Aldabra Pen Progress!

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muddoc

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I know I don't come on often, but I did write about building a bigger pen for our Aldabras that I hoped would be ready by Spring. I have been working on it for 2 weekends now, and here are the progress photos.

The pen will be 16 feet x 16 feet. It will have 2 foot of chainlink fence around the top, hence the poles. This small corner of the eventual total pen (somwhere around 80' x 80') will also be covered on top with 4 8' x 8' chainlink panels, to keep out any unwanted critters. Next weekend, we will be trenching the draining for the pond that we will be building in this enclosure. After the drainage is installed, we will then continue on the walls. Prior to finishing the last wall, we will bring in the tiller and till the entire area, to seed the whole yard. Once the walls are done, we will be trenching to run plumbing and electrical from the barn to the enclosures. Once the electrical and water are there, we will build the pond and then put up the chainlink. I have some ideas for an enclosed house in this pen, but I am not sure which way I will go yet.

I will post updated pics as we make progress.

p.s. In the background of the second picture is a Silver Stripe clumping Bamboo that will be inside of the larger enclosure. It is going to take about 5 years to really get into it's prime, but as a mature clump, it will be about 7-10 feet around at the base, and about 20 feet high. This should provide plenty of shade for the guys when they get older. Due to the amount of time required to grow it, I wanted to get it in the ground last fall, so that it can have a head start.

I hope you enjoy the pics.

tortpen1.jpg


tortpen2.jpg
 

Isa

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Niceee, the enclosure is going to be huge :D I agree with Mary Anne, You have a beautiful piece of land!
 

muddoc

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I know it took a while, but here are some progress pics. Sometimes the progress doesn't really look like alot, but we have done a fair bit since the last pics. Also, I have had two snake shows to do, and some other home projects as well as work getting in the way of progress. Enough yakking, here are the pics.

First up is a shot of the pen right after I got done tilling up the ground. This was earlier today. I tilled the whole pen, then removed all of the grass and weeds and laid down 600 pounds of top soil. I then hand broadcast 2 lbs of a seed blend I put together at the feed store. The whole pen is seeded with Crimson Clover, Bermuda grass and broad leafed mustard. After those start to grow in nicely, and get a good foot hold, I am going to broadcast some wild bird seed. The large pipe in the middle of the pen is going to be the drain at the bottom of the pond (that will get built a bit later). In the background you can see the trench that we dug in the ground (with a trencher of course) to get water from the barn to the new pen). I already had one leak in the line, and have since got it all fixed.
tortpen3.jpg


Next up is a shot from the other side. Here you can see the trench that we dug the other direction that contains the drain line for the pond in the pen. You will also see another pipe sticking up, and this is the one for the larger pen that will get completed over the next 3-5 years, but I wanted to go ahead and put it in now. If you look really close, you can see a third upright pipe. This is the end of the drain, and I still have to connect the slotted pipe that will allow the water to leach into the soil. Also visible is the water spigot. I still need to attach it to the wall for security, but I needed the water to be able to water the newly seeded pen. Hopefully the rest of the walls will be completed by mid April.

tortpen4.jpg


Lastly, what would a picture post be without some tort pics. Although the guys have been getting to go outside during the day, it is stillg getting too cold at night for them to be outside. Here is a pic of them right after eating in their inside enclosure. Pong decided he needed to push Ping out of the way and eat from in the bowl. I really am liking these guys more and more as time goes on, and I think I am going to get one more of these guys this coming year. I hope you enjoy the pics. Thanks for looking.

torts3.jpg
 

Yvonne G

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Oh man, Tim. Your cinder blocks are very pleasing to my symmetry sensibilities. What a beautiful job!
 

Angi

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Well I am really jelouse. I have been working on a cinder block wall and it is not straight and now I am running into tree roots. I need it done soon. It is beautiful in the picture in my head but looks like crap in my yard. Your wall is really beautiful!
 

Missy

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That looks great. I really want to see how you put the top on. I have been trying to figure out how to do that for the bigger pen I am building this spring. Keep the pics coming :)

Angi said:
Well I am really jelouse. I have been working on a cinder block wall and it is not straight and now I am running into tree roots. I need it done soon. It is beautiful in the picture in my head but looks like crap in my yard. Your wall is really beautiful!

I think your pen looks great Angi.

Did you pour a concrete footer for the block or are the block on the ground? I am thinking of pouring a footer but I have Sulcata and they do love to dig.
 

Jacob

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Very nice, you are going the extrea distance and spending the extrea money!
Payoff is gunna be nice for the both of you :)
 

muddoc

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It has been right at amonth since my last update. The ground cover has been growing for a month, and I have let Ping and Pong run around in the new enclosure for a few hours now and then to see what they think and to "mow control" some of the plants that are going nuts. I still have a little bit of cement to pour before I can put up the chainlink, but that should be coming soon. Also, you can see that Before I finished the back wall, I decided that I didn't want to take over space in the pen for a shelter, so I put it on the outside of the 16' x 16' pen. There is a 16" x 16" doorway that Pong is standing in. Once the cement is poured in that wall, I will then build a structure to sit on top of the cinder blocks that is approximately 2' tall, and this will give me about 4.5' of height in the shelter (thus allowing adequate height to hang heat lamps for the winter months. The cement pond should be constructed this weekend, so maybe some more pics this weekend or early next week). I should be broadcasting some wild bird seed this week as well, for a bit more variety of food choice, and I willl be thinking about the plants that we want to plant throughout the enclosure. With that said, I am definitely welcome to some suggestions on what others would think would make for some good plants that are relatively hardy to 25 degree winters (normally above freeaing at about 40 degrees).

I hope you are enjoying watching our progress as much as we are.

tortpen41811.jpg
 

Jacqui

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I enjoy so much watching not only how others make their enclosures, but seeing it evolving. Thank you for showing it to us at all the stages!

It looks like to get into the enclosure, you have to climb over the blocks, is that correct or is the gate area just not showing? I hope your also keeping track of cost on this, as I am really curious.
 

muddoc

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Jacqui said:
I enjoy so much watching not only how others make their enclosures, but seeing it evolving. Thank you for showing it to us at all the stages!

It looks like to get into the enclosure, you have to climb over the blocks, is that correct or is the gate area just not showing? I hope your also keeping track of cost on this, as I am really curious.

There is no gate. Torts can only go in or out by lifting. This pen was never intended for torst over about 50 pounds. However, the eventual larger pen is not going to have a gate either (somewhat of a theft deterent). With that said, the gate of my pick-up truck will drop down on top of the wall, and a ramp will be on the inside of the enclosure, to guide torts out of the pen in the event that they need to travel for any reason.

I have had some local friends ask about cost as well. While I have not been keeping a running tally, I do have all of the numbers, and could put them together. I will say that at this point, including equipment rentals and everything spent to get to this point, I am in for about $1,194, and the rubber paint I bought for the pond (already paid for but not included in the listed total) was $165 including shipping. It has not been cheap, but as others have mentioned, I am hoping that it will be permanent and be very easy to maintain .
 

Jacqui

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muddoc said:
There is no gate. Torts can only go in or out by lifting. This pen was never intended for torst over about 50 pounds. However, the eventual larger pen is not going to have a gate either (somewhat of a theft deterent). With that said, the gate of my pick-up truck will drop down on top of the wall, and a ramp will be on the inside of the enclosure, to guide torts out of the pen in the event that they need to travel for any reason.

I have had some local friends ask about cost as well. While I have not been keeping a running tally, I do have all of the numbers, and could put them together. I will say that at this point, including equipment rentals and everything spent to get to this point, I am in for about $1,194, and the rubber paint I bought for the pond (already paid for but not included in the listed total) was $165 including shipping. It has not been cheap, but as others have mentioned, I am hoping that it will be permanent and be very easy to maintain .

I had asked about the gate thinking more in terms of daily maintenance.

I think it is important, where possible, for folks to tell how much roughly their enclosures cost to build, because new folks often just think they can throw something together for little or no money, which usually is not the case. A really good and secure enclosure is a big investment in time and money. How much time do you think you have in it so far?
 
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