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Stems

Discussion in 'Tortoise Diet and Food' started by vladimir, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. vladimir

    vladimir Well-Known Member

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    I was wondering, for grocery store greens such as kale, collards, turnip greens, is it okay to let my sulcata eat the stems as well as the leafy part of the plant? Does anyone know how stems vs leaves compare in terms of nutritional value?

    When he was smaller I used to remove the stems as they were too thick for him to eat, but now he doesn't seem to have any problem chomping on the stems once he's done with the leafy parts :D Just wanted to check to see if there were any concerns about feeding the stems.

    Thanks!
  2. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    I don't know about the nutritional value but I feed them once my tortsare big enough to eat them.
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  3. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    @Will has been doing nutritional benefits of different greens. Maybe he can answer the stem to leaf questionz
  4. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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  5. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Stems are fine. Good fiber.
    Will, TammyJ and vladimir like this.
  6. vladimir

    vladimir Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Tom! My little guy will be glad to hear it :)
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  7. trickspiration

    trickspiration Active Member

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    When I pick weeds for my tort, I cut them at the stem. He will eventually learn to eat the stem, but for now, he just eats the leaves around it. :)
  8. Bee62

    Bee62 Well-Known Member

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    Short question: Who in the wild will remove the stems from the plants for the torts ?
    Short answer: Nobody.
    Result: Stems are as good as the rest of the plant and the tort should eat it.
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  9. Will

    Will Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    When I look up the nutrient chart at the USDA database they describe heads of greens in generic terms, but I imagine they include the parts that people eat, or are served, which includes the stem.

    An example for romaine is as follows https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3001?manu=&fgcd=&ds=

    My recall from Plant Biology is that the fiber and calcium are much higher in the stem than the green leafy parts as that is a mechanical support structure part of the leaf. Calcium is higher in plant cell walls, stiffer walls have more calcium.

    I just cut ever thinner slices as I progress to that part of the head when I chop salad greens. I do this for Romaine, kale, escarole, collards, etc. all of them. The smallest neonates with struggle at biting these bits and get alot of it eaten. Not for lack of the more leafy green part of the leaf being available.

    I have a wide range of tortoises sizes to feed and it all gets used or eaten. Slightly bigger bits of stiff kale stem are not trouble for pancakes or even adult Egyptians. Very tiny stars and leos can't bite them up, but if I cut the stems so thin you can almost see through them they go for it. The worst waste, being left over / not eaten, are the cross cuts of romaine. The tougher things like collards and kale seem highly desired.

    Sometimes I will cute down to about the last inch or two of the lettuce butt, then quarter them the long way for larger tortoises. Sometimes I will 'stain' those with hibiscus water and then they are a brilliant red, and even the 60 pound Manuoria will get greedy eyes for that.

    Maybe the answer is to have more tortoises of different sizes :p
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  10. vladimir

    vladimir Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies everyone - I'll let Vladimir have as much of the stems as he little tortoise heart desires :)
    Jay Bagley likes this.
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