1 or 2 brown/black? and other newbie questions...

tortoise5643

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I have no experience with Browns or blacks. Those sure are beauties though! Also, please don't leave the dog alone with the tortoises. It happens all the time where the dog had never showed any sign of aggression toward any tortoises and one day they just eat them like a bone. Even if your dog is always around them and never touches them, what if it happens? Why risk it? You may have already known this and plan not to leave them alone near each other but I just wanted to tell you. Love your torts and hope they do great for you!
 

Alyssa412

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Aug 29, 2015
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South West Florida
Welcome to the world of tortoise ownership. It's great! I just read your thread. Perhaps look under the marketplace section under trading, there's a thread where we all get on there and post what we have to trade or just give away. It's been a great source for me. I just got cactus pads, mulberry leaves, actual mulberry trees, some cold/wet hardy spineless cactus plants, people have A lOT of things to offer. You can work out a trade or if you ain't got stuff for trade perhaps pay for shipping. As for your budget, I would say grow all the food sources you can. Your in a great location to grow about anything. When I first got my torts I started picking edible stuff up off discount rakes. I found grape vine plants for 3 bucks at lowes last year, now you have to get them out the soil they come in due to chemicals and let them grow for about 6 months before you can feed but after that it's a free food source. I have grape vines, banana trees, roses, hibiscus, mallow, purslane, cactus,etc, the list just keeps going. I just picked up like 30 strawberry plants costed $3 for em all at the local nursery. You can pick up or find someone willing to trade stuff all the time. Like me, I have an abundance of hibiscus seed, if you would like some I will send you some for free. Then instead of having to spend 10-12 bucks on 1 plant and wait for chemicals to leach out, you can grow 20-30 plants and it cost ya 0 bucks. Hibiscus are easy care, I do nothing to mine. They are like 5 foot tall, full of leaves and blooms and my torts give them a pretty good beating and they hold up just fine. Good shade makers too. I am dropping a couple other envelopes of seeds off Tuesday for some other folks so if you'd like some just send me a mailing address in a private message, I will send ya out.
i will message you today! I know I missed your mailing date, so any time you get a chance I would love some of your seeds!
 

Alyssa412

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Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
42
Location (City and/or State)
South West Florida
I have no experience with Browns or blacks. Those sure are beauties though! Also, please don't leave the dog alone with the tortoises. It happens all the time where the dog had never showed any sign of aggression toward any tortoises and one day they just eat them like a bone. Even if your dog is always around them and never touches them, what if it happens? Why risk it? You may have already known this and plan not to leave them alone near each other but I just wanted to tell you. Love your torts and hope they do great for you!
much thanks!
 

Alyssa412

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Aug 29, 2015
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
South West Florida
so now that I've had the tortoises for a few weeks, how do I know if I'm doing things right?

-they're still kind of shy. I thought they'd own the yard and be all up in my space, but they still hide a lot. how long does it take for them to "come out of their shell" (yay bad puns!)
-how do I know if I'm feeding the right balance of the right foods? too much or too little?
-with three, how do I know who's eating how much?
-my work schedule is constantly changing. some days I work 7-3:30, some days I work 1-9:30. so they're not getting fed at a regular time. is that bad?
-when they breathe, is it normal for their throats to get soooo big?

I don't think I'm giving them enough lettuce and I have yet to buy a calcium supplement. I have been doing pretty much 1-3 days fruits and veggies, then a day of mazuri monkey chow. I'm afraid I'm doing the wrong fruits and veggies (everything I read says different things about different foods!). they get a combination of what I can get for cheap and what I bought cause I wanted to eat it too. does lettuce need to be the primary food?

I know I'm super lucky cause at 15 years old and with nice thick, hard shells, I've got some margin for error. but I want to keep them as healthy as they were the day I got them!

thanks for any and all feedback/advice!
 

Kapidolo Farms

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so now that I've had the tortoises for a few weeks, how do I know if I'm doing things right?

-they're still kind of shy. I thought they'd own the yard and be all up in my space, but they still hide a lot. how long does it take for them to "come out of their shell" (yay bad puns!)
-how do I know if I'm feeding the right balance of the right foods? too much or too little?
-with three, how do I know who's eating how much?
-my work schedule is constantly changing. some days I work 7-3:30, some days I work 1-9:30. so they're not getting fed at a regular time. is that bad?
-when they breathe, is it normal for their throats to get soooo big?

I don't think I'm giving them enough lettuce and I have yet to buy a calcium supplement. I have been doing pretty much 1-3 days fruits and veggies, then a day of mazuri monkey chow. I'm afraid I'm doing the wrong fruits and veggies (everything I read says different things about different foods!). they get a combination of what I can get for cheap and what I bought cause I wanted to eat it too. does lettuce need to be the primary food?

I know I'm super lucky cause at 15 years old and with nice thick, hard shells, I've got some margin for error. but I want to keep them as healthy as they were the day I got them!

thanks for any and all feedback/advice!

For calcium, you can hard boil whole chicken eggs and then when cool smash them some, they will eat them shell and all. If you have garden snails, well you won't anymore, and they have calcium in their shells too.
 

Alyssa412

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South West Florida
For calcium, you can hard boil whole chicken eggs and then when cool smash them some, they will eat them shell and all. If you have garden snails, well you won't anymore, and they have calcium in their shells too.
awesome, I did that once! I hardboiled a few and peeled them for a treat for my dog, but I did a horrible job peeling them so the tortoises got the shells with a nice layer of egg white. should that be like a once a week thing?
 

ZEROPILOT

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Hi Alyssa412.
I'm also from south Florida.
Griffs Western feed store in Davie sells 25 pound bags of Mazuri for $36 bucks and change. It lasts and lasts.
I buy a lot of my produce at the Swap Shop in Fort Lauderdale. The Haitian vendors are just about giving away the stuff and there are also always cactus and cactus pears there.
Western Beef in Hollywood has Dandelion greens on hand.
I also may have some stuff laying around that you can use. Pipes and hides.
Don't hesitate to ask questions.
I also have large, flat aluminum pans that I use as waterers. I have at least two spares...
 

Kapidolo Farms

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awesome, I did that once! I hardboiled a few and peeled them for a treat for my dog, but I did a horrible job peeling them so the tortoises got the shells with a nice layer of egg white. should that be like a once a week thing?
Yeah once a week, they are pretty large tortoises. Many people get excited (the bad kind) about egg, but they are egg layers, it was the whole of their nutrition at one point in their lives. A modest amount along the way is a good source of many vitamins and minerals, enough to sustain a neonate. The whole hardboiled egg smashed so they can get into it works well.
 

Yvonne G

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I wouldn't depend upon lettuces as a main stay. There are other much better dark, leafy greens for them to eat - turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, broad-leaf weeds from around your property, grape leaves, mulberry leaves.
 

Alyssa412

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Aug 29, 2015
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Location (City and/or State)
South West Florida
Hi Alyssa412.
I'm also from south Florida.
Griffs Western feed store in Davie sells 25 pound bags of Mazuri for $36 bucks and change. It lasts and lasts.
I buy a lot of my produce at the Swap Shop in Fort Lauderdale. The Haitian vendors are just about giving away the stuff and there are also always cactus and cactus pears there.
Western Beef in Hollywood has Dandelion greens on hand.
I also may have some stuff laying around that you can use. Pipes and hides.
Don't hesitate to ask questions.
I also have large, flat aluminum pans that I use as waterers. I have at least two spares...

I live on the other coast, but I have family in delray. I could definitely use extra stuff, I will have to send you a message next time i'm headed that way. if you find you'll be in the Sarasota area, give me a heads up!
 

Alyssa412

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South West Florida
I wouldn't depend upon lettuces as a main stay. There are other much better dark, leafy greens for them to eat - turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, broad-leaf weeds from around your property, grape leaves, mulberry leaves.
Yvonne I tried to do my due diligence and look up "broadleaf plants/broadleaf weeds" on old posts here and on google and I'm still slightly confused. are pretty much any weeds in my yard that aren't evergreen or pointy considered broadleaf? and if I offer the torts a weed/plant that they shouldn't eat, will they still try to eat it? I would offer them a lot more if I knew the worst that would happen is they wouldn't eat it!
 

mrscruffy

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Feb 9, 2014
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I have no experience with Browns or blacks. Those sure are beauties though! Also, please don't leave the dog alone with the tortoises. It happens all the time where the dog had never showed any sign of aggression toward any tortoises and one day they just eat them like a bone. Even if your dog is always around them and never touches them, what if it happens? Why risk it? You may have already known this and plan not to leave them alone near each other but I just wanted to tell you. Love your torts and hope they do great for you!

I possibly should be more worried about my dog's safety as some of my torts rival my dog is size! She is tiny (Pekingnese).
 

Amanda81

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Yvonne I tried to do my due diligence and look up "broadleaf plants/broadleaf weeds" on old posts here and on google and I'm still slightly confused. are pretty much any weeds in my yard that aren't evergreen or pointy considered broadleaf? and if I offer the torts a weed/plant that they shouldn't eat, will they still try to eat it? I would offer them a lot more if I knew the worst that would happen is they wouldn't eat it!

I would guess at 15yrs old they will pick what they want to eat. The sudans was only 3 yrs old and I let them pick out what they grazed on. Grasses, weeds, and some landscape plants, they ate what they chose and were fine. They ate an elephant ear once (listed as toxic) of course I worried but they were fine. I see my baby's sniffing things before they eat it as well, I usually don't allow the baby's to pick and chose but from time to time they do. The older ones I always did. There is a website that has good examples of different weeds, annuals, perennial, broadleaf, etc, I will try and find the exact web address and post it for ya. Dont feel bad, I have horrible luck looking up and IDing weeds myself. I have seriously gave up looking for stuff growing and I've started buying packs of specific stuff I know is safe and acceptable off eBay, then just planting them in the outdoor enclosure. I believe variety is the key. The way I look at it I try and feed grasses and weeds more then anything else. I have no choice but to use some spring mix over the cold months but I never use it during months when grasses and weeds are available. I learned a lot over my first winter with torts last year. I had to feed spring mix almost daily last winter, luckily I'm more prepared this year with lots of preserved grasses and weeds so spring mix will only have to be a filler item instead of their main staple. I know your species probably requires different things then mine, and (if I remember right) your in Flordia, your climate is much different then mine so depending on that you might be lucky enough to grow stuff year round outside and let them graze, fed themselves. Perhaps reach out to some forum members that raise the type of torts you have, ask them to kinda give you a guideline on how they do things. When I was researching Aldabra care I reached out through PM messages here on forum, asked about how they did their daily care. I emailed some other breeders, asking for a basic care sheet. Sam, the guy I ended up getting my Aldabra from months later, was more then happy to send me a caresheet he had been working on. Perhaps if someone that has experience raising them could kinda explain how and what they feed on a weekly bases you can kinda go by that and once your more comfortable you can start adjusting and doing things your own way more. This might help you feel more confident that your providing the proper diet for them. eBay actually has a lot of "weed" seeds offered, it's usually from international sellers so you have to wait longer to get them but their cheap, I haven't had a problem getting the seeds growing (in horrible w seeds) and at least you will know there's plenty of safe items growing in your yard for them.
 

Alyssa412

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Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
42
Location (City and/or State)
South West Florida
I have no experience with Browns or blacks. Those sure are beauties though! Also, please don't leave the dog alone with the tortoises. It happens all the time where the dog had never showed any sign of aggression toward any tortoises and one day they just eat them like a bone. Even if your dog is always around them and never touches them, what if it happens? Why risk it? You may have already known this and plan not to leave them alone near each other but I just wanted to tell you. Love your torts and hope they do great for you!
thanks for your concern. I had already heard this and after reading your comment thought about it even more. this is how I've decided to handle the matter, and why:

I do not leave my dog in the backyard without checking on her/the tortoises every few minutes or so. the tortoises are 15 years old and have been around dogs their whole lives. the yard is quite large, and bella always has doggie door access into the lanai if she wants to get away from the tortoises. when bella is around a friend's baby sleeping in a car seat placed on the floor, or other friends' small children, no one is sitting there monitoring her activity during the entire duration. I figure if myself and the parents are comfortable with that for babies and small children, I am comfortable with that for the tortoises.

that being said, if there are any other dogs or extra company over and in the backyard, everyone will be monitored closely and constantly. I know my dog and in time will know my tortoises. however, once you add an extra variable to the equation, everything becomes an unknown.

I respect everybody's opinions on this forum, but am sure people will disagree with me for not promising to watch like a hawk every second the dog is outside. the tortoises' previous owner has seen my yard and my dog and is very comfortable with my decision. as he has had the tortoises from birth and is an experienced keeper as well as a biologist by profession and a colleague, i am satisfied with his approval.
 

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