Bearded dragons are omnivorous, meaning that they eat both animal and plant matter. Any and all food items that your Bearded Dragon eat should be no bigger than the space between their eyes. If the food items are bigger than the space between their eyes it can cause impaction and/or hind leg paralysis. Either way your Bearded Dragon will suffer horribly.
Diet - Babies & Juvenile Bearded dragons
Baby and juvenile Bearded Dragons should be offered appropriately sized crickets two to three times a day. Offer as many as your Bearded Dragon will eat in a 5-10 minute time frame. When your Bearded Dragon stops eating, stop offering. Young Bearded Dragons can eat anywhere from 20-60 small crickets a day. Your Bearded Dragon should also be given fresh greens daily. Spraying the greens with water will help them last longer and will also help keep your Bearded Dragon hydrated. You should dust the food with calcium once a day, 5 times a week, make sure to use calcium without vitamin D3.
Sub-Adults & Adults
Sub-adult to adult Bearded Dragons only need to eat prey items once a day along with fresh greens. Once they are this age you can also offer them Locusts, Cockroaches, Mealworms, Waxworms, Zophobas worms, Silkworms, Superworms, Butterworms, Red worms, Earthworms and just about any other worm available. All these should be used as treats though with roaches, crickets, superworms and greens being the staple part of your Dragons diet. DO NOT feed your Bearded Dragon insects that you have caught in your backyard. These bugs could have parasites that could be passed on to your Beardie or they could have been exposed to poisons that could kill your Bearded Dragon. Lightning bugs can also kill your Bearded Dragon so it is much safer to stay away from wild caught insects. Dust the food with calcium every 3rd day, make sure it does not contain vitamin D3.
Here is guide on breeding superworms and what the difference is between mealworms, giant mealworms and superworms. Difference between mealworms and superworms and how to breed them.
Method of feeding live insects
It is always a hassle when you have crickets, roaches etc. running all over the cage and you have to catch them every time. I have huge cages with loads of rocks and had to make a plan to feed my dragons inside the cage on the days that we start early in the mornings. I took 2 small, shallow, see through lunch boxes and cut out squires in the lids big enough for my dragons heads and front legs to fit in. The lid prevented the crickets from climbing out and my dragons could happily catch them without having them crawl on them. If you put tiny roaches in there then you need to smear the inside sides with Vaseline, the roaches wont go over the Vaseline. Here is and example of what the lunch box must look like.
It worked perfectly and my Bearded Dragons could eat when ever they felt hungry.
List of recommended salads: This can be used for all reptiles including parrots, mix up with water before serving.
You need to make a salad combining at least 3 different types of greens, 1 veggie and fruit once a week or as a treat.
Staple greens that can be fed daily.
Alfalfa - called Lucerne in South Africa
Marog (Amaranthus hybridus) Nutritional breakdown
Dandelion - pesticide free
Nasturtium greens and flowers
Occasionally mix in with the staple greens: Do NOT feed daily.
Bok Choy (high in goitrogens)
Kale (high in goitrogens)
Beet Greens (high in Oxalates and Phytates)
Swiss Chard (high in Oxalates and Phytates)
Cabbage (high in goitrogens)
Carrot Tops (high in Oxalates and Phytates)
Spinach (high in Oxalates and Phytates)
Herbs that can be fed:
I personally mix them alternatively in per day. It is impossible to write all the benefits of these herbs! (This can be the reason why all my kids are full of energy, active and can solve problems.)
Basil - Anti-oxidant protection, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, many essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins, bone strengthening function etc.
Coriander (Cilantro) - Containing an antibacterial compound, cilantro has been found to provide a natural means of fighting Salmonella and aids in digestion. It is also found to have anti-inflammatory properties. It is known to protect from metal-poisoning. etc.
Fennel - Reduce inflammation and prevent the occurrence of cancer. Source of fiber and reduce cholesterol.
Thyme - Keeps your brain, kidney, and heart cell membranes healthy and protects against ageing.
Oregano - Anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, source of iron, manganese and dietary fiber as well as a good source of calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A.
Rosemary - stimulates the immune system, increasing circulation, and improving digestion. Increase the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration.
Sage - Ant-oxidant, Anti-inflammatory, boost brain function.
Peppermint - Relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, including indigestion, dyspepsia, and colonic muscle spasms. Anti-cancer agent, stops the growth of many different bacteria. Excellent source of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin A and beta-carotene.
If the greens you are wondering about say Lettuce anywhere in the name avoid them. Most types of lettuce are composed mostly of water and hold little or no nutritional value. With the wide variety of other greens out there it is better and easier to just avoid any type of lettuce. Spinach should also be avoided as calcium binds to it and will not be digested by your Bearded Dragon.
A wide variety of vegetables can also be offered to your Bearded Dragon. Butternut squash, Yellow squash, Spaghetti squash, Acorn squash, all other varieties of squash, Green beans, Parsnips, Sweet potato, Snow peas and Carrots. Carrots should only be used as a treat though due to the high amounts of vitamin A. Any food with high amounts of vitamin A should be avoided as reptiles do not absorb a lot of vitamin A. Feeding your Bearded Dragon a lot foods such as Carrots will end up in a condition called Vitamin A toxicity which is deadly. Squashes will either have to be cooked or micro waved before feeding them to your Bearded Dragon. This will soften them up and they can then be minced and eaten easier. My dragons are spoiled rotten, I feed them mashed up veggies with a spoon every morning. They sit on my lap and eat like a baby! This is the only way I can get them to eat their veggies.
List of recommended Vegetables
Frozen Mixed Vegetables
Here is a video of how you can get your Bearded Dragon to LOVE veggies if he/she is stubborn and refuse to eat it out of a dish: How to get your bearded dragon to love veggies and drink water.
Fruits can also be used, just avoid any citrus fruit such as oranges and grape fruit. Use Melon, occasional Apples, Banana (only very occasionally as a treat -bananas are very high in Phosphorus), and rarely Strawberry, Grapes, Raspberry.
When feeding any vegetable or fruit, always cut or shred it into small enough pieces.
List of recommended fruits
Mango (Mine LOVE mango)
Bananas (With Skin)
Plants that I know are safe:
Nasturtium leafs and flower
Medical use for nasturtium: Effective treatment for the symptoms of topical and internal bacterial infections, as well as the respiratory and digestive systems. It can also be used to treat fungal infections. It has antibiotic, anti fungal, antiviral and antibacterial oils. Boosts the immune system, stimulates the appetite, promotes digestion and supports metabolism.
Hibiscus leaf and flower
Hollyhock another favorite.
Cream of Wheat: This hot cereal has a perfect calcium/phosphorus ratio of 2:1 and offers protein, carbohydrates and other vitamins. You can cook the porridge and pour into an ice cube tray and keep in the refrigerator. Mix a block with his food once a week or so.
Bearded Dragons need water just like we do. Fresh water should be offered daily in a shallow bowl and the bowl needs to be washed daily. Many Bearded Dragons may not drink from a water bowl so you may have to drip the water slowly onto your Bearded Dragon's snout. Wiggling your finger in the water may also get their attention. Bearded Dragons like things that move so creating ripples in the water may get their attention. I taught my dragons to drink from the kitchen tab by opening it and letting drip on their noses while smacking my lips. They soon started smacking their lips too and wha-la they drank water. This is now a routine in our house.
Proper hydration is very important in the health of a Bearded Dragon and is even more important to a sick Bearded Dragon. When a Bearded Dragon becomes ill they are often too weak to drink fluids on their own, and if they are not drinking or eating they become even more lethargic and weak. Severe dehydration may lead to shock and even death. Clean water should always be available for your Dragon. Always provide fresh water in a low dish, no taller than their shoulder. Their food may also be misted to add moisture.
I have found that my Bearded Dragons LOVE any water that comes from above - like rain. They hate bathing but LOVE showering.
Here is a video of how to prepare the food.
What not to feed:
• Do not feed wild insects or insects found around the house. They may carry diseases that could be deadly to your dragon.
• Lightning bugs (also known as fireflies) are deadly poisonous (they contain phosphorous).
• Avoid also spinach as calcium binds to it and will not be digested by your dragon.
• Avoid citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruits).
• Do not feed dog or cat food to your Dragon.
• Carrots should only be used as a treat though due to the high amounts of vitamin A. Any food with high amounts of vitamin A should be avoided, as reptiles do not absorb it well.
• NEVER iceberg lettuce.