Questions about feeding and supplements

John6578

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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!
Thank you so much! I heard that you shouldn’t feed spring mix because it has spinach and that is bad. Is that true or is spring mix okay?
 

Tom

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Do I feed the horse pellets daily?
You can feed them anytime you need to increase the fiber content of the foods you are offering. If its summer and you are feeding grapevine leaves, or mulberry leaves, or opuntia pads, then you don't need to add the blended hay pellets. If its winter and all you could find was some romaine, then yes, add the soak hay particles, along with some herbal hay, calcium powder, and maybe some dried moringa or echinacea leaves from Will. Or you can alternate the grass hay pellets and the ZooMed grassland pellets.Many ways to do it.

The main ideas are these: High fiber. High calcium. Weeds, leaves, flowers, and such are the best diet. Grocery store greens are fine, but need to be amended with the aforementioned high fiber stuff and more variety too.
 

John6578

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You can feed them anytime you need to increase the fiber content of the foods you are offering. If its summer and you are feeding grapevine leaves, or mulberry leaves, or opuntia pads, then you don't need to add the blended hay pellets. If its winter and all you could find was some romaine, then yes, add the soak hay particles, along with some herbal hay, calcium powder, and maybe some dried moringa or echinacea leaves from Will. Or you can alternate the grass hay pellets and the ZooMed grassland pellets.Many ways to do it.

The main ideas are these: High fiber. High calcium. Weeds, leaves, flowers, and such are the best diet. Grocery store greens are fine, but need to be amended with the aforementioned high fiber stuff and more variety too.
So if I was going to feed Romain and some grocery greens how many zoomed pellets should I use daily?
 

Tom

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So if I was going to feed Romain and some grocery greens how many zoomed pellets should I use daily?
I would avoid romaine in favor of endive, escarole, dandelion greens, cilantro, arugula, kale, collards, etc... For a single Russian torotise, one or two pellets mixed in s a good amount.
 

John6578

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I would avoid romaine in favor of endive, escarole, dandelion greens, cilantro, arugula, kale, collards, etc... For a single Russian torotise, one or two pellets mixed in s a good amount.
Okay I will avoid Romain. Is spring mix okay? Or no because the spinach. Or should I just get separate packs of the escarole, arugula, etc?
 

AgataP

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Okay I will avoid Romain. Is spring mix okay? Or no because the spinach. Or should I just get separate packs of the escarole, arugula, etc?
If you get seeds of arugula and just put them in little container (you can put really just like 10 seeds in)they grow like crazy. Mine turned into trees 🤣😂
 

Tom

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Okay I will avoid Romain. Is spring mix okay? Or no because the spinach. Or should I just get separate packs of the escarole, arugula, etc?
Spring mix is okay once in a while. Spinach is fine too, just not every day.

Its best to avoid the grocery store altogether, and feed them weeds and leaves from outside.
 

John6578

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Spring mix is okay once in a while. Spinach is fine too, just not every day.

Its best to avoid the grocery store altogether, and feed them weeds and leaves from outside.
Like from my backyard? Like just leaves from the trees?
 

KarenSoCal

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Okay I will avoid Romain. Is spring mix okay? Or no because the spinach. Or should I just get separate packs of the escarole, arugula, etc?
John, I posted that long list of foods for you (post # 20 in this thread). Everything on that list is OK to feed, even spring mix is on there.

And yes, you can gather leaves and flowers from outside. But you must be able to positively identify the plant, leaf, flower you are picking. The plant must be free of weed killer or pesticide. Only feed items that are on that list!

Remember, a wide variety of many different foods.
 

John6578

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John, I posted that long list of foods for you (post # 20 in this thread). Everything on that list is OK to feed, even spring mix is on there.

And yes, you can gather leaves and flowers from outside. But you must be able to positively identify the plant, leaf, flower you are picking. The plant must be free of weed killer or pesticide. Only feed items that are on that list!

Remember, a wide variety of many different foods.
If I got the testado seed mix could I feed him it daily once it’s grown?
 

KarenSoCal

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This is what I have around
I am terrible at ID'ing plants or trees. I'll ask for help. And you can take leaves to a local nursery and someone there should be able to tell you what they are.

There are 2 apps that you can try. "Picture This", and "Plant Snap". I think Plant Snap is better, just my opinion.

@RosemaryDW
 

John6578

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I am terrible at ID'ing plants or trees. I'll ask for help. And you can take leaves to a local nursery and someone there should be able to tell you what they are.

There are 2 apps that you can try. "Picture This", and "Plant Snap". I think Plant Snap is better, just my opinion.

@RosemaryDW
Okay I’ll download the app. Do I just plant testado mix in a pot and water it daily?
 

KarenSoCal

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Okay I’ll download the app. Do I just plant testado mix in a pot and water it daily?
You will need a bunch of pots to plant it all. What I would do is plant 3 pots. That way you can rotate them into the enclosure, and while he's eating one, two more are growing.

You need to keep it constantly moist, not wet, until it sprouts. Then water as needed. I don't know how it will do inside. You might need to put some grow lights over the pots.
 

John6578

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You will need a bunch of pots to plant it all. What I would do is plant 3 pots. That way you can rotate them into the enclosure, and while he's eating one, two more are growing.

You need to keep it constantly moist, not wet, until it sprouts. Then water as needed. I don't know how it will do inside. You might need to put some grow lights over the pots.
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Should I get the tortoise diet LS or the small tortoise diet LS? Does it change when I give it to him depending on what one I get?
 
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