I'm Dr. Jo and I'm here to discuss your questions about your bearded dragons.
I'm so sorry you're having frustrations with their diets, but glad you're looking for the information you need.
Proper nutrition is essential for these guys, and most of the health problems we see in veterinary practice are related to improper nutrition and housing, so I'm glad you're trying to do the best you can for them.
You may join this conversation at any time by typing in what you want to say, then clicking REPLY.
That way we can chat back and forth until you're satisfied with the information I've provided.
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First, I want to let you know you are not alone in your frustration. Getting a bearded dragon to eat what it needs is almost always a complicated business.
I'll start by providing some basic dietary information (which you may already have)...
The bearded dragons are omnivores, with plant foods comprising about 20 percent of their diet. Since these lizards consume a wide variety of invertebrates and small vertebrates in the wild, a variety of protein sources must be offered in captivity. Prey items such as appropriately sized cultured crickets, cockroaches, mealworms, king worms, and wax worms can be fed, along with pink mice. Make sure the invertebrates are freshly molted to reduce the amount of tough, indigestible exoskeleton the dragon will ingest; exoskeletons can cause intestinal impaction so the least amount ingested the better. As the dragon grows, it is better to feed him mice (pinks, fuzzies, crews, young adult) rather than mostly insects. Whole rodent prey is more nutritious - and will not cause the impaction that insect prey can.
Feed your invertebrate prey before feeding your dragon. Prey bought from pet stores are generally in dire need of a good meal, having subsisted on cardboard or bran for several days at least. Sprinkle or dust prey with a calcium supplement just before feeding them to your lizard 3-5 times a week (more for baby and pregnant dragons), and use a multivitamin supplement 2-3 times a week (more for babies and pregnant females). Prepare an enclosure for your crickets, furnishing it with pieces of egg crate or cardboard cores from paper towels and toilet paper. Pieces of fruits and vegetables, as well as food such as high-protein baby cereal mixed with reptile vitamins, tropical fish flakes, and rodent chow, all make suitable foods. Since smaller crickets are more nutritious than larger crickets (proportionately less exoskeleton) it is better to feed out more of the smaller ones than fewer of the big ones.
Plant matter includes a variety of shredded or torn vegetables and fruits such as green beans, orange-fleshed squash, carrots, escarole, parsley, mustard, dandelion and collard greens, raspberries, mango, and cantaloupe.
Let's focus more on the plant matter section, since that's where you're having trouble. Here are some useful tips for trying to get your beardies to eat the plant matter.
Firstly, try making a salad. I've attached a link to my favorite recipe and it is quite popular with beardies. Please note that even though the salad recipe is titled as being for iguanas, it's also perfect for bearded dragons.
Another key idea is to make sure you are offering greens at the right time of day. Bearded dragons tend to eat most at the very beginning and very end of the day. Please try to time your offering of salad during the first and last hours of daylight.
Another hit - try top dressing the salad with a little bit of crumbled dog kibble to make it more appealing. This makes me think of people who add Bacon Bits to their salads, but it often works.
Another hint is to try experimenting with color. Some beardies seem to really prefer bright red foods, and others bright yellows, etc.
Additionally, there are some experts who feel we are trying to feed our beardies too much too often. While yours are young, they still need to eat every day, but don't sweat it if they only want to eat once daily. Adults may skip a few days between meals, and that's okay.