A baby bearded dragon should be given up to 70-80 crickets per day, split between 4-5 feedings. You should feed them at least three or four times per day.
Understanding Baby Bearded Dragon Nutrition
Protein is a critical component of a baby bearded dragon’s diet. As they grow, bearded dragons require a higher percentage of protein in their diet to support their rapid growth and development. Crickets are an excellent source of protein for baby bearded dragons.
Calcium and Vitamin Intake
In addition to protein, bearded dragons need proper calcium and vitamin intake for healthy bone development. Calcium deficiency can lead to a condition called metabolic bone disease, which is common among captive reptiles. To prevent this, it is crucial to provide a balanced diet and appropriate supplements.
The Importance of Crickets in a Bearded Dragon’s Diet
Crickets are a popular choice for baby bearded dragons because they are high in protein and relatively easy to digest. They also provide essential nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A and B.
Chitin and Digestibility
Chitin is a substance found in the exoskeleton of insects, including crickets. It is essential for the healthy development of a bearded dragon’s digestive system. Feeding crickets to your baby bearded dragon can help promote healthy digestion and prevent impaction.
Determining How Many Crickets to Feed Your Baby Bearded Dragon
The number of crickets you should feed your baby bearded dragon depends on its age. Here are some general guidelines:
- 0-4 months old: 30-60 crickets per day
- 4-8 months old: 20-40 crickets per day
- 8-12 months old: 10-20 crickets per day
Bearded Dragon’s Size
The size of your bearded dragon is also an essential factor to consider when determining how many crickets to feed. A general rule of thumb is to offer crickets that are smaller than the space between your bearded dragon’s eyes. This helps prevent choking and ensures proper digestion.
Feeding Frequency and Schedule
Feed baby bearded dragons multiple times a day to meet their nutritional needs. A good schedule would be:
- 0-4 months old: 3-4 feedings per day
- 4-8 months old: 2-3 feedings per day
- 8-12 months old: 1-2 feedings per day
Monitoring Weight and Growth
Keep track of your bearded dragon’s weight and growth to ensure they are getting the proper nutrition. Adjust the number of crickets and feeding frequency as needed based on their progress. Consult with a veterinarian if you have concerns about your bearded dragon’s growth or weight gain.
Gut Loading and Dusting Crickets
Gut loading is the process of feeding crickets a nutritious diet before offering them to your bearded dragon. This ensures that the crickets are a healthy and nutritious food source. Feed the crickets a mix of fruits, vegetables, and commercial gut load products for at least 24 hours before feeding them to your baby bearded dragon.
Calcium and Vitamin Dusting
Dust the crickets with calcium and vitamin supplements before feeding them to your bearded dragon. This ensures that your baby bearded dragon receives the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and development. Calcium powder should be used at every feeding, while multivitamin powder should be used 2-3 times per week.
Alternatives to Crickets
While crickets are an excellent food source, it’s essential to provide variety in your bearded dragon’s diet. Other suitable insects for baby bearded dragons include:
- Dubia roaches
- Black soldier fly larvae
- Mealworms (in moderation, as they are high in fat)
Commercially available bearded dragon diets can provide a balanced and convenient alternative to live insects. Ensure that the diet is specifically formulated for bearded dragons and contains the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and development.
Monitoring Your Baby Bearded Dragon’s Health
A well-nourished bearded dragon will display the following signs:
- Steady growth
- Bright, alert eyes
- Healthy appetite
- Regular bowel movements
- Active and responsive behavior
Potential Health Issues
Poor nutrition can lead to several health issues in bearded dragons, including:
- Metabolic bone disease
- Impaction (intestinal blockage)
- Nutrient deficiencies
Monitor your baby bearded dragon closely and consult a veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness or poor health.
Feeding your baby bearded dragon the right amount of crickets is essential for their overall health and well-being. By following the guidelines provided in this article, you can ensure your bearded dragon receives proper nutrition for optimal growth and development. Remember to monitor their progress, provide a varied diet, and consult a veterinarian if you have any concerns about their health.
How do I know if I am feeding my baby bearded dragon enough crickets?
Monitor their weight, growth, and overall health to ensure they are receiving adequate nutrition. Adjust the number of crickets and feeding frequency as needed.
Can I feed my baby bearded dragon only crickets?
While crickets are a nutritious food source, it’s essential to provide a varied diet for your bearded dragon. Offer other insects and a commercial bearded dragon diet to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients.
What should I do if my baby bearded dragon refuses to eat crickets?
Try offering different types of insects or a commercial bearded dragon diet. If your bearded dragon continues to refuse food, consult a veterinarian to rule out any health issues.
Do I need to remove uneaten crickets from my bearded dragon’s enclosure?
Yes, remove any uneaten crickets after each feeding session. Leftover crickets can stress or potentially harm your bearded dragon by nibbling on its skin.