can bearded dragons eat collard greens
Bearded Dragon Vegetables

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Collard Greens?

Can bearded dragons eat collard greens? Are collard greens for bearded dragons OK? Yes, bearded dragons can eat collard greens regularly.

What Are Collard Greens For Bearded Dragons?

Collard greens are members of the Cruciferous family. The cruciferous family also contains Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage and perhaps somewhat surprisingly, turnips. They contain lots of different nutrients and are low in fat.

Bearded dragons require a varied diet of insects and vegetables to stay healthy and leafy green vegetables are often the ones that have the best calcium profile. Collard greens contain various vitamins and minerals which we’ll outline at the bottom of this article if you want a reference.

Collard greens for bearded dragons are high in both fibre and water content and make an excellent leafy green vegetable to feed locusts on. They’re also high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and iron.

Collard greens are not quite the same as spring greens (which are most often found in UK Supermarkets, whereas Collard Greens are rarely found in the UK). However, they’re pretty much identical in most respects and we feed our bearded dragon on Spring Greens because Collard Greens aren’t so readily available.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Collard Greens?

Yes, bearded dragons can eat collard greens and they should do so regularly. It’s always good to mix up the vegetable diet of bearded dragons to provide variety in nutrients and colour and to help keep your bearded dragon interested. But collard greens can form the basis of a nice salad every day.

There is some discussion around Collard Greens having some levels of goitrogens but the data for this is hard to come by. They also contain a bit of oxalic acid (Oxalates) which can affect the take up of calcium – but the general opinion is that the level of calcium versus the level of Oxalate is such that it’s still beneficial. All leafy greens contain oxalates as protection against being eaten and Collard Greens certainly aren’t among the highest Oxalate containers.

Advantages Of Collard Greens For Bearded Dragons

  • Good calcium levels
  • Long lasting
  • Good for gutloading locusts or crickets
  • Good for other minerals and vitamins too

Disadvantages Of Collard Greens For Bearded Dragons

  • Some goitrogenic effects

How Should I Feed Collard Greens To A Bearded Dragon

Collard greens should be fed daily to bearded dragons as part of a balanced vegetable diet.

Many bearded dragons are quite happy to have fairly large leaves of collard green in a bowl (along with other vegetables) and they often like to rip them up and parade around the vivarium looking very proud of themselves.

Other bearded dragons of course won’t go near collard greens – or any green vegetables. You may find that a little dash of bee pollen might help entice them to take on some vegetable matter for dinner.

Collard greens should be fed to your bearded dragon as raw, and fresh. You can decide whether your bearded dragon prefers larger leaves or smaller chopped or shredded leaves. Either way, it’s the green, more succulent portion of the leaf that they’ll want to eat rather than the whiter veiny looking parts. The veins are quite tough anyway and even the locusts or crickets will avoid eating those parts.

If your bearded dragon has a thyroid problem you could try steaming the collard greens first to break down the goitrogens and reduce the thyroid issues associated with them. To be fair though, we’ve never tried to feed a bearded dragon on steamed or otherwise cooked collards, so we’re not sure if they’d even try it.

How Much Collard Green Should I Feed A Bearded Dragon?

Collard greens should be fed every day. They should be placed in a suitable dish in the morning and can be left in the vivarium all day – replacing when they get too dry or have been mostly eaten. You’ll not overfeed collard greens to your bearded dragon so don’t worry if they eat loads.

Collard greens should be dusted lightly with a calcium supplement to increase the calcium content at least twice a week. They can also be lightly sprinkled with some water before being placed in the dish to help keep them a little bit more fresh throughout the day.

Place the collard greens and salad mix at the cool end of the vivarium so that they last longer before drying out. Dried collard greens aren’t going to be appetizing for your bearded dragon. You may find you need to replace them at least once throughout the day if your bearded dragon hasn’t eaten them before they go dry and wrinkly.

You should mix in other vegetables to give your dragon some variety, but there’s no upper limit on how much they can have.

Nutritional Data For Collard Greens For Bearded Dragons

Nutritional ItemContent
Water Content (%)89.62
Fat (%)0
Protein (%)3.02%
Dietary Fibre (%)4.0%
Calcium (mg/100g)232 (0.232%)
Potassium (mg/100g)213 (0.213%)
Phosphorous (mg/100g)25 (0.025%)
Vitamin A (ug/100g)251
Vitamin C (ug/100g)35
Oxalates (mg/100g)4.25
Nutritional Data For Collard Greens For Bearded Dragons [1][2]

Can I Grow My Own Collard Greens?

Collard green seeds are readily available in the USA, Canada and the UK. We’ve not grown our own from seeds (yet) but we do keep our Spring Greens (being from the UK) fresh by cutting the stems at the bottom and placing in water dishes, where they grow roots within a week or so. This keeps them well hydrated and generally fresh for weeks.

But back to collard green seeds… They’re available at Amazon (which is where the links will take you to buy them for a reasonable price) and they’ll produce a Collard Green plant that grows to 2 to 3 feet. The plant will tolerate poor or sandy soil types and are easy to grow from seed.

Collard greens prefer a cooler growing temperature and so are, for southern USA at least, better planted in spring. For Canada and the UK they’re likely to be fine to plant for most of the warmer months of the year.

Collard green seeds will grow to maturity in around 60 – 75 days. And if you like a nice Sunday roast they’ll work on your plate just as much as they will your bearded dragons!

Summary

So, can bearded dragons eat collard greens and are collard greens for bearded dragons OK? The answer is yes, collard greens are an excellent leafy green vegetable for bearded dragons. They can be fed regularly, although should form part of a balanced diet so mixed with other vegetables too. Collard greens are a good source of calcium, fibre and water.

Frequency: STAPLE.

For more information on other vegetables that Bearded Dragons can eat, please see our larger overview post at ‘What Vegetables Can Bearded Dragons Eat?’

References

1: US Department of Agriculture, sourced 1st Feb 2021 from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/588391/nutrients

2: Oxalate data sourced from St Josephs Healthcare, Hamilton, Canada fetched on 1st February 2021 from https://www.stjoes.ca/patients-visitors/patient-education/patient-education-k-o/pd-9447-oxalate-in-food.pdf

Featured Image by WikimediaImages from Pixabay

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