Food for Forsten's

Sara G.

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So, I've scoured the Internet and this form quite a bit for food to feed a forsten's and I'm fairly certain I'm feeding her all the right stuff but I just wanted to see if anyone here had any advice.
Right now she gets butter/Boston lettuce (does anyone know if there's a difference??? The health food store I got it at said they were basically interchangeable but I don't know about that), endive, squash, sweet potatoes (with both the squash and the SPs I've been dreaming them, then letting them cool for a while before giving them to her, is this okay?) strawberries, occasionally mango (she LOVES mango but I'm not sure how good it is for her).
Obviously she doesn't get all of that at once, I mix it up a bit, and I ordered mazuri for her so that'll be coming soon and I have the broadleaf mix from the tortoise supply so she gets clippings from the sprouts too.
Right now it's not QUITE warm enough to find dandelion weeds and other weeds out but we're getting there.

Anyone have any other foods their forsten's love??
Am I doing alright with her diet?
She seems happy and healthy and eats like a champ even though she's now at my house full time so it was a change in habitat and her habitat is slightly smaller now.
 

Yvonne G

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Maybe we can encourage @tortadise or @Will to write up a Forsten's care sheet. Many of us have no idea the care they require.
 

Sara G.

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Yeah! A care sheet would be SO SO SOOOOO appreciated! I've read the same 3 basic care sheets online a million times and every time I'm left with that, "well that was interesting but not very helpful" feeling afterwards.
 

Sara G.

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I forgot to mention that I've tried aloe and prickly pear cactus (with the spines painstakingly removed).
I plan on trying again at some point.
 

Kapidolo Farms

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They like Mulberry leaves. They like leaves of trees or bushes pretty well, Mulberry, Hibiscus, mallow. grape. Mine have gotten to where they just eat what's there to eat. I give them a mix of many store bought greens, mixed in with layena chicken food sunfresh recipe, horse (50/50 alfalfa and bermuda I think) pellets softened with water. bout once a week a i mixed in microwaved hardboiled egg. They like flowers alot too, rose, hibiscus, dandelion, clover etc.

Once they decide they are going to eat, I find there is not much they won't eat.
 

tortadise

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Many of mine here are very similar as Wills experience. They pretty much eat anything offered. But that goes hand in hand with a good proper set up and happy thriving environment for them. They're rather aggressive(both males and females) so this species is best kept in solidarity. That will certainly increase the appetite. They really like to consume cow liver when I feed protein to them, worms, snails, boiled eggs, mazuri croc chow, dandelions, escarole, collard, mustard, turnip greens, cactus pads/fruit. Any broad leaf weed really is highly desirable.

I too have noticed how much they tend to favor flowers. But they sure do go nuts for the mulberry. They will consume the leave before the fruit(given in about a 80-20% ratio) during the spring. Winter obviously our mulberry trees defoliate and we vere back to more dandelion, and thistle as a staple.
 

Sara G.

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Yeah I don't think she's particularly picky and she's all by herself. Always has been as far as I know and I'm not looking to stress her out with any others.
I'm not sure where to find mulberry leaves, I've seen that those tend to be popular with a lot of tort species but I'm on Long Island NY and I'm not sure I've seen mulberry around. I'll have to keep an eye out.
I'll definitely mix in a different variety of greens but should I be doing a 50/50 veggies/fruit? Or does that not matter so much?
How much animal based protein should this species get? As far as I know she was fed the zoomed (might not have been zoomed though I think it was) tortoise mix with a bit of greens for a good portion of her life so I don't wanna rely too heavily on that. Plus I think she's loving having greens and other good things to much on.
Thanks so much for the info everyone! It's supremely appreciated!
 

tortadise

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Not too much is fed here. At least the typical grocery store fruits. They do like occasional feedings of squash, and cucumber. But those we rarely feed. More like a snack or treat every month or so. We feed protein every other week or so. So not very often either. They're scavengers in the wild so the percentage can vary greatly from seasons. Dry season they tend to be more prone to deceased vertebrates on the forest floor than the wet lush season where more greens and broadleaf are consumed. So I stimulate this "natural" balance by feeding more protein in the winter months and rarely at all during summer. Not to mention cow liver, and chicken hearts attract ants in the bounty load when hot. Upstate NY has lots of great places to find "exotic greens". Should be able to find dandelion, squash leaves, and mulberry leaves readily. They're highly desirable for fancy restaurant salads. We don't really use much commercial diets here. Occasionally we will like croc chow. But I would transistion to more ruphage than pellets for sure.
 

Sara G.

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There should be a decent amount of weeds soon, but on Long Island we're a bit behind with temps I guess.
I'm gonna do some more searching and see what I can dig up!
But should I push back the squash and sweet potatoes to something more as a treat?
As of right now she's got no pellets, I do have some mazuri coming but she seems happy without them. Thankfully.
 

Sara G.

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Are there any weeds/plants that are acceptable for most tortoises that Forsten's shouldn't have?
In certain areas dandelions have appeared and I've got lists of weeds and plants to look for for her. But I was just wondering if certain plants/weeds aren't good for Forsten's (since they're not particularly a grass eating species I know that grasses in her diet probably won't be enjoyed too much) or if they're okay for all torts then they're good for ALL torts.
 

Kapidolo Farms

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I have not found any food item to avoid that other tortoise do eat that Forstens should not get. I do find they drink heavily everyday, then promptly poop in the water. They drink alot for a tortoise from my frame of reference. When I go into each enclosure each morning the new food does not tempt them from their hides anywhere near as much as the splash of fresh water going into a clean water dish. Then they come over and drink, like they haven't had water in forever. I flood the water dish so the substrate near the water is always moist as well.

I have isopods in all their enclosures and sometimes they go on a hunt and tear up all the substrate looking to find and eat the isopods (pill bugs). So they provide food, behavioral enrichment, and help keep the enclosure clean. There are also earthworms in the enclosures. they tend to accumulate under water dishes, the Forstens have figured that out and some overturn their water dish daily for earthworms, some just wait for me to remove the water dish to clean before going after the worms. Both of these non-insect "bugs" help keep the enclosure clean as bio active substrate inhabitants.
 

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I just got 2 Forstens and the vet insisted they get treatment for pinworms. So I treated them. At first they were eating and now they aren't. One has an eye that she opens with difficulty. I've got a vet appt tomorrow so maybe he will have a suggestion. Any ideas?
 
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