1st time gravid beardie won't lay the rest of her clutch

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1st time gravid beardie won't lay the rest of her clutch

Postby chelle4450 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:24 pm

My 1 yr old female Pi, who BTW had shown 0 signs of being gravid, desperately wanted out of her cage on Tuesday. She usually gets frantic about getting out of her cage when she has to potty, but she had already gone this day so I didn't think that was the case. I let her out, and she began shuffling her back feet, which is a sure sign to put down paper quick if I don't want to launder my comforter! I placed her on the paper and she lifted her tail, gave a couple of pushes, AND LAID AN EGG! I knew that they could lay without mating, but I expected to see some signs. Her belly wasn't swollen or hard, she hadn't quit eating, she hadn't quit pooping. The only strange thing is she had a weird light orange curly substance either in her poop or urate a couple of times lately. Anyhow, now I'm in panic mode. Build a lay box now! First we used a large shoebox sized plastic bin without its side panel filled with a sand top soil mixture at a 45 degree angle, and placed it in her enclosure under her light to keep warm. She wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. Wednesday comes and she lays another egg on the ground in her cage. We took the sand dirt mixture and put it in a larger box that she could be placed inside of. Nothing, just scratching franticly trying to get out of the box. We let her loose in the house, she just runs all over, under, and around, and can't find what she feels is suitable. Thurs. no changes, just a frantic hard to please lizard. She has now stopped eating for 2 days, and her belly is getting bigger. Fri. I went to home depot and bought a 50 quart plastic steralite container with a lid, a 50 lb bag of play sand, and a clamp lamp with a flood bulb as directed by yet another site. Again packed the moist sand 6-8 in deep about 1/3 of the way across the bin then slanted it down at 45 degrees, cut a whole in the lid for the light. Warmed up the sand as well as I could, and put her in. Nada...nothing..ahhhhhhh! I feel so bad for her, she is so anxious, and hyper. It's like her instincts just aren't telling her what to do. I've tried taking her little feet and digging with them, I made a hole in the sand, and put her cave over top so it looked like a tunnel. I want to help her, I'm terrified she's going to become egg bound. Now I can feel the eggs in her belly. If anyone knows what to do. Please any suggestions. Oh yeah, and I've been giving her a ton of warm baths, just because that helps her when she is constipated, so I figured why not?
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Re: 1st time gravid beardie won't lay the rest of her clutch

Postby AHBD » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:11 pm

Hi there, beardies sometimes take a while to just settle in and get the job done. Keep putting her in the box at least once a day, usually late afternoon is when they lay. Not too many baths, that can cause stress. Was she eating well + did you use a good calcium powder ? Do you have a good strong uvb bulb ? Pics of her set up + her laybox would be helpful. Here's how to post pics :
https://www.beardeddragon.org/useruploads/ Then use the XIMG to upload them here
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Re: 1st time gravid beardie won't lay the rest of her clutch

Postby EllenD » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:34 am

I agree, she's probably just not ready to go. It's good that you got the much larger plastic tub and put the slanted hill of damp playsand only (should not be wet, just slightly damp enough that it can take the shape of a tunnel) in it. My suggestions to you are to start a deep tunnel in the middle of the slanted sand hill, and to put the clamp lamp on the side of the plastic tub, pointed at the sand hill, but I wouldn't put the lid on it. That may make her feel shut in and nervous. Anytime she is in her regular enclosure/tank and she starts to become frantic, put her in the plastic tub near the tunnel you've started for her and make sure the white basking bulb is on her (halogen indoor flood bulb is all we use on here for basking bulbs, pretty much, so that's good). Keep her in for short periods of time if she's not digging or moving around and she's just sitting there doing nothing, like an hour or two at a time.

As far as worrying about her being egg bound, you're right to worry, it's an extremely dangerous and always fatal situation if medical intervention isn't given immediately upon realizing that's what is going on. However, the main sign of a dragon or a bird being egg-bound is that you're going to see her constantly straining to lay an egg with no results, as well as a black beard. That's when you put her in a warmer than average bath that is deep enough to submerge her vent and her belly. You hope that the warm water will relax her abdominal muscles enough to pass the egg, but complications often arise like an egg rupturing inside them and this causes a fatal infection called peritonitis. So if you see her straining for any long length of time without laying an egg and she has a black beard, you're best to get her immediately to the closest emergency animal hospital or vet, depending on what time of day it is.

For now she isn't egg bound, she just hasn't been ready to lay an entire clutch. As you said, you've just now been able to see/feel the eggs inside her and her tummy has gotten larger, so most likely the entire clutch wasn't fully formed and ready to go, which it will be soon.
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Re: 1st time gravid beardie won't lay the rest of her clutch

Postby chelle4450 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:39 pm

Thanks so much for the advice. We feed both of our dragons 90% BSFL, neither one are very interested in vegetables or fruit yet. I offer it, but it rarely gets much more than nibbled at. Usually kale, endive, or greens (collard & mustard) and mostly mangos and berries. We stopped dusting with calcium when we switched from crickets to BSFL about 4-5 months ago. Pi was eating fine up until last Tuesday, which i guess was the 14th. I listed Pi as 1 yr old, but she is actually about 17 months. She is a yellow leatherback. She is about 19" and around 400gm. Draco is our male who was given that name the day we adopted him, but because of how jumpy he has always been is better known as "twitchy" ( when you have children you can't call your overly jumpy beardie tweaker😜😂) He is super spikey with beautiful orange ears and beard and green, orange, and tan pattern. He is a little over 21" and 500gm. If I figure out how to post the pics, I'll find some of them. I'll attempt to post pics of their enclosures, hers is about 48" long x 24" deep x 18" tall, and his is the same only 24" tall. We use Powersun mercury vapor bulbs. If I get the pics to load, you'll see their old reptisun 10.0 tube lights, but those are basically just used for lighting sometimes, as they are old and not putting out significant UV anymore. A lot of our play equipment is homemade and not at all fancy ex. Screens for climbing, gutter guard for climbing, upside down box for cave. It doesn't look great but they love it. Pi' s enclosure is the one on top (again if I can load the pic). She usually has a hammock as well, but it recently fell. We have to find a more secure way to hang hers. She also usually has a hide cave on her cool side, but I buried it in her dig box for her to tunnel into. I think I answered all of your questions, again thanks for helping. You know how it is with these guys, they always have you worried about something. BTW Pi laid 3 more eggs today for a total of 5. She laid them in front of the cave in her laybox. She laid one at one time and two later, but all in the same place. So that's something I suppose. Thanks again
-Chelle

Habitat
[Click image to enlarge]


Laybox
[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: 1st time gravid beardie won't lay the rest of her clutch

Postby AHBD » Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:53 pm

Those are nice big enclosures. Don't worry about the hodge podge decor, it's all the same to them and as long as it's safe + provides what they need for climbing , hiding, etc then it's all good. Looks like a jungle gym for beardies. :) I think another branch or log would be better than a hammock BTW.

A few concerns....I don't agree with the claim that the Phoenix or calci worms don't need to be dusted. They can all vary as to their calcium content so better safe than sorry and use calcium powder without D3 2X a week and without D3 once a week, esp. for a egg laying female. And do you know how old the Powersun bulbs are ? Be sure to change them about every 8-9 months for best uvb exposure.

As for the laybox, try to pile the sand up higher on one end and don't use a bright light like that. Either use a ceramic heat emitter or a dark purple night light. Beardies really don't seem to like bright light on them while trying to dig a nest box. If the room is warm enough you won't need a light at all and you can keep the lid on the nestbox to make sure she doesn't try to climb out. How often did you put her in and when did she lay them ?

You can actually put a smaller laybox right in her tank...I used one for years that was about 22" L by 13"W by 8" high. I kept the lid on and cut a corner hole out as an entrance + set a log next to it. I stuffed it with damp sand, just leaving enough room for the beardie to climb in + start digging. My girls used it for years. Here's a pic of it :

https://www.beardeddragon.org/useruploa ... _small.jpg
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Re: 1st time gravid beardie won't lay the rest of her clutch

Postby EllenD » Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:42 pm

I was going to add what AHBD already did, as i have been feeding BSFL for 15 years as my live staple feeder (I currently have 3 and had a male as my first who lived to be 13 with no issues at all, and my current 3 are perfect as well), but I still dust with calcium at least 3-4 times a week and a multivitamin at least 2-3 times a week, as all the studies I've ever read have shown that ONLY THE EXTREMELY DARK BSFL HAVE A HIGHER THAN AVERAGE CALCIUM CONTENT. So 9 out of 10 BSFL have no more calcium than a cricket or a roach do. And especially with a gravid female, I'd be dusting with calcium every day for her, it's a must, that's exactly what usually causes them to become egg-bound, the female doesn't have enough calcium to make adequate shells and they are not hard and get stuck, or worse, all of the calcium is sucked out of the female and used for the eggs, and then their bone density is drastically lessened and they end up with MBD and weakness in their back end's and they can't lay the eggs. So please, do not stop dusting their BSFL, as I already said most of the BSFL you're feeding them have no more calcium content than any other live staple insect, only the ones that are almost black and ready to change do.
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Re: 1st time gravid beardie won't lay the rest of her clutch

Postby chelle4450 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:36 pm

Thanks for the advice, I will definitely start dusting their food again. When we first switched to BSFL I was still dusting a few times a week, and Pi started getting this weird orange spot in her poop/urate. When I searched for information on it, all I could find as a cause was too much CA in diet.
[Click image to enlarge]


An update on Pi,
As of Sunday she had laid a total of 5 eggs (starting on Tuesday). This is Tuesday (a week later), and still no more eggs. She is still hyperactive in her enclosure in the mornings, so I move her to the laybox. If I leave the light on she scratches at the sides of the laybox, just like her habitat. If I turn the light off, she gets still and cold and just lays against the side of the box. I put her back into her enclosure after a couple of hours to warm up, and offer food and water. As soon as she warms up she starts frantically scratching, and we start the process over. She has been laying eggs for a week, when should I be calling a vet. I definitely don't have extra money lying around, so I don't want to if it's not necessary. I also don't want anything to happen to my sweet little girl. I'm also going to post pics of her and twitchy at the bottom (just because I'm a proud momma)! Thanks for the help guys, I really appreciate you as a resource. I have used this site since the day we brought our babies home (Pi, and Thorn), sadly we lost thorn as a juvie. You guys were there for me for that too. I can't loose Pi to this. So when do you think it's time to consult a vet?

Pi with my daughter and Oreo the cat.
[Click image to enlarge]


Twitch at his favorite time of day (mealtime).
[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: 1st time gravid beardie won't lay the rest of her clutch

Postby AHBD » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:13 pm

She'll probably lay more within the next few days. Can you put a small laybox in her tank like the one I had in my previous post ? That may make her feel more comfortable.
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Re: 1st time gravid beardie won't lay the rest of her clutch

Postby chelle4450 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:36 am

I can try. The first box I tried was in her cage. It was about the size of a large shoebox (like for boots). We used moist packed topsoil and sand mixture, but it didn't seem to pack down very well. She ignored it completely. I hadn't yet bought the large bag of play sand. I didn't have it set up like you did though. I cut the short side panel out, and packed the substrate high on the opposite side panel. So she could walk in at the bottom of the hill. Do you think I could use that again, or should I buy another container with a lid, and cut a hole in it like yours? Should I use just sand, or sand/soil mixture? I do feel better now that I saw another post with someone who has a girl that is as picky as mine. Their girl took 10 days to let go of her full clutch. It helps hear that it's normal for it to happen this way sometimes. I'm a nurse, and it kills me not to understand the urgency of their conditions.
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Re: 1st time gravid beardie won't lay the rest of her clutch

Postby AHBD » Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:01 am

I know it's nerve wracking when they have eggs to lay and time is passing like that. :? Do you have the lid for your shoebox that you were using ? If not, just turn it upside down and fill it almost full, with a tunnel started at the open end. And you can still put her in the big laybox once a day with some heat on it, just pile the sand up much higher + start a tunnel in there.

She should eventually lay them all like the other poster's dragon did but if too many days go by or if she seems sluggish it's up to you to decide if you might want an experienced reptile vet [ and I stress, only an experienced one , otherwise the vet can do more harm than good ] Sometimes the dragon may need a calcium injection if they had not been receiving quite enough. You can also offer some calcium powder mixed with water via eyedropper/syringe. But I do think she'll lay them with no problem any time now.
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Re: 1st time gravid beardie won't lay the rest of her clutch

Postby chelle4450 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:28 pm

Pi Update
She laid 12 more eggs today. I put the original laybox we had made her back in her cage, added sand until it was full and put a cardboard box overtop with a small entance hole. As instructed, i started her a pretty good cave. I had to put her in there when she started getting frantic in her cage. FINALLY she started digging 😅! It took about three tries to keep her in, before I covered her entrance loosely with a towel (she could still get out, just couldnt see out). . She stayed in there for most of the day working feverishly, and finally came out about 730pm. She had laid 11 eggs, and she layed one more when I took her out of her cage to look. So thats 12 today, with a total of 17. She is exhausted, so i put her to bed. Her belly still has a few suspicious lumps, so im going to leave her box in for a couple of days. She'll either lay more or poop, I suppose. Thanks a million for all the help, I know i've been a complete spaz!! I never knew when my kids asked for these guys that I would get so attached. I love these babies so much I've seen how quickly they can go from seemingly normal to crtically ill, with our Thorn we lost as a juvie. Im grateful that wasn't the case with Pi. Thanks again, for helping me maintain some sanity.😉 Have a happy holiday season!
Chelle
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Re: 1st time gravid beardie won't lay the rest of her clutch

Postby AHBD » Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:35 pm

Excellent ! She was just waiting to the very last moment and felt more at home in her tank. Silly girl. :) Give her a soak + a drink tomorrow, food after she's warmed up and be sure to use calcium for sure. She may lay another clutch in a few weeks.
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