In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the essential factors that determine how often to feed bearded dragons at various stages of their lives. Throughout this article, we will discuss the different types of food suitable for bearded dragons, the importance of balancing their diet, and the feeding frequencies based on their age.
How Often Do Bearded Dragons Eat
Bearded dragons will eat more in the baby and juvenile stages. Because younger bearded dragons are constantly growing and protein is required to aid in that growth, they will have a large appetite for insects. Once they get older they will start to eat more veggies and fewer insects.
|Age Group||Diet Composition||Feeding Frequency||Insects per Feeding||Greens/Vegetables per Feeding|
|Hatchling (0-3 months)||80% Insects, 20% Greens/Vegetables||3-5 times per day||5-10||Small amount (1-2 teaspoons)|
|Juvenile (3-12 months)||70% Insects, 30% Greens/Vegetables||2-3 times per day||10-15||Moderate amount (2-3 tablespoons)|
|Sub-Adult (12-18 months)||50% Insects, 50% Greens/Vegetables||1-2 times per day||10-15||Generous amount (1/4-1/2 cup)|
|Adult (18+ months)||20% Insects, 80% Greens/Vegetables||3-4 times per week||5-10||Large amount (1/2-1 cup)|
How Often to Feed a Baby Bearded Dragon
Hatchling bearded dragons (0-3 months old) require frequent feedings to support their rapid growth. This stage can be a bit expensive as the live foods you feed them need to be bought from a reputable shop. You could opt for breeding your own depending on what seems convenient.
What Do Baby Bearded Dragons Eat?
Baby bearded dragons should be fed approximately 80% insects and 20% plant matter. Baby bearded dragons grow very quickly and they need a lot of protein to build up muscles.
Baby Bearded Dragons Feeding Schedule
|Food Item||Frequency (per day)||Quantity|
|Insects||4-5||As many as they can eat in 10-15 minutes|
|Vegetables||3-5||Small, finely chopped pieces|
1. Insects: Offer a variety of small, live insects such as crickets, small dubia roaches, and black soldier fly larvae at least 4-5 times per day. Make sure the insects are no larger than the space between your bearded dragon’s eyes to prevent choking.
2. Greens and Vegetables: Although hatchlings primarily need protein, you should also introduce leafy greens and vegetables to their diet. Offer a small portion once a day, and gradually increase the amount as they grow older.
How Often to Feed a Juvenile Bearded Dragon
Juvenile bearded dragons (3-12 months old) continue to grow quickly and have a hearty appetite. You will need to adjust their feeding schedule and portion sizes accordingly.
What Do Juvenile Bearded Dragons Eat?
Juvenile bearded dragons still need a balanced diet, but their feeding frequency decreases compared to baby bearded dragons. At this stage, feed your juvenile bearded dragon 2-3 times a day, with a mix of insects and vegetables.
Juvenile bearded dragons should be fed approximately 50% insects and 50% plant-based food.
Juvenile Bearded Dragons Feeding Schedule
|Food Item||Frequency (per day)||Quantity|
|Insects||2-3||As many as they can eat in 10-15 minutes|
|Vegetables||2-3||Small, bite-sized pieces|
1. Insects: Feed your juvenile bearded dragon live insects 2-3 times per day, but start offering larger-sized insects as they grow. Remember to gut-load and dust the insects with calcium and vitamin supplements.
2. Greens and Vegetables: At this stage, you can increase the amount of greens and vegetables in their diet. Feed a mix of leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits daily, making up around 25-30% of their overall diet.
How Often to Feed an Adult Bearded Dragon
Once your bearded dragon reaches adulthood (over 12 months old), their diet and feeding frequency will change to accommodate their reduced growth rate and metabolic needs.
What Do Adult Bearded Dragons Eat?
Adult bearded dragons require a maintenance diet to stay healthy and maintain their weight. Their feeding frequency reduces further, with insects being offered 2-3 times a week and vegetables daily.
Adult bearded dragons eat fewer insects. Their diet should consist of 80% plant matter and only 20% should be insects. They may eat insects only once a day. The rest of their food is vegetation.
Adult Bearded Dragons Feeding Schedule
|Insects||2-3 times per week||As many as they can eat in 10-15 minutes|
|Vegetables||Daily||A small salad-sized portion|
1. Insects: Adult bearded dragons require fewer insects than their younger counterparts. Feed them live insects 2-3 times per week, focusing on nutrient-dense options such as dubia roaches, crickets, and superworms. Don’t forget the calcium and vitamin supplements!
2. Greens and Vegetables: As adults, bearded dragons should consume more greens and vegetables, which should make up 70-80% of their diet. Offer a daily mix of leafy greens, vegetables, and occasional fruits, making sure to vary the types to provide a well-rounded diet.
The Best Insects for Bearded Dragons
- Goliath Worms (Hornworms)
- Black Soldier Fly Larvae.
Best Greens Bearded Dragons Can Eat
- Cactus pad, or prickly pear
- Collard greens
- Dandelion leaves
- Endive or escarole
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
Tips for Creating a Feeding Schedule
To help you establish the best feeding routine for your bearded dragon, here are some essential tips to consider:
1. Consider Your Bearded Dragon’s Age, Size, and Activity Level
When creating a feeding schedule, it’s essential to take into account your bearded dragon’s age, size, and activity level.
Younger dragons need more frequent feedings, while older ones require less. Also, consider your bearded dragon’s size and activity level, as these factors can influence their dietary needs.
2. Establish a Consistent Feeding Routine
Having a consistent feeding routine is beneficial for both you and your bearded dragon. It helps your pet develop a sense of security and reduces stress, as they know when to expect their meals.
For you, a routine makes it easier to manage your daily schedule and monitor your dragon’s eating habits. Try to feed your bearded dragon at the same time each day to establish consistency.
3. Monitor Your Bearded Dragon’s Weight
Regularly monitoring your bearded dragon’s weight is essential when it comes to their feeding schedule. Keep an eye on their weight gain or loss, as this can be an indication that you need to adjust their feeding routine. Be vigilant about any changes in their behavior or appearance that might signal health issues.
In my experience, I’ve found that keeping a journal of my bearded dragon’s weight, health, and feeding habits has been incredibly helpful. This way, I can easily track any changes and make adjustments as needed.
4. Adjust the Feeding Schedule Based on Individual Needs
Each bearded dragon is unique, and you may need to make adjustments to their feeding schedule based on their individual needs. Factors such as growth, health, or behavior can influence how often and how much you should feed your pet.
For example, when one of my bearded dragons experienced a growth spurt, I had to increase the amount of food I provided during each feeding to accommodate their increased appetite.
Similarly, when another dragon seemed to be losing interest in their food, I experimented with offering different types of insects and vegetables to reignite their interest in eating.
Remember that creating a feeding schedule for your bearded dragon is not a one-size-fits-all process. Be attentive to your pet’s specific needs and be willing to make adjustments as necessary. With patience and attention to detail, you’ll be able to develop a feeding schedule that ensures your bearded dragon thrives.
Signs of Overfeeding or Underfeeding
Overfeeding or underfeeding can lead to various health issues, so it’s crucial to recognize the signs and adjust your feeding routine accordingly.
In this section, we’ll discuss the symptoms of overfeeding and underfeeding in bearded dragons and provide some practical advice on addressing these issues.
1. Physical Signs
Overfeeding: One of the most common signs of overfeeding is rapid weight gain and a visibly obese appearance. An overweight bearded dragon may have difficulty moving around, and you might notice fat deposits in areas such as the base of the tail or around the legs.
Underfeeding: On the other hand, underfeeding can lead to weight loss and a thin, frail appearance. You may be able to see your bearded dragon’s ribs or spine through their skin, which is a clear indication that they’re not receiving enough nutrients.
2. Behavioral Signs
Overfeeding: Overfed bearded dragons can become sluggish and inactive. They may spend more time basking and less time exploring their enclosure, which could lead to boredom and stress.
Underfeeding: An underfed bearded dragon may exhibit increased activity and agitation, as they search for food. They might also become lethargic due to a lack of energy from insufficient nutrition.
3. Health-Related Indicators
Overfeeding: Overfeeding can cause various health issues, such as fatty liver disease or gout. Additionally, excessive protein intake can lead to kidney problems.
Underfeeding: Underfeeding can result in a weakened immune system, making your bearded dragon more susceptible to infections and diseases. It can also stunt their growth and cause metabolic bone disease due to insufficient calcium intake.
To address these issues, it’s essential to adjust your bearded dragon’s feeding routine accordingly. Make sure to consult a reptile veterinarian for guidance on proper nutrition and feeding schedules. Regularly monitor your pet’s weight and overall health, and be vigilant for any signs of overfeeding or underfeeding.
Understanding the feeding needs of bearded dragons is crucial to ensure their health and well-being. As we’ve discussed, the frequency of feeding depends on factors such as age, growth stage, and overall health. By carefully monitoring your bearded dragon’s eating habits and adjusting as needed, you can provide the best possible care for your scaly companion.
Remember, it’s always a good idea to consult with a reptile veterinarian or an experienced bearded dragon keeper if you have any concerns or questions about your pet’s diet.
We invite you to share your own experiences and insights about feeding bearded dragons in the comments below or on social media. Let’s build a community of bearded dragon enthusiasts who can learn from each other and support one another in providing the best possible care for these fascinating creatures.
1 thought on “How Often to Feed a Bearded Dragon at Any Age (Baby to Adult)”
I’ve had my baby beardie, Sig, for about a month now, and he is LOVING dubia roaches because he can chase them much easier than crickets, because they are so fast. I also found a website that I get the roaches, its Reptile Supply, and they are relatively cheap for what they are, and they are contained nicely in a tub rather than how some crickets are packaged; just loose in the box. My Leopard Gecko, Gizmo also loves them! She likes them more than mealies! Sig much prefers the roaches, hope this helps!