Can bearded dragons eat chicken? This is a question I got from one of my readers. She wondered whether chicken is good for her beardie.
It is true that bearded dragons eat a variety of protein-rich foods. However, not all animals are safe for them. If you are a new bearded dragon owner, you need to be careful.
So, can bearded dragons eat chicken?
Bearded dragons can eat chicken but on an occasional basis only. Although chicken does not contain toxic substances, it is not a good staple food for beardies. A nibble will not harm your beardies though.
Honestly, I do not feed my beardies with chicken. But many bearded dragon owners offer this to their beardies without seeing any health problems in their lizard pets.
Related Article: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Mice?
Before I will tell you why I don’t normally feed my beardie with chicken, let’s see what bearded dragons can get from eating chicken. The table below summarizes the nutritional facts of chicken.
Table of Contents
Chicken Nutrition Facts
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
|Energy||916 kJ (219 kcal)|
|Aspartic acid||2.200 g|
|Glutamic acid||3.610 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||44 μg||6%|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.667 mg||13%|
As you can see, chicken has high fat content. It exceeds what beardies normally need. Fatty foods like this are not good for bearded dragons in captivity.
It is true that beardies eat animals and greens in the wild. It is part of their diet as omnivores. However, in captivity, fatty foods are not necessary. This is because bearded dragons in captivity do not have enough physical activities.
As a result, bearded dragons will only become fat and unhealthy.
Related Article: Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Mealworms?
Aside from fats, chicken also has high water content. As you might already know, watery foods are not good for bearded dragons too. They could potentially cause digestive issues like diarrhea.
This is just part of the reasons why I don’t feed chicken to my beardies. I discuss in detail below the additional reasons why.
Why Chicken is not Recommended as Staple Food for Bearded Dragons?
As mentioned, chicken contain high level of fat and water. These two constituents alone are not good for bearded dragons in captivity.
But aside from these, there are other factors that should be taken into consideration. First, experts are not sure whether or not cooked chicken is totally safe for beardies.
In fact, most cooked foods are not recommended. This is because cooked foods have lost the essential nutrients. Furthermore, bearded dragons are not accustomed to cooked foods. Cooked foods do not resemble their natural diet in the wild.
How about feeding bearded dragons with raw chicken? Is it safe?
Unfortunately, raw chicken may be more dangerous than the cooked one. Raw chickens are known to have salmonella that potentially cause health issues to beardies.
In addition to fat and water content, chicken is also high in phosphorus. This is another threat to the health of the bearded dragon. High phosphorus may interfere calcium absorption which will in turn cause metabolic bone disease.
Metabolic bone disease is a serious condition that you don’t want to see in your beardies. It is a threat to lizards that if not avoided will cost their lives.
Is Calcium Essential for Bearded Dragons?
Yes, calcium is very important nutrient for bearded dragons. This is to develop healthy bone and in order for them to gain good health.
Along with calcium, beardies also need phosphorus. However, it should not be in excessive amount.
The ideal ratio for calcium to phosphorus is 2:1. Foods for bearded dragons should contain good calcium-to-phosphorus ratio. Too little or too high is not good for reptiles.
When choosing foods for your reptile pets, always make sure that they have enough calcium and phosphorus content. Also, avoid watery foods. Bearded dragons are prone to diarrhea when consumed foods with high water content.
How Much Chicken Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
As mentioned, I do not recommend feeding your bearded dragons with chicken (raw or cooked). It may not be good for them.
However, if you really want to give them chicken, it should be in small amount once every three months. If given frequently in large amounts, bearded dragons may suffer from many health issues.
Because chicken has high phosphorus content, beardies will be prone to metabolic bone disease. And trust me, you do not want to see your reptile having this health problem.
High phosphorus interferes calcium absorption which will cause the metabolic bone disease.
To completely avoid this potential health issue, I recommend that you prevent feeding your beardies with unhealthy foods. There are available healthier foods that are good for your reptile.
I do not recommend taking the risk of trying to feed your beardies with chicken. There are animals that are good sources of protein and calcium.
Worms are great examples. Depending on the age and size of your bearded dragon, you can try feeding them with mealworms, dubia roaches, etc.
Related Article: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Earthworms?
How Do You Know that Your Bearded Dragon Has Poor Bone Health?
Poor bone health in bearded dragons has symptoms. If your beardies have bone problems, they may start showing some of the signs listed below:
- Swelling in some body areas
- Inability to walk properly
- Bearded dragon shows jerky movements
- Swelling hind legs
- Some parts of the body have softened bones
- Bent spine or tail
- Your Beardies may lose appetite and barely eat
- Beardies tend to eat sand in the substrate
- Seems to have lack of energy
These are just some of the common signs of weak bones and other bone problems in bearded dragons.
If you notice some of these signs, I suggest that you bring your beardie to the nearest animal clinic. A licensed veterinarian will be able to give correct and appropriate diagnoses.
Lastly, if you see some of these signs, act quickly. You don’t know whether or not the condition is severe already.
Final Thoughts on Can Bearded Dragons Eat Chicken
Chicken does not contain toxic substances for bearded dragons. However, it does contain some of the nutrients that are not good for bearded dragons’ health.
Chicken either cooked or raw is not a perfect staple food for beardies. In fact, I do not recommend it for bearded dragons.
However, if you really want to feed it to your beardies, make sure it is in an extremely small amount. Do it once every three months or so. It is purely a treat to your reptile.
The reason why chicken is only as a treat food is that it contains high phosphorus. This mineral can interfere with the calcium absorption leading to more serious health conditions in bearded dragons.
In general, if you want to keep your bearded dragon healthy, do not feed him/her with chicken at all. Prevention is still the best way to keep your reptile healthy.
I hope this post helps you make a good and healthy decision for reptile pet.
Thank you for reading.