Organic Blood meal or feather meal for fertilizer in enclosure

bigsulcata

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Hello!

I have never had to fertilize my lawn, but now in a new backyard with grass i’ve grown myself, I’ve realized my new soil has too much potassium and phosphorus, and it is completely depleted in nitrogen. This is resulting in my grass seed not growing well, so I need to apply some organic fertilizer to the soil. However, my big sulcata lives on the soil without a good way to separate her from any areas I fertilize. So, I am wondering if anyone has experience or knowledge on using organic fertilizers like organic blood meal or feather meal on top of the soil and if that is safe for my sulcata to roam around on and possibly get some soil in its mouth?

I will of course drench/soak the soil with water every day after fertilizing, but I’m nervous about bone meal or feather meal being toxic to her if she accidentally gets a mouthful of it.

I am only looking to use bone or feather meal because of its high nitrogen content and 0% of phosphorus and potassium since my soil already has too much. Any help in this topic is much appreciated. Thanks!
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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Bone meal is a safe fertilizer for tortoises, but you have to be careful selecting which brand to use. Some are known to contain contaminants such as aluminum, arsenic, mercury, lead and cadmium, which obviously is no good. Bone meal is also naturally high in phosphorus, so I would also look out for that.

But, if your tortoise is only going to have an occasional nibble 2 : 1 Ca : P rate should be enough, and I am sure you will find some suitable. Most have the rate of 15 : 3 (Ca : P), since that is recommended for grass.

Some sources warn about inhaling the dust, here is wikipedia for example: " The improper application of bone and meat meal products in animal nutrition can contribute to the spread of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known in cattle as Mad Cow Disease. Proper heat control can reduce salmonella contaminants." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_meal But I believe keeping it wet will reduce this chance.
 

bigsulcata

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Bone meal is a safe fertilizer for tortoises, but you have to be careful selecting which brand to use. Some are known to contain contaminants such as aluminum, arsenic, mercury, lead and cadmium, which obviously is no good. Bone meal is also naturally high in phosphorus, so I would also look out for that.

But, if your tortoise is only going to have an occasional nibble 2 : 1 Ca : P rate should be enough, and I am sure you will find some suitable. Most have the rate of 15 : 3 (Ca : P), since that is recommended for grass.

Some sources warn about inhaling the dust, here is wikipedia for example: " The improper application of bone and meat meal products in animal nutrition can contribute to the spread of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known in cattle as Mad Cow Disease. Proper heat control can reduce salmonella contaminants." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_meal But I believe keeping it wet will reduce this chance.
Thanks for the reply! Unfortunately bone meal is way too high in phosphorus for me to use. I only need nitrogen, which is why I am in between blood meal and feather meal. I’m assuming feather meal is going to be the safest of the two
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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Blood meal should be safe too, but again this depends on the manufacturer. I would pick one that is organic, to avoid any possible hormones/antibiotics the animals whose blood it is made of have been given.

What do you use for fertilizer? @wellington @Tom @Yvonne G
 

bigsulcata

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Blood meal should be safe too, but again this depends on the manufacturer. I would pick one that is organic, to avoid any possible hormones/antibiotics the animals whose blood it is made of have been given.

What do you use for fertilizer? @wellington @Tom @Yvonne GDe

I definitely will be getting a product that’s organic and OMRI listed just to be safe. Either the Espoma Blood Meal or Down To Earth Feather Meal was what I saw for my options.

I guess I also wonder if OMRI listed/certified liquid compost from Farmer’s Secret and Blue Ribbon Organics Organic Compost would be considered safe to be used on my Sulcata’s land as well. I can keep her off of it for 6 hours, but not all day and she sleep in her own space off the soil. She’s been lounging most days lately with the nice weather too.
 

wellington

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jaizei

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I am only looking to use bone or feather meal because of its high nitrogen content and 0% of phosphorus and potassium since my soil already has too much. Any help in this topic is much appreciated. Thanks!

I think you meant for this to say I am only looking to use blood or feather meal... ? I can edit it if thats the case.
 

Maggie3fan

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I have never fertilized a Sulcata pen...I buy our local pasture grass seed and rotate use and resting pastures 3 ways. That has worked best for me.
 

Tom

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Hello!

I have never had to fertilize my lawn, but now in a new backyard with grass i’ve grown myself, I’ve realized my new soil has too much potassium and phosphorus, and it is completely depleted in nitrogen. This is resulting in my grass seed not growing well, so I need to apply some organic fertilizer to the soil. However, my big sulcata lives on the soil without a good way to separate her from any areas I fertilize. So, I am wondering if anyone has experience or knowledge on using organic fertilizers like organic blood meal or feather meal on top of the soil and if that is safe for my sulcata to roam around on and possibly get some soil in its mouth?

I will of course drench/soak the soil with water every day after fertilizing, but I’m nervous about bone meal or feather meal being toxic to her if she accidentally gets a mouthful of it.

I am only looking to use bone or feather meal because of its high nitrogen content and 0% of phosphorus and potassium since my soil already has too much. Any help in this topic is much appreciated. Thanks!
I'd figure out a way to keep the tortoise out of that area for a few days of heavy watering after application. Divide the yard in half and do one side at a time if needed.
 

bigsulcata

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Hello!

I have never had to fertilize my lawn, but now in a new backyard with grass i’ve grown myself, I’ve realized my new soil has too much potassium and phosphorus, and it is completely depleted in nitrogen. This is resulting in my grass seed not growing well, so I need to apply some organic fertilizer to the soil. However, my big sulcata lives on the soil without a good way to separate her from any areas I fertilize. So, I am wondering if anyone has experience or knowledge on using organic fertilizers like organic blood meal or feather meal on top of the soil and if that is safe for my sulcata to roam around on and possibly get some soil in its mouth?

I will of course drench/soak the soil with water every day after fertilizing, but I’m nervous about bone meal or feather meal being toxic to her if she accidentally gets a mouthful of it.

I am only looking to use bone or feather meal because of its high nitrogen content and 0% of phosphorus and potassium since my soil already has too much. Any help in this topic is much appreciated. Thanks!

I think you meant for this to say I am only looking to use blood or feather meal... ? I can edit it if thats the case.
Yes I definitely meant blood meal. I got all these fertilizers rattling around in my head haha!
 

bigsulcata

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I'd figure out a way to keep the tortoise out of that area for a few days of heavy watering after application. Divide the yard in half and do one side at a time if needed.
Okay, so you are saying both organic blood meal and feather meal mixed in with the soil and flushed for a day are unsafe?
 

bigsulcata

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I have never fertilized a Sulcata pen...I buy our local pasture grass seed and rotate use and resting pastures 3 ways. That has worked best for me.
That’s my plan and what I have done for years, but my grass at this new property simply won’t grow and I did a soil test that determined there is legitimately no nitrogen in the soil so I need to do something to help out the soil
 

Markw84

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Okay, so you are saying both organic blood meal and feather meal mixed in with the soil and flushed for a day are unsafe?
High concentrations of nitrogen can be lethal for a tortoise if ingested. Whatever you use, you have to be sure there is no way the tortoise could ingest a high dose of nitrogen. That's why Tom suggests no access for a few days for the fertilizer to absorb/get watered in.
 

bigsulcata

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High concentrations of nitrogen can be lethal for a tortoise if ingested. Whatever you use, you have to be sure there is no way the tortoise could ingest a high dose of nitrogen. That's why Tom suggests no access for a few days for the fertilizer to absorb/get watered in.
Ah I see. Thank you for the explanation. I don’t like taking chances, so I may just do the yard in quadrants and distract my Sully away from the area for a few days. Would watering with a liquid organic compost like Farmer’s Secret soil revitalizer and/or fresh compost like Blue Ribbon Organics Organic Compost be a safer option for her to roam on a day after I put it down?
 

Tom

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Okay, so you are saying both organic blood meal and feather meal mixed in with the soil and flushed for a day are unsafe?
I don't know if it is or not. I'm saying I wouldn't want my tortoise on it or having direct access to the fertilizer product.

Ah I see. Thank you for the explanation. I don’t like taking chances, so I may just do the yard in quadrants and distract my Sully away from the area for a few days. Would watering with a liquid organic compost like Farmer’s Secret soil revitalizer and/or fresh compost like Blue Ribbon Organics Organic Compost be a safer option for her to roam on a day after I put it down?
No one has tested the safety of any of these products. What we are saying is find a way to not have your tortoise in the pen while you do the fertilization. Give it at least a few days to soak in and be absorbed by the soil. There is not a way that I know of to fertilize a lawn while the tortoise is on it, or will be on it within hours. I've seen tortoises die from having access to fertilizer products, so I tread very carefully here.

Another point to consider is that trying to grow grass in a normal sized backyard with a large sulcata present is futile in most cases. They turn their enclosure areas into desert wastelands. Its one of the known bad things about the species.
 

bigsulcata

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I don't know if it is or not. I'm saying I wouldn't want my tortoise on it or having direct access to the fertilizer product.


No one has tested the safety of any of these products. What we are saying is find a way to not have your tortoise in the pen while you do the fertilization. Give it at least a few days to soak in and be absorbed by the soil. There is not a way that I know of to fertilize a lawn while the tortoise is on it, or will be on it within hours. I've seen tortoises die from having access to fertilizer products, so I tread very carefully here.

Another point to consider is that trying to grow grass in a normal sized backyard with a large sulcata present is futile in most cases. They turn their enclosure areas into desert wastelands. Its one of the known bad things about the species.
Okay, thank you for the replies. I appreciate you guys taking the time to help. I’m determined to keep going to build up the grass because my girl is special and seems to do her best to avoid young grass beginning to grow and tries not to eat all the way to the root on the young plants. I like to think she knows how to garden haha! I’m also growing plugs and my own sod in other trays to jumpstart things.

And just double checking, the compost products I mentioned should be treated with the same caution correct?
 

L8dybugz

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I definitely will be getting a product that’s organic and OMRI listed just to be safe. Either the Espoma Blood Meal or Down To Earth Feather Meal was what I saw for my options.

I guess I also wonder if OMRI listed/certified liquid compost from Farmer’s Secret and Blue Ribbon Organics Organic Compost would be considered safe to be used on my Sulcata’s land as well. I can keep her off of it for 6 hours, but not all day and she sleep in her own space off the soil. She’s been lounging most days lately with the nice weather too.
Often the answer is,.. it depends. Depends on the size/ weight of your Sulcata & how much fertilizer in pound you apply per square foot. Weight/ application/ area….always read the entire label on the bag. The label should give you the information. If you can’t see it, call the information number of the manufacturer. Ask for all of the application data information…lastly, once you decide to make application, you can apply, half the recommendation for application. Less and reapply later. Irrigate thoroughly and let it dry before allowing your Sulcata up into that area.
 

Yvonne G

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Once upon a time I kept a few head of cattle, and since then I've applied the same pasture management to my sulcata yard:

- make the yard big enough to divide. I divided mine into three sections

- keep the tortoise on one section while you water and fertilize the other(s)

I used one week on, two weeks off. . . that is, I watered and fertilized two sections, rotating the tortoise to a new section after a week, no frtilizer applied the week prior to rotating thetortoise in, only water.
 

bigsulcata

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@Tom @Markw84 After some more looking, I think I found the perfect solution. I found an organic omri listed fertilizer product made of Organic Soybean Amino Acids that is 16-0-0 called Grower’s Secret Organic Nitrogen which is sourced from soy protein hydrolysate. It’s water soluble and a fast-acting nitrogen amendment that won’t burn leaves like Blood Meal. I think this is the safest and most efficient option for quickly correcting my depleted N soil. I will still keep my sully off of the grass for a few days after application just to be safe, but I think this product should be completely safe since Soybean is in Mazuri LS pellets as well. Just wanted to add this to the thread for others with the same issue.

Please let me know if anyone thinks of any issues for this product. Cheers.
 

Markw84

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@Tom @Markw84 After some more looking, I think I found the perfect solution. I found an organic omri listed fertilizer product made of Organic Soybean Amino Acids that is 16-0-0 called Grower’s Secret Organic Nitrogen which is sourced from soy protein hydrolysate. It’s water soluble and a fast-acting nitrogen amendment that won’t burn leaves like Blood Meal. I think this is the safest and most efficient option for quickly correcting my depleted N soil. I will still keep my sully off of the grass for a few days after application just to be safe, but I think this product should be completely safe since Soybean is in Mazuri LS pellets as well. Just wanted to add this to the thread for others with the same issue.

Please let me know if anyone thinks of any issues for this product. Cheers.
No matter the source of the nitrogen, the concentration of nitrogen is the issue. Pure nitrogen and high concentrations of nitrogen can kill a tortoise. So be sure you tortoise does not have direct access to any of the nitrogen pellets/dust/granules. Be sure it is watered in and absorbed before the tortoise has access.
 
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