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If you are a huge fan of chicken barbecue or any chicken dish, you may think of feeding it to your bearded dragon. However, can bearded dragons eat chicken? We usually receive this question among beardie keepers, which we understand because these little reptiles love tasty snacks. Sadly, they find chickens and other meats hard to digest.
So, it is not a good idea to offer this meat frequently since your pet will become sick. But, if you only offer a very tiny nibble of chicken once in a blue moon, it will not cause death.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Chicken?
Although chickens are protein-packed and nutrient-dense for humans, it is unhealthy for bearded dragons and can put them at risk of developing a metabolic bone disease or MBD. This disease is one of the worst health concerns that could result in permanent paralysis or death.
We all know that too much phosphorus is extremely dangerous among bearded dragons, and the most important for them is calcium. Sadly, chicken contains too much phosphorus and not enough calcium. To keep our pets’ muscles, bones, and tissues strong, we need to give them healthy foods that bring lots of calcium.
Some of the common symptoms of MBD are:
- Lack of appetite
- Lethargy and weakness
- Swollen and misshapen limbs and jaw
- Fractures and broken bones
- Paralysis or difficulty moving
Always remember that our bearded dragons’ meals should have a balanced calcium and phosphorus ratio. Because if not, phosphorus can deplete your pet’s calcium supply and vice versa. In case you didn’t know, chicken has dangerous calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1:16.7. This amount is too much, and the calcium will not make it to your pet’s bloodstream because phosphorus will block it.
If you feed chicken to your dragon frequently, the overwhelming phosphorus will surely threaten your little pet’s health. So, we highly recommend you avoid feeding chicken to your bearded dragon. On the other hand, we have plenty of tasty treats that your little dragon will surely love.
Remember that it is better to be safe than sorry. We have other excellent alternatives to chicken, and all of them will not put your pet’s health at risk, including chicken eggs!
What Are the Alternative Snacks to Chicken?
You will be doing more torment than good if you feed some chicken meat to your bearded dragon, even if it’s only a treat. Despite being omnivorous, these scaly reptiles do not eat chicken in their natural habitat.
We personally also would not offer chicken meat to any beardie. Many reptile experts have proven that it is not safe to feed a bearded dragon raw or cooked chicken because of salmonella risk, high fat and phosphorus levels. We don’t want to block your dragon’s calcium absorption since the consequences can be fatal, too.
In case you don’t know, the only meat allowed for bearded dragons are from:
Although chicken is healthy for us human beings, it does not apply to our bearded dragons.
What Are the Downsides of Chicken for Bearded Dragons?
- Salmonella or any bacterial contamination
You may be familiar with SalmonellaSalmonella and E. coli. These fatal bacterial contaminations spread through contaminated food with stools of animals, including amphibians and reptiles.
Once any bacteria enter your bearded dragon’s stomach, they will invade the gastrointestinal tract’s digestive system and lymphoid tissues. Afterward, it will spread to the bloodstream. Once the bacteria starts to spread, it will infect other organs, including your bearded dragon’s ones. The worst part is they can pass it to people.
Some of the common symptoms of SalmonellaSalmonella among humans are:
- Abdominal cramps
If left untreated, the sickness can lead to severe and sometimes fatal illnesses.
Unfortunately, once the Salmonella bacteria enter our bearded dragon’s body, we cannot eliminate it easily, even with antibiotics. Based on our research, this bacterium is resistant to antibiotics. Therefore, do not feed your bearded dragon raw chicken if you want to prevent the risk of Salmonella and other bacterial contamination.
Phosphorus’ main role is to build strong teeth and bones for our bearded dragons. However, a “serum calcium:phosphorus” ratio of 1:1 must be strictly maintained to ensure a balanced and healthy diet.
Just like humans, bearded dragons and other reptiles need phosphorus. However, some store-bought meat with phosphorus does not have equal calcium:phosphorus ratio, which is crucial among our scaly friends. If you don’t know yet, calcium and phosphorus deficiency can develop a metabolic bone disease, where blood calcium levels become imbalanced.
So, if you want to prevent it, please supply the correct calcium to phosphorus ratio in your bearded dragon’s diet and avoid chicken because it is high in phosphorus and low in calcium.
Do you know how much protein your bearded dragon need? Before you pop any meat or insect in your pet’s tank, you should understand how much protein he needs every day. Be mindful that these reptiles do not need much because they can easily gain weight.
We all know that chicken has high protein, good for humans but harmful for bearded dragons. If you feed chicken to your beardie regularly, he will become sick and suffer. The only protein sources allowed for bearded dragons are insects. Chicken contains far too much protein than insects.
Well, chicken is also rich in fat, which is unhealthy for bearded dragons too. Generally speaking, all foods high in fat are unnecessary and unhealthy for our little friends since they don’t exercise much as other reptiles, especially in captivity. Too much fat can lead to a weight problem and even death.
Can bearded dragons eat chicken? No, do not feed chicken to your beardie. If you want to give your bearded dragons a tasty snack, you can choose dubia roaches instead because these treats are safe and tasty enough for your cute little pet. If you want a healthier option, you can choose from carrots, apples, strawberries, hibiscus, and dandelion flower.