I’m sharing the information I have gained and the ways I have found best for my dragons. I am not claiming to be an expert. Some friends thought I fed a diet that was too rich, as what I feed would not be available to the dragons in their natural habitat. However after visiting and meeting my “children” they reconsidered and began a mix of richer feeders for their dragons. Is the way I feed the only good way, I doubt it, but it works for me. My dragons are big, healthy and happy. My dragons are active, alert and very friendly. I suggest you read what is good and mix items until you find what works for you.
- Dragons of all ages must have fresh greens and vegetables every day. Chop everything so it is no bigger than the dragons head.
- Fruit should be offered twice a week.
- Protein by age:
- Hatchlings until 6 months of age, all the protein they can eat in 15 minutes, twice a day.
- Six months to two years, all the protein they can eat in 15 minutes, once a day.
- Two years and older should be offered protein every other day. But they still get greens and veggies every day.
- Proteins include:
- Crickets and roaches: These can be fed all they can eat in 15 minute periods twice a day, depending on age. Never feed crickets or roaches that are longer than the space between your dragon’s eyes.
- Superworms: I suggest starting dragons at 12″ long with 5 for the first day, then if there are no issues you can raise the number by 1 a day until you reach the limit of 10 per day. The reason for limiting the number they can have per day is the higher fat content.
- Phoenix worms (for dragons under 12”) and hornworms (for dragons over 12”) are soft and full of protein and calcium. They are great diet supplements for dragons and can be used daily in addition to their protein staples; crickets, roaches or superworms. Up to 10 Phoenix worms and 1 or 2 hornworms are suggested.
- Rep-Cal Calcium with vitamin D3, given 6 days a week. Rep-Cal Herptivite multivitamin given 1 day per week. Sprinkled on salad after misting salad with water.
Veggies and Fruits
Offer greens to your dragon every morning. Six mornings I give each dragon a mix of greens and veggies, sprayed with water and dusted with Rep-Cal Calcium with D-3 (Phosphorous Free). The seventh morning, I dust the wet greens and veggies with Rep-Cal Herpivite Multivitamins. I leave the greens in until lights out at night. My vet suggested spraying the greens with water for two reasons, first it helps supply the dragons with extra water and second, the supplement dust sticks to the wet greens better. The water also helps keep the greens moist and fresh longer. If I suspect a cricket or two might be hiding in the enclosure, I leave the greens overnight to give the crickets something to munch on besides the dragon.
I use ceramic salad bowls for greens and veggies as they are easier to clean and look nice in the dragon’s habitat. We offer them on our Products for sale page.
There are those who state to just dust the worms and crickets and not the greens. I feel that I never know how much they are getting from the crickets, so I just dust the greens. Never use Iceberg lettuce to feed your dragon, it is all moisture but has no nutritional value. I received the following guide with one of my dragons, but don’t remember which one. I have found it to be very helpful so I am sharing it with you, but can’t take credit for creating it. It list greens, veggies and fruits along with the nutritional value of each, plus how often to feed them or if you should not feed them ever. Remember to chop or grate veggies and fruits for small dragons and tear greens into dragon head-size pieces to help your dragon digest them well.
Reference our Nutritional List for the recommended feeding frequency of most fruits, vegetables and protein sources. It is color-coded by frequency and comes in easy-to-download pdf format.
It is very important to never, ever feed your dragon insects that are too big for them. The rule of thumb is to feed them nothing longer than the space between their eyes. I have found this works well. The exception I think are silk worms and horn worms, as they are softer and very gushy inside, but still watch the sizes.
I use crickets for all my hatchlings and juvenile dragons. Sizing in crickets is very important, so chose a supplier who sells them by size. It is also important to check out the supplier to be sure they employ good conditions for raising the crickets. I use crickets from Ghann.com. I have found them to be reliable and have good crickets.
If your enclosure is simple without many places for crickets to hide, shake 15 to 20 at a time in and watch to see if your dragon is chasing and eating them. If they seem to have eaten the first few, drop in a few more. I do this for 15 minutes which is the suggested time, or until they stop chasing them to eat. If your enclosure has places for the crickets to hide, either remove the extra items until after feeding or use a separate enclosure to feed in. A Rubbermaid or Sterilite tub works well. Some dragons will dive right in and eat in a tub, others get stressed by being moved from their home and will not eat. Don’t allow your dragon to starve. If the separate feeding area is not working, find a way to feed them in their home. Be sure if you are feeding in the enclosure to check and remove any extra crickets before the lights go off. Crickets will bite on your dragon as it sleeps and can cause health problems. If you can’t get them all, leave something in the enclosure for the crickets to nibble on besides your dragon. Leftover salad or a small wedge of potato works.
We gutload all of our crickets. What your feeders eat is in turn what your dragon is eating. The more nutritional the food your dragon eats the better. I have chosen gutload from Catawba Cricket Hatchery, also available on our Products for Sale page. I house my crickets in 56-quart tubs.
We do not use tops on our cricket tubs. As long as you do not stack the egg flats higher than 2/3’s up the tub, the crickets can’t get out. They really benefit from having the best ventilation possible.
Your crickets will come in a box full of egg cartons, without them the crickets will pile onto each other and suffocate themselves. I change these egg cartons often to keep down bacteria, so I order egg cartons. I place a Cricket / Roach Waterer in the corner of the tub or you may use thick-slices of potatoes. Crickets are dumb and will drown themselves in water.
Our Cricket / Roach Waterers use a sponge so that the crickets can drink and not drown. It’s cheaper to purchase one from our Products for Sale page than to keep replacing the potato slices.
I change out the egg cartons regularly as I see the debris collecting on them. I watch as the Gutload is eaten and just add more. Keeping the crickets well fed and their home clean, are both important for the health of your dragon.
I have found that most of my dragons after becoming a year or so old, decide they just don’t like crickets anymore. It may be that I spoil them hand feeding them worms, but I have had others tell me that their older dragons won’t eat crickets either.
Some use roaches instead of or along with crickets. I thought they were icky and would not use them until a couple of years ago. They breed easily and are kept easily, in plastic tubs. They do require heat and humidity. The Cricket / Roach waterers help with the humidity. I use ground-up, high protein dog food to feed the roaches.
I feed a variety of worms. But, I choose not to use mealworms ever; they have hard, crunchy shells that make them hard for a dragon to digest. I use superworms, molted ones for the smaller dragons (superworms shed; when they do they are a white color and very soft). I get my superworms from Armstrong Crickets. I add in a mix of hornworms and Phoenix worms.
I purchase Phoenix worms from The Phoenix Worm Store and hornworms from Great Lakes Hornworm. They are listed on the Supplier Page. They provide good service and top quality worms. I feed a variety of these worms. If you have a dragon that is being picky and not eating well; offering these seems to spark their appetite. I have a couple of dragons that will refuse to eat anything but hornworms and salad; most large dragons love hornworms. They seem to have their likes and dislikes just as we do. Small dragons love Phoenix worms. They have more protein and are smaller in size so easier for the little ones to digest.
Hornworms can be purchased in self-contained cups that come with the food in them.
Maintaining superworms is pretty easy. I use a rectangular Sterilite tub, I put about 2” of chicken feed in the bottom and place potato slices randomly across the top. Replace the potato slices as you see them get eaten with holes in them. I mix up the bedding every couple of weeks. As you see it become more powdery, then grainy, begin replacing it. Super worms keep forever. But if you find a few dead ones at times, just remove them.
Do NOT use worms sold for fishing. They are not raised the same way and can harm your dragon. Do NOT use any worms found outside as there is no telling what they are carrying that may harm your dragon.
I never feed these because of their very high fat content and there could be some risk of impaction from their bones.
Bearded Dragon Pellets
I don’t know much about these foods as I chose not to use processed food for my dragons. I think natural foods are better, but that is just my opinion. I suggest if you chose to use them, you do research to find the best ones.
A note: I wish someone had shared this information with me to begin with. It would have saved me some worry and panic.
Dragons will eat when they are hungry unless they are sick. Offer food each day but if your dragon does not eat for a day or two, it’s okay. Some days they will eat a lot, then they may not eat for a couple of days. Young dragons eat more than older ones. Adults’ systems slow down as they stop growing, so they eat less often. So just be sure what they are eating is good for them. I do keep liquid calcium, I acquired it from my vet so if I feel a dragon is not eating well or gravid (pregnant) I will supplement with it. Talk to your vet about this if you feel your dragon is not getting what it needs with feeding. If you have a question, just email and I’ll try to help. If I’m unable to, I will help you find a source for the answers you need.