Diet, what food is better than others

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tortoisenerd

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I am familiar with the lists of "good" and "bad" foods for my russian tortoise (hatchling), but I am curious as to if there is a list out there that may rank the foods as so I can choose to feed him more of the better choices and maybe a little less of the good but not great foods. Not sure that I have the time or patience to look up the nutrient ratios for food either. I am trying to vary his diet, and the main stumbling block I have come across so far is the large quantity a lot of produce is sold in--we're slowly learning what can be bought in small quantities, what can be bought cheap enough I don't feel bad if we throw some out, and what we may even eat ourselves. Organic Spring mix sold by the pound is awesome because I can pick up fresh twice a week and it has a large variety of greens. I don't think I should just feed him that though!

Trying to grow the russian tortoise mix and dandelion seeds from Carolina Pet Supply (indoors, but it's still too cold and dreary here), but all I've had grown so far is Chia. Trevor will eat that stuff up, but I assume it doesn't have a huge nutrient value. I heard everything should sprout within two weeks if it's going to, and it's about that time. I definitely don't have a green thumb though--I've even killed a catus before.

So far my little guy has eaten everything we've put out for him. He definitely eats some stuff A LOT faster than others, and has the tendency to leave some stuff. I found a grocery store near me that sells organic spineless cactus pads for $2.99/pound. I pad was about 40 cents, so I was thrilled. Trevor loved it once I cut it up thin enough. Is this more of a treat food? I have heard about its calcium benefits but never heard to limit it (like I'd do for carrot or a bit of apple peel).

Odd question: there are pieces in the spring mix I buy that look like Dandelion greens (I looked up a picture of them on Google). Could it be? I saw Dandelion greens packaged separately in a store once and now I can't remember where--I already looked back at the stores we frequent and no luck, so I guess I'll have to special order them, etc. I've heard stores will stock them if you ask.

How's wheatgrass as a source of nutrition? It's another food that Trevor has never passed up. I have a pot of it in his enclosure for humidity and aesthetics (it's up too high for him--I think anything potted is up too high for him right now though, lol). I know there are several varieties of it and I don't know what kind it is; it's the "normal" looking stuff from the organic grocer.

Any suggestions for resources besides russiantortoise.org, ATP, tortoisetrust, etc?

Thanks!
 

Kristina

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I dry a lot of my greens to make them last longer, there is more information located on my website at http://www.geocities.com/kyryah/foodsandsupplements.html I hope that the information can be helpful to you. Partially drying and freezing greens can also be utilized as long as vitamin B and Thaimine are replaced.

You are doing right in trying to vary his diet as much as possible. Coming up with a balanced diet is dependant on variety. You probably are going to have to look somewhat into the nutrient values of specific food items. There are charts available that help. I suggest trying http://www.chelonia.org/Articles/nutrientanalysis.htm and I have some charts that are a little more broken down at http://www.geocities.com/kyryah/tort2.html

I think you are on the right track with your little guy, you sound like you are trying to be the best mom possible and I wish you the best!

Kristina
 

BigBiscuit

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Great Post!

I was wondering this stuff myself. I but "Spring Mix" for my greek at the grocery store, does it need to be "Organic?"
 

Kristina

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It does not necessarily need to be organic, but I personally would not feed it if it was not. Non organic produce usually is sprayed with harmful pesticides. We hear of these pesticides making people sick... It would take a lot less to make a tortoise sick, or die.

Make sure to throughly rinse and drain all of your produce to remove any potentially harmful chemicals.

Kristina
 

tortoisenerd

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Exactly what I was looking for! Thank you thank you thank you. I'll bookmark and get back to the links soon. All of them look very helpful.

I was proud of my little guy's meal today because I was able to get a little bit of everything in him. I'm still trying to figure out if the reason he may not eat all I put out is he wakes up late and it's dried out a bit (it's definitely dried out by the time I collect it in the late afternoon), or he just gets full. We've realized he doesn't get up until a few hours after his light goes on, and goes in for the night (we assume) before it goes out. It's on 14 hours now for winter. He also tends to leave stuff that gets sprinkled the most with calcium or TNT.

I'm assuming he's rather eat in the morning than have to wait until I get home from work (and then I still may have to wake him up for it). Babies sleep a lot--so cute. My fiance told me that when I slept in over the weekend he was up "begging" on his food slate tile for his breakfast (about 9am, I put his food out about 6/6:30am during the week). Will he learn what time he gets food after awhile if we keep it regular?

BigBuscuit-For feeding one tortoise buying organic spring mix by the pound (actually available at quite a few stores near me) is cheaper for us if we don't think we'll want to eat the rest of the package (even compared to conventional grown). I've even heard of stores not charging you for a little bag of spring mix if you're buying other stuff. I try to buy all organic but for some things if it's 3 times the price or whatever I'll just wash very very well, and also pick up the bunch that may not look pretty (got less pesticides than the pretty looking one!).
 

BigBiscuit

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I went to the natural foods store in town, and their bags of organic spring mix is actually the same price as the normal grocery store spring mix. The bags of organic mix is about $3.50, they do sell a pound container for $7, but it will spoil before I use it.


Evan
 

tortoisenerd

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Hmmm...three stores near me have a bin with a scoop for $6.99/pound you can get the organic spring mix. I definitely haven't bought much at one time--way less than a dollar.
 

Crazy1

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I get my organic spring mix at Costco. But then I have many torts. Also Trader Joe's has a nice micro mix (organic) for the babies but it is expensive but then they are worth it for a treat now and then.
 

siwash

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kyryah said:
It does not necessarily need to be organic, but I personally would not feed it if it was not. Non organic produce usually is sprayed with harmful pesticides. We hear of these pesticides making people sick... It would take a lot less to make a tortoise sick, or die.

Make sure to throughly rinse and drain all of your produce to remove any potentially harmful chemicals.

Kristina


I feed my little guy both organic and regular greens. I think the organic stuff stuff is overrated. He's doing fine.

I have never heard of someone getting "sick" from eating non-organic food. If you mean cancer, then that's a different can of worms. It sounded like you meant that non-organic will suddenly make you sick... Long-term, we just don't know what non-organic is doing to us..

A good organic source is the mixed green sold in a big plastic container
 

Kristina

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siwash said:
kyryah said:
It does not necessarily need to be organic, but I personally would not feed it if it was not. Non organic produce usually is sprayed with harmful pesticides. We hear of these pesticides making people sick... It would take a lot less to make a tortoise sick, or die.

Make sure to throughly rinse and drain all of your produce to remove any potentially harmful chemicals.

Kristina


I feed my little guy both organic and regular greens. I think the organic stuff stuff is overrated. He's doing fine.

I have never heard of someone getting "sick" from eating non-organic food. If you mean cancer, then that's a different can of worms. It sounded like you meant that non-organic will suddenly make you sick... Long-term, we just don't know what non-organic is doing to us..

A good organic source is the mixed green sold in a big plastic container

I never said that people get sick from eating non organic food... I however did state that non organic food is sprayed with pesticides, and that PESTICIDES can make people sick. It does happen.

I also stated to rinse and drain if not feeding organic. I have no idea why you would say that I claimed that eating non organic food would suddenly make someone sick... However, a tortoises body mass is MUCH smaller, and their chemical sensitivity is much higher.

If you re-read my post, I said exactly what I meant to say, no hidden meanings. I simply stated my opinion.

Kristina
 
M

Maggie Cummings

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Tortoises really like a routine. I feed at the same time every day. AND, I turn on the lights, or the timer does, and then I take each tort and put them in front of the food. I know which tort sleeps in and to make them eat the stuff before it's limp I wake them up. I do the same thing the same way everyday and I rarely have one that doesn't eat. Don't hesitant to wake them up to eat...
 

tortoisenerd

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Hmm that's interesting Maggie about the waking up routine. My little guy's lights come on at 6am, and during the week I put food out shortly thereafter. On the weekends my fiance feeds him usually by 8am as I sleep in. Only once has he ever been up "waiting" for food and that was a day he didn't get fed until closer to 9am...oops on that. I only woke him up for food at first when he wasn't eating much, but he also was too cold so I think he wasn't feeling well enough to eat. As long as he's been up and eating and moving around I haven't touched him. He's only active a few hours a day in the later afternoon. Then he naps and nods off under the light, and later goes to bed buried or in a hide.

Do you think I should wake him up and "make" him eat earlier than he will get around to it? I just want some clarification as to if you think this should be done for all torts or just ones that aren't eating well. I'm still trying to get into a routine for soaking him every other day or so because I've been hesitant to wake him up to soak him in the morning. By the time I get home he's usually asleep and that seems worse than waking him in the morning (there is food in the morning and it's time to start the day vs. interrupting his sleep). Opinion?

He won't eventually learn to wake up earlier if he wants fresher food?

How often should a tortoise be peeing? A couple times in the past week he's peed on his food while eating it (I think he's going about every other day, same with poop). I've been home for the holidays and able to watch him more. When I saw this happen I cleaned it up and got him fresh food if needed. I assume this could happen too if he's eating and I'm not watching. Is it bad for them to eat food they've peed on? I know that they eat poop...ick. He's also pooped while eating. I wish he would do it in the bath like most of the torts I've read about, but at least he doesn't mess up his aspen substrate (he's fed on a slate tile). If he's peeing on a regular schedule should I cut down on soakings? I still haven't seen him drinking water but he must be secretive about it or getting it from his diet (I go wet the greens and he's eaten a little moist Mazuri as well). Only saw urates once and in a very small amount. His pee puddles must be about a half teaspoon and he's only about 2 inches. He's so cute because he can't finish a whole leaf or whole pellet of Mazuri because he's too little. He is gaining weight so I assume he's getting enough somehow.

Thanks!
 
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