Bearded Dragons And Chicken – What You Need To Know
If you love to eat barbecue chicken, chicken a la king, pot pie, or any other chicken dishes, you might have thought of giving some to your bearded dragon.
But can bearded dragons eat chicken? The answer is yes and no.
Chicken is not the safest food for your bearded dragon. It is best not to feed chicken but you can if that is the only protein source available. It’s better to find other protein sources for them such as grasshoppers, cicadas and other bugs.
This article will explore why chicken is dangerous to your bearded dragon.
Nutritional Information Of Chicken
The nutritional information in the following table is for some of the most relevant nutrients to this article.
Nutritional Value Of Raw Chicken
As you can see from the table above, raw chicken has a high fat and protein level. It is also high in phosphorus, which is unhealthy for your bearded dragon.
If you want to find out more about the impact of chicken on your bearded dragon, read on.
Risks Of Chicken In Your Bearded Dragon’s Diet
While bearded dragons can safely eat animal-based foods – chicken is a different story.
Ok, let’s tackle the elephant in the room first! The main problem is the amount of phosphorus versus calcium in chicken. Bearded dragons require certain levels of calcium for bone and overall health.
Even though chicken contains calcium, it is also very high in phosphorus. The best calcium to phosphorus ratio for your beardie is 1:1 or 2:1, but chicken has roughly 1:16, which is not a healthy ratio.
Too much phosphorus binds with calcium and prevents it from being absorbed into the bloodstream. When calcium is not absorbed, it causes a calcium deficiency, leading to a very painful and severe disease called metabolic bone disease.
You probably won’t be a Dragon Keeper for very long without hearing how vital calcium is for bearded dragons’ health and wellbeing. Bearded dragons need calcium for the following reasons:
- Healthy bones and bone development,
- Muscle contractions,
- Proper egg development & good reproductive health in females.
The calcium to phosphorus ratio in raw chicken is very high, with phosphorus being the most. This ratio can lead to a calcium deficiency in your bearded dragon and, ultimately, metabolic bone disease.
Alert your vet immediately if you notice any signs of metabolic bone disease in your bearded dragon. These include:
- Lack of appetite
- Lethargy and weakness
- Receded lower jaw
- Swollen limbs and jaw
- Bumps along the spine or bones
- Soft jaw, and facial bones
- Bowed limbs and arched spine
- Fractures and broken bones
- Greenstick fractures (folded or bent bones)
- Trembling and twitching limbs
- Tremors and seizures
- Paralysis or difficulty moving
Raw chicken is just as dangerous for bearded dragons as it is for humans. The risk of food poisoning from salmonella, E.coli, or bacterial contamination is just as high.
Chicken contains high amounts of protein that can be difficult for your bearded dragon to digest. It can make your bearded dragon quite ill. The best kind of protein for your bearded dragon comes from insects.
Chicken also contains high-fat levels, more than what a bearded dragon in captivity needs. Fatty foods are unhealthy for beardies since they don’t get as much activity and exercise as wild bearded dragons. Too much fat can lead to obesity and heart disease.
The high water content in chicken can also make your beardie unwell. Any food with excess water could cause digestive problems such as diarrhea.
Protecting Your Bearded Dragon From Calcium Deficiency
There are many ways to keep your bearded dragon safe from lack of calcium and all of its consequences:
A healthy diet. Feed your dragon calcium-rich foods that are low in phosphorus and oxalates. Keep an eye on the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio in fruits and veggies. You don’t want to feed your dragon foods with a higher phosphorus content than the calcium content, as this will deplete your dragon’s calcium supply.
Provide proper supplementation. Offer calcium and Vitamin D3 regularly. Whether you choose a liquid or powder variety, always make sure the supplements contain no phosphorus. Try our phosphorus-free Reptile Greens & Calcium Powder to keep your dragon healthy.
Proper UVB lighting. Twelve hours of UVB exposure a day is ideal. Change the bulb in your dragon’s tank every six months or so, no later than every year.
Know the signs of deficiency and illness. These include trouble walking, lethargy, and swollen limbs.
Take your dragon out in the sun. Bearded dragons love walks! Not only will they enjoy the exercise, but their bodies will love Vitamin D3.
Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Chicken?
No, baby bearded dragons can’t eat chicken because it doesn’t have the nutritional benefits they need.
Baby bearded dragons need a lot of calcium in their diets to grow strong bones. If they do not get the amount of calcium they need, chances are they could have problems later in life with their bones.
Can You Offer Your Bearded Dragon Cooked Chicken?
It turns out that not only is raw chicken not good for your beardie, but neither is cooked chicken. When you cook (or, in particular, boil chicken), it loses most of its essential nutrients. Some beardies might not even enjoy eating it since they don’t generally eat cooked meat while in the wild.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Chicken Liver?
We do not recommend feeding the liver to bearded dragons like any other chicken part. Beardies, though omnivores, should eat more fruits and greens than insects, especially as they approach adulthood.
How About Feeding Your Beardie Chicken Eggs?
Bearded dragons can safely eat up to half an egg every other week or so. Eggs are primarily rich in protein, which your beardie should already be getting from feeder insects.
What Alternatives Is There For Chicken?
If you are searching for a way to get more protein in your dragon’s diet, the easiest way is to feed them live insects. Dubia roaches are possibly the best source of protein for your bearded dragon, but crickets are also available.
Also, you can provide your bearded dragons with several greens, fruits, and flowers without any problems. We suggest you try collard greens, dandelion greens, sweet potato, and more.
We recommend that you avoid feeding your bearded dragon chicken at all costs. Chicken is so high in phosphorus; you are putting your beardie at risk of calcium deficiency and ultimately metabolic bone disease that can be fatal.
Do proper research before adding new foods to your bearded dragon’s diet. Even food that might seem the healthiest can have dangerous effects on your bearded dragon.
Continue to read our main article “What do Bearded Dragons Eat?” for all the ins and outs on general diet questions, and get a further detailed breakdown of other popular foods in the articles below:
- Can Bearded Dragons eat tomatoes?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat oranges?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat parsley?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat blackberries?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat pumpkin?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat pineapple?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat cantaloupe?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat green beans?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat cherries?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat asparagus?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat mango?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat cauliflower?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat avocado?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat brussel-sprouts?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat collard-greens?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat wax-worms?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat dandelions?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat nightcrawlers?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat earthworms?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat eggs?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat basil?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat peaches?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat grasshoppers?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat sweet potato?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat hornworms?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Mice?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Cucumbers?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Cabbage?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Kale?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Bell Peppers?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Broccoli?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Meat?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Aloe?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Radishes?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Bananas?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat plums?