New Cherry Head losing weight, is this normal?

Mrs_Gal1981

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Hello all, a little less than a month ago we adopted a young red foot tortoise, about 5.6" small. Not quite a hatchling. He has been pretty shy and does not come out on his own, we only bring him out at feeding time. He seems interested in food and eats right away. I posted before asking about his diet (variety of fruits, leaves, cactus and veggies plus Mazuri twice a week with protein once a week only). I was told as long as I kept it varied it was alright. Now I'm concerned because instead of gaining, he is losing weight. We actually give him more food than he can handle -especially because we don't know how much he actually needs yet- and he eats well but always leaves a little behind. So far he hasn't really disliked anything which is great.
3 weeks ago I started to weigh him weekly and decided to measure him monthly.
At that point he was at 15.9 oz (450 grams); the second week I was hoping to see him at a pound but he was actually 15.5oz (438 grams) and today, the third week weighing him he was only 15.2 oz (430 grams). Is this normal? I try to weight him AFTER he eats, so I'm not sure this is affecting the numbers, like if he just ate a lot that first time I weighed him and today he didn't eat that much, but yesterday he did. I am using a kitchen scale that seems to be pretty accurate. Other than the weight loss he does not show any signs of sickness, he enjoys his warm soaks, when he is out and about he seems curious about us, but as soon as he's done eating off he goes inside his heated house (he is in an outdoor enclosure with a heated house, we are in South Texas).
Anyone has any encouragement / advice? Should I start him on Mazuri an extra day a week? (3 days a week instead of 2? he does like it) or is this normal considering he is new to us and he is still adjusting to the new environment, food, routine? We think he might have been fed exclusively kibble at the store so all the new variety might be new to him.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

ZEROPILOT

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In my opinion, once a week is too soon to weigh them. Weights do fluctuate.
Once a month would be better. But then I would expect a slight gain each time.
Weighing before and after a water soak makes for a different weight too. So always weigh before.
Is he still eating normally?
Pooping normally?
Acting normally?
This sounds unuusual.
 

Mrs_Gal1981

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In my opinion, once a week is too soon to weigh them. Weights do fluctuate.
Once a month would be better. But then I would expect a slight gain each time.
Weighing before and after a water soak makes for a different weight too. So always weigh before.
Is he still eating normally?
Pooping normally?
Acting normally?
This sounds unuusual.
Thank you! I will keep all that in mind. Yes, he is still eating “normally” although I’m not 100% certain what “normal” means for him since he is new to us. I had read that weighing weekly and measuring monthly was recommended but I may just do both monthly. He seems to eat well, considering the amount I give him and his size. I’ve never had a red foot before so I don’t have a reference point as to how much they’re supposed to eat so I just give him a good amount. I believe he is pooping normal as we clean the semi-solid droppings from his enclosure. So far he as never pooped while soaking which seems a bit odd to me since I keep reading and hearing that they tend to do that, my son insists that he’s probably shy lol. He mostly poops inside his heated house and then we clean it. He is not the most social pet but again, he’s been with us for less than a month so we’re giving him time to adjust. The weight loss is very subtle that’s why I’m not sure is worrisome, but since he’s small I thought maybe it means something and I wanted some input. I also weigh him after eating and he does eat more sometimes. Today he didn’t eat as much as usual, he weighed 15.1 oz and then I put him back with his food, he ate more and I tried again and it was 15.2 so I guess the food does make a noticeable difference. I just hope next time he gains some weight, even a tiny bit will be reassuring. I’m gonna try adding one more day of Mazuri as he really likes that. I just don’t wanna ruin his taste for other things. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I thought maybe my post wasn’t visible because no one had responded :(
 

ZEROPILOT

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Feed as much as he'll eat in one sitting.
A loss in weight over 2 months, I'd be concerned about. Let him eat what he wants. Up to 60% fruit.
Also, most tortoises aren't very sociable.
I don't see (hear) anything too worrisome at this point.
It's about 3:30 am here and after midnight on the west coast.
A lot of late posts get ignored for a while.
 

Mrs_Gal1981

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Feed as much as he'll eat in one sitting.
A loss in weight over 2 months, I'd be concerned about. Let him eat what he wants. Up to 60% fruit.
Also, most tortoises aren't very sociable.
I don't see (hear) anything too worrisome at this point.
It's about 3:30 am here and after midnight on the west coast.
A lot of late posts get ignored for a while.
Thank you!! No I actually posted earlier today. No sweat though. Like I said we do eat plenty more than he eats but I wonder if he’s still not eating to his potential because he’s still adjusting. Thank you for all your help!
 

Mrs_Gal1981

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UPDATE: today Lorenzo had a really big meal of cactus and Mazuri, so out of curiosity I decided to weigh him again, to see how much food affected his numbers. Well, he was just over 1lb!!! Yesterday he was 15.1 but hadn’t eaten much. So that kind of answers my question. It really depends on amount of food he eats and I’m thinking the first time I weighed him he had actually had a lot to eat and the other times he just hadn’t. I need to stop worrying so much about this little guy and allow him to do his thing. I will weigh him monthly from now on!
 

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ZEROPILOT

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UPDATE: today Lorenzo had a really big meal of cactus and Mazuri, so out of curiosity I decided to weigh him again, to see how much food affected his numbers. Well, he was just over 1lb!!! Yesterday he was 15.1 but hadn’t eaten much. So that kind of answers my question. It really depends on amount of food he eats and I’m thinking the first time I weighed him he had actually had a lot to eat and the other times he just hadn’t. I need to stop worrying so much about this little guy and allow him to do his thing. I will weigh him monthly from now on!
Yep.
Especially young tortoises....The weight can fluctuate wildly from day to day and week to week.
You can make yourself sick thinking that your tortoise is sick.
 

Mrs_Gal1981

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San Antonio, TX
Yep.
Especially young tortoises....The weight can fluctuate wildly from day to day and week to week.
You can make yourself sick thinking that your tortoise is sick.
I agree. I just didn’t know because everything I read was like “weigh your baby torts weekly and make sure they’re growing” so I panicked. I will put the scale away lol and will do monthly checks! Thanks again!
 
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