Just hatched our first baby Greek - very new to hatchlings

orli bein

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Hello,
We aren’t breeders but serendipitously our male & female Greeks mated and we got eggs. We found 2 were viable and the first just hatched yesterday. I’ve gotten all the tips on habitat, lighting, bathing, etc. we haven’t gotten him to eat yet and I’m trying to figure out what food to provide. We have dandelion greens cut up and the egg shell he came out of, but he’s too little for zucchini or carrots, right? Do we need to get those pellets? What should we be feeding him/her?

Thanks so much!
Orli
 

Hamiltondood

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Richmond, Texas
Hello,
We aren’t breeders but serendipitously our male & female Greeks mated and we got eggs. We found 2 were viable and the first just hatched yesterday. I’ve gotten all the tips on habitat, lighting, bathing, etc. we haven’t gotten him to eat yet and I’m trying to figure out what food to provide. We have dandelion greens cut up and the egg shell he came out of, but he’s too little for zucchini or carrots, right? Do we need to get those pellets? What should we be feeding him/her?

Thanks so much!
Orli
i've never incubated any hatchlings but i'm sure these posts can help you:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/
has it absorbed the yolk sack yet?
i think the tortoise pellets that youre talking about is the mazuri tortoise diet. it's great, i feed it to my sully.
i, personally, don't feed any zucchini or carrot since carrots are a bit too sweet.
 

orli bein

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Thanks, it does seem to have absorbed most of the yolk sac. I’ll get the mazuri pellets, thx!!
 

orli bein

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Another question - is it normal if the new hatchling doesn’t eat on the first day? It’s sleeping a fair amount, though exploring its new habitat too.
 

zovick

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Another question - is it normal if the new hatchling doesn’t eat on the first day? It’s sleeping a fair amount, though exploring its new habitat too.
Newly hatched babies sometimes don't eat for up to a week or ten days because they are still getting nutrition from their egg yolk which they have stored inside them. However, you should still offer it some foods daily and it will eventually begin to eat. Also you should soak the tortoise for a few minutes each day so it doesn't become dehydrated. Use a very shallow dish of lukewarm water and make sure to watch the tortoise while it is soaking to prevent any accidental drowning.

I never hesitated to feed any of my tortoises green or yellow squash and carrots. I used a food grater to grate them into small enough pieces so my babies could eat them. I did the same with apples, though some people will not approve of feeding apples. I fed apples in small amounts once o twice a week, As long as the tortoises are kept warm enough, they can digest a small amount of sugars, IMHO.
 

Sarah2020

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Enjoy raising the hatchlings. You have some good links in the thread particularly the tips to keep them hydrated and on leaves as they start. Share pics when you can.
 

Markw84

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Another question - is it normal if the new hatchling doesn’t eat on the first day? It’s sleeping a fair amount, though exploring its new habitat too.
This is where we are continuing to learn so much about tortoises and their care - the start they initially get. The care from the first pip for the first two weeks makes a tremendous difference in how the tortoise does.

I see my hatchlings eat from the very first day. Sulcatas, Burmese Stars, Galapagos, Leopards - all eat right away in the right conditions. It is most important to NOT put them in an enclosure when they first hatch. A brooder box type start will make a huge difference in how your tortoise does. Look through the post linked above on how @Tom started his current batch of Sudanese sulcatas. That details the brooder box style. All my hatchlings stay in a brooder box until their plastrons are completely healed and they have passed waste (pooped) for the first time. This is normally about 7 days for my burmese and sulcatas and over 10 days for galapagos. All eat and gain weight from hatching immediately. By the time they are out of the brooder box and ready for their first enclosure they average gaining about 5-10% of their original hatch weight. I put lots of variety of weeds, flowers, grass clippings, etc. in with them from the first day. I also put in lots of big leaves - grape, hibiscus, etc to give them natural hiding spots in the small brooder box. No tortoise wants to be in the open, A baby tortoise is buried under leaf litter. This way, there is no stress and they begin to feed and continue to develop as they are still developing even though they are out of the egg. A tortoise in an open box or enclosure without the ability to hide in plant cover or leaf litter, is going to be stressed and will not eat and develop as well.

Follow these guidelines and your tortoise will develop properly and grow from the beginning. A tortoise started the "older style" methods will often still do well and thrive, but it will take it longer to initially develop and will have a slower start. With proper care and conditions, they can overcome this, but why not start them the best way possible?

Here's some baby galapagos that just had hatched and are in the brooder box to give you an idea of how I set them up. These babies averaged gaining 11g while in the brooder box an average of 11 days, with a hatch weight of 83g-95g.

IMG_1011.JPG
 

orli bein

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Thank you. We did put him into a newly set up enclosure but I can create a brooder box instead. The picture you sent, Mark, is helpful. It sounds like the main thing we need to change is instead of substrate, to have wet paper towels and edible leaves. Since we don’t have an incubator, we do still need to leave at least a partial opening for the heat lamp, humidifier, and UVA/UVB, right? I did use pea moss and orchid bark, which were recommended in the forum. But it sounds like we did that too early.
Here’s our current set up:
image.jpg
 

Tom

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Thank you. We did put him into a newly set up enclosure but I can create a brooder box instead. The picture you sent, Mark, is helpful. It sounds like the main thing we need to change is instead of substrate, to have wet paper towels and edible leaves. Since we don’t have an incubator, we do still need to leave at least a partial opening for the heat lamp, humidifier, and UVA/UVB, right? I did use pea moss and orchid bark, which were recommended in the forum. But it sounds like we did that too early.
Here’s our current set up:
I only use paper towels for one or two days tops. Sometimes I don't use them at all depending on how much the yolk has already absorbed. They will eat them, and everything else in the brooder box. I just had eggs hatched and my wife called me to tell me the tortoise was eating the incubation media while it was still in its egg. With vermiculite, this does not harm, but this is why I tell people NOT to incubate on perlite. All of my babies of all species begin nibbling on day one. By day three or four, they are full on munching down on everything in their boxes. This is the tie to introduce as many new foods as possible. Go out into the world and finds as many kinds of edible weeds, leaves, flowers and succulents as you can. And pelleted foods too. Feed them something different every single day for the first two or three weeks. All the details are in those links.

Congrats on the new babies!!! :D
 
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