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FAQ: Feeding Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons eat a variety of foodstuffs including insects and vegetable matter. Here are some frequently asked questions about the proper feeding of bearded dragons.
What do they eat?
They eat bugs as well as greens. As they reach maturity they will eat more greens and fewer bugs. You can also feed them prepared foods. I use Rep-cal pellets and supplement the greens with T-Rex VGF or VMF. Because I use prepared foods that contain everything a Bearded Dragon needs, I do not use additional supplements. Too much supplements can be as bad as not enough.
How much do they eat?
It depends on their size and their diet. When they're a few days old, they can eat a few crix a day. As they age, it can go upwards of 50 crix a day. Feed crix a few at a time for 10 minutes until they stop eating. If you feed pellets and greens with supplements, crix can be reduced or eliminated.
My Bearded Dragon has lost weight. How do I fatten him up?
The first thing is to find out why he lost weight. Once the problem is solved, silkworms and roaches are a good staple to help put on weight. You can also use rep-cal pellets and/or T-rex VGF mixed with a probiotic and water and mixed into a slurry. This can be drawn into a syringe and fed to your Bearded Dragon as a complete food. Nothing else is needed. It is balanced properly for Bearded Dragons.
What about hand feeding them?
They can get spoiled and very lazy. If the food always comes to them they won't go looking for it. You may want to put your BD next to a bowl and then start to feed it. After the first couple pieces, drop the rest in the bowl in front of it. Hand feeding can be a good way to help a nervous BD get over a fear of people.
Do I have to feed crickets and bugs?
Young Bearded Dragons need protein to grow. You can replace crix with plant protein found in prepared foods like Rep-cal pellets and T-rex VGF. You can also use roaches and silkworms in place of crix. No mealworms. Superworms are only for a treat. While all animal protein can be replaced by prepared foods, I prefer giving my Bearded Dragons the option of live food to increase their choices and variety of diet. As they get older they need less and less protein.
How big of a cricket should I feed my Bearded Dragon?
Crix should be able to fit between your Bearded Dragons eyes and no longer than the length of his head
Do I need to do anything special to the crickets before giving them to my Bearded Dragon?
Crix need to be fed properly to add more nutrition and make them plump and full of water. I have found it best to feed them fruit and veggie scraps from my Bearded Dragons food. They can also get moistened pellets. Even more important than what goes in a cricket is what goes on the crickets. You can use a balancer like ICB from T-Rex. This helps balance the phosphorus:calcium ratio. It can be used for every feeding for the life of the Bearded Dragon. Using calcium and vitamin supplements can also be used in place of the ICB. Never use both!
*most cricket farms use a special feed for crix. It has been reported that moldy feed can make the crix toxic. If you opt to use a cricket feed, be careful.
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