Understanding Baby Food Soaks

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Team Gomberg

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Baby food soaks are often recommended to those with tortoises needing extra nutrients. Carrot seems to be the flavor of choice.

I'd like to understand more about them.

Is this for tortoises only, or can an aquatic turtle benefit from this as well?

Why Carrots? Would other flavors be beneficial, too?

How exactly does the turtle absorb the nutrients? Drinks it, absorbs through the skin or cloaca?

Do you put the turtle in the baby food only or is it mixed with warm water?

How do you know if your turtle would benefit from this?

I'm sure many others reading this forum wonder these same details. :D

I have not had to deal with any turtle related health issues until now. I have an albino RES that is loosing weight and I'm wondering if this baby food soak idea would in any way benefit her.
 

7oasty23

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I know that the baby food soaks kinda jumpstarted my Russian's digestive tract when he wasn't eating. I think it helps with nutrient absorption, when they haven't been eating.
 

WillTort2

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Because the water turtles swallow using the water to assist the swallowing I think the baby food soaks would provide more intake for water turtles than tortoises.

If you float a heavy concentration of duckweed in your tank or pond then each time he tries to eat his chances of success are greatly increased.

If your vision impaired turtle is relying on smell the put smellier foods in the tank or in the feeding pan.

A rectangular feeding pan may work better than a round bucket because it will allow him to force things into the corner for feeding.

I'm not sure if he will learn to feel the food with his nose and then know where to bite.

If he's eating leafy greens yet, then a large piece of romaine may be easy for him to find yet soft enough for him to bite of a piece.

The carrots are often advised due to the vit. A content and the benefits for eye health. I've also seen other yellow or red baby foods listed.

Have you tried any of the eye drops on the market? Some of the eye drops have steroids that may promote healing or growth.

Good luck. Sorry to ramble so much. I'm sure that some of the more experienced members will provide more insight soon.
 

Vickie

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The carrot soaks might not hurt but unsure with a RES that it will help. Then don't tend to like soaking in small amounts of water. Have you tried the food ring filled with turtle foods? Willtortoise stated maybe if you attach it to the corner it will even help more keeping it from moving. They are pretty smart animals I my guess is once he gets used to which corner to go to he might do a lot better. BTW I was wondering how your baby was doing. Still really hope he improves for you and learns to deal with his issues.
 

lynnedit

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I believe they mention carrots, but also sweet potato and squash (butternut). They are high in vitamin A, which a lot of neglected tortoises are deficient in.
If the gut is a problem, canned unsweetened pumpkin added to the soak water can help move the gut along.
(can't answer the questions about aquatic turtles, tho)
 

Yvonne G

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Baby food soaks started out for me because I was getting in a lot of box turtles with swollen shut eyes. One of the first symptoms for box turtles that aren't eating is the swollen eyes thing. In a box turtle that has stopped eating, the swollen eyes is because of a vitamin A deficiency.

The reason for using strained carrots is because of the vitamin A content. If you read the ingredients you will see that strained carrots contains the largest amount of vitamin A.

Many years ago...probably in the '70's, I read an article in the National Turtle & Tortoise newsletter written by Dr. Jartchow in Arizona about soaking baby box turtles in baby food. In the article he said that turtles and tortoises absorb nutrients from the baby food water through the thin skin on the throat and around the cloaca.

We (as a group) have grown and changed and now have new and different ways of caring for turtles and tortoises. And something I read in the '70's may be pretty old school, however, it works. I will continue to use this method and tell people about it until we discover something to take its place.
 

Team Gomberg

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Yvonne, what are your thoughts about me trying this in my blind RES situation?

Heather
Sent from my Android TFO app
 

Yvonne G

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Do you get him to eat at all? Did turning off the light help him see better? Unless he's starting to show the eye swelling, I doubt baby food soaks would help.

If he doesn't eat at all, even with the light off, then try to get him to open his mouth. RES usually try to bite you, so if you hold him in one hand and have a meal worm or some type of food in a tweezers in the other hand, and gently tap his nose to get him to open his mouth to bite you, then pop the food inside and put him back in the water so he can swallow.
 

Sh3wulf

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Team Gomberg, thanks for asking this question. This is great info and I have to admit I was wondering myself
 

Team Gomberg

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Re: RE: Understanding Baby Food Soaks

Yvonne G said:
Unless he's starting to show the eye swelling, I doubt baby food soaks would help.

Ok. Thanks. At least I understand it a bit more now.

To keep the thread on topic I'll keep it short that the RES still has not eaten. I'm bringing her home next week.

Heather
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Sh3wulf

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Yvonne,
What would be the proper portions to properly create the soak? And would it cause any harm to give a soak to a healthy tortoise just for the vitamin benefits?
 

Yvonne G

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I use a plastic dish pan for soaking. If I have to use a lot of water (to bring the level up to the middle of the tortoise's sides [the bridge]), then I'll use a full jar of baby food. If I don't have to use much water, I'll only use a half a jar.

It wouldn't be harmful, just a wasted effort.
 
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