What Causes A 7 Mon5H Old Baby To Be Fussy How Much Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon?

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How Much Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon?

There is often a lot of confusion about what a bearded dragon should eat and how much. These reptiles have very particular needs in their dietary requirements. According to their age and stage of development, they can rightly be described as a primarily carnivorous, or primarily vegetarian, which can be confusing for some people.

A growing bearded dragon (that is, a subadult) needs a diet that consists primarily of live food in order to get the massive amounts of protein it needs to keep up with its rapid growth. Once an adult, more than 20% of live food in its diet will overload its organs and lead to an unhealthy and shortened life.

Making this more difficult, it seems that each member of this species grows at a different rate, taking between a year (or sometimes even less) to 18 months to reach full adult size, so it’s impossible to say at 12 months, for example, a bearded dragon should to eat so many foods of this type.

The main rule to follow is that from hatching through the young stage it is almost impossible to overeat. Feeding should begin to be reduced when the subadult stage is reached, and then reduced to a maintenance level when it reaches adult weight. There is a lot of variation in adult weight which adds to the confusion. A healthy adult bearded dragon can be anything from 400 to 700 grams, with around the 500 gram mark being average. Females, on average, weigh less than males. Their size as adults depends on a number of factors including the nutrition they had while growing up and their genetic makeup.

Points to Remember

You should not adopt a young bearded dragon until it is at least six weeks old. Moving to a new home causes stress, and can prevent them from eating for up to two weeks. If they are younger than six weeks when they move, they are unlikely to build up enough fat reserves to see them through any period of stress.

Never eat anything that is bigger than the gap between their eyes. As they grow, the size of the food offered should be increased but still follow this rule. Bearded dragons lose interest in smaller insects as they grow so increase the size of live food as well as the size of chopped vegetables as the latter help develop healthy teeth.

Always keep a bowl of chopped vegetables and fruits in the habitat with a juvenile or sub-adult, even if they show no sign of interest in it. When they grow up, they will be primarily vegetarian, so should have every opportunity to try different foods. They seem to have quite individual tastes, so try a variety of vegetables and fruits to see what yours likes. Very often they will eat scraps even if you think the food was untouched.

What You Should Eat by Age and Size

From six to twelve weeks you should be feeding three meals a day of as much live food as he can eat in 10 minutes each time. Try not to leave any crickets in the habitat overnight as they are known to bite the soft parts of babies quite badly, and at the very least cause them stress. If you leave a bowl of vegetables out overnight, any crickets you missed should eat this, and not your pet.

It is useful if you can feed your bearded dragon outside of the habitat in a plastic tub or washbowl – that way you can see how much he eats, and you can be sure that there are no crickets left in the habitat.

At twelve weeks reduce to two meals a day, again consisting of as much as can be eaten in 10 minutes.

I’m often asked questions like ‘my bearded dragon eats 20 crickets a day – is that enough?’ which is impossible to answer! The best and really only way to know if you are feeding your youngster correctly is to weigh him every week, and make sure there is a steady increase in weight.

When your bearded dragon is about six to nine months old, and weighs between 250 and 300 grams, reduce to one meal a day. He should look plump at this stage, with a good reserve of fat at the base of his tail.

Adult Bearded Dragons

It is dangerous to continue feeding an adult live food every day, because his metabolism will not be able to cope with all the protein. Adults should be fed live food only two or three times a week, and fresh vegetables and fruits should be given daily. An adult should be on a maintenance diet that allows him to maintain his weight, he should not increase his weight after full growth.

Calcium and Vitamins

Because they grow so quickly and because they are kept on artificial light, a subadult bearded dragon cannot absorb enough calcium to support its growth rate. Additional calcium must be given daily to prevent Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) which causes deformity of the limbs, and which, untreated or not caught early enough, can be fatal. One feeding per day should be dusted with calcium powder, and vitamin supplements should be given twice a week. It is possible to buy a combined calcium/vitamin supplement that can be given daily. Once an adult, calcium supplements should be given weekly.

Environmental Effects on Food Digestion

No matter how much you feed your bearded dragon, if you have not set up the habitat correctly, he will not be able to properly digest his food and get the nutrients from it. They need a baking temperature of about 105 degrees Fahrenheit along with strong (preferably 12%) UVB light.

What Live Food to Feed?

Juveniles should be fed with crickets or grasshoppers. Crickets are recommended simply because of the copious amounts they eat because they are cheaper. If you introduce grasshoppers too soon, you may end up with an expensive unsightly beard. Grasshoppers or cockroaches are good food for an adult bearded dragon. Never feed mealworms a diet – the chitin in their skin makes them difficult to digest. Mealworms and waxworms can be eaten as an occasional treat.

These reptiles do not need to eat pinkies. By the time they are grown, these will be too big for them, and once grown they don’t need the extra protein unless they are malnourished (for example, one that has been neglected). They can be given to a female between laying eggs as this is the time when she will need extra protein.

Bearded dragons live longer in captivity because we understand more about their needs and how to care for them carefully. Feeding the right foods and the right amount will help your pet live a long and happy life.

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