Are you a new bearded dragon owner looking at their diets?
Do you wonder if you’re feeding your bearded dragon the right way?
Providing a healthy and appropriate diet is essential to having a happy and long-lived dragon.
Part of this is knowing how often to feed a bearded dragon.
Adult Bearded Dragons require feeding once per day. Juvenile Bearded Dragons require feeding twice per day. Baby Bearded Dragons require feeding 3 to 5 times per day. Provide as many insects as your Bearded Dragon will eat for 10 to 15 minutes.
Here’s a quick reference chart:
|0-3 Months||70% Insects|
total per day
|3-5 feeding times|
|3-8 Months||70% Insects|
total per day
|Two feeding times|
|8-12 Months||70% Insects|
total per day
|One feeding time per day|
|1 Year +||30% Insects|
|50 insects total per week||Rotation*|
*Rotation – one day salad, one day insects, one day nothing, and repeat
Read on for more details about how often you should feed a bearded dragon.
How Often To Feed Baby Bearded Dragons
Baby bearded dragons are a whole other animal (pun intended).
These little guys need as much protein as they’ll take in a single 10 to 15-minute feeding session.
In nature, the growth rate of the baby bearded dragon is quite fast.
This is for survival.
They need to get to a size where they can defend themselves and escape predators.
To this end, they eat a lot of protein and high-fat insects to get to the size they need to be.
Baby bearded dragons should be fed between 3-5 times per day.
This may seem like a lot, but keep in mind the food also needs to be a lot smaller.
Over a day and 3-5 feedings, a baby beardy can eat between 30-80 insects, depending on the size of the insects.
A higher protein diet is preferable for a baby dragon.
Their bodies naturally prize mass over nutrition in this stage, so greens aren’t as important.
While exact ratios may vary, we recommend 70% live insects to 30% greens.
Crickets make an excellent feeder insect for this stage.
Note: Any food you give your pet bearded dragon should be smaller than the space between their eyes.
This is true for all beardies but essential for a younger bearded dragon.
Food that is too large can cause impaction in the digestive tract.
If this happens, the impacted food can put pressure on the spinal cord of your pet reptile.
This can result in partial or full paralysis, or even death.
How Many Crickets To Feed Baby Bearded Dragons
With crickets being the staple feeder insect in the bearded dragon diet it is important to understand how to go about feeding them to your growing pet the right way.
The industry standard for healthy baby bearded dragons between 0 and 3 months old is to use a feeding window of 10 to 15 minutes per feeding.
The total consumed amount of crickets per day will be between 30 – 80 crickets and if you average the consumption of crickets out for the week it usually falls somewhere around 50 daily crickets.
These numbers are good to know to maintain an adequate amount of feeder crickets.
As your baby beardie grows older they will require fewer feedings.
Between 3 to 8 months old gradually lower the number of daily feedings to twice per day.
Your bearded dragon will still consume between 30 – 80 crickets daily with the two daily feedings.
During these two stages of your reptile’s life, they will consume 70% insects and 30% vegetables.
So don’t forget about the 30% and ensure you’re including acceptable greens and salad into their diet.
We’ve written on what type of greens bearded dragons can safely consume further down this post.
How Often To Feed Adult Bearded Dragons
Adult bearded dragons have transitioned out of their high protein diets and now need to eat in a healthy and long-lasting way.
Now the adults need to have a ratio of 70% greens to 30% protein.
Note: The exact ratio varies slightly depending on whom you ask, but all agree adults need between 70% – 80% of their diet to be greens.
As they age, bearded dragons also eat less frequently.
They’ve reached their maximum size, so they don’t need to eat a lot of fats and proteins.
Beardies are also much larger than when they were young, and the food they eat is much larger and more satisfying.
With this in mind, we recommend you feed the bearded dragons on a 3-Day Cycle.
The first day should be a leafy green day.
Feed them one meal of as many greens as possible to eat in 15 minutes.
The second day is protein day.
During this day, you should feed the bearded dragon as many live insects as it will eat.
Make sure the live insect you choose are high in protein, moisture, and medium or lower in fat.
Crickets, hornworms, and Dubia roaches, especially, make excellent choices.
High-fat insects like mealworms are more like treats.
They don’t have as much value and should only be eaten a couple at a time.
On the third day, take a break from feeding your pet.
It’ll be just fine.
As with anything, there’s always debate about the exact frequency you feed your pet.
We recommend the 3-Day Cycle for these reasons:
- Prevents overeating and obesity
- Encourages a balanced diet
- Makes it easier to feed your pet their greens because they’re extra hungry
- Easy to remember
How Many Crickets To Feed Adult Bearded Dragons
Once your bearded dragon reaches sexual maturity around 12 – 18 months of age their diet changes quite a bit.
You’ll flip the ratio and feed them a diet of 70% vegetables and 30% insects.
The total amount of crickets an adult bearded dragon will consume in one week will average out to 50 crickets.
Each feeding session will vary and often won’t come out the same and this is fine and normal.
The biggest change to your bearded dragon’s diet at this stage of life is implementing diet rotation.
You will swap them to feedings of all one type of food for the day and a day of nothing.
This looks like day 1 only insects, day 2 only vegetables, day 3 nothing, and repeat.
And some people experience their pet going through phases of not eating their crickets.
If your pet isn’t eating crickets read our post on the causes behind bearded dragon’s not eating crickets since it is a more complex topic and we have given it it’s own post.
How Many Mealworms To Feed Bearded Dragons
Mealworms are a popular choice for feeder worms but they shouldn’t be.
The mealworm has a hard chitlin exoskeleton making it difficult on the bearded dragon’s digestive tract and pose potential health issues.
Because of the shell of mealworms your pet may become impacted which can lead to other problems and even death.
Plus mealworms aren’t a superior option nutritionally so there’s no real reason to choose them over other options.
Here’s a breakdown of their nutritional value:
|CA/P Ratio %||0.040|
How Many Super Worms To Feed Bearded Dragons
Super worms are a decent source of protein but have high-fat content.
Because of the high-fat content, this worm should only be fed to your bearded dragon on occasion.
Mixing in different worms is fine as long as lower-quality foods don’t become the norm.
There are various reasons someone may want to or need to include these because of budgeting or depending on what’s available from suppliers.
What Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon?
Bearded Dragons have a diet consisting of a wide range of foods.
At the foundation of that diet are proteins, greens, and a calcium supplement.
Their protein comes from various insects with the most popular staple being crickets.
Their greens come from select appropriate vegetables and fruits that won’t create a calcium deficiency.
We’ve included a food list below to give you an overview of the bearded dragon diet.
Everything below is safe for your pet to consume as long as the food isn’t larger than the space between their eyes.
Eating food too large can cause serious pain and injury to your reptile.
During your pet’s early development months, it will consume roughly 70% protein and 30% vegetables.
This ratio flips as they mature into adulthood.
Bearded Dragon Protein (Meat)
Live insects provide the protein, fat, and calories they need to keep their bodies functioning.
Protein foods include:
- Dubia roaches
- Phoenix worms
While some feeder insects are fine to feed your pet daily others should only be consumed as a treat on occasion.
This distinction is made based on the nutritional breakdown of the insect.
Waxworms are one example of an insect that should only be consumed as a treat due to their high-fat content.
The table below shows you how crickets compare to wax worms in nutritional value for your bearded dragon.
|CA/P ratio %||0.081||0.131|
We’ve written in more detail on the various feeder insects bearded dragon owners should use in their pet’s diet in another post.
Read about the best insects for bearded dragons for more information on this subject.
Bearded Dragon Greens, Vegetables, And Fruit
The vegetables, fruits, and salad a bearded dragon consumes will provide it the vitamins and minerals needed for long-term health.
These can include:
- Dandelion greens
These may be trickier to get the bearded dragons to eat , but it’s necessary.
And while your bearded dragon can eat a variety of fruits they should be fed sparingly.
Fruit is full of sugar which can lead your reptile to obesity, raise yeast levels, and potentially other issues.
Citrus fruits should be avoided altogether.
In order to get your pet to eat greens like they should check out our post on how to get bearded dragons to eat greens.
Bearded Dragon Supplements
Even with an exceptional diet, your pet will likely need some extra help to stay healthy.
The biggest concern is calcium deficiency as this causes common and severe metabolic bone disease.
There are two ways to give supplements.
One is by sprinkling on calcium powder to the food, and the other is to gut load, or feed, the live food before it’s eaten by the beardie.
Warning!! Not all greens and insects are just safe to eat.
You need to know about the foods bearded dragons shouldn’t eat.
How Long Can Bearded Dragons Go Without Eating?
Depending on the age and health of your bearded dragon they could go without eating for a week or two to upwards of two months.
Healthy adult bearded dragons with extra weight could go up to two months without food but this isn’t ever recommended.
A young juvenile bearded dragon that stops eating should be a cause for concern since they require proper amounts of protein to grow up healthy.
During brumation, your bearded dragon may go a few weeks to a month without food but should be given water regularly.
Not giving your pet lizard food for extended periods should not be a common practice but this information is good to know if you’re going on vacation or will be away for a while.
You can learn more about how long bearded dragon’s can go without eating in our other post.
Can You Overfeed Bearded Dragons?
You can overfeed bearded dragons and they will become overweight.
Obesity in bearded dragons can become quite a problem if their diet is not kept in check and monitored.
This happens when pet owners feed them a diet too rich in insects or too many fatty insects and not enough vegetable.
What Causes Bearded Dragons To Eat Too Much
Bearded Dragons will rarely eat more than they should.
If your bearded dragon is overindulging it’s likely because of poor quality food and they’re seeking more nutrients or they could potentially have a parasite.
Since the bearded dragon’s digestive system will signal them to stop eating when they’re full it’s typically one of the two above reasons if your pet does eat too much.
We hope you enjoyed learning about how often to feed a bearded dragon.
For adults, two out of every three days is plenty.
Babies need to be fed every day and 3-5 times per day.
Learning and remembering this is a significant step towards being the a great bearded dragon owner.