Bearded Dragon Feeding
Bearded dragon feeding is fairly simple and easy, however, you do want to insure that you are feeding the proper types of insects and greens to your bearded dragon. Owners should also ensure that the bearded dragon is receiving adequate amounts of calcium and other nutrients so that they may continue to have strong bones and will not suffer from mineral or nutrient deficiencies.
Bearded dragon feeding usually consists mainly of insects. The most commonly fed insect is the cricket. Crickets are good for bearded dragons of all ages. The bearded dragon lizard will appreciate an array of different insects as well. Large bearded dragons enjoy having the option of mealworms, superworms, silkworms and waxworms. Waxworms have a high fat content and it is suggested that you don’t overfeed these worms, instead give them to your bearded dragon as more of a treat. The young beard dragon should not have any mealworms as the mealworm has a high amount of indigestible chitin. These worms will cause a young bearded dragon to suffer from impaction, which may be lethal. If you decide to round up some outside insects for your bearded dragon, be sure that they are free of pesticides. You also do not want to feed your bearded dragon lightening bugs. There have been several bearded dragons die from eating only one lightening bug.
Crickets are generally available at all pet stores. They can also be purchased through wholesale outlets that will deliver them to your home for bearded dragon feeding. Crickets will require a home of their own and generally do well in a five to ten gallon fish tank. Provide some sort of hiding places for the crickets, as they need to be able to hide from each other. Crickets are known to eat each other, which will leave fewer crickets for bearded dragon feeding. Empty egg cartons and other pieces of cardboard will allow hiding places for crickets. Crickets will also need to be fed well before you feed them to your bearded dragon. Crickets will eat a variety of different foods including vegetables, oatmeal, powdered milk, alfalfa hay, dog or cat food and cricket food. Crickets will also require a damp sponge as a source of water and moisture. Crickets will drown in a dish of water.
Young bearded dragons have very large appetites; this is because they have a rapid growth spurt in their first year. If you young bearded dragon lizard is not exhibiting a hearty appetite, there is an underlying problem somewhere. Young dragons may develop food impactions or may simply be intimidated by their cage mates. They also must have a body temperature of one hundred degrees before they are able to digest their food. New bearded dragon lizards may also have a hard tome adjusting to their new homes and may require a few days before they are ready to eat.
Many owners may also have a separate feeding cage. This allows you to not have to worry about the food and insects causing their regular habitat to become dirty and develop odours. The bearded dragon feeding cage may be a very simple cage that allow the bearded dragon to stay warm enough to eat, but does not require all the other features such as peat moss. You may also have several different types of dishes for different types of insects or food. This makes cage cleaning a lot simpler. The frequency of bearded dragon feeding will vary with age. The bodies of the bearded dragon must warm up before they are able to digest their food, therefore, you will want to feed them about an hour after their lights have been turned on. Timers will make this process easier for you, as you can simply have the lights timed to come on an hour before you wake-up in the mornings. You will also want to give the bearded dragon all of the feed he or she will eat in one feeding. Each bearded dragon may eat between five and twenty crickets. Adults will benefit from fresh veggies and fruits every other day. Worms may be kept in a dish with some potato, as they need food as well. Gravid, or pregnant, females will require more feeding times. The gravid females will appreciate Waxworm treats. She should also receive ample calcium in her diet. The gravid female bearded dragon should have their UVB lights increased and increased calcium supplementation.
Bearded dragon feeding should consist of appropriate fruits and vegetables as well. Some bearded dragon lizards may have difficulty eating these at fist, but there are several tips to help them learn. Vegetables should be offered about every other day and they should be offered a wide variety as well. Most bearded dragons will enjoy a staple of collard greens, mustard greens, kale, parsley, carrot tops, turnip greens, romaine lettuce and escarole. For variety in the diet, you may also add bok choi, red cabbage and endive cilantro. These dark greens are high in calcium and will be very beneficial to the bearded dragon. Avoid spinach as it contains oxalic acid, which causes the binding of calcium, which we want to avoid. Iceberg lettuce should also be avoided because it consists mainly of fibre and water with no nutritional value. Other vegetables and fruits may include peas, broccoli, bell peppers, grapes, cantaloupe, raspberries and bananas.
A well-rounded diet with a lot of variety will keep your beard dragons strong and healthy. Avoid those foods that have little nutritional value and be sure to wash all vegetables and fruits well before feeding to eliminate any pesticide residue.
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