When it comes to reptile nutrition, we always recommend gut loading your feeder insects. But what to feed dubia roaches for bearded dragons to ensure the best nutrition possible?
In this blog, we explore what dubias naturally eat, how their diet can affect the health of your beardie, and how to formulate a proper dubia diet at home.
What do Dubia Roaches Eat?
In the wild, dubia roaches are scavengers. However, while they will technically eat anything, they are often classed as frugivores because they prefer a diet consisting mainly of fruits and grains.
As scavengers, dubia roaches are pretty good at getting the nutrition they need even from a poor diet, but it’s still important to provide them with balanced foods. After all, you want your dubias to be as healthy as possible so they can provide that nutrition to your reptiles!
The #1 Rule to Remember About Gut Loading Dubias for Bearded Dragons
If you aren’t raising dubias but want to know what to feed dubia roaches for bearded dragons for gut loading purposes, don’t worry about what’s healthy for the dubia. Since gut loading is done just one or two days before feeding, gut loads should be designed for the health of the reptile, not the health of the insect.
What’s the Deal with Protein?
We all know protein is an important part of a reptile’s diet, so it would make sense that their food – dubias – should also be fed a lot of protein, right?
Wrong. When dubias consume too much protein, it gets converted into uric acid, which can be harmful to bearded dragons if consumed in excess. Just like cows can convert grass into protein-rich muscle, dubias can convert fruits, vegetables, and grains into protein.
In fact, this study done with adult dubias found that females actually prefer a lower protein, high carbohydrate diet and will, in most cases, avoid consuming high amounts of protein.
The only hard rule we recommend when deciding what to feed dubia roaches for bearded dragons is to stay away from high protein foods when gut loading.
Too much protein in a reptile’s diet can cause gout. Read our article on gout in bearded dragons to learn how to feed dubias to your reptile safely.
Now you know what not to feed. Next, let’s look at what to feed dubia roaches for bearded dragons.
What We Feed Our Dubias
We take pride in the health of our dubia roaches. We have experimented with a few different diets, but none of them performed to our satisfaction. Ultimately, we developed our own proprietary grain blend that we offer free choice. Additionally, our roaches are provided with top quality fruits and vegetables for additional nutrition and moisture.
What to Feed Dubia Roaches for Bearded Dragons At Home
What you feed dubia roaches at home may vary depending on whether you’re breeding them or just keeping them alive until feeding time.
If you’re keeping dubia roaches short term, a variety of fruits and vegetables should work out fine. Basically, if you want your beardie to eat it, go ahead and give it to your dubias. As long as you feed the dubias to your reptile within three days after they consume the produce, the nutrition from that produce will benefit your reptile! This is called gut loading, which you can read more about here.
If you’re keeping a breeding colony, what to feed dubia roaches for bearded dragons is still simple. All you need is a good carbohydrate source (like our grain blend) and fresh produce. Dubias will often eat the parts of plants that we don’t like – such as the insides of a pumpkin, carrot peelings, and mushy watermelon – so it doesn’t have to be hard to source produce for them.
Whether your dubias are feeders or breeders, we recommend avoiding feeding your dubias anything you wouldn’t let your bearded dragon eat, especially in the few days before feeding off. In either case it’s also a good idea to provide water in the form of gel or crystals to ensure proper hydration. If you feed enough water-rich produce, this step may be unnecessary.
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