Age is an important part of breeding. Make sure that the pair you are breeding are between the ages of 2 and 5 years old. After 5 years, a beardie’s breeding success tends to decline.
Health is an important factor. Both male and female should be in good health in order to have health hatchlings. It is very important for the female to get some calcium in her diet right before, during, and after breeding. To ensure that the outer layer of her eggs are healthy, and to keep her healthy also, because when a female makes eggs, she is draining a lot of nutrients from her to develop the eggs.
Bearded Dragons react by going into a semi- hibernation state. Hibernation triggers the development of reproductive cells and prepares for the production of young. In order to do this there should be a cool-down period must be given. If you are in any way not sure that the health of your beardie is good, then don’t put them through the stress of hibernation, or it could result to death.
Over the period of a few weeks, cool down enclosure to: daytime temperatures of 75°F (23°C) – 80°F (26°C), and night time temperatures of 65°F (18°C) – 70°F(21°C). Lighting times should be reduced to 8-10 hours per day. (During hibernation a beardie will become less active and eat less) Hibernation should last 8-12 weeks. After this period of time, start to gradually raise the temperature up back to normal and the lighting hours 10-12.
Feed the pair that you are breeding as much as they will eat (after hibernation and everything is back to normal) Make sure to add extra calcium to the female’s food.
During the mating process the male can be very aggressive with the female. Make sure that the male is not getting too aggressive. If the female is not eating, has bites or cuts, or seems to be intimidated by the male, separate them both for about a week or so. Small bites on the females neck is normal when mating. As long as the cuts are not severe or infected, then she should be fine.
Nesting and Laying
In a week or two, you will notice the female getting more plump. You may even be able to see the outline of eggs through her abdomen. The female will stay graved for about 4 weeks.
She will start to scratch and dig at the substrate. If you haven’t done so, now is the time to a nesting box in the enclosure. Place medium to large cat-litter box into on side of the enclosure (no top roof of cat box necessary). The cat-litter box must be at least 5 inches deep and longer than the female’s body length. Fill the box with Cactus soil or Vermiculite is good also. Keep the substrate damp, but not wet.
When the female is ready to lay her eggs she will dig a burrow and should lay them in the cat-litter box. Sitting almost completely inside her burrow she will them lay up to 10-25 eggs. When she is done she will cover the eggs up. After laying the eggs she will feel lighter and have lose skin.
You should remove the eggs after the female has laid them. Make sure not to turn or rotate any of the eggs or the embryo in the egg can die. To make sure the eggs are fertilized, you put them in a dark room and hold a flash light up to the egg. You will see veins and an embryo inside the egg.
Place them in an incubator. If you want to make on yourself, take 2 clean clay bricks and place them in a 10 gallon tank or a styrofoam cooler. Fill the tank with enough water to cover a submersible aquarium heater place in the bottom.
The temperature has to be 83°F (28°C) – 85°F (29°C). I would suggest a digital thermometer to determine the temperature. Place a plastic container on top of the 2 clay bricks (a food storage container). Put two inches of vermiculite into the plastic container.
Then the eggs should be gently half-buried into the vermiculite (make sure not to turn or rotate the eggs). During incubation, keep the vermiculite moistened. Make sure not to wet the eggs. A cover should be place over the tank to keep in the air temperature.
Make sure that the cover provides air circulation, if not the lack of oxygen will kill the eggs. Drill or poke a bunch of holes on the cover.
Watch the eggs for about 4 days. Make sure that the eggs do not shine from moisture condensation (means they are too wet). Check for any eggs that are: deflated, moldy, or oozing. If you find any like that discard them right away.
After 8-11 weeks of incubation, the eggs will hatch. Usually all the eggs will have within a 24-hour period. Do not try to help babies in hatching or you will probably kill them.
Put hatchlings in a basic cage setup (individually if possible). Hatchlings usually do not eat 1-3 days after they hatch for they are still absorbing their yolks from the eggs. You will need plenty of small crickets to feed them once they start eating.
A new generation of Beardies!
The Materials to Make a Home Made Incubator
A good incubator is a 20 gallon aquarium tank, or if you can, get a polystyrene box, like the kinds that are used to ship tropical fish. Most pet stores will give them away. Just make sure that the box you use, does not leak
Ok, now, place two clean clay or concrete bricks in the bottom of the tank. Which will hold up the egg container above the water.
Use a 25 watt submersible aquarium heater to keep the incubator at the proper temperature.
A digital thermometer is the best, because it is the most accurate when keeping temperatures. You may have to mess around with the water heater to keep the temperature range tolerable 83°F (28°C) – 85°F (29°C)
*A theory: the temperature that the eggs are incubated in, determine their sex*
You should have your incubator operating and reading to go before the eggs are laid, for about 72 to at least 48 hours to see how the incubator works.
Temperatures as low as 82°F (27°C) will most likely just make a longer incubation period. Temperatures as high as 88°F (31°C) will cause birth defects, but most likely death.
Signs of dead eggs
A very bad smell
At a rotting state
Incubate for 8-11 weeks, eggs will hatch in a 24 hour period.