SUPERWORMS .. SUPERWORMS .. SUPERWORMS as a feeder for dragons of ALL ages. Yes, this includes hatchlings.
So a few people asked if we could talk about superworms. Sure. There are many people who I also see telling members to never feed their babies superworms, because it will cause issues. This isn't true.
All age dragons can eat superworms, as young as newly hatched. When I worked with dragons that were mostly rescues, it wasn't uncommon for me to have hatchlings anywhere from two to five days old and superworms were used as part of my rotation of staple feeders. They still are, for all ages.
Many breeders and long-time owners use superworms with all dragons, including babies. You simply give them micro supers or small superworms. They're teeny tiny and definitely are appropriate to feed even the smallest, youngest of newly hatched dragons.
Superworms are a higher source of fat, 20% protein, so they have more protein than a phoenix worm and more fat than most common feeders except for wax worms and are relatively low in calcium. I always include them, especially with growing dragons as the body, brain, nervous system, etc do need fat to grow properly, along with protein, calcium, etc. Don't twist this to say that I'm saying you should only feed superworms or a high fat diet. Of course not. But dragons do need some percentage of good fats, as they're growing so rapidly. As always, a balanced diet with variety is always best ... but no ... there's absolutely nothing wrong with babies eating superworms so you can stop telling people that they have to be x number of months or x feet long before they do. I would say your husbandry should be on-par and correct if you're feeding superworms but your husbandry should be correct anyway, regardless of which feeders you're using.
MYTH: CRICKETS ARE HORRIBLE AND MEALWORMS WILL KILL YOUR DRAGON. This is completely false.
I don't know what the issue is lately, but it seems its getting even worse again. The thing is, the more misinformation there is, in the community, the harder it is to continually correct it.
Mealworms will not impact and kill a dragon. Mealworms don't kill animals. Improper husbandry does. Should you feed only mealworms to a dragon and no other live foods? Of course not. You shouldn't feed any sole source of live foods to a dragon, as that wouldn't be balanced nutrition. Can mealworms be used as a source of live foods? Sure. They need to be size appropriate and your husbandry needs to be up to speed. Your husbandry should be up to speed anyway, even if you don't use mealworms with your dragons and you should already be feeding size appropriate foods to all dragons, regardless of the type of live food.
Quit telling people to never feed their dragon crickets and that they will get parasites from them, and that they're poor nutrition. Any feeder, including crickets, can carry parasites. Its frequent that higher amounts of pinworms are seen in certain species of crickets. Guess what? I've seen more coccodia levels rise from dubia than any other feeder.
Yes, crickets will bite so its really no big deal to feed them in a different area or take the crickets out at night. Back when I used crickets and still sometimes do for variety. I never had a cricket bite a dragon. It was really easy to take them out. You really shouldn't be leaving live foods of any kind in your cage overnight, tbh. There's no need for it.
Are mealworms and crickets "lower nutrition" like I keep hearing people say? Depends. Lower nutrition compared to what? Mealworms are lower in protein than some other feeders, but relatively low in fat. I've known members to use them very successfully when treating gout, since they're on the low protein side. Many breeders and long-time owners include them in a rotation for variety.
Crickets are only roughly two percent different in protein than butter worms (which are low in fat and high in calcium) and super worms, and they're comparable in calcium to wax worms and slightly less fat than dubia, which everyone shovels into their dragons mouths.
My point is -- there's no perfect feeder you should be solely relying on anyway. Every feeder that's most commonly found (at least in the US and a few other countries) that's acceptable or standard to feed dragons has its advantages and disadvantages. So no need to continue spreading misinformation and telling people to "never" feed mealworms or crickets, because they'll kill your dragon. Really -- if you understand dragon care and dragon nutrition, including an actual balanced diet (which isn't dubia as a sole feeder on end for four months straight), they won't. If you choose to not include them in your dragon's diet, that's perfectly fine, but there's no need to continue spreading misinformation about using them.
Did you know that in places like Canada, all roaches are illegal and in some countries, particularly Asian countries in certain areas, they can't even find dubia or a few other species of feeders? Not everyone has 45474748 choices in feeders like we do here in the states. So please ... stop. Really, there's nothing wrong with using either as part of a live foods diet.