As a pet parent, you must provide proper nutrition with many health benefits. As a result, you must know essential information regarding their diet and how often to feed bearded dragons.
You can’t find bearded dragon food in pet or grocery stores like there is for dogs and cats. You have to know what diet to provide and their feeding frequencies.
Sounds like rocket science?
Well, we’ve got you covered. By the end of this article, you’ll learn about the appropriate feeding schedule of bearded dragons by age, what to feed them, how long they can go without food and the issue of overfeeding.
Let’s get right into it.
How often to feed bearded dragons
How often you feed bearded dragons depends on their age. Their feeding schedules, requirements, and frequency change as they grow older.
As the owner, you must know how often you should provide food at a certain age to meet their nutritional needs and keep them healthy and thriving.
How often to feed adult bearded dragons (0-6 months)
Like babies of all species, baby bearded dragons need to eat frequently to support their rapidly developing/growing bodies.
Due to their high metabolism and fast nutrient absorption, baby beardies need to eat 3-5 times a day (every three to four hours). Their feeding sessions should last 10 to 15 minutes.
Baby bearded dragons require a high-protein diet; therefore, 80% of their diet should be insects such as crickets, Dubia roaches, etc. The remaining 20% should be plant matter; vegetables, leafy greens, and a tiny piece of fruit.
You should let them eat as many insects as possible during feeding sessions.
On top of that, ensure that you dust their food with calcium/D3 supplements once a day, five times a week.
After the feeding sessions, don’t leave any uneaten food in their enclosure, as this may cause parasites.
Keep in mind that you should get the quantity right. Bearded dragons shouldn’t eat foods bigger than the distance between their eyes to avoid impaction.
How often to feed juvenile bearded dragons (6-18 months)
Although a bit of growth still has to happen, juveniles have developed good body mass and fat reserves. As a result, the feeding frequency changes.
Juvenile bearded dragons can eat two or three times a day, still in 10 to 15-minute feeding sessions.
In addition to the frequency change, their diet also changes a bit. With juveniles, you reduce the number of insects you offer and increase the amount of plant matter. They can eat approximately 50% insects and 50% plant matter.
Also, ensure that you dust their foods with calcium/D3 supplements every second day.
As with baby bearded dragons, remove any uneaten food.
How often to feed adult bearded dragons (18+ months)
When bearded dragons reach 18 months, their growth is 99-100% complete. They’re considered adults and sexually mature at this stage since they can reproduce. So, they eat less frequently.
Adult bearded dragons have different feeding frequencies and diets.
You only need to feed your adult pet once a day, with a 15-minute feeding session.
With this in mind, quality is more important than quantity. They need a healthy and nutritious diet. Since they’ve reached their full body mass, they should eat fewer insects and more greens and vegetables. Insects are rich in protein and fat and can cause obesity in adult bearded dragons.
The ratio can be 80% insects and 20% plants
How often should bearded dragons eat crickets?
Crickets are a great source of protein, calcium, and iron for bearded dragons.
Healthy adult bearded dragons usually have one feeding session. Therefore, they should eat as many crickets as possible in 10 to 15 minutes and vegetables and greens as well. Adult beardies can eat an average of 10 crickets per day, or 20 crickets every other day.
On the other hand, young beardies should eat more crickets than adults to support their rapid growth. They can have two or three 10-15 minute cricket feeding sessions during which they should eat as many crickets as possible.
How often should bearded dragons eat mealworms?
Bearded dragons can eat mealworms at most once or twice weekly.
Mealworms are not the best food option for beardies because they have a very hard chitinous exoskeleton that can be hard to digest and even lead to impaction. Additionally, they contain very little nutritional value.
Adult beardies can eat between five and six mealworms, while juveniles can eat one or two mealworms. Baby beardies should not eat mealworms since their digestive systems aren’t fully developed.
How often should bearded dragons eat superworms?
Like mealworms, bearded dragons can eat superworms once or twice a week.
Superworms are a great source of protein, but their fat content can be alarming. Therefore, beardies shouldn’t eat them as their main food.
Adult beardies can eat 2 to 3 superworms, while juveniles who can handle the aggression of superworms can eat more in one feeding. Sometimes, juvenile beardies can benefit from superworm fat.
How long can bearded dragons go without food?
The answer to this question depends on the age and health condition of your beardie.
A healthy adult bearded dragon with good fat reserves can last up to two months without eating. But just because they can, doesn’t mean that they should.
It’s far from optimal.
A baby or juvenile bearded dragon relies on food to get the nutrients essential for adequate growth. So, young beardies should not stop eating, as this could cause developmental issues quickly.
During brumation, a bearded dragon can go for a couple of weeks or months without food.
If your beardie is not eating, check on the following:
- Wrong temperature
- Changes in lighting
- Diet change
- Changes in the enclosure
Can you overfeed your bearded dragon?
Short answer: yes, you can.
It’s mainly a common problem in young bearded dragons.
Young beardies grow rapidly. So, they require a lot of food to sustain their growth. If you don’t supervise them, they may eat until they’re stuffed because, in their natural habitat, they eat a lot to grow quickly to avoid being preyed upon. This often leads to overfeeding.
Unlike babies, who can eat as much as possible, adult beardies stop eating once they’re full. This is why it’s very important to stick to quality rather than quantity.
Overfeeding can lead to constipation, drastic weight gain, strained bones and joints, and other health problems.
How can you tell if you’re overfeeding your beardie?
The following are the signs of an overfed beardie.
- Lack of appetite
- The beardie appears to be bloated
- Difficulty in controlling movements in the rear part of the body
You can keep your bearded dragon safe by sticking to proper feeding schedules.
What causes a bearded dragon to eat too much?
Bearded dragons rarely eat more than they’re supposed to unless they’re babies.
But is your bearded dragon always hungry and ready to eat some more, even after feeding time?
Here are a few reasons why your beardie might be overindulging.
An incorrect diet can leave your beardie wanting to eat more. This could be anything from the wrong types of food to an incorrect ratio of insects to plant matter.
Poor food quality
The quality of food you provide might offer little nutritional value and therefore not satisfy your beardie.
For instance, if you don’t gut load the insects 24 hours before feeding or don’t provide fresh vegetables and greens daily.
If you don’t feed your beardie as often as you should, you might not provide enough food.
Depending on how old they are, it’s recommended to feed them at appropriate feeding schedules and allow them to eat as much as they can in the 10 to 15-minute feeding sessions.
Sometimes, parasites in your beardie’s intestinal tract might be why they’re always hungry. This is because the parasites eat a portion of the food they consume.
Parasites are hard to detect unless confirmed by a vet through a fecal test. But some signs include weight loss and diarrhea.
The diet of bearded dragons includes specific insects, vegetables, leafy greens, and fruits. You should offer baby bearded dragons more insects than plant matter. As they grow and move to the juvenile stage, they need fewer insects and more plants to encourage them to eat more greens and vegetables. As adults, they should eat more greens and vegetables and fewer insects.
As you’ve seen above, their feeding schedule and frequency depend on their age. Babies need frequent feeding (at least three times daily) to support their growth and development. However, feeding them becomes easy and low-maintenance as they grow older.
Juveniles should eat twice a day, while adults should eat once a day. With adults eating less frequently, quality food is key.
As a beardie owner, don’t overfeed or underfeed your pet. Feed them appropriately for them to remain healthy and happy.