Since bearded dragons have such a tame demeanor, it is usually very easy to feed it as long as its in good health. Many times bearded dragons will eat right from your hand, or a bowl, similar to the way a dog will.
It is best to get your bearded dragon into a feeding routine. Once your bearded dragon becomes accustom to the routine it will be anxiously waiting when it starts getting close to feeding time.
Bearded dragons require different diets at different stages of its life. The food requirements for a baby bearded dragon is much different than an adult. Here we will go over how to feed a bearded dragon at each stage of its life.
Feeding A Baby Bearded Dragon
A bearded dragon is considered to be at the baby (or hatchling) stage from newborn to four or five months old. This period during it’s life is when the bearded dragon is most fragile. It is very important during this stage that it receive ample nutrients and vitamins.
The size and amount of food given during this period is very critical. Never offer baby bearded dragons prey foods that are larger than its head. Offering insects that are too large can cause the bearded dragon serious injury, or even be fatal.
Baby bearded dragons have an enormous appetite and will attempt to eat prey that is too large. They could easily slip into paralysis, or die, if this happens. Feed them pinhead crickets that are no longer than one-half inch long, small fruit flies, and the smallest wax worms available. This will help to ensure the baby bearded dragon can properly chew and digest its food without any problems.
Try to avoid feeding a baby bearded dragon mealworms. Mealworms have a tough outer shell that can be difficult for the baby to digest, and could lead to paralysis.
Baby bearded dragons have a high metabolism, and need to be fed smaller, more frequent meals. Also, babies have different nutritional needs than adults. A baby bearded dragon’s diet should consist of about 40 to 60 percent proteins (from insect prey), and about 20 to 40 percent vegetation.
Offer tiny insects three or four times per day and finely chopped vegetables at least three times per week. Offering the finely chopped vegetables once per day is optimum, and will help the baby acquire a taste for veggies. Avoid overfeeding babies as this could lead to obesity and long term health issues.
Feeding A Juvenile Bearded Dragon
A bearded dragon is considered to be a juvenile once it reaches the ages between five months and about 18 months old. By now the bearded dragon has gained mass and some fat reserves, and can be feed less frequently. If you feed a juvenile bearded dragon at the same rate as a baby it could become obese and suffer health issues later in life.
The ratio of insects to vegetables will change as well. With juvenile bearded dragons you should cut down the amount of insect prey to one feeding per day, while vegetables should be served at least four times per week. The size of insect prey can be a bit larger as well, but remember to not feed it anything larger than its head.
At this point, the bearded dragon can be offered items that were off limits to babies, such as mealworms. It is recommend to only offer mealworms once or twice per week. It is important at this stage to begin offering your bearded dragon more vegetables, and slightly less insect prey.
Feeding An Adult Bearded Dragon
A bearded dragon is considered to be an adult once it reaches an age over 18 months old. At this stage in its life, the feeding schedule becomes much more subdued, except for females during breeding.
An adult can be offer a flexible, balanced diet of insects and vegetables once a day, to sometimes once every other day. It is best to offer more vegetables and fruit at this point in their life and fewer insects. The adult diet should consist of 20 to 25 percent insects and 70 to 80 percent vegetables (almost opposite of a baby bearded dragon).
Adult bearded dragons can be offered pinkie mice, canned dog food, softened rabbit pellets, and even small lizards. These items should only be offered as occasional treats, and only offered once every three weeks to a month. Adults are very susceptible to obesity so keep an eye on their growth rate and adjust the amount of food offered.
Vitamin and calcium supplements should be given to bearded dragons at each stage of their life. The majority of these supplements come in a powdered form that easily clings to food. There are some supplements that come as a liquid that you drop into the bearded dragon’s mouth.
Baby bearded dragons should be given vitamin and calcium (with vitamin D3) supplements with at least two to three meals per week. Simply dust a light coating of the supplements onto the baby lizard’s food.
Juvenile foods should be dusted with a broad spectrum vitamin supplement once per week, while adding a calcium/D3 supplement to three meals per week.
Adult bearded dragons should receive a vitamin and calcium/D3 supplement once per week.