Questions about feeding and supplements

John6578

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Hi. I’m going to be getting a Russian tortoise. I already have the water dish, food dish, cage and lights. I was wondering what is the best thing to feed them. I tried to google and everyone has different answers. Should I feed him pellets and vegetables? If so what brand for the pellets and how often. How often would I give him the calcium and vitamin supplements?
 

Golden Greek Tortoise 567

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Please read this care sheet, it will explain everything. Btw, welcome to the forum!
 

John6578

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Please read this care sheet, it will explain everything. Btw, welcome to the forum!
I have read the form. If I got him the pellets how often would I feed him them? Every time I feed home like a mix of pellets and the greens?
 

John6578

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I am getting a Russian tortoise. I need someone to help me about the food and supplements

So if I get him a cuttle bone do I still need calcium supplements?

I will still give him the vitamin supplement every other week

Do I need any extra supplements for phosphorus or will he get enough in his greens?
What would be the best greens that you can get at a store?
 

wellington

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Feed every day enough so there is some left over for nibbling during the day. Feed as big a variety as possible. Natural weed foods are best if you can get them. If you have to buy grocery greens make it the better recommended ones over just lettuce. You can add the pellets 2-3 times a week.
 

John6578

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Feed every day enough so there is some left over for nibbling during the day. Feed as big a variety as possible. Natural weed foods are best if you can get them. If you have to buy grocery greens make it the better recommended ones over just lettuce. You can add the pellets 2-3 times a week.
What would you recommend for the grocery greens? And if I do a cuttlebone do I still do calcium supplement? If so how often? Also what brand would you recommend for the calcium supplement and with or without phosphorus? And what about the vitamin supplement? And do they need phosphorus if so how do they get that
 

John6578

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I am getting a Russian tortoise. I need someone to help me about the food and supplements

So if I get him a cuttle bone do I still need calcium supplements?

I will still give him the vitamin supplement every other week

Do I need any extra supplements for phosphorus or will he get enough in his greens?
What would be the best greens that you can get at a store?
Also I’m going to buy zoo med grasslands pellets. How much and how often should I give him this.
 

Tom

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Please read this BEFORE you get the tortoise. Most of this is already answered in the care sheet, but I'll still take a crack at each question.

Are you getting a baby or and adult? For a growing baby, I'd still get the calcium powder in addition to the cuttle bone. And adult with access to cuttle bine and a good weedy diet, shouldn't need additional calcium.

I like to do a little vitamin powder once a week, or sometimes twice a week for a growing baby.

You do not need to supplement with phosphorous.

The best greens are weeds and leaves. Not found at stores. If you must use grocery store food, you'll need to amend it with Herbal hay, soaked zoomed pellets, soaked grass hay pellets, or many of the dried leaves from Will at Kapidolo farms. More on this is explained in the care sheet.

How often to use the zoomed pellets depends on what you are feeding him. Indoors in winter when feeding store bought greens, you should mix some in daily. In summer when weeds and leaves are available, use it less. Start slow and mix it in with favorite greens. Just a tiny tiny amount at first. All tortoises take time to get used to the ZooMed pellets, but its worth the time and effort.
 

John6578

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Please read this BEFORE you get the tortoise. Most of this is already answered in the care sheet, but I'll still take a crack at each question.

Are you getting a baby or and adult? For a growing baby, I'd still get the calcium powder in addition to the cuttle bone. And adult with access to cuttle bine and a good weedy diet, shouldn't need additional calcium.

I like to do a little vitamin powder once a week, or sometimes twice a week for a growing baby.

You do not need to supplement with phosphorous.

The best greens are weeds and leaves. Not found at stores. If you must use grocery store food, you'll need to amend it with Herbal hay, soaked zoomed pellets, soaked grass hay pellets, or many of the dried leaves from Will at Kapidolo farms. More on this is explained in the care sheet.

How often to use the zoomed pellets depends on what you are feeding him. Indoors in winter when feeding store bought greens, you should mix some in daily. In summer when weeds and leaves are available, use it less. Start slow and mix it in with favorite greens. Just a tiny tiny amount at first. All tortoises take time to get used to the ZooMed pellets, but its worth the time and effort.
Thank you so much for answering. I’m not really sure the age. It’s about half grown.
what do you recommend for the brand for the calcium and vitamin supplements? Also what are grass pellets? So the grassland zoo med pellets would work for the zoom pellets?
 

Tom

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Thank you so much for answering. I’m not really sure the age. It’s about half grown.
what do you recommend for the brand for the calcium and vitamin supplements? Also what are grass pellets? So the grassland zoo med pellets would work for the zoom pellets?
Where are you getting it? Nobody sells them half grown. Either babes from breeders, or wild caught adults from pet stores.

I like the RepCal brand calcium, but others are fine too. Herptivite for vitamins.

They make grass hay pellets for horses. Russians are not grass eater, but this is a way to add fiber to grocery store greens and make them more suitable as tortoise food.

The ZooMed Grassland pellets are one type of supplemental food that can be used. There are many ways to to it, and lots of variety is best.
 

John6578

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Where are you getting it? Nobody sells them half grown. Either babes from breeders, or wild caught adults from pet stores.

I like the RepCal brand calcium, but others are fine too. Herptivite for vitamins.

They make grass hay pellets for horses. Russians are not grass eater, but this is a way to add fiber to grocery store greens and make them more suitable as tortoise food.

The ZooMed Grassland pellets are one type of supplemental food that can be used. There are many ways to to it, and lots of variety is best.
It’s a a adult then. So I need the ZooMed Grassland pellets, grass hay pellets, herbal hay, and the calcium and vitamin supplements? Do I feed the herbal hay and grass hay pellets daily with the greens? And for summer would I feed the zoom pellets like 2 times a week? Also would spring mix plus Romain lettuce be good greens? If not I will get something else I what the best for my tortoise and him to be healthy.
 

John6578

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Where are you getting it? Nobody sells them half grown. Either babes from breeders, or wild caught adults from pet stores.

I like the RepCal brand calcium, but others are fine too. Herptivite for vitamins.

They make grass hay pellets for horses. Russians are not grass eater, but this is a way to add fiber to grocery store greens and make them more suitable as tortoise food.

The ZooMed Grassland pellets are one type of supplemental food that can be used. There are many ways to to it, and lots of variety is best.
Also would alfalfa bay or Timothy hay work for the herbal hay?
 

Tom

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Also would alfalfa bay or Timothy hay work for the herbal hay?
No. Hay doesn't work. It needs to be of a small particle size and able to be soaked and mixed in with the grocery store greens. The horse pellets are plain grass hay that is blended up into a fine particle size and formed into pellets. When re-hydrated it crumbles into a much that can be mixed in with greens.

The herbal hay is an assortment of dried flowers.

Get some dried leaves from Will @Kapidolo Farms too, if you must rely on grocery store greens. Favor endive, escarole, dandelion greens, arugula, and cilantro, bu use other greens too for variety.

Use one more more of these amendments daily to make the grocery store greens a better tortoise diet. These items will add fiber and variety.

You should really invest the time in learning your local weeds and leaves for the warmer months. Its much better tortoise food and its free.
 

John6578

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Do I feed the horse pellets daily?
No. Hay doesn't work. It needs to be of a small particle size and able to be soaked and mixed in with the grocery store greens. The horse pellets are plain grass hay that is blended up into a fine particle size and formed into pellets. When re-hydrated it crumbles into a much that can be mixed in with greens.

The herbal hay is an assortment of dried flowers.

Get some dried leaves from Will @Kapidolo Farms too, if you must rely on grocery store greens. Favor endive, escarole, dandelion greens, arugula, and cilantro, bu use other greens too for variety.

Use one more more of these amendments daily to make the grocery store greens a better tortoise diet. These items will add fiber and variety.

You should really invest the time in learning your local weeds and leaves for the warmer months. Its much better tortoise food and its free.
Do I feed the horse pellets daily?
 

John6578

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No. Hay doesn't work. It needs to be of a small particle size and able to be soaked and mixed in with the grocery store greens. The horse pellets are plain grass hay that is blended up into a fine particle size and formed into pellets. When re-hydrated it crumbles into a much that can be mixed in with greens.

The herbal hay is an assortment of dried flowers.

Get some dried leaves from Will @Kapidolo Farms too, if you must rely on grocery store greens. Favor endive, escarole, dandelion greens, arugula, and cilantro, bu use other greens too for variety.

Use one more more of these amendments daily to make the grocery store greens a better tortoise diet. These items will add fiber and variety.

You should really invest the time in learning your local weeds and leaves for the warmer months. Its much better tortoise food and its free.
Do you think you could send a replay with all the days I should feed something? Like Greens everyday, Vitamins once a week, etc. I would greatly appreciate. You don’t have to though if you are busy or if you just don’t want to.
 

AgataP

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This took 7 days to grow. Amazon trays and some wheatgrass seeds - no dirt H2O only. You cut and it keeps growing or you start another one. I have 3 trays going plus tortoise has it growing in his crib 😂
Easy as heck. Much better than any iceberg etc. 701DF650-EBE2-448B-9172-9DEE4A9C8BCB.jpeg
 
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AgataP

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Do you think you could send a replay with all the days I should feed something? Like Greens everyday, Vitamins once a week, etc. I would greatly appreciate. You don’t have to though if you are busy or if you just don’t want to.
Pssssstttt he kinda already gave you the info above 😉

I would recommend you post pictures of the enclosure before you get the tort.
 

John6578

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This took 7 days to grow. Amazon trays and some wheatgrass seeds - no dirt H2O only. You cut and it keeps growing or you start another one. I have 3 trays going plus tortoise has it growing in his crib 😂
Easy as heck. Much better than any iceberg etc. View attachment 306783
What do you feed your tortoise? Other then the wheatgrass
 

AgataP

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What do you feed your tortoise? Other then the wheatgrass
Clover, dandelion flowers and leaves, mallow, nasturtium, cat ears (dandelion family), wet Mazuri, Greater plantain (broadleaf), few rose petals (not a fan but I dried a bunch for winter), grass(all different varieties), squash leaves and some flowers.
I collected seeds from the things he likes to eat and already have some plants starting (exciting).
I have my tortoise for a month now.
He didn’t have anything from the store yet except Mazuri, calcium supplement.
Here is a screenshot from his enclosure camera of weeds that just grow there so he can graze on them, pull them or dig. Whatever he likes.
He likes to drag his “bone” around.

E52C61DD-23D4-44E0-B0FE-DE472982A595.png
 

KarenSoCal

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What would you recommend for the grocery greens? And if I do a cuttlebone do I still do calcium supplement? If so how often? Also what brand would you recommend for the calcium supplement and with or without phosphorus? And what about the vitamin supplement? And do they need phosphorus if so how do they get that
At the end of this post I will put a long list of foods that are good for tortoises. You should try them out with your tortoise. They're like us...some like a certain food, others won't touch it. Torts eat what they have eaten previously, and are not adventurous when it comes to something new. Sometimes you will need to introduce a new food very gradually.

The brand of calcium supplement doesn't matter. It comes either with vitamin D3 or without it. I use the one with vit D3. With a wide variety of good foods, you don't need it. Again, it doesn't really matter.

A vitamin/mineral supplement is good to give. I use Herptivite, but once again, the brand is not important.

I give the calcium supplement 2x/week, and the vitamin/mineral supplement 1x/week. Just a tiny pinch of each. Too much or too little is to be avoided. A timy pinch is perfect.

If your tortoise eats cuttlebone, you don't need the calcium supplement. But my tortoise eats some, then ignores it for weeks. Since I'm not sure he eats enough of it, I still use the supplement.

I'm not sure about phosphorus. But if you feed your tortoise a wide variety of foods that are good for him, he should get all the nutrients he needs. Don't fall into the habit of picking 3 foods and feeding them all the time. Feed him everything on the list that you can get. Use your pellets as an amendment to grocery greens. I give my tortoise, a 2 year old Burmese Star, a mushed Mazuri pellet every 2 to 3 days. You can also order dried foods from Kapidolo Farms. Will is a member here and gets all sorts of foods that are excellent to add to greens. If you are able, growing your own foods is fun.

Here is that loooong list:

Compiled by Tom:

Good foods for tortoises are "chicories," types of lettuce that are likely to be on the far side of the more common floppy green heads of lettuce most people buy. Anything labeled as simply "chicory" is good, as are radiccio, frisee, escarole, and endive; you might even find something labeled as dandelions. You may find a bag of "Spring" or "Spicy" mix that is good, just check the label to be sure it has some of the chicories I just mentioned. The leaves (just the leaves) of turnips and radishes are also good, as are carrot tops. Collards, mustard greens, bok choy, and other dark, leafy greens are okay as well. If you have any kind of Mexican/hispanic market near you, they will sell cactus, labeled "nopales." Cactus is a great food to rotate in the diet, as it is high in calcium.

You don't need to feed all of these at one time, just make sure your tortoise is getting access to different types of food. As you get more experienced, you can find the better types of food listed on the care sheets.

Here are a whole bunch of non-grocery store suggestions.

Mulberry leaves

Grape vine leaves

Hibiscus leaves

African hibiscus leaves

Blue hibiscus leaves

Rose of Sharon leaves

Rose leaves

Geraniums

Gazanias

Nasturtium

Lavatera

Pansies

Petunias

Hostas

Honeysuckle

Cape honeysuckle

Leaves and blooms from any squash plant, like pumpkin, cucumber, summer squash, etc...

Young spineless opuntia cactus pads

Weeds:

There are soooooooo many...

Dandelion

Mallow

Filaree

Smooth Sow thistle

Prickly Sow thistle

Milk thistle

Goat head weed

Cats ear

Nettles

Trefoil

Wild onion

Wild mustard

Wild Garlic

Clovers

Broadleaf plantain

Narrow leaf plantain

Chick weed

Hawksbit

Hensbit

Hawksbeard

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

Ones that you can buy in every store:

Arugula

Lambs lettuce

Chicory

Kale

Mustard greens

Organic kohlrabi leafs

Organic carrot leafs

Organic radish leafs

Dandelions

Radiccio


Their main diet should be broad leaf weeds, succulents and grasses. Store bought foods are okay, but not the best. Collards and dandelions are a good food, but neither should be used every day. Check out the plant ID section for lots of ideas on weeds to feed. You can get spineless opuntia cactus pads from most Mexican grocery stores, or grow them yourself. You can also easily grow grape leaves, african hibiscus, regular hibiscus (if it will survive in your area), and mulberry leaves. You can try red apple, ice plant, and jade plant too. Also look into Gazania, pansies, nasturtiums, carnations, geraniums and many others. At the grocery store, favor endive and escarole, but also use cilantro, carrot tops, mustard and turnip greens, bok choy, radiccio, swiss chard, watercress, parsley, all the lettuces, etc. Lots of variety is best. There are also tortoise "weed" seed mixes that you can grow. I like the "Testudo Mix" from Tortoisesupply.com.

Buckwheat; cactus; vetch; Mohave aster; creosote bush; desert four o’clock; tacoma stans; bladderpod; globe mallow; goldenhead; burro weed; so many things!
 

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