To know more about a bearded dragon’s proper diet, one only has to look at their natural habitat. These gentle creatures were originally from the rocky, semi dessert inlands of Australia. In this part of the world, an animal of a bearded dragon’s size can usually only prey on live insects like crickets and meal worms for protein to be supplemented with some fruits and vegetables for other essential nutrients. So chickens are out of the question where they live!
Can bearded Dragons Eat Chicken?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat chicken but this should not be included to their regular diet. A small piece of chicken meat should not harm a bearded dragon but best to stick to their usual portion of small insects and vegetables.
But what if while preparing your beloved pet’s meal you realise you’re out of insects and the only food available is whatever’s in your freezer? How will you choose which one’s best for your bearded dragon? Let’s see what are the options.
Can bearded dragons eat meat
Bearded dragons are omnivores so their diet can have a variety of animals and plant origins. Unlike humans though, bearded dragons are not recommended to be fed any chicken, beef or pork in large quantity. Giving your bearded dragon a small bite as a treat wouldn’t pose any serious danger but is still not recommended and this should not be made part of his regular diet. Once every while you can most definitely feed your beardie meat.
The quick answer is ‘yes’ they can but it is also important to ask if they should. Chicken meat being very high in protein and fat may affect and slow down a bearded dragon’s digestion which may eventually affect their health long term. As with any other animal, it is important to try and replicate their natural diet as much as possible so a balanced meal of insects and some veggies is ideal.
Raw chicken meat would be a more ideal choice if you have to feed chicken meat to a bearded dragon because of the fact that less oil and other ingredients would have been added to it. Although it is good to note that if you do feed you bearded dragon raw chicken, this could cause a reaction and change your pet’s behaviour, blood chemistry and mood so you have to be prepared to risk it. Like any other creature, a sudden change in diet for a beardie will definitely trigger a reaction and feeding them food that is not recommended for them will most likely result to unideal reactions. Let’s just say you don’t want to wake up the dragon attitude of your beardie…
As delicious as chicken nuggets may be for humans, bearded dragons are a completely different creature with a completely different food preference. Processed meat like chicken nuggets, chicken fingers and popcorn chicken would have breading and seasonings that may be harmful to bearded dragons. In addition to this, these processed chicken products are also usually deep fried which then adds more fat to an already fatty option for a beardie. It is better to keep your bearded dragon away from it.
More than protein, bearded dragons also need a lot of calcium to maintain bone health. Chicken meat, including chicken breast, is high in phosphorus which decreases the bearded dragon’s ability to absorb calcium. Without enough calcium, your bearded dragon will be at a higher risk of suffering from metabolic bone diseases. Again, it is still recommended to keep your bearded dragon’s diet to live insects and fruits and leafy vegetables.
Bearded dragons may be fed chicken eggs from time to time but this should not be made part of their regular diet. This is a good option if you run out of bugs, probably the best choice if you have to pick from whatever is available in your fridge. One important thing to take note of is to not feed raw eggs to your beardie, hard boiled or scrambled is better. If you decide on scrambled eggs, make sure to not add milk or butter to it. Bearded dragons are lactose intolerant so they are not able to digest dairy products. Make sure to not use oil or add any other seasoning to it, too. You may feed your beardie some bites of egg with his staple vegetable on the side but don’t cook it together. Half an egg should be enough for a bearded dragon in one feeding. If you have an option to feed your beardie a quail egg instead, opt for it to lessen the chance of overfeeding.
Chicken liver is a fattier chicken part compared to the leaner chicken breast. Feeding bearded dragons liver will increase their fat intake which is not exactly good for them. Like any other part of chicken, liver is not recommended to be fed to bearded dragons. Beardies, though omnivores, are recommended to eat more fruits and greens than insects, especially as they approach adulthood.
I hope answering these questions has cleared the fact that chicken is just not the best food to feed your beloved beardies. I’m sure no good pet owner would want to intentionally harm their pets so I thought I would share with you what exactly should bearded dragons eat to keep them healthy and happy.
What is the ideal bearded dragon diet?
A bearded dragon’s recommended diet changes as they grow. Protein is much more essential to younger beardies to support bone and general body growth. Once they enter adulthood, their body will stop growing, thus they will need less protein. A young bearded dragon’s diet should be at least 80% insects / 20% greens while an adult beardie should have the opposite, 20% insects/80% greens.
For a young bearded dragon of less than one year old, 80% insects would mean approximately 30-80 crickets a day. An adult bearded dragon, more than a year old should only consumer around 50 crickets or 30 worms per week.
Which insects can I feed my bearded dragon?
Some of the bearded dragon’s favourite insects are crickets, butter worms, mealworms, silkworms, cockroaches, superworms and king worms. The fun of keeping a pet comes when you truly get to know your pet and discover what they like most. Give them a variety and observe which one they enjoy most as no two bearded dragons are the same. It is also important to not feed your beardies insects you find around your house or your garden. Chances are these insects have consumed some form of pesticides and parasites which will definitely put your pet at risk. Only feed your bearded dragons insects you buy from trusted suppliers.
Which fruits and vegetables should I feed my bearded dragon?
When it comes to vegetables options, beardies especially love kale, celery, lentils, zucchini ,okra, carrots, bok choy, cabbage , asparagus and even a little bit of lettuce is great for bearded dragons. For fruits, you can give them common and easily available options like apples, grapes, watermelon, pineapple, peaches, strawberries (not dipped in chocolate, of course) and other berry varieties.
How do I give water to my bearded dragon?
Of course, let’s not forget about water! Bearded dragons don’t naturally drink from standing water like most animals do. Some pet owners would give water by giving them baths or misting them a few times a day. You can also use this as bonding time with your pet by dripping water to their nose while petting. Bearded dragons may be trained to drink from a bowl or a cup after some time though.
How often should a bearded dragon eat?
Now that you know what to feed your beardie, don’t forget to also feed them at the right amount of food at the right frequency. Bearded dragons can also suffer obesity if fed too much. You may follow the guide below:
1-2 months – 3-5 times a day
3-8 months – twice a day
After 8 months – once a day
Good luck in taking care of your bearded dragons. Most importantly, enjoy the experience and the great companionship that these beardies bring!