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I read somewhere(I can't seem to find it now)that you need to use a 100% calcium w/D-3(I think it was a rep-cal product, phosphorus free) and a beta carotene as a vitami supplement? My Vet recommended a Natural Calcium(animal essentials)product. In each teaspoon it has 1000mg of calcium, 100mg of magnesium, 14mg of sulfur, 3mg of potassium, 24mg of phosposrus, 75mcg of borum, 66mcg of zinc, 60mcg of iodine, and 3mcg of selenium. I am confused at what to do? Need help.
With chameleons you are shooting for a 2:1 (calcium:phosphorus) ratio. The problems are in the lighting and the feeders themselves. With sub standard lighting in comparison to the sun it is doubtful that a lot of these species will be able to produce enough D3 to metabolise calcium properly. Their genetics will dictate where the line is exceptable. With this in mind most feeders are in complete opposition of what is trying to be achieve. Take a cricket for example, these have a 1:3 ratio. With gut loading this ratio gets closer to even but it is still high in phosphorus. To much phosphorus will create a run away effect and will take a substainal time to recover from. So calcium supplements with D3 have to be given to counter act this effect. How much will depend on age and species. Something like a Jackson has adapted its abilities around less light then say a veiled, as a Jackson is from a dense rainforest and a veiled from a desert. This will dictate how often the supplements are given. Another thing to consider is that veileds among other species eat vegatation which is also high in phosphorus it is the key component in photosynthesis. This is yet another reason why veiled tend to be a better starter chameleon. Supplementation can be given more regularly and their digestive tract in general is more tolerant as they have a very wide diet (instects, reptiles, birds, vegatation, sometimes dead stuff?, dirt?). I guess I would call it less thinking involved or less general starting knowledge.

Vitamin supplementation in most species can be put to a minimum by varing the feeders and their diets. This will give a chameleon a wide intake of ingested vitamins and minerals via the feeder. Regardless of species or age supplementation in general is hard on the liver and in any way it can be minimualize. They still will require some, you do not want to deny your chameleon nessecary components of a healthy diet but finding ways to work it in there more naturally. More specifics will depend on species. I only own veileds but believe me in here if you got one someone else probably does too.
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Jordon, can you give me a basic guidline that you would recommend as far as feeding what, how many times per day and what/when to supplement? From a juvinile to adult. I know this is probably asking too much, but would be greatly appreciated since I am going to start with veileds it sounds like you have much experience with them. Thanks for you info.
I have been keeping chameleons for about years. All I can tell you is what I do and what results it I've had with it.

I gutload my crickets with a nutritious diet of greens (dandelion greens, collards, kale, endive, ROMAINE lettuce, etc.) and veggies (sweet potato, white potato, carrots, squash, zucchini, sweet red pepper, etc.).

I provide UVB through florescent tube lights. The one I have been using the most over the last few years is the Repti-sun 5.0. I use a regular incandescent light for the basking area...wattage determined by the temperature needed. Having the correct basking temperature is important because digestion hinges on the chameleon being able to warm up to the proper temperature....thus absorption relies on this to some extent.

I dust the insects with a phosphorous-free calcium powder at almost every feeding. I do this because the insects have a poor calcium/phos. ratio and I hope this compensates for it.

I dust twice a month with a vitamin powder. I make sure that the vitamin A in it is from a beta carotene source since it can't cause an overdose. Preformed vitamin A can build up in the system and cause problems.

I also dust with a calcium/D3 powder twice a month because my chameleons get no direct sunlight. Vitamin D3 from supplements can build up in the system, so caution is advised. D3 from the sunlight and UVB doesn't cause an overdose of D3.

Vitamin A is antagonistic to vitamin they need to be in balance, IMHO.

I don't change things when I find something that works because changing one thing often means you have to change something else to maintain the balance.

Keeping my chameleons this way my veiled females live to be over 6 years old and my males even longer. They reproduce and I have raised quite a few babies with this longevity too. I have good longevity in some (but not all...some I still don't have the balance worked out for) other species that I have worked with too.

I can't remember when the last case of MBD occurred in my chameleons. I haven't had to have a veiled to a vets for a long time...or any other CB chameleon either for that matter. (I still deal with quite a few WC's and they come with their own other people who deal with them will tell you.)

Hope this helps!
Well a good beginning size in my book would be around 7-9". This is the case with most of these around three months of age. At this point they will probably be eating 1/4" crickets, 15-20 a day. At this point I would supplement calcium/D3 everyday. A multivitamin every two weeks. Why, everyday? They are extremely fast growers and 1/4" crickets in my opinion do not gut load signifigant enough. Crickets, maybe a freshly shed mealworm, moths, small silkworms are all they can really handle or at least all I have attempted to feed at these small sizes.

After a month to two most will be able to handle 1/2" crickets. The amount of crickets will drop to the 10-15 range. At this point I would cut back to every other day. They can start eating stuff like super worms and larger silk worms. The reason I like superworms and silkworms: they gut load well (more direct at supers), have close to even C:p levels to begin with, full of moisture (some stuggle to keep veiled properly hydrated), they are easily obtainable with supers or can be hatched out controlled with silks. I still supplement multis every two weeks.

Once they move up to 3/4"-adult crickets males can set into their adult type supplementation schedule of once a week with calcium/D3 and females I do at once every four days. I would wing this down not just a drastic cut. Multivitamins for both I do once a month. I have went back to once every two weeks in times of crappier feeder food. Get stuff form work for free.

Males and females usually reach the maximum size they are going to get around 12-15 months. The amount you feed them will drop of dramatically. I feed my male 6 crickets (or equivilant feeder amounts) every other day, the female 4 every other day. Diet has to be watch with both females more then males. To much food for females usually means large clutches. To much for males they will become a little lethargic and obese. When they are growing it is hard to tell if they are fat, usually so active it would be hard for them to be anyway. When full grown it is easily spotted by a bulging casque and chubby cheeks. You can kind gauge what to do then.
Don't know where these places get their figures from but...
Analysis Crickets Mealworms Superworms Medium Phoenix Worms
Fat% 6.0 12.7 17.9 9.4
Protein 21.3 20.3 17.4 17.3
Calcium PPM 345 133 124 8155
Phos PPM 4238 3345 2320 5355
Cal/Phorus 0.08 0.04 0.05 1.52

The following site says the same thing....

Scan down for chart in this site. The rest of this site has good information too...

Calcium-loading crickets...,34513&anav=34521
"A positive calcium phosphorus ratio was reached after 48 hours feeding the 8% diet and 24 hours feeding the 10 % and 12% diets."
I would not agrue on the figures. It actually sounds worse. Assuming the figures are correct a cricket with 345 ppm calcium content and 4238 ppm phosphorus content that would be a 1:12.28..etc ratio. The worst one 133 ppm to 3345 ppm would be a 1:25.15...etc. The best case scenario would be the 8155-5355, that would be almost a 1:1.

The third link said what I did on gut loading smaller crickets. Did not say why. I have always assumed since they grow fast, small stomach contents and high nutritional demands that gut loading would be depleted quickly. As compared to an adult that is established and would take longer to digest completely.
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