How long can a sulcata tortoise live with hay ?

Bee62

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Hi, my sulcata tortoises are 4 years old, big and growing and eating well. In summer they eat gras and weeds, sometime lettuce. They also eat hay when no fresh greens are available in their enclosure. My question is: How long can I feed my tortoises hay when they have fresh water to drink ? Can I feed my tortoises with only hay during the whole winter through ? My hay is high quality.
Thanks for your answers. 2020-06-06__14-44-01.png 2020-06-06__14-42-36.png
 

PumkinRulez

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hi, i have no clue but your tortoises are really cute and good luck!!!!!!
 

Yvonne G

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Can you get Mazuri or Pre Alpin? That, along with the hay should tide him over through the winter.
 

Bee62

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Can you get Mazuri or Pre Alpin? That, along with the hay should tide him over through the winter.
Mazuri is not available in Germany but Pre Alpin. I have fed the Pre Alpin several times but they ran over the soaked pellets and made a bigh mash without eating much. But hay they eat well. Should I try the Pre Alpin once more again ?
 

jsheffield

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Maybe you could soak the pre-alpin and toss it like a dressing with the hay?

I do this on a smaller scale with my torts when trying to improve the quality of winter-feed for them.

Jamie
 

Yvonne G

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Mazuri is not available in Germany but Pre Alpin. I have fed the Pre Alpin several times but they ran over the soaked pellets and made a bigh mash without eating much. But hay they eat well. Should I try the Pre Alpin once more again ?
Put it into a plant saucer and see if they don't walk through it that way.
 

maggie3fan

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It kinda sounds to me like you are making a problem when there really isn't one. I get a bale of hay at the beginning of winter, I dump it in the tort shed so the torts have free rein in eating. During that time my local Safeway store saves their 'trimmings' for me, so I get to add that as well. But all winter long their diet is mostly hay. All spring and Summer their diet is grown foods. Anyhow, that's how I do it, and it seems to work well.
This is what a bale of hay looks like at the end of winter. Big Sam eats the hay, and sleeps, poops and plays in the hay all winter making hay dust for me to try and get rid of...lol there is about an 1/8th of the bale left at the start of Spring. Big Sam usually plays in it as well, and tosses it on his back. 100_3774.JPG 100_3784.JPG

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Sue Ann

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It kinda sounds to me like you are making a problem when there really isn't one. I get a bale of hay at the beginning of winter, I dump it in the tort shed so the torts have free rein in eating. During that time my local Safeway store saves their 'trimmings' for me, so I get to add that as well. But all winter long their diet is mostly hay. All spring and Summer their diet is grown foods. Anyhow, that's how I do it, and it seems to work well.
This is what a bale of hay looks like at the end of winter. Big Sam eats the hay, and sleeps, poops and plays in the hay all winter making hay dust for me to try and get rid of...lol there is about an 1/8th of the bale left at the start of Spring. Big Sam usually plays in it as well, and tosses it on his back. View attachment 297140 View attachment 297141

View attachment 297135
Wow healthy and great looking
 

Tom

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Hay comes in bales. Each bale contains 16 flakes. When I feed out the hay, I prefer to keep the flake all together and they come over and munch off of it, rather than spread it all out over the floor as substrate so they are walking and pooping in it.

In theory, they should be able to live on the grass hay only. In years past I did that for months on end with no issues. The problem is that I know of no scientific studies done that checked health, weight, blood levels, hydration, etc... during times of hay only vs. times of a more mixed diet. I think the only info you'll find is anecdotal.

I would add to the discussion that many hoof stock type animals are fed this way in captivity, with only one type of hay, for their entire lives and it seems to work for them. To counter that, I would add that in the wild, they would certainly be eating more than a single plant species for long periods of time.

The practical solution would be to use different types of hay and to add it whatever else you can when you can. The grocery store leavings work very well over here if you can make friends with the produce manager at a local store. Can you get opuntia pads over there? I like the combo of opuntia pads and grass hay. That is the main diet of my sulcatas through most of summer and fall until the winter rains bring our weeds back. I add in mulberry leaves, Mazuri, and a host of other things sporadically, but hay and opuntia is the main diet.
 

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I can add one data point - I had a sulcata for 17 years that grazed wild grasses and weeds in the summer and ate nothing but hay all winter, which for me is about 7 months of the year. That tortoise now lives at a Zoo in Texas and is fed hay all year round. Doing great, but again, no internal research to back this up - just behavior and appearance.
 

Bee62

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Maybe you could soak the pre-alpin and toss it like a dressing with the hay?

I do this on a smaller scale with my torts when trying to improve the quality of winter-feed for them.

Jamie
I don`t like to put something that is wet on hay. The hay will mold fast, unfortunately. But I will try @Yvonne `s suggestion with the soaked pellets on a plant saucer. I place the food in an edge. It`ll will be more difficult to crawl over the pellets in an edge.
 

Bee62

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It kinda sounds to me like you are making a problem when there really isn't one. I get a bale of hay at the beginning of winter, I dump it in the tort shed so the torts have free rein in eating. During that time my local Safeway store saves their 'trimmings' for me, so I get to add that as well. But all winter long their diet is mostly hay. All spring and Summer their diet is grown foods. Anyhow, that's how I do it, and it seems to work well.
This is what a bale of hay looks like at the end of winter. Big Sam eats the hay, and sleeps, poops and plays in the hay all winter making hay dust for me to try and get rid of...lol there is about an 1/8th of the bale left at the start of Spring. Big Sam usually plays in it as well, and tosses it on his back. View attachment 297140 View attachment 297141

View attachment 297135
Maggie, I am glad that there is no problem. I am the last one who wants to create problems, but I am a newbie with these big tortoises and the ammount of food they eat. I only want to be sure to do nothing wrong. I can get sometimes grocery greens in winter for my torts but their appetite is so unbelievable ! Btw. your Big Sam is looking great !
 

Markw84

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I don`t like to put something that is wet on hay. The hay will mold fast, unfortunately. But I will try @Yvonne `s suggestion with the soaked pellets on a plant saucer. I place the food in an edge. It`ll will be more difficult to crawl over the pellets in an edge.
Couple of thoughts...

Mazuri is a Purina Mills product that is not liscensed in Europe. In Europe Purina Mills liscensed the name NutraZu to sell the same products. So "mazuri" is available in Europe, but under the Nutrazu name.

When feeding pellets to my larger tortoises, I just throw them in dry. No need to soak and get messy. The larger tortoises eagerly eat them dry.
 

Bee62

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Bee, how does it feel?

How does it feel to have the healthiest best looking sulcatas in all of Europe?
Tom, you make a 58 year old woman feel like a teenager of 16 years who just got her first praise how good she is looking .... LOL !:cool::):<3: You made my day !😊
No, now seriously ( how seriously I can be and that is not much ... ) THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your praise. My shelled babies only looking so healthy because I luckily found this forum and people like you and all others here that know what this species need to grow healthy ! But the knowledge is spreading in Europe. I more and more see pictures in the www of adult sulcatas that have a smooth shell.
 

Bee62

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Yeah. I was going to say something about them as well. Bee needs to talk about them more and needs to post more pictures...Those are just great looking...wow
No problem! I love to post pictures of them. The next question, the next thread I am going to make is about what sex my torts are. I wait for a sunny day when they are outside, grab them and put them on their backs. The will not be amused....... I guess that I have 3 female and one male tort. I am curious what the experts will say !😊
 
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