No loose bedding for babies! That means no sandy, no walnut shells, no alfalfa pellets, no bark chips...I think you get my point. Use newspaper or the bare bottom of the cage. Why? Reason 1: Baby dragons will consume loose bedding while catching their bugs, become impacted and possible die. Reason 2: Bugs hide in loose bedding and will snack on your baby at night while it's sleeping. Reason 3: One of the best ways to monitor the health of your baby is to monitor it's poop. For example, if you see a change in the poop you know you may need to take the baby tot he vet.
* Baby dragons, like children, don't always want to eat their veggies. Keep feeding veggies daily anyway! They eat more vegetables as they age. Dragons have preferences and you may have to try different veggies to find the ones your dragon likes best.
* While I suggest you soak your baby dragon every other day, they won't always take a drink of water. Beardies are desert animals and get most of their moisture from their food. Don't worry, as long as water is offered, they will drink when thirsty.
* Baby dragons are almost always hungry. A baby dragon that won't eat anything for more than 24 hours is NOT normal and IS a cause for concern. (The first 24 hours in a new environment doesn't count. Dragons may need a little time to de-stress and acclimate before returning to a normal eating schedule.)
If you only own one dragon, buying insects from a reptile or pet store is acceptable. However, better prices can be had if you buy insects in bulk online and have them shipped to your home. Five hundred quarter-inch crickets can be purchased from numerous online suppliers for what you would pay in just a couple of weeks at the local store. A plastic container or even a five gallon bucket with lid, set up with a shallow dish of water crystals, some egg crate material and appropriate food, allows you to buy insects in bulk and keep them alive and healthy until you are ready to feed them to your beardie. My personal favorite feeder insect is the dubia roach. They are easy to raise, don't smell, don't make noise, don't escape and are the right size for beardies from hatchling to adult. You'd be surprised how quickly you can get over the idea of the word "roach". These are simply tropical beetles that can't survive in our homes, so can't infest them.
A tip for helping your baby dragon learn your scent, place an article of clothing you've worn in it's cage for the first couple of days. (Make sure it's small and washable!) It's best to leave your baby in it's cage with minimum handling for the first couple of days. The baby needs a little time to adjust to it's new surroundings.
Afterwards, handle your dragon for short sessions several times per day. Reach for your baby slowly...fast movements startle them. Let the baby sit on your hand while you talk to and pet it. If the baby jumps, stay calm! Slowly put your hand in front of the baby's nose and gentle scoop it up onto your hand. If it jumps down to the floor, more slowly, place your hand in front of the baby and scoop it up. Most of the time, the baby will sit still after it lands and if you move slowly, you can pick the baby up without any problem. It's best not to let a baby fall from any height as broken limbs or internal damage can result. The best option is to hold your new pet while sitting on the floor. Remove any cats or dogs from the room while you are acclimating your new dragon. A baby jumping to the floor just might be too much for even a well trained dog or lazy cat to resist. If your baby is large enough, use a collar to keep your pet on your shoulder. Dragons learn their new owners quickly. A little treat of spineless cactus, apple or other fruit when you take your baby out of it's cage can help "seal the deal".
Dice up vegetables (spring greens, kale, collard greens and spineless cactus) place them on a small plate, pour a small amount of water over the veggies and place it in the nursery daily. This is the method I use and my babies are accustomed to it. They know there is water on the plate and if they are thirsty, they will drink. It also keeps the veggies fresh longer. I always feed veggies first, normally in the morning; saving insects for the afternoon. Using this method daily eliminates the need for a water dish in the baby's cage.
Take a small plastic container, add a dozen appropriate sized insects (no larger than the distance between the dragon's eyes), sprinkle a little calcium or vitamin supplement (just enough to cover the insects) and shake gently. The insects should be covered in powder. Dump the insects into the nursery and let your baby chase and eat them. While you can leave a couple of uneaten insects in the enclosure (not more than a half dozen)...don't leave too many. The bugs will crawl on the baby dragon and stress it, crickets may bite your dragon. Uneaten insects (if there's just a few...) can be left for later consumption. Don't recycle insects! Insects loose in the cage can and do eat dragon feces. Reusing these insects is a common way to spread internal parasites either reinfecting one dragon or spreading a parasite throughout a collection. Better to dispose of uneaten insects and adjust the amount offered to prevent wasting food.
You will soon learn how much your baby can eat in ten minutes (you might be surprised at how many!). Some people feel the babies need to be fed more than one a day. I feed baby dragons every day with insects and veggies. I leave a dish of baby dragon pelleted food as well as a live pothos plant in their nursery so they have something to eat between meals. Most, if not all, of my babies will eat the Fluker's baby dragon pellets if they are available. You may also try freeze dried insects such as crickets and soldier fly larvae when the babies are a little larger.
While I prefer the largest cage I can afford and fit for my adult dragons, it is much easier to manage a new baby dragon in a smaller enclosure. Let's say, for example, you have a 60 gallon aquarium you picked up on Craig's List for your grown dragon. A piece of cardboard cut to size and secured with duct tape dividing the tank in half can easily reduce the size of the enclosure for the baby to make managing it's infancy easier on you. Alternately, you could use a smaller tank (too tall for your dragon to jump out) placed inside the large aquarium as a nursery. You do, however, need a tank large enough to provide a proper temperature gradient. To be safe, nothing less than ten gallons. Place the nursery tank so the basking lamp is on one side of the tank and the UV-B light is centered over the tank. The baby needs to be able to choose to be warm under the basking lamp or cooler on the opposite side of its' enclosure. There is no problem letting the baby have the run of a 60 gallon tank, but the tank is going to look rather empty with just a basking stick, shallow water dish and hiding place and it's going to be more difficult to catch the little buggar! And, yes, I did say water dish. I keep a shallow dish of water in my nurseries until the dragons are about two months old. Babies dehydrate faster than adults, and with a bare bottom tank, there is no problem with water in the enclosure as long as it's kept clean.
Just a note to say I got the collar, and it is beautiful....Thanks.
Got my package of goodies today, and I love all of the collars and lanyards!!! ... I'll be needing some juvenile collars when my babies get big enough.