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The Tortoise Chef

Discussion in 'Tortoise Diet and Food' started by Kapidolo Farms, Apr 9, 2017.

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  1. KarenSoCal

    KarenSoCal Well-Known Member

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    And you'll never get me to eat brussels sprouts, either!

    Some things just aren't meant to be..
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  2. LaLaP

    LaLaP Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Hi all!

    It was a long dark, rainy winter here in Portland and the tortoises and I are are really glad to be seeing signs of spring. @RosemaryDW asked me what I fed this winter. Thanks for thinking of us Rosemary! It was my first winter with tortoises and I wasn't sure which weeds would stick around. In early winter the sow thistle, dandelions, cat's ear and artichoke (leaves, not fruit) persisted as other plants and weeds died out.
    I had bought a weed seed mix from tortoisesupply which was growing well in a whole flat of 2 inch pots. The torts would mow a pot down and then I'd swap it and the weeds would come right back. It was great until my indoor garden got infested with aphids and I tossed it out.
    In late January I noticed the tortoises stopped eating the dandelions and I wondered if they got bitter or tough. Then the chickweed and bittercress came up and soon after the dead nettle.
    I was concerned that there wasn't much variety so I supplemented with some store bought greens and discovered that Diego loves Belgian endive and Pops loves radicchio. Of course... the fancy greens from the expensive grocer that I never go too!
    I also mixed in Mazuri once a week. Diego had been trying to hibernate in early winter and therefore not eating so much but he loves the mazuri so I was glad he ate well once a week. Pops doesn't like the mazuri so after a couple months I stopped trying to force it on him since he eats well without it.
    Finally plants and weeds are sprouting everywhere and there is abundance again... clover, galant soldier, geranium, campanula, holly hock, plantain. And the boys have been spending a little time in their outdoor enclosures where they can graze.
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  3. Sleppo

    Sleppo Active Member

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    We've got 5 star restaurants in Philly that would sell that salad for $$$
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  4. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    I don’t think I have ever heard of gallant soldier. Do they like it? My Russian isn’t onboard with plants in the daisy family, even though she would have eaten a ton of them in the wild.
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  5. LaLaP

    LaLaP Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    They do like the gallant soldier. The tortoise table groups it with another similar weed called Shaggy soldier. I guess I'm not totally sure which soldier it is but gallant sounds nice! I have a lot of it and it's a favorite. Funny how they have such individual opinions on foods.
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  6. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Finally, some sun here down by the coast.

    Since it’s still pretty cool I can leave a leafy stir fry mix outside without it withering: young red amaranth, mizuna, tatsoi, pea shoots. Not much fiber here but a good mix of different plant types to toss out without much thought.

    The first of the bitter melon leaves are for sale, a massive bundle for $2. The cheaper stuff isn’t her favorite, more hard stems than the $$$ stuff but too bad.

    Some grape leaves, a couple of bok choy and a zucchini stem or two.

    She is eating so much of the yard even when I leave out a bucket of food; it’s unnerving. Our yarrow is eaten down to the ground and the primrose isn’t looking much better. Even when it’s cloudy she’s outside several times a day, chewing when she seems barely awake. Like this kid.

    0D367D6E-3EB9-46BD-AD51-7AF601D3620B.jpeg
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  7. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Another one of those market days when a seller recognizes my husband and remembers he has a pet tortoise. Off she went to the discard bags where she produced a fair amount of mustard and the red tinged amaranth in the top middle. Amaranth is never a favorite but she will eat some if she’s been running around all day.

    Those large leaves on the right I’ve never seen before. The vendor said they were bean leaves but the only bean I can think of they sell is an extremely expensive pod bean I believe they refer to as King Bean. It’s a great fresh bean but I have a suspicion it’s just a close relation to regular old Scarlet Runner Beans. I love any fresh beans—limas too—but these just cost way too much to eat often. Free leaves though? She likes long bean leaves so we’ll take them! Plenty of fiber and the tortoise enjoyed them.

    We got a tough piece of gai lan where some happy bug had chomped down, as well as those small bits of choy sum just above it. These are both close to broccoli, she probably won’t eat them.

    Daikon radish leaves and a bit of Napa cabbage finished off the “donations.”


    738F70FB-D267-47E1-AD7D-89BEDC69AD04.jpeg

    I’ve traveled twice this month; went to a funeral one market day :(; and will be gone again in a couple of weeks, which means she’s been getting a steady diet of friseé and squash leaves from my husband. Healthy but a little less varied than I would like. I went into the farmers market ready to let the dollars fly, lol!

    I added celtuce and some ong choy (water spinach), along with cactus.

    Because I’m always pushing the limits, I bought a bundle of some kind of tiny eggplant leaves. The leaves are supposed to be toxic as they are in the nightshade family. Perhaps they are but how are people eating them in that case? Maybe they cook something out of them? Reading the Tortoise Table it seems like she’d have to eat quite a lot of this to be problematic. Additionally, other owners on the forum sometimes feed tomato leaves, also nightshades. I gave her one small branch; she ate some of it but it wasn’t a big hit. That said, the warnings on this plant are strong enough I wouldn’t encourage it to new owners. I’m unconvinced it’s a problem for tortoises but I can’t see myself offering more than a rare small amount; I won’t go out of my way to buy it again.

    As always, never feed your tortoise anything you don’t feel comfortable with.
    KarenSoCal and Kapidolo Farms like this.
  8. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member Tortoise Club

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    I've started my winter supply of food goodies for my Redfoots. I've been picking dandelion flowers and hibiscus flowers and leaving them to dry out. When I've got a good bit I plan on grinding them up slightly in a coffee grinder and using it to mix it in their food. IMG_20190623_132129915.jpg IMG_20190623_132121919.jpg
  9. xMario

    xMario Well-Known Member

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    Nice idea
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  10. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    I’ve been waiting for this one to come into season: snake gourd. Part of the squash family although it tasted more like cucumber to me. Popular in various Indian cuisines and not surprisingly shaped like a snake.

    02F217E7-D07C-449B-98BD-39D14F2EAE92.jpeg

    Cooking instructions say to wash off the white powdery looking stuff and also to peel it if is an older squash, due to bitterness. This one was young so I offered it with and without the white stuff; I didn’t peel any of it.

    So far she hasn’t gone for the unwashed bit but was happy with the other. I tasted a washed piece and while it didn’t seem bitter at first it quickly developed an after taste that was almost like a burn, a cucumber chili?

    I’ve never seen them sell the vines of this plant and can only assume they are so bitter as to be inedible.

    It’s popular as a curried side dish but I think I will just peel it and eat it raw, like you would a cucumber.
  11. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member Tortoise Club

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    Finished up the first batch of goodies for winter. I've still got a lot of flowers drying I haven't decided what im going to do with yet. IMG_20190630_160811750.jpg IMG_20190630_162238975.jpg IMG_20190630_163303666.jpg
  12. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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  13. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member Tortoise Club

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    I let them dry out a lot longer this year. Last year I didn't grind them either and they smelled kind of funky after a few months. I hope they turn out better this way.
  14. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member Tortoise Club

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    Also added a couple packets of desiccant inside the jar to absorb any moisture that might remain.
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  15. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    I don’t know about anything this week. My charming husband purchased one giant bundle of “vines” at the market; he thinks they are chayote, given that they aren’t being eaten I’m not so sure. I suspect zucchini.

    I went to the Korean market hoping to make up the slack but Monday’s shelves were a sad mess. I found daikon radish leaves and dandelions, both looking a little peaked but she’ll eat them. I thought I might have grabbed the last package of sweet potato leaves but ended up with Taiwanese spinach, not a favorite.

    I took a couple of chances on mystery greens and came home with something that turned out to be butterbur—a rhizome that’s too iffy even for me to feed—and something marked as dul weed. Dul weed turned out to be a sedum—stringy stonecrop—so at least it’s safe. She’s not much for sedums but she was willing to eat some of this one. Stonecrop is a “limited time only!” wild plant that is eaten (by humans) in the spring, sauteed, seems like. I will add it to a Korean rice bowl (bibimbap).

    Given yet another round of purchases I wasn’t sure she’d eat, I pulled some bindweed out of a field on the way home and a mallow that had somehow found enough water to survive a warm June.
  16. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Malabar spinach this week and some bittermelon—the fruit, not the leaves. She ate some, with hesitation. I tasted it and the name is more than appropriate.

    Malabar spinach isn’t her favorite so we got some okra leaves and fruits as well.
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