On adopting a baby bearded dragon, you’re suddenly tasked with the dilemma of figuring out what to feed your new pet. Luckily for you, bearded dragons are pretty straightforward to feed. All you need to do is get the proper components for your dragon to live a strong and healthy life. Although there’s a feeding process to follow, the constituents of the diet itself are pretty easy to come by. Nothing like measuring cups or patterns with the ups and downs of life as we know it for kittens and pups.
Baby bearded dragons are as omnivorous as the rest of the age groups. They do not require anything new or different from the regular diet to thrive. However, the ratio of the constituents and the rate at which they feed is quite different. Baby beardie diet consists of proteins which are majorly bugs, vegetables, and other necessary supplements.
In this article, I’ll be taking you through the feeding process of baby bearded dragons that differentiate them from the other stages in the life cycle, so that you can be confident in your beardie’s well-being through and through. Let’s dive!
A Breakdown Of What Baby Beardies Eat
Now that we’ve established that baby beardies are omnivores, we can quickly get into the dos and don’ts of selecting a good diet. You have to understand that baby beardies are still in the development stage and certain food choices can cause digestive issues depending on their digestive capacity.
Protein is highly important for the development of baby bearded dragons. In fact, it is easily the most important aspect of their entire diet. They need grubs to build their muscle mass as they grow into adults more than they need anything else. This is also accompanied by the fact that baby beardies are highly active, and thus, metabolize food faster than any other stage would. They burn fat and protein faster to generate more energy.
When feeding your baby dragon protein, certain aspects have to be considered; their digestive tract isn’t completely developed, so some bugs will lead to complications if fed too often. These problematic bugs would have a tough chitin outer layer like the super worms, adult mealworms, and adult beetles. Of course, they can be introduced now and then to these choices, but they shouldn’t be a staple meal.
Preferable Protein Choices For Baby Bearded Dragons (the first five are ideal and safe protein sources):
- Dubia Roaches
- Baby Mealworms
- Phoenix worms
- Wax worms
Note that any insect that glows in the dark is toxic to bearded dragons and can even lead to death. Also, free-roaming bugs are a horrible choice to feed your baby beardie. This is because they could be previously exposed to chemicals like pesticides that are harmful to your pet.
Veggies are equally as important as grubs in a beardie’s early life. They provide the important enzymes and minerals needed to break down and metabolize foods properly. Veggies also provide your beardie with moisture content to keep the digestive process active. Added to this, veggies help to break plaque formation, especially in hatchling dragons.
There are several veggie options to choose from for your baby beardie’s diet. The ideal vegetable is crunchy and mineral-loaded with a minimal water content that will provide your pet with great value in every bite. Just like the hassle we face with kids, baby beardies are also not big fans of vegetables. So, you have to make every bite count!
Here is a list of good vegetable choices for baby bearded dragons:
- Butternut squash
- Bok Choy
- Collard Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Pumpkin Leaf
- Bell Peppers
- Turnip Greens
Fruits And Flowers (Delicacies)
While fruits have substantial benefits for us humans, they do not hold the same value for bearded dragons. In the beardie world, fruits are delicacies that should be fed on a few occasions in minimal amounts. This is because dragons do not have the proper mechanism to digest them as we do. In fact, some fruits like avocados and limes are highly toxic and even fatal to their health. The most probable reason why fruits are a beardie’s diet is that wild dragons get access to vitamin C through the bugs they eat. So, they do need a certain level of Vit C to reach optimum health.
Flowers are also mere delicacies to beardies. In the wild, flowers don’t bloom as much and are certainly not top necessities or choices for bearded dragons. They are poor in minerals and general value, but they are good sources of vitamin C. Instead of directly feeding your baby bearded dragon citrus fruits, you can consider flowers as a milder option. The bright colors can be used as toppings to stimulate the appetite of your beardie when you feed it.
Examples of great fruits and flower choices for baby bearded dragons:
Vitamins And Supplements (Extra Boost)
There are arguments on whether or not supplements are necessary considering how sustainable a baby beardie’s diet already is. After all, the beardies in the wild are sustained by what they eat, and bottles of supplements are surely not included. However, there is a reason beardies in captivity live longer than those in the wild. The absence of supplements will not decline their health, but it certainly will limit them from living to their full potential.
Supplements like Multivitamins, phosphorus, and calcium should be sprinkled on your baby beardie’s daily diet to ensure their bones grow healthy and strong.
Bearded dragons need minimal amounts of water to function. In fact, too much water affects their health negatively. Beardies could go days without needing to drink as they source their moisture from veggies and proteins. Still, your baby beardie needs to be properly hydrated.
You can hydrate your pet by misting their heads with water from a spray bottle daily. It is much more effective than dropping water bowls in the terrarium because bearded dragons cannot see the water if it’s still.
Food Rations For Baby Bearded Dragons
The major difference between the diet of baby beardies and that of adults is the rations. Hatchlings require more protein than veggies, unlike the adults, and are required to be fed bigger rations each day.
The protein-to-veggie ratio for baby dragons is 75/25 percent. That is 75% protein and 25% veggies daily. They can be fed a total of 25 – 50 bugs 3 to 5 times daily.
The portions for baby beardies should not exceed the space between their eyes. Veggies and bugs should be cut into tiny pieces (if need be) to make digestion easier.
Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Cooked Food?
It’s not uncommon for beardies in general to eat cooked food. Cooked potatoes, eggs, and veggies can be fed once in a while. However, I do not recommend feeding your baby beardie these delicacies. It’s important to stick to the required and natural diet to ensure they grow healthy and safe.
Think of it as you eating raw yams; of course, you wouldn’t immediately get rushed to the ER, but it’s not necessary to eat that specific food even if it’s edible.
Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Raw Meat?
Beardies in the wild gobble up tiny rodents and smaller reptiles without a hassle. Regardless, in captivity, they don’t exercise as much as they would. This could lead to complications such as kidney problems and impaction. I do not recommend feeding your baby beardie raw meat.
Baby beardies can eat a variety of proteins and vegetables, but there are staple items your pet should have in their diet – all of which are discussed above. For baby dragons, it’s terribly important to stick to their daily needs. This is the most crucial aspect of their growth and development.
It’s at this stage that metabolic bone diseases are highly susceptible which can be avoided with the proper diet. If your baby beardie is refusing to eat, there could be something wrong with it and a trip to the vet should be your next ride. Good luck!