Bearded Dragon. Determining Egg Fertility.
Healthy looking eggs immediately after laying should have a nice white tinge to them and a soft firmness when touched. Dark yellow or soggy eggs are most likely infertile and will not develop. If the eggs have a brownish tint to them in spots don’t worry, it is most likely just dirty from being in the soil. As long as the eggs have that firm soft feel to them, you should be fine (unless they are obviously yellow.
Egg Laying Bearded Dragon
Egg Laying Bearded Dragon
A couple of days before the female is ready to lay her eggs she will begin roaming around her cage restlessly digging up her substrate and decorations. Our dragons run to the corners of their cages and dig relentlessly. Once you start noticing this, you should provide an egg laying box of some type or transferring them to another container to lay their eggs.
Once they eggs have been laid and uncovered, they will need to be transferred to an egg container and placed inside your incubator. We recommend purchasing small plastic shoe boxes that you can get at any Wal*Mart for $1 and filling the inside with about 2″ of vermiculite. Make sure to add enough water to the vermiculite to make it damp and moist, but not soggy. You should be able to squeeze together a ball of vermiculite and have it stick together without dripping a lot of water.
Hatchlings will require much more attention and care then sub-adult or adult dragons. They are much more sensitive to their environment and their needs must be attended to properly. Hatchlings will need to be fed 1/4″ crickets 2 to 3 times a day supplemented with a calcium supplement such as RepCal daily. In addition, they will need to be misted 3 or more times a day. You can also soak them in warm water several times a week to help with hydration. Make sure you put only a small amount of water in the container and you keep a close eye on your hatchlings. It is very easy for them to drown if they are weak or pushed down by other dragons standing on top of them.
Several days before your eggs begin to hatch you may notice some of them start to sweat. This is normal near the end of incubation and not a sign to worry or decrease the humidity this late into development. Once the dragon begins to break through the egg, you will notice a considerable dent or “collapse of the egg.” It will then proceed to pop his head through the egg and take his first breaths outside the egg. Once his head has emerged, the dragon will slowly begin to remove the rest of his body from the egg. The time this will take will vary from dragon to dragon. It is normal for a dragon to do this from as little as a couple ours or up to 24 hours or more.
Dragons typically will need a cool down period to help induce breeding. Although this is not always necessary, especially with yearling dragons, it is a good idea to help regulate their natal instincts. It will also help increase the fertility of your eggs and keep your dragons on a normal schedule. Many times dragons under a year old when paired together will breed right away without any type of cool down process. For older dragons, it’s a good idea to brumate them.
For a complete guide on how to properly care for your dragon we recommend purchasing “The Bearded Dragon Manual” by Philppe de Vosjoli published by Advanced Vivarium Systems.
Once your female has mated we strongly recommend separating her from all other dragons and giving her a cage of her own while she is gravid. It’s extremely important that she has access to high calcium foods and given plenty of space to bask and rest. Make sure you supplement her diet with calcium powder or even cuttlebones. You will notice a large increase in her appetite within a few days of successful mating. You will also notice a plumpness beginning to develop in her body. By the time she is ready to lay eggs she should be much rounder and plump then normal.