What Meals Can I Feed My 10 Month Old Baby The Best Food to Feed a Bearded Dragon

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The Best Food to Feed a Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons make wonderful pets. They are active during the day, and when adults are big enough to be allowed to roam around the house for limited periods (that is, until they start to get cold) without fear of disappearing into little hiding places – obviously they should be. always controlled. They also have the advantage of almost being born tame and are happy to sit on their owner and will tolerate petting.

They are attractive and have great personalities, and make great pets for people who are allergic to fur and cannot have any of the more common warm-blooded pets. In captivity with proper breeding they should live up to 10 years or even more. The oldest I know of now is 12. To reach their potential lifespan, they need to be fed the right foods.

I am often contacted by people who would like to own a bearded dragon, and who want to know if there is any alternative to feeding them live food. The answer is a very definite NO. Although many pet stores stock dried food that is supposed to be for bearded dragons, I have never heard of one that will actually eat this. I tried feeding it to mine but I think they would rather starve!

The amount and type of live food they need changes as they grow from hatchling to adult. When they first hatch they are almost completely carnivorous. As adults they are 80% vegetarian. At all stages of their life they should have the right balance of vegetables/fruits and live food.

When a youngster is purchased and brought home from the breeder or pet store, it is important to always offer finely chopped vegetables/fruit. The rule of thumb when feeding bearded dragons is to make sure no food offered is larger than the gap between their eyes. This applies to the size of live food offered, as well as the green stuff. If a youngster has been properly fed from hatching, it will be used to always having a bowl of vegetables in its vicinity, which it will peck at if nothing better is offered. Young bearded dragons often look like human toddlers – apparently allergic to anything green! But if they are used to it, they will often continue to eat salad and vegetables throughout their growing period. Some beardies refuse to touch vegetables – some (mine included!) have been known to never eat it when their owners are watching as if by pretending they are hungry they will be offered something tastier. But eventually they all perish and eat it and, when an adult, it will be their main diet.

If you have a youngster who won’t touch the stuff, don’t worry. He’ll get there in time, and while it’s disappointing to spend your time chopping up food that isn’t eaten, you have to persevere. It’s best to try a variety of vegetables and fruits – some beards like certain things, others don’t. Cabbage, mixed salad leaves, crisp kale, peppers, sweet potato, grapes, apples, carrots are all foods that might appeal to a beard. Experiment with things you eat and see what you like.

Bearded dragons should never be fed avocado, and avoid items with high moisture such as iceberg lettuce, cucumber or tomatoes, which will cause diarrhea.

These reptiles have an amazing growth rate – they grow 4000 times in size from hatchling to adult, and should reach full size between 12 and 18 months. To support this tremendous growth rate, they must have abundant amounts of protein, which can only be provided by a primary diet of live food. When deciding if this is the pet for you, you need to consider the cost of their food. During their first year of life they cost as much as feeding a cat and a few dogs. There is also the problem of getting live food – but if you don’t live near a properly supplied pet food mail order is very effective, and you can set up a regular order with most online suppliers.

The basic living food diet is crickets. These come in two types – brown and black. Black people are supposed to be silent, but you’ll still get the odd one that’s been chirping all night. Both are nutritious. Crickets, like other insects, come in various sizes called instars. As a cricket grows it sheds its skin. First instar crickets are the smallest, and then they increase in size through various sheds until they reach adult size. Do not feed crickets that are too large for your bearded dragon (remember the rule of the gap between the eyes), but conversely, if you try to offer crickets that are too small, he may not be interested in them.

All live foods need to be fed – this simply means feeding them the same vegetables you offer your beardie. Therefore, even if he does not like vegetables, he will get the benefit by eating the crickets.

When they are growing fast, they should be fed live food 3 times a day until they are about 4 months old – as many as they can eat in a 10 minute session each time. This can be reduced to 2 meals, and then to 1 when the beard is a good size – around 6 to 8 months. It is difficult to give any definite ages because all bearded dragons grow at different rates. Because they are such voracious eaters, crickets are recommended as they are the cheapest to buy.

Bearded dragons need a calcium supplement – daily until they are adults, and then about weekly. Calcium powder is sprinkled on their food. Without extra calcium they are likely to develop Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) which causes abnormalities in their bone growth, and is often fatal. Prevention is much better than trying to cure it.

It is perfectly possible to feed crickets and dust them with calcium powder without having to touch them using Cricket Guard. You empty the crickets from the tub in which they arrive in the keeper, and put vegetables and water in it. Pots of water are not recommended as the crickets are likely to drown in it, instead you can buy Bug Gel, or simply insert cotton balls soaked in water. Cricket Keepers have four black tubes. The crickets go up the tubes as they like to be in the dark. When it’s time to feed, you simply lift one of the tubes, spin some calcium supplement down the tube, put something over the top and shake vigorously. This coats the crickets evenly with calcium powder, and also slightly stuns them, which makes them slower and easier to catch for the barb. You can also slow down crickets by placing them in the refrigerator for a few minutes before eating. Most beardies can catch them anyway, but some have difficulty at first, so slower moving crickets can be useful.

As barbs grow they can move on to grasshoppers or cockroaches. A colony of cockroaches can be kept at home, and this way you can raise your own live food and make eating much cheaper, although not everyone wants to do this. Grasshoppers are much tastier to a bearded dragon, and also more expensive to buy. If you start feeding these too soon, you may find that he won’t go back to eating crickets, and therefore it will be much more expensive. That’s why I recommend staying with crickets as long as possible. As adults they will only need live food two or three times a week. Once they are fully grown, too much protein will overload their internal organs, so if you feed too much, you will kill them with kindness.

Mealworms should not be given to bearded dragons. They like them, but their skins are high in chitin, which is difficult to digest, and they are not as nutritious as crickets or grasshoppers. Morio worms are a good substitute, but I would still stick with crickets as a staple diet. Silkworms can also be fed daily, but again are more expensive. Wax worms are only given as a treat because they are very rich. They love them the way we love chocolate!

Remember that feeding your bearded dragon the right food for each stage of its life is important, but so is having your habitat set up correctly. The baking temperature should be right because it helps them digest their food properly, and strong UVB light is necessary for them to get enough vitamins.

Properly fed and kept in the right conditions, your bearded dragon should live to a ripe old age and be your companion for many years.

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