Redfoot Hatchling Care

Cj001

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I've been doing quite a bit of research both before and since getting my baby redfoot, Jethro, and there's a few things I'm left feeling unsure about. If anyone can answer one or multiple of my questions I would be so grateful :)

Soaking: I've been told / have read many different things about soaking hatchlings from 1 hour everyday to 10 minutes every other day. I feel 15-20 minutes everyday is a happy medium but is it enough? or too much? and does time of day/consistency matter?

Diet: Some say greens only while they're hatchlings because they can't quite handle the richness (for lack of a better word) of fruits, veggies, and proteins. Others say it's important to introduce proteins and fruits right out of the gate for good nutrition. So far I've given mainly greens with a slight amount of fruit/veggies (2x in the week we've had him) and haven't introduced proteins yet. Should I?

Supplements (mainly calcium): Do hatchlings need more calcium than older torts? I've been told they need regular supplementing but have also read not to supplement for the first 6 or so months and I definitely don't want to over supplement.

Age: I don't know exactly how old my redfoot is but he's about 2 1/3". Can anyone guess how old by his size? and at what age/size do they no longer need the intensive hatchling care?

Thank you!!
 

ascott

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I've been doing quite a bit of research both before and since getting my baby redfoot, Jethro, and there's a few things I'm left feeling unsure about. If anyone can answer one or multiple of my questions I would be so grateful :)

Soaking: I've been told / have read many different things about soaking hatchlings from 1 hour everyday to 10 minutes every other day. I feel 15-20 minutes everyday is a happy medium but is it enough? or too much? and does time of day/consistency matter?

Diet: Some say greens only while they're hatchlings because they can't quite handle the richness (for lack of a better word) of fruits, veggies, and proteins. Others say it's important to introduce proteins and fruits right out of the gate for good nutrition. So far I've given mainly greens with a slight amount of fruit/veggies (2x in the week we've had him) and haven't introduced proteins yet. Should I?

Supplements (mainly calcium): Do hatchlings need more calcium than older torts? I've been told they need regular supplementing but have also read not to supplement for the first 6 or so months and I definitely don't want to over supplement.

Age: I don't know exactly how old my redfoot is but he's about 2 1/3". Can anyone guess how old by his size? and at what age/size do they no longer need the intensive hatchling care?

Thank you!!

Soaking daily 20 to 30 minutes is good..along with access to water in the enclosure/yard.
Greens and a little fruit and a little protein is good...the redfoot here love the dried shrimp sold for aquatic turtles..I don't use supplements so don't really have input there...but do know too much calcium is almost as bad as not enough..
 

ZEROPILOT

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I also use very little suppiements. Mine are all housed outdoors and get sunlight and a full spectrum of foods. Leaves and lettuces, greens, fruit and dog food. The staple is Hibiscus leaves and romaine and Mazuri tortoise chow. How you house your baby would dictate what you need to add or subtract with the care. Can you post photos of your enclosure/pen and the lighting. Also the temperature and the type of substrate.
Soaking a bay is a good idea. But you also need the humidity to be over 70% and the temps between 78-88 degrees. I.M.O.
Your baby is less than a year old.
 

Anyfoot

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Soaking daily 20 to 30 minutes is good..along with access to water in the enclosure/yard.
Greens and a little fruit and a little protein is good...the redfoot here love the dried shrimp sold for aquatic turtles..I don't use supplements so don't really have input there...but do know too much calcium is almost as bad as not enough..
This is my understanding of thing too. I've dropped my soaking now mine are becoming bigger at 14months. They do self soak though. Also If I'm correct in how I understand things that if you feed too much protein the calcium will pass straight through their system. So there is need for balance between calcium and protein. Is this correct?
 

Cj001

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Here's photo of Jethro's enclosure. His basking spot is in the mid 90s and the coolest corner is in the mid-low 70s. He's got a red heat light (which I turned off for the photo cuz it was doing funny things to the picture) and a 10.0 uvb bulb. His substrate is cyprus mulch with sphagnum moss which I thoroughly dampen every morning and mist down 1-3 times a day depending on how much I'm home. I don't have a hydrometer yet so I'm not sure what the exact percentage is but it's about as humid as it can get without being covered (which I intend on doing come the dry winter air). As for his diet so far (He's been with us for a week yesterday), I've introduced spring greens, kale, collard greens, and dandelion greens for his leafies. For extras (fruit, veggies, etc) I've given him a sliver of summer squash, a slice of mushroom, a blueberry, and was going to give him a piece of turkey or egg tomorrow morning. I'd prefer to get him his proteins through more natural means (actual meat or insects) strictly because I know that kibble like foods require more water intake to stay hydrated and at least while he's young and growing I don't wanna do anything that'll work against my efforts to keep him hydrated.IMG_1668.JPG
 

tortdad

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ditch the red bulb in favor of a CHE on a thermostat. Your UVB bulb is the wrong kind if it fits in the dome you show in this picture. The water bowl is a death trap when your tort flips upside down trying to get in or out (use a $1.00 terra cotta plant saucer instead). A cover should be used now, not just in dry winter weather and 70 to mid 70's is too low for a baby tort, noting below 79-80 degrees.
 

Cj001

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New England
ditch the red bulb in favor of a CHE on a thermostat. Your UVB bulb is the wrong kind if it fits in the dome you show in this picture. The water bowl is a death trap when your tort flips upside down trying to get in or out (use a $1.00 terra cotta plant saucer instead). A cover should be used now, not just in dry winter weather and 70 to mid 70's is too low for a baby tort, noting below 79-80 degrees.


Thank you for your response :) Yes the bowl does make me nervous for that reason I was planning tomorrow to get a shallower option. Until then I've been keeping the water level very low (though I've only ever seen him actually use it once...). I'd never heard of Ceramic Heat Emitters until I just looked it up after reading your post what a great idea! Will it fit/work in the dome I have? and if my uvb bulb is the wrong one would you mind letting me know what I should be using? From what I've read about redfoots, due to the dense canopy where they naturally live they don't require the same amount of uvb as others as long as they're getting sufficient proteins. Because I wasn't sure about feeding hatchlings protein, I decided to get the 10.0 just in case. Is what I have too strong for a redfoot? Should they have a tropical 5.0 instead? I will grab a heat pad for the cool side too while I'm grabbing a new water bowl. Thanks again :)
 

tortdad

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Thank you for your response :) Yes the bowl does make me nervous for that reason I was planning tomorrow to get a shallower option. Until then I've been keeping the water level very low (though I've only ever seen him actually use it once...). I'd never heard of Ceramic Heat Emitters until I just looked it up after reading your post what a great idea! Will it fit/work in the dome I have? and if my uvb bulb is the wrong one would you mind letting me know what I should be using? From what I've read about redfoots, due to the dense canopy where they naturally live they don't require the same amount of uvb as others as long as they're getting sufficient proteins. Because I wasn't sure about feeding hatchlings protein, I decided to get the 10.0 just in case. Is what I have too strong for a redfoot? Should they have a tropical 5.0 instead? I will grab a heat pad for the cool side too while I'm grabbing a new water bowl. Thanks again :)
its the shape of your bulb that is the problem, not the amount of UVB it puts off. The only bulbs that fit in that dome are "compact fluorescent" which are either a coil shaped a 'U' shaped. These have been linked to eye problems in your torts, it causes issues similar to snow blindness with them. For UVB you really have 2 options. #1 get a bulb that is just light and UVB (this is what you have now) but get the normal fluorescents which are the long tube kind like 18'' or 24'' long or #2 get an all in one bulb. A Mercury Vapor bulb doubles as the basking light and the UVB light (its like a mini sun) but they are not cheap, like $50 for the bulb. With this you still need the CHE for night time and a CHE should only be used with a reptile thermostat. You set it to 80 degrees and and it goes on an off day and night as needed.

Also, just an FYI. RF torts do have less UV needs than other species but these UVB bulbs on the market put out very little, its actually shocking how little some of them put out. Do yourself a favor and get a high output (HO) uvb bulb. When people hear Readfoot they instantly thing tropical rainforest but in reality they live in the grassland areas that border the rainforest. Yellowfoot are the rainforest ones.
 

tortdad

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you've only seen your tort use that water dish once because its too hard for it to get in and out. A tort has a hard time climbing up and over the edge or lip of a bowl like that because its shell is not flexible. It climbs that ramp and highsides on the edge and can flip over. It will be game over when it flips upside down in the bowl. I plant saucer is wide enough for it to get in and soak but has shallow sides so it can get in and out easily, the bonus is they're like a buck. Just be sure to sink the saucer down into the substrate to make it that much easier.
 

ascott

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This is my understanding of thing too. I've dropped my soaking now mine are becoming bigger at 14months. They do self soak though. Also If I'm correct in how I understand things that if you feed too much protein the calcium will pass straight through their system. So there is need for balance between calcium and protein. Is this correct?

There is a need for a varied diet and natural sun exposure opportunity. ?.yes, protein is important and yes calcium is important...but so equally is the need for vitamin A, K, E and a number of minerals that are essential to eyes...skin..mobility...mood and overall health...so as much outside grazing and exercise time as possible is important...
 

Turtlepete

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May 12, 2014
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South Florida
I've been doing quite a bit of research both before and since getting my baby redfoot, Jethro, and there's a few things I'm left feeling unsure about. If anyone can answer one or multiple of my questions I would be so grateful :)

Soaking: I've been told / have read many different things about soaking hatchlings from 1 hour everyday to 10 minutes every other day. I feel 15-20 minutes everyday is a happy medium but is it enough? or too much? and does time of day/consistency matter?

Diet: Some say greens only while they're hatchlings because they can't quite handle the richness (for lack of a better word) of fruits, veggies, and proteins. Others say it's important to introduce proteins and fruits right out of the gate for good nutrition. So far I've given mainly greens with a slight amount of fruit/veggies (2x in the week we've had him) and haven't introduced proteins yet. Should I?

Supplements (mainly calcium): Do hatchlings need more calcium than older torts? I've been told they need regular supplementing but have also read not to supplement for the first 6 or so months and I definitely don't want to over supplement.

Age: I don't know exactly how old my redfoot is but he's about 2 1/3". Can anyone guess how old by his size? and at what age/size do they no longer need the intensive hatchling care?

Thank you!!

I hatch a couple clutches of red foots a year. I typically soak them for the first 6-12 months, depending on the size. By 3 1/2" or so, soaking isn't necessary. Until then, 5-10 minutes a day in warm water before feeding is sufficient.

I feed my hatchlings a mixture of mulberry leaves, hibiscus leaves, chicory, collards, kale and "spring mix" (supermarket greens) for the first month or two. Then I introduce veggies like squashes and some fruit now and then. I've also started them off on fruits and veggies from day one…No real difference to note. I do greens for the first month or two now because I find they feed better on it then other items.

Supplementing calcium is unnecessary. The greens that are a staple in a red foots diet are so high in calcium that adding extra is useless.

2 1/3" is probably around 2-4 months. By 3 1/2" - 4" I move them outdoors to a larger enclosure, stop soaking them and generally pay less careful attention to them.

I would definitely change to an enclosed habitat. This holds the humidity and heat that these babys thrive on. You want to aim for an ambient temp of 82+/- and humidity 80%-90% or higher. This is very difficult to achieve in a concrete mixing bin setup like you have. The only other thing that needs changed with the habitat is the water bowl. There is no issue with the lighting situation, as long as it is achieving the proper temps.
 

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