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Lettuce with nutrient powders?

Discussion in 'Tortoise Diet and Food' started by Africa, Aug 14, 2019.

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  1. Africa

    Africa New Member

    Aug 14, 2019
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    Hey everyone,
    So I've had my tortoise for about 3 years so far, a wonderful adult male Russian tortoise. Our vet has confirmed his great health, which I'm glad to hear.
    I know that feeding lettuce to tortoises is widely looked down upon, due to the low nutrient content. I always try to get him a wide variety of leafy greens; spring mix, arugula, dandelion greens, collard greens, and hibiscus are regular meals for him. However, we mostly buy these veggies just for him. My family personally always has lots of romaine lettuce in stock. In a situation when we're out of other greens to feed him, would it be okay to give him some lettuce with calcium and vitamin powders sprinkled on top? My thinking is that the lettuce would be a vessel to get nutrients into his body, and the powders would make up for the lacking nutrients in lettuce.
    This isn't something I would do regularly; just in a case where we can't go to the store to get more greens and only have lettuce available.
    Thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks for reading!
  2. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    May 29, 2014
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    How about “yes” for a response. A few days of only X or Y or Z isn’t going to cause any harm. It’s important in the long term to provide a healthy variety of greens. It’s not the end of the world to only feed romaine lettuce for a few days. It’s not rocket science.
    xMario likes this.
  3. SPILL

    SPILL Active Member

    Aug 20, 2018
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    There are plenty of good dried options that are available that you may want to look into. There are a couple dozen dried leaves/flowers/grasses along with a premade mix that I rotate daily. I don't have Testudo so hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe you would want the grasses for them. If you go to the "For Sale" forum KapidoloFarms has an ad for some of these items and he offers a variety pack so you can get just a couple ounces of a few different types. Tortoise Supply also has a good premade mix that includes something like 20 different herbs. All you do is sprinkle it on your greens in a similar way to how you sprinkle on supplements.
    Tom likes this.
  4. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

    Jan 9, 2010
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    The problem with lettuce is threefold:
    1. It lacks fiber.
    2. It lacks calcium.
    3. It has a low calcium to phosphorous ratio.
    Adding an herbal hay mix, or soaking some ZooMed Grassland pellets to mix in will solve this problem. Russians aren't grass eaters, but the bended up grass will add some much need fiber.

    Go easy with the vitamin and calcium powder. Hypervitaminosis is a real concern. I wouldn't offer that more than once or twice a week and in small amounts. Calcium can be overdone too. Calcium interferes with the absorption of other important nutrients and trace elements. I don't like to offer supplemental calcium more than twice a week.

    You should also consider making regular Mazuri (Not the LS) part of your feeding schedule. It offers great nutrition, fiber, and is high in calcium too.

    Weeds and leaves are best. Here is a list of stuff you can grow or find:
    Mulberry leaves
    Grape vine leaves
    Hibiscus leaves
    African hibiscus leaves
    Blue hibiscus leaves
    Rose of Sharon leaves
    Rose leaves
    Cape honeysuckle
    Leaves and blooms from any squash plant, like pumpkin, cucumber, summer squash, etc...
    Young spineless opuntia cactus pads

    There are soooooooo many...
    Smooth Sow thistle
    Prickly Sow thistle
    Milk thistle
    Goat head weed
    Cats ear
    Wild onion
    Wild mustard
    Wild Garlic
    Broadleaf plantain
    Narrow leaf plantain
    Chick weed

    Other good stuff:
    "Testudo Seed Mix" from http://www.tortoisesupply.com/SeedMixes
    Pasture mixes or other seeds from http://www.groworganic.com/seeds.html
    Homegrown alfalfa
    Mazuri Tortoise Chow
    ZooMed Grassland Tortoise Food
    ZEROPILOT likes this.
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