Aldabra Pen Progress!

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muddoc

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Jacqui said:
How much time do you think you have in it so far?[/color]

Probably close to 20 hours,with I would bet about 10-12 more before this part is fully functional.

Very good point on the time and money. Make sure you know what you are getting into before you dive. I willhave more money invested in tort pens, enclosure and equipment than I do in tortoises by the time it is done.
 

murdocjunior

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muddoc said:
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

I think thats outstanding! Is taht ground cover in the inside or is the ground cover the taller grass on the right side of the inclosure? Thanks
 

SnakeyeZ

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Wow that truely is beautiful - Look at all that lush vegitation!

Are you going to add anything else too it... like rocks or other opsticles like driftwood? Do Aldabras when they are younger enjoy climbing or exploring like some of the smaller tortoises do?
 

muddoc

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Murdoc,
I am not exactly sure what you are asking, but the ground cover is all of the stuff growing in the pen. The taller stuff on the right is some of the Broad-leafed mustard that grew better than the rest.

SnakeyeZ,
We are going to add some more stuff to it, and the updates below show some of it. As many other enclosures work, this one will be a "living" project. I am sure things will change as new ideas come about, and as the torts decide to rearrange, or decide they don't like something there.
 

muddoc

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Well,
I typed up the entire update last night, and apparently I forgot to hit the post button, even after I previewed it like 4 times for correctness. Let me try this again,

This first shot is of one wall of the new fencing. I intended on getting more chainlink up, but the pond took way longer than I budgeted time wise this weekend. I will get more chainlink up this week and weekend. (more updated shots next week).
tortpen42611a.jpg


This shot is off Ping eating on the new Hybiscus plant. She discovered it the day we put it in the pen, and she runs straight to it when I put her in the pen. Pong either hasn't found it yet, or is not impressed, because I have not seen him near it yet. I do plan to put about 5-7 more plants in the pen, but I am trying to cross reference the safe plant list with stuff I like that is tolerant to USDA zone 8 winters. I don't mind replanting some stuff every year, but I don't want a handfull of plants that will come back every year.
tortpen42611b.jpg


This is a shot of the new pond.
tortpen42611c.jpg


This is a closer up shot of the new pond.
tortpen42611d.jpg


This was my attempt at getting a good birds eye view of the entire pen right now. I was standing on the front wall, and held the camera above my head.
tortpen42611e.jpg


This last shot is of Pong in the pond area. I was trying to give a size reference for the pond. It covers an area of about 6' x 6'. It is 4" deep at the deepest point, which is too deep for my guys right now, but I will just not fill it all the way up. The pond was designed with the torts being able to utilize the pond for about another 3-5 years, so I needed a bit of room to grow so to speak.
tortpen42611f.jpg


The pond was emptied, as I need to let it dry real good, since I am putting on the pond coating this weekend. It is essentially rubber that you paint on and it dries into something similar to EPDM. I will let you guys know how it works when I get it painted on. Also, if anyone has any ideas for a few more plants that will winter well, please let me know.

I hope everyone has enjoyed watching the progress, as I know the torts are enjoying it. My back is not enjoying it at the moment, but I know it is very nice to sit on the wall and watch the torts enjoy their new pen. Hopefuly they will be able to live in here permenantly in the next 2-4 weeks. Only a little more work to be done.
 

jeffbens0n

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Wow, the pond is amazing, the whole enclosure is great. What will you do with the pond when they outgrow it?
 

ALDABRAMAN

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Just outstanding! Can I hire you to make me a pond like that, only way bigger? LOL....You do great work for sure!

Just outstanding! Can I hire you to make me a pond like that, only way bigger? LOL....You do great work for sure!
 

muddoc

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jeffbens0n said:
Wow, the pond is amazing, the whole enclosure is great. What will you do with the pond when they outgrow it?
Jeff,
This pen is actually going to be a small corner of there eventual pen. My plan is to get this one done, and then I will start building the big pen (hopefully somewhere around 80' x 80' or so). I am hoping that I can get the big pen completed in the next 3-5 years, which is when I expect them to outgrow this pen. This pen will probably be turned into a Red Foot pen at that time. The big pen will probably have about a 12' diameter pond in it.
ALDABRAMAN said:
Just outstanding! Can I hire you to make me a pond like that, only way bigger? LOL....You do great work for sure!

Just outstanding! Can I hire you to make me a pond like that, only way bigger? LOL....You do great work for sure!



Thanks for the complement Greg. Unfortunately I am not for hire, only because I barely have time to build my own. Believe me, I would love to come build you a pond in trade for a baby Aldabra. LOL.
 

muddoc

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Here is the next installment in updates. The pond is now coated with the liner, which I really like, but I learned a few things about how to apply it next time I use it. The pond has water in it, and I added to Crotons to the enclosure. The torts spent their first night in it on Monday evening, and I didn't have any issues. The third side of chainlink is up, leaving the last side and the gate. I will be doing more landscaping soon, as well as finishing the house and last fence. More updates coming in a couple weeks.

Enjoy,
tortpen5211.jpg
 

muddoc

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Thanks Greg and Lynn. However, Lynn, I wish I could say it was thought out well, but actually, I have been kind of winging it. I had a very rough idea in my head when it started, but it has been a "fly by the seat" kind of project, which is fairly rare for me. There are still a few things to do, and I am sure it will change some more between now and then.
 

-EJ

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Man... I hate to say this but that pen is going to work for about 5 years or less with the care you are giving them. That is a fantastic design but I think you should have thought bigger all around. What I thought was really interesting was the pouring of the concrete in the blocks. I don't think this is a good idea for the house because air is a better insulator than concrete... just an opinion.

Still... that is a fantastic setup.
 

muddoc

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Ed,
Thanks for the response. Believe it or not, I thought about the concrete in the house after I poured it. I think I was just in such the habit of filling them that I didn't stop to think. However, I think that it is a thick enough wall, that it will work pretty well, especially since I plan on having 2 lamps hanging and pig pads covering at least 1/2 to 2/3 of the ground. I am sure I will need to tweak some of the heating once winter gets here, but I will make it work.

p.s. I am going to be stuccoing the inside of the house part, to minimize drafts entering through the cracks between bricks.

p.s.s. I think I will actually have the bigger pen built within three years, so they can grow fast if they want, not too mention, I am getting addicted to these tortoises, and I think I might convert this pen into a Red Foot pen when the Aldabs move out, so the faster I get the big pen done, the faster I can get some RF's in there.
 

-EJ

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It sounds like you have it very well thought out. That pen would be great for adult Redfoots.

Did I ask you where you got them from?

muddoc said:
Ed,
Thanks for the response. Believe it or not, I thought about the concrete in the house after I poured it. I think I was just in such the habit of filling them that I didn't stop to think. However, I think that it is a thick enough wall, that it will work pretty well, especially since I plan on having 2 lamps hanging and pig pads covering at least 1/2 to 2/3 of the ground. I am sure I will need to tweak some of the heating once winter gets here, but I will make it work.

p.s. I am going to be stuccoing the inside of the house part, to minimize drafts entering through the cracks between bricks.

p.s.s. I think I will actually have the bigger pen built within three years, so they can grow fast if they want, not too mention, I am getting addicted to these tortoises, and I think I might convert this pen into a Red Foot pen when the Aldabs move out, so the faster I get the big pen done, the faster I can get some RF's in there.
 

Missy

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Hope you don't mind but I want a pen just like yours. Are you putting in steps to get in and out?
 
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