If you’re a fan of rotisserie chicken, you might want to feed your bearded dragon chicken too. Not only is it versatile and affordable, but it’s also high in protein and vitamins like B6 and B12. Still, chicken may not be as good for bearded dragons as it is for humans.
So, can bearded dragons eat chicken? The short answer is no. Chicken isn’t exactly a safe food for your bearded dragon. A small piece or two every few months may be fine, but if your bearded dragon eats a lot of chicken, it could become ill or die.
Why Can’t Bearded Dragons Eat Chicken?
Chicken is nutrient-dense, packed with protein, and overall good for human health. However, due to its phosphorous content, chicken puts your bearded dragon at risk of developing metabolic bone disease (MBD), which can lead to permanent paralysis or death.
The danger of too much phosphorus. One of the most important nutrients for bearded dragons is calcium. They need it to digest their food and keep their bones, muscles, and tissues strong. If your bearded dragon doesn’t get enough calcium, it can develop metabolic bone disease. Symptoms of MBD include:
- loss of appetite
- lethargy and weakness
- Swollen and deformed limbs and jaws
- fractures and broken bones
- Paralysis or difficulty moving
If a diet contains calcium, it’s important to check if it also contains phosphorus, since phosphorus depletes your bearded dragon’s calcium stores. If the diet contains more calcium than phosphorus, the calcium will enter your bearded dragon’s bloodstream. However, when there is more phosphorus than calcium, it usually means problems.
Chicken has a dangerous ratio of calcium to phosphorus: 1 to 16.7. The calcium in the chicken will never make it into your bearded dragon’s bloodstream.
Its absorption is prevented by the phosphorus, which then tries to draw more calcium from your bearded dragon’s bones.
If your bearded dragon eats chicken frequently, or even once a month, the high levels of phosphorus will endanger your bearded dragon’s health. It’s best if you just don’t feed your bearded dragon chicken.
While bearded dragons can theoretically eat chicken once in a while, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and there are plenty of other excellent sources of nutrients and protein that won’t compromise their health.
Chicken feeding alternatives for your bearded dragon
If you’re looking for a way to feed your bearded dragon more protein, the easiest way is to feed them live insects.
Chicken eggs are also a good source of protein for your bearded dragon. It is best to serve them when you have processed them into scrambled eggs without any additional ingredients.
Some bearded dragons love eggs, and they’re a good backup plan when you’re out of live food or have a fussy bearded dragon that refuses to eat live bugs.