Tortoise Pellets and Diet

Anonymous

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I have posted previous threads on my tortoise and her addiction to shop bought pellets. Although I managed to get her to eat veg for a while a few months ago she has now got hooked again on pellets and is completely opposed to eating veg. Looking over the Internet there aren't many websites discussing shop bought pellets so I thought I'd come here.

So I have a few questions that hopefully some of you guys can answer.
Are pellets actually bad for tortoises?
What are the effects of pellets?
How can I break my tortoises addiction to pellets and not eating veg.
 

JoesMum

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I have posted previous threads on my tortoise and her addiction to shop bought pellets. Although I managed to get her to eat veg for a while a few months ago she has now got hooked again on pellets and is completely opposed to eating veg. Looking over the Internet there aren't many websites discussing shop bought pellets so I thought I'd come here.

So I have a few questions that hopefully some of you guys can answer.
Are pellets actually bad for tortoises?
What are the effects of pellets?
How can I break my tortoises addiction to pellets and not eating veg.
Pellets are not 'bad' for a tort, but they're not a natural diet and they don't provide variety. You could live on a diet of one product, but it wouldn't be recommended.

Effects: Depends on the pellets. Some are better formulated than others

Fixing the addiction:

Chop a tiny amount of greens really small and mix them with the pellets

If he eats the mix, at the next feed increase the greens slightly and decrease the pellets slightly

If he refuses, at the next feed use exactly the same proportion. Soak your tort thoroughly. He can go on hunger strike without a problem, but must stay hydrated.

Gradually over a few weeks you will be feeding all greens and no pellets.

Long term fix. Never ever weaken and let him get away with only eating pellets. If he refuses greens, he gets no pellets. Think toddler, no dessert until you eat your greens.
 

Anonymous

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Oh hey Joes Mum! You're my saviour for every problem, lol. Thanks for replying.

I've tried this for a while but I guess I have to keep trying. Are carrots suitable for tortoises? I've looked it up and it says they can be fed occasionally to your tortoise.
 

JoesMum

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Oh hey Joes Mum! You're my saviour for every problem, lol. Thanks for replying.

I've tried this for a while but I guess I have to keep trying. Are carrots suitable for tortoises? I've looked it up and it says they can be fed occasionally to your tortoise.
You have to be stubborn - more stubborn than your tort. You really do have to let it go hungry when it refuses to eat.

This is you being parent to a child that only wants chips and chocolate. You cannot and must not give in.

As for carrot. It depends on what species of tort you have.
 

JoesMum

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Looking back through your posts it would appear you have a Russian @Anonymous

Russians cannot process sugars properly - it causes digestive and kidney problems - so sweet foods like fruit, carrot, bell pepper and tomato should only be fed very sparingly and very occasionally.

With your tort, I suggest you don't feed carrot at all until you have got him eating greens
 

Anonymous

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Kk, I'll try to be stubborn and try not to give in but I'm not exactly good at that sort of stuff... Also I've never had a kid so no idea what it's like to have a addicted kid, lol. I'll give it try and try and let you know how it goes.
 

Gillian M

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You have to be stubborn - more stubborn than your tort. You really do have to let it go hungry when it refuses to eat.

This is you being parent to a child that only wants chips and chocolate. You cannot and must not give in.

As for carrot. It depends on what species of tort you have.
Would you recommend my feeding Oli (my Greek tort) carrots?
 

Anonymous

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How long can she go with out eating. When should I start getting worried that she hasn't eaten enough?
 

Yvonne G

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Offer fresh greens daily. At the end of the day clean it all up. Next day don't offer any food. Maybe even for two days - no food. Then put down fresh greens. The tortoise won't allow itself to starve. It will eventually eat the greens. But to answer your question, they can go a very long time, months, without eating. That's not what we strive for, though.
 
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JoesMum

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As Yvonne said, you need to force this issue. It is very important to soak your tort thoroughly every day while it's on hunger strike. It can go hungry, but not without water
 

Gillian M

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As Yvonne said, you need to force this issue. It is very important to soak your tort thoroughly every day while it's on hunger strike. It can go hungry, but not without water
Do you have any idea how long a tort can tolerate hunger?
 

Gillian M

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Offer fresh greens daily. At the end of the day clean it all up. Next day don't offer any food. Maybe even for two day - no food. The put down fresh greens. The tortoise won't allow itself to starve. It will eventually eat the greens. But to answer your question, they can go a very long time, months, without eating. That's not what we strive for, though.
Months? Can a tort put up with hunger for that long?
 

JoesMum

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Months? Can a tort put up with hunger for that long?
Yes really

However, the reality is that it only happens when food is not available at all.

If food is available they will eat before that, but not until they're hungry if they're being stubborn.

That's what you need to do with Oli to stop you having to hand feed him. You have to just put the food in and leave him to it. Never give in and hand feed.
 

jaizei

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Variety is essential to fill gaps in nutrition, feeding a limited diet is not recommended because deficiencies can occur. 'Pellets' that is designed to be nutritionally complete do not have that problem. 'Pellets' are not equitable with dessert. They are arguably the better diet.
 

Anonymous

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Thanks guys for so many replies! I'm a bit confused thought. Some of you said just to start with pure greens and some said to mix greens and pellets together and slowly increase the greens. Which do I do?
 

JoesMum

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Thanks guys for so many replies! I'm a bit confused thought. Some of you said just to start with pure greens and some said to mix greens and pellets together and slowly increase the greens. Which do I do?
Either

The mixture is a slower way of doing it. And many keepers find it less stessful for themselves as humans to do it that way.

Just offering greens and withdrawing pellets completely is a 'short sharp shock' that some people find hard. It's quicker though because the tort gets hungry quicker. :)
 

Tom

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Thanks guys for so many replies! I'm a bit confused thought. Some of you said just to start with pure greens and some said to mix greens and pellets together and slowly increase the greens. Which do I do?

What type of pellets are you feeding? If your pellets are of good quality, there is no hurry to solve this "problem".

Any of the advice given here can work. Different people have had different experiences, and feel better about one method or another. All of these methods can work for you.

Personally, I prefer the first method Joe's Mum recommended with gradually mixing in more and more of the new stuff over a long period of time.

Likewise, I prefer to skip carrots and fruits in most cases for the species that I keep because those foods are not "good" for them. Yes, they can eat it once in a while, but why? Instead of mixing carrot into the diet, why not fill that stomach space with another grape or mulberry leaf, or opuntia cactus pad, or dandelion, or sow thistle, or clover, or squash leaf, arugula, hibiscus leaf, gazania flower, etc…? With so many better foods to choose from, I have no use for sugary "treats", even though occasional ingestion of said "treats" will not kill the tortoise.
 
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