New Tortoise Breeder

passwordstaco

Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Messages
39
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago
So this is my first run at things and I read up on as much as I could but have some additional questions.

I currently have 2 tortoises(Greeks) hatched and one peeping. One of the hatched is fully sealed up and the second is beginning that process now, the yolk is pretty much fully absorbed, just so healing going on still.

I saw from videos online that people keep their babies in the incubator still but a separate case. I think this is different than what people are calling brooder boxes here, but my incubator does not have an real lighting. The temperature and humidity is there but I am concerned about the light. How long can I keep them in there? The first hatchling was doing much better in there eating than when I moved it into the grow tent(been less than 24 hours). It almost looks like it is afraid of the light and wont come out of its box cover. Thinking of moving it back but not sure what is the right move here.

I have a 10x10ft grow tent I have my other tortoises in the winter to control temperature and humidity.

Any help would be appreciated!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
59,372
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
So this is my first run at things and I read up on as much as I could but have some additional questions.

I currently have 2 tortoises(Greeks) hatched and one peeping. One of the hatched is fully sealed up and the second is beginning that process now, the yolk is pretty much fully absorbed, just so healing going on still.

I saw from videos online that people keep their babies in the incubator still but a separate case. I think this is different than what people are calling brooder boxes here, but my incubator does not have an real lighting. The temperature and humidity is there but I am concerned about the light. How long can I keep them in there? The first hatchling was doing much better in there eating than when I moved it into the grow tent(been less than 24 hours). It almost looks like it is afraid of the light and wont come out of its box cover. Thinking of moving it back but not sure what is the right move here.

I have a 10x10ft grow tent I have my other tortoises in the winter to control temperature and humidity.

Any help would be appreciated!
Here is the info you seek:

I am curious why you are using a grow tent for adult temperate species, when our climate is so ideal for them? Are you not brumating and this is how you keep them up?
 

passwordstaco

Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Messages
39
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago
I need to update my location. I am in chicago now. It can easily get to freezing at night, so I keep them in a tent. In late spring and summer, I take them out in an enclosure I made. One benefit here is that the humidity is high, so I do not need to worry about that like I do in Southern California.

And thanks for the link, I did read that through but it did not mention anything specific on the enclosure. I read different things about night and day temperature controls, lights, etc... so just wanted that level of specifics for my new hatchlings. Based on your post and some videos Chris did, I am thinking a normal enclosure should work just fine.

I also read on the Greek threads that my species should not hibernate. I have been doing that for them for a couple years now and has been working okay. The female is acting a bit different after laying eggs though, so keeping an eye on her.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
59,372
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I need to update my location. I am in chicago now. It can easily get to freezing at night, so I keep them in a tent. In late spring and summer, I take them out in an enclosure I made. One benefit here is that the humidity is high, so I do not need to worry about that like I do in Southern California.

And thanks for the link, I did read that through but it did not mention anything specific on the enclosure. I read different things about night and day temperature controls, lights, etc... so just wanted that level of specifics for my new hatchlings. Based on your post and some videos Chris did, I am thinking a normal enclosure should work just fine.

I also read on the Greek threads that my species should not hibernate. I have been doing that for them for a couple years now and has been working okay. The female is acting a bit different after laying eggs though, so keeping an eye on her.
I leave them in the incubator in darkness for several days after hatching. This simulates the time they spend underground in their nest chamber absorbing their yolk sacs before digging up and out and emerging into the world. After a few days, I will transfer their brooder boxes (plastic shoe boxes) into either a bird brooder, or sometimes I will stick them on top of the humid hide in a closed chamber enclosure so that they can start getting used to a day night cycle. I usually cover the box with a dark towel so that the light is not too harsh at first. I then wait for the umbilical scar to close up and be completely healed before releasing them into their first enclosure. I soak every day and swap them into a new clean brooder box with fresh food every day during this time.

A few fine points:
1. Don't be stingy with the greens in the brooder box. That food serves as cover for them to hide under, as well as something to eat.
2. Its tough this time of year in Chicago, but its best to clip some branches of something edible to give them cover and variety. I use mulberry, grape, lavatera and hibiscus branches with lots of leaves. The little babies hide under them and eat up those leaves too.
3. Introduce as many new foods as possible in their first few days and weeks of life. This teaches them what food is and sets the tone for their whole future. I give them a different weed, flower or leaf every day for at least two weeks and longer if possible. Also introduce prepared foods, and a wide variety of the dried food options from @Kapidolo Farms at this time. They don't see the same food a second time for at least those two weeks. Whoever buys your babies will thank you for this effort, and it will help to keep them healthy and thriving for years to come. People who buy my babies are pleasantly surprised and frequently comment that they will eat anything the new owner puts in front of them.
4. Soak them every single day. Even day one when they step out of the egg. Rinse the incubation media off and then place the baby into a warm soak. Almost all of my babies drink on day one.
5. Don't be in a hurry to get them out of the brooder boxes. There is no rush. They are fine in there for weeks.
6. On the day you move them into their first enclosure, litter the whole enclosure with edible leaves. Its normal for them to sample the substrate, and I don't like them to be able to take more than a few steps with out running into more food. Over a period of a few days, I taper this down and after 3-4 days, all their food is in the food bowl, but they still have those leafy branches all around to hide under and nibble, in addition to their food in the bowl.
 

passwordstaco

Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Messages
39
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago
Wow, really good tips! Thank you for all of that, will definitely give it all a go. I unfortunately do not have any leaves outside anymore, they are all dormant in the winter but will do what I can to simulate that as much as possible!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
59,372
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Wow, really good tips! Thank you for all of that, will definitely give it all a go. I unfortunately do not have any leaves outside anymore, they are all dormant in the winter but will do what I can to simulate that as much as possible!
I figured that would be the case where you are this time of year. Just use as much variety from the grocery store as possible and also use both types of Mazuri, ZooMed pellets, and lots of the dried leaf options from Kapidolo Farms.
 
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