How Do You Become a Bearded Dragon Breeder?
Updated: Aug 15, 2021
How do you become a Bearded Dragon Breeder? Great question! Let's jump in:
Before becoming a Bearded Dragon breeder, it's important to make sure you are knowledgeable about bearded dragon husbandry. We recommend keeping bearded dragon(s) and learning about their habits and care before breeding.
Once you are a Beardie expert, you can prepare for breeding. Keeping male and female reptiles in separate terrariums, start to stimulate breeding activity.
First, simulate the Winter season by shortening the dragon's daylight cycles, lowering temperatures, and increasing humidity. Encourage egg production by increasing the female dragon's calcium intake.
One to two months later, stimulate Spring, the breeding season. Spring can be stimulated by returning to normal daylight cycles, temperatures, and humidity.
Once the bearded dragons are adjusted to their new environment, begin to introduce male and female pairs. Couple them beforehand to ensure that there is no fighting. After being introduced for prolonged periods of time, the pair can be left on their own. Monitor for signs of breeding.
Once breeding has occurred, watch for the female to deposit her eggs. Move these eggs to an incubator. Bearded dragons should hatch 2-3 months after breeding season begins.
Once you have hatchlings, they can be sold to pet stores, sold online, or given to family/friends or acquaintances. Rare color morphs will sell the best. Just make sure they are going to good homes and that you can provide for them until they are placed!
Bearded dragons are easy-going animals, they are of a good size and have a beautiful appearance which makes them famous as pets. If you have bearded dragons for pets, you can breed them all year round, and hence you can breed them at any time during any month. If you want successful breeding, you will have to spend some time and make preparations to make sure you understand the complete process before you begin breeding the dragons.
Prepare to Breed The Bearded Dragons
Look upon the sex of the bearded dragons. There are many physical characteristics that can assist you in determining the sex of your female and male dragons. The male dragon has a larger head as compared to the female. A male dragon also has a smaller abdominal girth and has bigger pores in the anal region. You can also check the hemipenile bulges to determine your dragon's sex. You can hold the dragon on his or her back and bend his or her tail toward's the back at an angle of 90 degrees. You must do this carefully as you can damage their vertebrae when you bend the tail. If there are two bulges on both sides of your dragon's tail then it is a male. If it does not have any bulge or has one bulge then it is a female.
Visit your veterinarian with the dragons. It is vital that the dragons' are in the best health before breeding. Your vet can provide them with a complete physical exam and inform you if they are in the best health or require any kind of treatment. Your vet can also test your bearded dragons for atadenovirus which is a contagious disease among bearded dragons and can cause a lot of damage.
If your dragon tests positive for this disease then he or she should not be used for breeding as it can be passed to the baby from the mother.
You should remember that your dragon may not shed if he or she has the virus even during the test which could cause a false negative in the test result. Hence you should get your dragons tested continuously prior to breeding.
You can ask your veterinarian to check the dragon's lengths, ages, and weights. If you want successful breeding then your male should be a minimum of 18 months old and your female must be a minimum of 24 months old. Their length should be a minimum of 18 inches from tail to snout and the female weight should be over 350 grams.
You must supplement your female dragon's diet. The female requires a daily food supplement of vitamin D and calcium. This will make sure her eggs have enough calcium and she will not face calcium deficiency after she has laid eggs. You must also give her a general multivitamin. You must start giving your female these supplements weeks before you start breeding. You can discuss any question with your veterinarian as to how you can introduce these supplements into your dragons' diet.
Decorate the habitat. Even though the male and female dragons will live together for a short time in the same enclosure, you must maintain it to make sure it is a safe breeding environment. The enclosure should be big enough to house two adult dragons comfortably. You can visit a pet store to decide on the enclosure size you shall require. Glass aquariums are famous enclosures for dragons but there are many different kinds of cages available such as PVC cages and melamine cages. You can use a screen cover to enclose your dragons and prevent them from escaping while provides good air circulation. You can use a thermometer to keep the temperature at around 77 or 88 degrees Fahrenheit during daylight and in the mid-70s at night. You can use a basking light from a pet store outside the aquarium to provide a basking spot in the cage at a temperature of 105 Fahrenheit. You can situate a full spectrum bulb UVB and UVA above the dragon's enclosure, around a foot from where the dragons spend their time. The UVB and UVA bulb rays will keep the dragons healthy and provide them with vitamin D. You can place rocks and branches in the cage. The branches will provide something to climb on while dragons can use the rocks to hide and rest.
Prepare the lay box. Your female bearded dragon will lay the eggs in the lay box. This box should be an 8 or 10-gallon container with a plastic lid that will provide air circulation. You can fill the lay box with around 8 inches of potting or topsoil along with some sand.
The soil mixture must be damp so that it clumps a little and is easy to dig in. The soil must not be dry that it could cause a cave-in when the dragon tries to bury the eggs.
Buy an incubator. The eggs must be removed from the lay box and they must be incubated. You should buy a pre-made incubator from a pet store to reduce the chances of malfunction. You can fill the tiny containers with perlite or vermiculite that are usually available at gardening stores and then place them in your incubator. Press your finger on each container to make a place for where the egg shall be placed and then cover the container using a lid that provides air circulation.
Begin the process of brumation. Brumation means reducing the photoperiod that is lighting schedule and temperature for your dragons. When the female and male are in different cages, reduce their temperature to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime and 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the night. Reduce their light exposure to 10 hours of light and darkness for 14 hours.
This will cause your dragons to hide more and eat less. They will reduce basking as well. However, after the process of brumation is finished, they will start eating the same way.
This process should last a minimum of 2 or three months before you begin breeding.
Breeding The Bearded Dragons
Place the bearded dragons in the enclosure you have set up for breeding. The dragons will mostly not start mating right away and will require some time to feel comfortable in the new environment. You must make this enclosure prepared for them before you place them in it so they are more comfortable from the beginning. When the male dragon is ready to start breeding his beard will start to darken into a black color.
You must observe the courtship process. Your dragon will showcase courtship behavior prior to actually beginning mating. Both your female and male dragons will bob their heads and the female will wave her arms to showcase her receptiveness to breeding. Your male dragon may stomp his feet and chase the other dragon around the cage as well. Your dragons may also twitch their tails to showcase courtship behavior.
You must notice the mating behavior. To mate, the male dragon will climb on the female dragon's back quickly and bite her neck. The male dragon will bite her neck to keep her in place and prevent her from running away before the mating process is finished. Your male dragon will then press his cloacal region against the female's region. The complete mating process should take around a few minutes.
You must take your dragons back into their respective cages a week after the mating process. You must leave them together for a week after the mating process is over. After one week you can take them back to their cages for a week. Then you can place them together again for a week for another session. You may have to do this many times until you have successfully mated them.
You must continue to give your female dragon her supplements even after the mating process is over. You must increase her exercises and keep her hydrated even after mating so she is prepared to lay the eggs.
Letting The Female Dragon Lay The Eggs
Observe the female dragon in her individual cage. Your female dragon will showcase behavior that demonstrates that she is prepared to lay the eggs. She could begin pacing in the cage and appear a little anxious. Her diet will reduce and she will nervously dig in the cage. When she is showcasing such behavior, you can move her into the lay box so she can lay her eggs there.
You will be able to witness her belly which should be full of her eggs. You can notice the outline of her eggs that will look like tiny marbles.
Eggs are usually laid around four or six weeks after the process of mating.