appetite yet). Unfortunately i can't just let her run around the house like she would want to due to a couple of Labradors who are a little too interested in her and places that I know she would probably climb under = bye bye beardie! My question is: is it better to keep her in the nest box or her vivarium at this point? She is stressed in both and doesn't seem to know where she wants to be.. I just want her as comfortable and stress free as possible..

Second question.. due to the poor condition they were in when I got them they were both underweight. I am a veterinary nurse (NOT an exotic specialist though!) so I am lucky that I can take them to my work regularly (my vets are not exotic vets but know enough, unfortunately the nearest exotic vet specialist is about 1 hour away) I managed to get my male completely sorted and he is so chunky and beautiful now. My female is still quite slim though, I am obviously concerned because she does not seem to put on weight like my male. Her situation was not helped by the fact that the old owner kept them together and so the male was continually mating her and she was continuously laying which took a lot out of her nutrition and energy. Now she lays her infertile eggs about once a month and every time i seem to get her looking filled out, she lays and becomes very skinny again. I try to encourage her to eat the more fattening grubs e.g. wax worms but she just loves her locusts too much and won't settle for anything that she can't chase around her enclosure like the hunter that she is. I also give her baths with critical care in the water, this is basically just a nutritional supplement that I got from my work that is safe for use in reptiles. Am i being an overly worried beardie mum? Do other peoples females lose this much weight when they lay? Is there any diet tips that people could give me?

Sorry for it being such a long winded post. I am very grateful for anyone who could give me some further information. Thank you! I will try and attach some pictures of her (if she stays still long enough to let me).

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]
carolinelucy
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Re: Making my gravid female comfortable

Postby AHBD » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:26 am

Hi there, Moana is a bit thin, too bad the old owners housed them together. Just feed her live insects a few times a day, and give her the Critical Care via syringe as a food supplement rather than in the water. Baths may be stressful so limit them to 2 times a week just to let her drink. Keep her in the tank and just put her in the laybox once a day. Can you post pics of her laybox ? Once she REALLY is ready to lay she should start digging, but they like deep substrate and privacy. Don't bring her to work [ if I understood that's what you're doing ] but leave her home in her tank.

If the tank is big enough you can include a small laybox within the viv like this one I used to have for my girls. A log leading up to it for easy access.
https://www.beardeddragon.org/useruploa ... _small.jpg


Do you now how many clutches she has laid so far ?
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Re: Making my gravid female comfortable

Postby carolinelucy » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:27 am

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply!

1. Don't worry I am not taking her to work with me, I just meant that I am lucky to have the access and opportunity to medical advice and treatment should I need some.
2. Unfortunately I do not have a picture of my lay box, It is a 80L plastic storage box (it needs to be really deep or else she climbs out) and I have filled it currently with 10L slightly damp tortoise substrate (this is what I was recommended to use?). After what you said I think I will buy another 10L to make it even deeper. I then have a clip on heat bulb that I have attached to the side. I then cover the lid with cardboard to give her privacy and have placed it in our spare room where no one ever goes.
3. Okay I will try syringing her the critical care. Interestingly I was informed previously on another advice forum not to syringe her (she sometimes gets understandably quite stressed about it) and to place it in her bath instead as this is less stressful. I think I would be more satisfied syringing it to her as then I know how much exactly she is taking in, aside from what she send flying everywhere! I am currently only bathing her once a week, just as you said to give her drinking opportunity and keep her hydrated.
4. Goodness knows how many times she was laying before I rescued her. When I initially took her on she was pregnant, she laid 2 clutches of fertile eggs in one month (the first clutch of about 20 and the second about 12). Since then she lays about once a month (about 15-20 infertile eggs). I have had her since April. It is getting to the stage where I can pretty much predict when she will be due to lay.. I feel like this is quite frequent laying? I know she could still have some sperm stored but the eggs appear to look infertile (shrunken and yellowish).
5. I like the idea of having the lay box in her tank, I'm pretty sure I could work that out if I remove some of her climbing logs and her hammock (much to her disapproval no doubt).

Thank you so much again, I really appreciate your advice.
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Re: Making my gravid female comfortable

Postby AHBD » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:02 pm

You're welcome. :) And yes, I thought you probably meant that you can take her to work if needed at any time.

The Critical Care in a bath would give her zero benefits. They must take food + nutrition through the mouth. Just think of the huge gulps she'd have to take to get a meal of it in the bath. :shock: .Still, don't force it if that's the only way she'll eat it, [ the person on the other forum was probably concerned with aspiration ] just dab or dribble it in her mouth. If she doesn't like the taste, get some raw honey or something all natural to flavor it with [ grape or apple juice, but just a bit ] Some beardies love sweet potato baby food, so try that mixed with the C.C. If she likes it she'll eat it.

How many insects and what type will she eat ? Offer as many as she wants twice a day, just not too late in the day.
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Re: Making my gravid female comfortable

Postby carolinelucy » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:41 pm

Interesting! Okay, I will definitely be heading down the baby food isle tomorrow after work! :mrgreen:

She loves anything that involves a chase. Crickets are her main diet but I try to change her up with locusts. Occassionally I can trick her into eating a wax worm or two if I (sorry wax worm) throw them accross the cage and she thinks they are something to chase and pounce on. She is such a predator! My male enjoys a diet of morio worms, meal worms, wax worms (as a treat) and sometimes the odd cricket (though he is a bit of a wuss and can get scared off if the cricket jumps about too much! Polar opposites!) Obviously, I alternate them with fresh greens as well, though neither of them are keen on those. She can eat anything up to about 10 crickets at a time and I try my best to feed her as many times a day as possible, at least two if I am unable to do more. They're sleep pattern is 6pm - 6am so I never feed them after 4pm, they look at me as like i am crazy if I even try to :roll:
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Re: Making my gravid female comfortable

Postby AHBD » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:54 pm

Very interesting, she sounds like a bearded lioness. [ Doing all the hunting :) ] Anyway, yes do give her as many crix + locusts as she'll eat twice a day. Flying waxworms, they certainly do need an apology, lol.

Your lights should be on for about 14 hours a day, you can cut them back to 12 during the winter but 14 is more natural for a day cycle.
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Re: Making my gravid female comfortable

Postby AHBD » Wed Aug 16, 2017 9:33 am

How's she doing ?
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Re: Making my gravid female comfortable

Postby carolinelucy » Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:14 am

She is doing okay, thank you for asking.

I don't think she was as close to laying as I thought as she recently did a huge poop which shrunk her tummy quite a bit!! There are definitely eggs in there but she isn't quite ready to pop. She is still at the point of eating lots and looking around for a suitable nest so I am mainly keeping her in her viv at the moment and when she begins to dig I will start putting her in the lay box. As for her weight, she has started eating more wax worms and meal worms so I am trying to feed her as many of those as she wants. We are getting there slowly :)
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Re: Making my gravid female comfortable

Postby AHBD » Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:53 pm

rickets are better nutrition wise than meal or waxworms, they contain more protein. A lot of people breed dubia roaches for their reptiles, too.
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Re: Making my gravid female comfortable

Postby carolinelucy » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:48 pm

Oh okay, So would you suggest I stick with crickets then? I was thinking that the grubs and worms would have more fat and protein :study: so better for her to put on weight..

I just assumed that because the crickets sound so crunchy that I kind of thought they were majority shell and casing without many nutritional properties whereas the worms are more squishy so packed with more goodness :lol: Learning a lot here thanks! :D
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