Iceberg Lettuce?

Maggie3fan

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My DT had to stay up all last winter because he was sick, and as Mark said, no leaves, no weeds…Fortunately, I had a good variety of dried stuff from kapidolo and made him lettuce wraps every day with romaine. He wintered well.
I found that thru the winter I fed my DT Spring mix reinforced w/mustard greens, collards, turnip grees and kale...he ate it good...
 

Maggie3fan

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We've had our tortoise for 45 years and don't know how old she was when she arrived. For years she only ate when the sun shines and then it was only the odd dandelion leaf and apple, but she does love the heads and stalks of dandelion. She has hardly grown or gained weight. I weigh and measure her every year before and after hibernation. This year she has gone mad eating lettuce, dandelions, weeds, tomatoes etc and is roaming around her pen, (paved area and lawn and rockery) and sometimes escapes to the vegetable garden, but I can't always find how she gets out but I suspect she climbs the foot high chainlink fence. She has loads of energy when the sun shines. This is why I discourage folk from getting a tortoise. It's not fair to keep them in this climate, and they are not a toy for children. Having said that I love her to bits and she comes running when I call, in warm weather.
Russian???
 

Markw84

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@Markw84 that is a beautiful looking salad! My Toritmer would love that. He loves brightly colored flowers and goes for them first thing. Do you grow enough flowers to support that every day? Or do you buy them somewhere?
:tort::<3:
Yes. I have enough flowers to provide for all my tortoises all summer long with plenty left for drying for later.

Starting in late May through the end of September:
I have 2 hibiscus plants that produce on average 40 flowers a day.
2 Rose of Sharon (hibicus style flowers) that produce over 100 flowers per day
2 Rose of Sharon (Rose style flowers) that produce over 100 flowers per day
1 Lavatera that produces over 30 flowers per day.

I usually pick and chop up at least 20 of each variety for the salad for the day. I pick and throw whole flowers in the pens of my adult Burmese Stars and Galapagos as well.
 

Tom

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I found that thru the winter I fed my DT Spring mix reinforced w/mustard greens, collards, turnip greens and kale...he ate it good...
This is not so good. That is all grocery store greens with nothing added. They need more fiber. More variety.

I understand you are stuck with those items in winter, but amending grocery store foods is the whole point of this thread. Soaked chopped hay, soaked horse hay pellets, dried leaves, ZooMed pellets, Mazuri, herbal hay, grass, lay crumbles, etc...
 

Maggie3fan

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This is not so good. That is all grocery store greens with nothing added. They need more fiber. More variety.

I understand you are stuck with those items in winter, but amending grocery store foods is the whole point of this thread. Soaked chopped hay, soaked horse hay pellets, dried leaves, ZooMed pellets, Mazuri, herbal hay, grass, lay crumbles, etc...
Sorry Tom...I don't have Gopherus agassizii in Oregon...that's what he was fed many years ago when I lived in Fresno...add Mazuri to that list...We didn't know any better then. Diets have improved immensely since then...
 

qiangzhu

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I provide the lettuce daily to my tortoises. But I will wet them and put a lot of dry food or powder from Kapidolo farm on top of it. I found this is one of the two ways I can make my tortoise to eat dry food from kapidolo farm. The other way is to mix the dry food with commercial tortoise food. But for the species which don’t eat the commercial tortoise food like the Russians which I bought from PetSmart or Petco( most likely WC), the lettuce is the only way to make them to eat the dry food.
 

Maggie3fan

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I provide the lettuce daily to my tortoises. But I will wet them and put a lot of dry food or powder from Kapidolo farm on top of it. I found this is one of the two ways I can make my tortoise to eat dry food from kapidolo farm. The other way is to mix the dry food with commercial tortoise food. But for the species which don’t eat the commercial tortoise food like the Russians which I bought from PetSmart or Petco( most likely WC), the lettuce is the only way to make them to eat the dry food.
Why only dry food...what do you mean by dry food? just nosy
 

jsheffield - In Memoriam

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Fantastic thread and discussion!

I feed all of my torts lettuce as a base every day... I just make sure to supplement the greens with other foodstuffs to increase/improve the nutritional and fiber content.

My Russian Creep gets some herbs and flowers and weeds and seaweed and opuntia flour with the lettuce; they also get a bit of butternut squash and mazuri 1-2 times a week.

The omnivorous tortoises get the same stuff as the Russians, with the addition of a bit of fruit, some mushrooms, and a bit of animal protein 1-2 times a week.

Jamie
 

shellcior

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As a tortoise food, what's wrong with iceberg lettuce? Or other lettuce types too?
1. Too low in calcium.
2. Low Ca : P ratio.
3. Low fiber.
4. Low nutritional value.

Its everything a tortoise food should not be. Right? But what if we amend the lettuce? What if we mix in things to make up for these shortcomings and the lettuce serves as a delivery vehicle for these other items, along with the high water content of lettuce, all in a "package" that tortoises love?

As the size of my herd, and the size of the tortoises in my herd, have increased over the years, so to have my tortoise food needs increased. I used to be able to grow enough to feed them all, but with the drought, lack of time, and constant battles with the local wildlife eating my crops, I've had to start buying food. I still grow some of my own food, but its not enough anymore. I'm buying two cases of endive, escarole or romaine a week, and still have an opuntia day, Mazuri day, and either a mulberry or grapevine day. When I started feeding the grocery store greens, I was sure to add in what I call "amendments" to increase the fiber, calcium, and variety. For fiber, I soak Timothy hay horse pellets, These break down and I mix it with the lettuce in five gallon buckets, or large tubs. I use either type of ZooMed pellet for this purpose as well. Then I mix in some of @Kapidolo Farms dried leaf options. Moringa, dandelion, echinacea, marsh mallow, nettle, etc... Then I will add in some calcium powder. All of these things combined serve to make a good tortoise meal, and I've been getting by this way.

Here is the thing: I still need more and more food. I have some family friends that own a nearby restaurant. Every other day they cut up iceberg and romaine lettuce for burgers and salads, and this creates quite a lot of scrap pieces to be thrown away. Just their leavings make up about a 40 pound case, and they throw it in the dumpster because they have no use for it. This equates to about three full five gallon buckets which will feed my herd for a day. Its the heals and leaves they can't use. They sometimes offer it to me, but I've been reluctant because iceberg lettuce just is not a good thing to be feeding to my tortoises on a regular basis. Right? But what if I added chopped up orchard grass hay, soaked Timothy hay horse pellets, calcium, dried leaves, and I've recently started using Purina Organic Lay Crumbles for chickens on the advice of Will. Looking at the list above. Adding calcium carbonate powder fixes the low calcium and the Ca to P ratio. Adding the hay fixes the lack of fiber, and adding the lay crumbles and dried leaves fixes the low nutritional value part, right?

I've started feeding this lettuce with all this "stuff" mixed in a couple of days a week and it seems to be working fine. Poops are solid and full of rough fiber, growth is slow and steady each month, and my adults lay well formed eggs that hatch into vigorous healthy babies. I also mix in an assortment of other stuff when available too, like grated pumpkin, assorted other grocery greens like kale, collards, cilantro, spring mix, arugula, etc..., cucumber peels and various weeds, leaves and flowers.

I will agree with anyone that plain iceberg lettuce is not a good tortoise food to be fed in bulk on a regular basis, but when used as a vehicle to deliver all the good stuff that I am mixing in, it suits me fine. I welcome debate or conversation on the subject. Suggestions for improvement are welcome too.
I keep a few heads of lettuce around for hydration for my Sulcata. The heat here near Houston has been record breaking so in the late afternoon (after he has grazed most of the day), I will give his the lettuce to hydrate him. I have water around but I have yet in his 13 years seen him drink but JUST IN CASE he gets the urge one day, I have water for him. For now, he gets a treat of the lettuce which he loves but only after he has eaten the grasses he is supposed to eat. He has also gotten to wear he enjoys me taking the water hose and spraying him down with cool water to cool him off. He used to hate it. He even sits out in the pouring rain when we get any as the heat has been so bad. So, he is starting to accept things he used to NOT tolerate. Great advice on using the lettuce as a vehicle to deliver all of the other good foods Sulcata's require and love. I am going to print this article out and try giving him a bowl with the lettuce and some of the other foods. I am the food ATM for my tortoise... lol
 

Sheldon the sulcata

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As a tortoise food, what's wrong with iceberg lettuce? Or other lettuce types too?
1. Too low in calcium.
2. Low Ca : P ratio.
3. Low fiber.
4. Low nutritional value.

Its everything a tortoise food should not be. Right? But what if we amend the lettuce? What if we mix in things to make up for these shortcomings and the lettuce serves as a delivery vehicle for these other items, along with the high water content of lettuce, all in a "package" that tortoises love?

As the size of my herd, and the size of the tortoises in my herd, have increased over the years, so to have my tortoise food needs increased. I used to be able to grow enough to feed them all, but with the drought, lack of time, and constant battles with the local wildlife eating my crops, I've had to start buying food. I still grow some of my own food, but its not enough anymore. I'm buying two cases of endive, escarole or romaine a week, and still have an opuntia day, Mazuri day, and either a mulberry or grapevine day. When I started feeding the grocery store greens, I was sure to add in what I call "amendments" to increase the fiber, calcium, and variety. For fiber, I soak Timothy hay horse pellets, These break down and I mix it with the lettuce in five gallon buckets, or large tubs. I use either type of ZooMed pellet for this purpose as well. Then I mix in some of @Kapidolo Farms dried leaf options. Moringa, dandelion, echinacea, marsh mallow, nettle, etc... Then I will add in some calcium powder. All of these things combined serve to make a good tortoise meal, and I've been getting by this way.

Here is the thing: I still need more and more food. I have some family friends that own a nearby restaurant. Every other day they cut up iceberg and romaine lettuce for burgers and salads, and this creates quite a lot of scrap pieces to be thrown away. Just their leavings make up about a 40 pound case, and they throw it in the dumpster because they have no use for it. This equates to about three full five gallon buckets which will feed my herd for a day. Its the heals and leaves they can't use. They sometimes offer it to me, but I've been reluctant because iceberg lettuce just is not a good thing to be feeding to my tortoises on a regular basis. Right? But what if I added chopped up orchard grass hay, soaked Timothy hay horse pellets, calcium, dried leaves, and I've recently started using Purina Organic Lay Crumbles for chickens on the advice of Will. Looking at the list above. Adding calcium carbonate powder fixes the low calcium and the Ca to P ratio. Adding the hay fixes the lack of fiber, and adding the lay crumbles and dried leaves fixes the low nutritional value part, right?

I've started feeding this lettuce with all this "stuff" mixed in a couple of days a week and it seems to be working fine. Poops are solid and full of rough fiber, growth is slow and steady each month, and my adults lay well formed eggs that hatch into vigorous healthy babies. I also mix in an assortment of other stuff when available too, like grated pumpkin, assorted other grocery greens like kale, collards, cilantro, spring mix, arugula, etc..., cucumber peels and various weeds, leaves and flowers.

I will agree with anyone that plain iceberg lettuce is not a good tortoise food to be fed in bulk on a regular basis, but when used as a vehicle to deliver all the good stuff that I am mixing in, it suits me fine. I welcome debate or conversation on the subject. Suggestions for improvement are welcome too.
I agree, Sheldon eats lettuce as a snack. I call it his Popsicle. Doesn't every kid get a Popsicle on hot days in the summer?
 

Meena

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I keep a few heads of lettuce around for hydration for my Sulcata. The heat here near Houston has been record breaking so in the late afternoon (after he has grazed most of the day), I will give his the lettuce to hydrate him. I have water around but I have yet in his 13 years seen him drink but JUST IN CASE he gets the urge one day, I have water for him. For now, he gets a treat of the lettuce which he loves but only after he has eaten the grasses he is supposed to eat. He has also gotten to wear he enjoys me taking the water hose and spraying him down with cool water to cool him off. He used to hate it. He even sits out in the pouring rain when we get any as the heat has been so bad. So, he is starting to accept things he used to NOT tolerate. Great advice on using the lettuce as a vehicle to deliver all of the other good foods Sulcata's require and love. I am going to print this article out and try giving him a bowl with the lettuce and some of the other foods. I am the food ATM for my tortoise... lol

I was wondering this EXACT thing! For hydration reasons would it be OK? I am 100% newbie to all things tortoise. But I am a little nuts on research. When our breeder saw her enclosure he said "this is one of the best enclosures I've seen". So I take it all very seriously!

That said, I follow all his instructions to a T and read up in here daily. As she's only 4 months old, and does not drink during her soak times. I am wondering if after her big morning breakfast feed (of all the healthy greens collard, dandy, endive, radicchio, etc (our breeder doesn't even recommend any fruit the first 2 years), when she comes out later in the evening to graze on bits and pieces she left behind, would it not be OK to at this point only to provide a high water content lettuce like iceberg? For hydration reasons? I am so curious if this spoils her towards other greens?
 

Len B

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I was wondering this EXACT thing! For hydration reasons would it be OK? I am 100% newbie to all things tortoise. But I am a little nuts on research. When our breeder saw her enclosure he said "this is one of the best enclosures I've seen". So I take it all very seriously!

That said, I follow all his instructions to a T and read up in here daily. As she's only 4 months old, and does not drink during her soak times. I am wondering if after her big morning breakfast feed (of all the healthy greens collard, dandy, endive, radicchio, etc (our breeder doesn't even recommend any fruit the first 2 years), when she comes out later in the evening to graze on bits and pieces she left behind, would it not be OK to at this point only to provide a high water content lettuce like iceberg? For hydration reasons? I am so curious if this spoils her towards other greens?
At 4 months old if you are feeding the proper food items I would hold off on feeding iceberg. Especially if your enclosure is closed to hold moisture in with a bowl big enough for her to self soak.
 

Tom

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Fantastic thread and discussion!

I feed all of my torts lettuce as a base every day... I just make sure to supplement the greens with other foodstuffs to increase/improve the nutritional and fiber content.

My Russian Creep gets some herbs and flowers and weeds and seaweed and opuntia flour with the lettuce; they also get a bit of butternut squash and mazuri 1-2 times a week.

The omnivorous tortoises get the same stuff as the Russians, with the addition of a bit of fruit, some mushrooms, and a bit of animal protein 1-2 times a week.

Jamie
That's creepy...
 

Tom

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I was wondering this EXACT thing! For hydration reasons would it be OK? I am 100% newbie to all things tortoise. But I am a little nuts on research. When our breeder saw her enclosure he said "this is one of the best enclosures I've seen". So I take it all very seriously!

That said, I follow all his instructions to a T and read up in here daily. As she's only 4 months old, and does not drink during her soak times. I am wondering if after her big morning breakfast feed (of all the healthy greens collard, dandy, endive, radicchio, etc (our breeder doesn't even recommend any fruit the first 2 years), when she comes out later in the evening to graze on bits and pieces she left behind, would it not be OK to at this point only to provide a high water content lettuce like iceberg? For hydration reasons? I am so curious if this spoils her towards other greens?
What species?

Best to use other foods that are more natural. When other foods are not available in climates with snow for months and grocery store foods are necessary, then the "lettuce" and other greens should be amended. I'm using it because:
1. Its being given to me for free, although all the supplemental foods I'm adding to it are not free.
2. I'm having trouble amassing enough "natural" type foods to feed my herd every day.
3. It will be thrown in the garbage and wasted if I don't make use of it.

If your baby tortoise is soaked daily, kept in a humid closed chamber, and eating all those other good foods, there is no need to feed any lettuce at all. Better, when possible, to use weeds, leaves, succulents, flowers, and grasses for grass eating species whenever possible. Any type of store bought greens are a last resort for me, and I try to keep it to a minimum even with all the supplemental foods added.

If you must use grocery store foods for a single tortoise, or just a few small ones, It is best to use, endive, escarole, arugula, cilantro, kale, collards, etc... and avoid lettuce. The point of this thread is that when bulk is needed and other things are not available, lettuce can be used with enough "good stuff" added to it.
 
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Meena

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What species?

Best to use other foods that are more natural. When other foods are not available in climates with snow for months and grocery store foods are necessary, then the "lettuce" and other greens should be amended. I'm using it because:
1. Its being given to me for free, although all the supplemental foods I'm adding to it are not free.
2. I'm having trouble amassing enough "natural" type foods to feed my herd every day.
3. It will be thrown in the garbage and wasted if I don't make use of it.

If your baby tortoise is soaked daily, kept in a humid closed chamber, and eating all those other good foods, there is no need to feed any lettuce at all. Better, when possible, to use weeds, leaves, succulents, flowers, and grasses for grass eating species whenever possible. Any type of store bought greens are a last resort for me, and I try to keep it to a minimum even with all the supplemental foods added.

If you must use grocery store foods for a single tortoise, or just a few small ones, It is best to use, endive, escarole, arugula, cilantro, kale, collards, etc... and avoid lettuce. The point of this thread is that when bulk is needed and other things are not available, lettuce can be used with enough "good stuff" added to it.

Ah ok. She's a baby cherry head. Just wanted to make sure I do right by her. She never drinks which made me wonder about lettuce. But she is soaked daily 15 minutes, and her enclosure is never below 70-95% range.
 

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