4 Month Old Bearded Dragon Suddenly Stopped Eating

Lumina

New member
Hello, all. I’m a relatively new bearded dragon owner and I have been trying to research as best as I can, including reading many posts on this forum. This is my first post here, as I could really use some help and any and all advice will be considered and appreciated.

I have a rambunctious female beardie that’s a little over 4 months now that has practically stopped eating. Her name is Onyx and there’s quite a bit of story with her, but to make things simple, I’ll only mention the probably most relevant things just in case.

Background:
She had injured 3 of her toes prior to my adopting her. Half of one toe fell off, the 2nd and 3rd toes are malformed. She seems to be okay, though. They have completely healed months ago and don’t hold her back at all. They shed fine and have gotten stronger over time (I’ve had her since January).

Onyx was also diagnosed with parasites twice (a high case of pretty much the full spectrum of parasites minus Coccidia the first time, and then a mild case of coccidia the second time), and some type of bacterial infection that she’s been treated for the last 4 weeks and her last dose will be in a few days. Mind you, she was always a big eater and the parasites never held her back.

Some Important Info:
We were on a good routine for 2 months, but a winter storm hit the mid-States at the time I was due for another BSFL shipment. Due to this, I literally had no more insects to feed Onyx for over 2 weeks as every other supplier either overcharged like stupid or was notorious for terrible service and quality. (I was trying to reserve the silkworms to help her hydration for the medicine, so I couldn’t give her too many)

So, I had no choice but to feed Onyx mealworms. Terrible, I know, but I was desperate. I never fed a lot, just a few, and I watched her like a hawk. She had good bowel movements every day, and never seemed to struggle.

(I just want to note here that before I adopted Onyx, she was apparently being fed crickets and mealworms daily. I stopped that as soon as I got her, which she took extremely well and loved the new diet of Dubia. She’s not a picky eater when it comes to bugs as I’ve rotated and experimented feeders every 2 weeks or so.)

I eventually got my BSFL and we returned to our routine with no problems. However, due to the terrible circumstances from the winter storm, my BSFL supplier was low on feeders, so for my next shipment (a little over a week ago), I ordered from their sister site.

The Current Problem:
The BSFL weren’t shipped on time, and the post office also delayed it by 3-4 days. I had leftover mealworms to get Onyx through a few days.

Again, no problems.

However, 4 days ago, Onyx barely touched her greens for the whole day. Not a big deal, because she sometimes has her picky moments. She was still eating the mealworms and silkworms, and had good bowel movements.

But then 3 days ago, she refused to eat the greens at all. Okay…but still ate the insects and pooped normally.

2 days ago, Onyx refused the greens again for breakfast, but ate the insects. The BSFL finally came in the afternoon. They were all alive, but most of them were black, and stunk to high heaven. My family convinced me to feed her the BSFL anyway for the rest of the day’s meals, which Onyx ate them all with no problems.

But then yesterday, she ate most of the serving of BSFL for breakfast but left 8. She ate the 2 silkworms, though. However, she refused all food for lunch save for one silkworm. Then it was a struggle to get her to eat 3 silkworms for dinner. She had nothing else.

I immediately feared she was impacted and gave a bath, message, and olive oil. She pooped this morning, a good size, with no undigested bits, so impaction isn’t the case. However, while her urate was mostly formed and moist, there were a few chalky bits. Since refusing the greens, her hydration has gone down, so it's no big surprise, but still not good. She doesn't drink from a water dish, and will rarely take water from a syringe.

Also, this morning, she refused the greens again. She seemed interested in the BSFL (I switched to the lighter ones this time), but as soon as she ate one, she ran off and refuses anything else.

Behavior:
Her behavior during meal time has changed drastically. She is no longer excited or even cares. I can probably not go to her tank at all in the day and she wouldn’t care, whereas before, she would demand food (she knew the routine) and leap off her hammock the moment I set her food down.

Her behavior outside of mealtime has not changed much, though. She still enjoys her hide, and exploring, or running around when out and about.

She continues to stay in her Warm Area, but…before all this happened, she would bask as soon as she woke up in the morning before going to the Warm Area. Now, she doesn’t bask at all and just stays in the Warm Area.

Conclusion and Questions:
I’m pretty sure the BSFL is the main problem, and I won’t be feeding her them anymore, but that doesn’t explain her refusal of the greens days before the BSFL… The greens are still fresh and good, so it’s not like they’re spoiled.

Should I put her back on the mealworms? I don’t want to, but I seem to not have much choice once again. I only have 8 silkworms left, and finances are an issue right now considering I just blew this month’s beardie budget on bad feeders.

Is there also anything else that could be wrong? I heard baby bearded dragons could sometimes go into brumation, but she hasn’t been sleepy. Just not eating.

Or maybe something internal could be wrong? I tried research, but so many things have similar symptoms, or she just doesn’t fall into any of them at all.

I’m hoping I’m just being overly concerned, but I really have no clue and my family is tired from my even mentioning Onyx. :/

I usually get my BSFL (and dubia) from Dubiaroaches.com. Great and never had a problem. This last BSFL order was from their sister site, Gotdubia.com, which is terrible. Never ordering again. If anyone has any recommendations of high quality but cheap BSFL suppliers like Dubiaroaches.com, can you please point me in the direction?

Again, any help would be appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Set-Up:
About 40-50 gallon tank. (working on moving her to a bigger tank, but for now, I take her out often to hang out and roam free in a beadie-proof room.)
ReptiSun T5 10.0
Basking Spot: 100-110
Warm Area: 93-96
Cool Area: 83-86
Lights On: 13 hours
Eats 3x a day

Stable Diet:
BSFL
Silkworms
Collard Greens
Turnip Greens
Mustard Greens
(former) Dubia
(former) Crickets

Diet Only When Desperate:
Mealworms

Supplements: (all supplements are from beardeddragon.co)
Bee Pollen
Calcium Complex Powder 5x a week whenever used (I never dust the BSFL, but I always dust it on other feeders if she has them)
Multivitamin 2x a week
Probiotics once a day (ever since she started her medicine maybe 7-8 weeks ago, including the first time she was diagnosed with parasites)

(she absolutely hates supplements other than bee pollen on her greens, but she'll have the supplements on the insects)
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hopefully the meds have knocked out any parasites she had and she'll be in good shape going forward. Sometimes those can affect their appetite but it does sound like she's eating, just being a bit pickier than usual. I also had issues with BSFL shipments due to delays and cold weather. I wound up having to toss mine out after a while since they stunk and stopped moving around at all. If yours are moving around if you pick them up then they're OK. The harder black ones are OK too (they don't move so much) they're just in a more advanced stage of development toward being flies.

It sounds like your setup is OK and she is eating, just being picky. Don't worry about offering mealworms. They're OK to include in a varied diet, I just don't recommend them as a major portion of their overall diet. Dragons do tend to go through phases in which they eat less and they become pickier. I usually just keep offering food and let them take what they want. Their appetites usually return to normal after a while. I would keep a log of her weight so you can keep track of that over time. As long as that is remaining fairly stable or increasing, then I wouldn't worry too much.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 2
www.symtonbsf.com
www.mulberryfarms.com they have butter worms and horn worms just make sure you try and get small horn worms they grow really fast and only get small amounts of them also they are spendy on shipping as they ship Fed Ex
Dubia roaches is really good - I get all my roaches from them and horn worms - you got a great diet going - just make sure your UVB is correctly placed - for a fine mesh screen it needs to go inside the tank w/ a distance of 12-15 inches and for a wide hole type screen 8-10 inches both distances w/ basking decor directly below
 

Lumina

New member
Original Poster
CooperDragon":25etic47 said:
Hopefully the meds have knocked out any parasites she had and she'll be in good shape going forward. Sometimes those can affect their appetite but it does sound like she's eating, just being a bit pickier than usual. I also had issues with BSFL shipments due to delays and cold weather. I wound up having to toss mine out after a while since they stunk and stopped moving around at all. If yours are moving around if you pick them up then they're OK. The harder black ones are OK too (they don't move so much) they're just in a more advanced stage of development toward being flies.

It sounds like your setup is OK and she is eating, just being picky. Don't worry about offering mealworms. They're OK to include in a varied diet, I just don't recommend them as a major portion of their overall diet. Dragons do tend to go through phases in which they eat less and they become pickier. I usually just keep offering food and let them take what they want. Their appetites usually return to normal after a while. I would keep a log of her weight so you can keep track of that over time. As long as that is remaining fairly stable or increasing, then I wouldn't worry too much.
Oh, gosh. Thank you! What a relief. I'm glad the BSFL are still good, so they likely didn't make her sick. It just bothered me so much since she’s usually so ravenous for food, and this is a complete 180 ever since the BSFL (minus the greens, of course). She refused lunch again, but ate a bit for dinner, so it’s promising. Hoping it’ll continue to improve.

My scale started malfunctioning just last week, but I’ll be sure to get another tomorrow. Thank you for the advice and info. I really appreciate it!

KarrieRee":25etic47 said:
http://www.symtonbsf.com
http://www.mulberryfarms.com they have butter worms and horn worms just make sure you try and get small horn worms they grow really fast and only get small amounts of them also they are spendy on shipping as they ship Fed Ex
Dubia roaches is really good - I get all my roaches from them and horn worms - you got a great diet going - just make sure your UVB is correctly placed - for a fine mesh screen it needs to go inside the tank w/ a distance of 12-15 inches and for a wide hole type screen 8-10 inches both distances w/ basking decor directly below
Thank you so much for the links and suggestions! I’ll definitely be checking them. I once saw a video on hornworm growth, and oh my gosh, it was like over night they became giants… But I hear bearded dragons apparently love them, so if Onyx doesn’t regain her appetite soon, I may try the hornworms for a treat.

I have the wide-hole type screen. The UVB sits on top at the side/edge about 8-9 inches away from the basking spot (directly below. Half the hammock is directly under the basking light/UVB and the other half is simply on the Warm Area, so she scoots back and forth as she pleases). Should the UVB be placed on the center area of the screen, or is the side okay?

Thank you both again! :D
 
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