"Poop! There it is!": My Sulcata 'Rocks' Out with a 'Fowl' Diet...

Kr1st1n

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Jul 8, 2023
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25
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Tucson, Arizona
Hi,
Today was a nice warm day here in Tucson, AZ (actually quite hot), and so I decided to take Fergus (sulcata) outside during my lunch break (I WFH). He has finally reached 8.5" so I'm not as worried about loosing him to a ground squirrel's burrow hole or my resident rock squirrel's burrow in a dense brush pile... but I still don't leave him unattended quite yet.

As I was tinkering around the yard while he explored, I noticed that Fergus was eating something on the ground and there wasn't any vegetation there. Come to find he was eating rocks!!! My yard is all DG. That being said, over the past 9 months, I've been actively trying to grow stuff but it's just not come in quite yet (or it's in designated areas like a greenhouse-type area / potted).

I kept trying to watch him to see if he was just testing to see if it was something to eat and then leaving it, but no, he was actually eating rocks... so I moved him to another area, and then he found bird poop and he was going nuts over it (like it was his favorite thing in the land!!!)

In my experience, when any animal is desiring to eat something that it shouldn't, it generally means there's a dietary deficiency... so I'm sure that's the same thing with Fergus. His diet is primarily dandelion greens, Bermuda grass (that I grew myself), grasses from a Dry-Climate Browsing & African Grazer seed mixes that I bought and grew from TortoiseSupply (which appears to have wild radish in it... and he loves those leaves), spring mix, collard greens, and baby prickly pear pads (some are spineless and some aren't... either way, I scrape them both to remove any glochids). He also gets a rotation of MinerAll, Mazuri, Repashy Grassland Grazer Tortoise Diet Gel Premix... he also has a cuttle bone in his enclosure but he never touches it (he use to like them).

Does anyone have any suggestions? I was very much looking forward to starting to house him a bit more outdoors this summer but I'm worried I'll never be able to let him be outside if all he's going to do is eat the DG all over my yard???

Thanks in advance for any guidance,
Kristin

Current Enclosure
Orchid bark substrate, Arcadia UV, basking spot, LEDs, temperature and humidity all regulated by thermostats & humidistats (basking, relaxing, humidity --> 100°, 80°, 80%)

Fergus growth pics.png
 
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Sarah2020

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Cute growth pics ...he will get bigger. They do eat poo but stones are not advisable. Out door enclosures are great to have and if you have space I recommend making one as I you are in control of what he has access to. Water, good diet and calcium are important. Add a cuttle fish to the enc to see if that gets eaten or trodden on!
 

Yvonne G

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Clovis, CA
Hi,
Today was a nice warm day here in Tucson, AZ (actually quite hot), and so I decided to take Fergus (sulcata) outside during my lunch break (I WFH). He has finally reached 8.5" so I'm not as worried about loosing him to a ground squirrel's burrow hole or my resident rock squirrel's burrow in a dense brush pile... but I still don't leave him unattended quite yet.

As I was tinkering around the yard while he explored, I noticed that Fergus was eating something on the ground and there wasn't any vegetation there. Come to find he was eating rocks!!! My yard is all DG. That being said, over the past 9 months, I've been actively trying to grow stuff but it's just not come in quite yet (or it's in designated areas like a greenhouse-type area / potted).

I kept trying to watch him to see if he was just testing to see if it was something to eat and then leaving it, but no, he was actually eating rocks... so I moved him to another area, and then he found bird poop and he was going nuts over it (like it was his favorite thing in the land!!!)

In my experience, when any animal is desiring to eat something that it shouldn't, it generally means there's a dietary deficiency... so I'm sure that's the same thing with Fergus. His diet is primarily dandelion greens, Bermuda grass (that I grew myself), grasses from a Dry-Climate Browsing & African Grazer seed mixes that I bought and grew from TortoiseSupply (which appears to have wild radish in it... and he loves those leaves), spring mix, collard greens, and baby prickly pear pads (some are spineless and some aren't... either way, I scrape them both to remove any glochids). He also gets a rotation of MinerAll, Mazuri, Repashy Grassland Grazer Tortoise Diet Gel Premix... he also has a cuttle bone in his enclosure but he never touches it (he use to like them).

Does anyone have any suggestions? I was very much looking forward to starting to house him a bit more outdoors this summer but I'm worried I'll never be able to let him be outside if all he's going to do is eat the DG all over my yard???

Thanks in advance for any guidance,
Kristin

Current Enclosure
Orchid bark substrate, Arcadia UV, basking spot, LEDs, temperature and humidity all regulated by thermostats & humidistats (basking, relaxing, humidity --> 100°, 80°, 80%)

View attachment 369670
That's a nice picture progression.

You mentioned that you use Miner-all. Maybe you're not using enough. Or maybe offer it more often.
 

EppsDynasty

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955
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Canebrake Ca
@Kr1st1n
For our Sulcatas we add Mazuri 5M21 to every meal. We soak it and mix it with whatever greens they are eating at the time. We also use the powder that accumulates at the bottom of the container, we sprinkle it on greens dry so it still has its "crunchy" texture. We have noticed with enough of the Mazuri eaten that poop eating behaviour disappears. We have seen this in Sulcata and Desert Tortoises, if they exhibit that behavior we increase the amount of Mazuri.
 

Kr1st1n

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Joined
Jul 8, 2023
Messages
25
Location (City and/or State)
Tucson, Arizona
@Kr1st1n
For our Sulcatas we add Mazuri 5M21 to every meal. We soak it and mix it with whatever greens they are eating at the time. We also use the powder that accumulates at the bottom of the container, we sprinkle it on greens dry so it still has its "crunchy" texture. We have noticed with enough of the Mazuri eaten that poop eating behaviour disappears. We have seen this in Sulcata and Desert Tortoises, if they exhibit that behavior we increase the amount of Mazuri.
Thanks @EppsDynasty .... I'll start doing that ASAP!
 

Kr1st1n

New Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2023
Messages
25
Location (City and/or State)
Tucson, Arizona
Cute growth pics ...he will get bigger. They do eat poo but stones are not advisable. Out door enclosures are great to have and if you have space I recommend making one as I you are in control of what he has access to. Water, good diet and calcium are important. Add a cuttle fish to the enc to see if that gets eaten or trodden on!
Thanks @Sarah2020!

As for the outdoor space, as you might have noticed in my profile picture (or not LOL haha), I have 10 pets... 3 are dogs which don't all get along so I have my yard divided into 3 sections, one side for one dog, the other side for the other 2 dogs, and the middle section I was reserving for Fergus. All 3 areas are 1/4" DG (decomposed granite.... little rocks). Fergus' area already has "walls" due to the cinderblock walls of the yard along with 14" patio foundation that block off that area (with the exception of one section... but I have already put in cinderblocks as a miniature fence which would work for his size currently). I tell you this because I hadn't intended on modifying the entire ground with a different material... and honestly, I wouldn't even know what to replace it with. So as far as a controlled area, he would have access to all the rocks LOL... not the poop though, all the feeders are in a different section).

Any suggestions?

As for the cuttle fish bone, yes, he has one in his enclosure and he use to love them, but for the past 4 months or so he's just is uninterested in it.

Thanks again for the reply :)
 

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