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Alfalfa for torts?

Discussion in 'Tortoise Diet and Food' started by old4x4, Jan 11, 2009.

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  1. old4x4

    old4x4 Member 10 Year Member!

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    I've done a search and found yes and no. What's the answer? I have a 1 yr old marginated tort.
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    You get a "no" from me. In my opinion it has too much protein and is hard on their kidneys.

    Yvonne
  3. Kristina

    Kristina Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I agree with Yvonne. It has a median protein content of 18% and that is much too high. The information that states that alfalfa is okay is outdated.

    Kristina
  4. callum-dixon

    callum-dixon New Member 5 Year Member

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    What would be more suitable?
  5. Kristina

    Kristina Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Orchard grass, timothy, meadow grass, Bermuda grass, or fescue.

    I know there are more but that is all my brain can cough up at the moment, lol. I am sure someone else will list them.

    Kristina
  6. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    You can buy grass hay online packaged especially for tortoises. Try either carolinapetsupply.com or oxbow.com It is called "Salad Style Hay."

    Yvonne
  7. old4x4

    old4x4 Member 10 Year Member!

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    OK. I got a single cube of (horse) alfalfa from the local feed store to see if Sherman would eat it. I'll pitch it in the woods for the deer. I think I recall them having tomothy hay cubes. I'll have to see if they'll spare one to see if he'll eat it. Thanx for the answers.
  8. Kristina

    Kristina Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    He probably will not eat it dry, but you can soak it for him and it will fall apart. I have fed hay cube "soup" to older horses without teeth many times. You don't want it THAT wet, so squeeze most of the moisture out.

    You can also crumble it up while it is dry and sprinkle just a little over his greens to start him getting a taste for it.

    Kristina
  9. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    Since you have access to a feed store, ask your feed dealer if they sell any type of grass hay. If they do, they will usually allow you to bag up some of the leavings from the ground where the bales are standing. Some will charge you a minimal fee, and others will just give it to you free.

    Yvonne
  10. That's exactly what I do...I buy the biggest bags I can find then I ask my feed store if I can have some of the hay that's just laying on the ground or a broken bale. At first he charged me $2 but now they just let me have it...last week I took 2 bags and really packed the bags and I bet I got close to half a bale for free...I don't know what kind it is, I try to get a good mixture. The guy said it's mostly grass hay and something called marsh grass. It's soft and smells sweet and Bob eats it without a problem...I don't moisten it for him...
  11. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Cubes Or flakes off a bale?
    Cubes are compressed into hard cubes..
    A flake is a section that comes off a bale of hay.
    Grazing in a yard is best, mine wont/dont eat dry hay. ....yet. :)
  12. Kristina

    Kristina Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    You are right, grazing is best. But not all of us have that luxury. I have three feet of snow on the ground :)

    Kristina
  13. old4x4

    old4x4 Member 10 Year Member!

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    I'm just not sure about giving him dry hay. It's like dry twigs and I can't see him swallowing these pieces. Should I moisten it? BTW, I can get him the timothy cubes..
  14. Kristina

    Kristina Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    What I do is place the hay in a bowl, fill the bowl with hot water, and immediately drain it. That way it is moistened but all the nutrients aren't steeped out of it.

    BTW, mine eat it dry too. I use it as a substrate and they nibble as they please :) I think it depends on the size of your tort. The bigger ones handle it better, and it is good for their beaks.

    Kristina
  15. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    If your hay is like dry twigs, then you are not buying grass hay. Grass dries to look just like the grass it used to be, only dry. Its still soft, but brown.

    A one year old marginated tortoise isn't going to eat hay yet. They don't really see hay as food until they get bigger...I'd say 4 or 5 years old. If it were me, I'd just buy a bag of Salad Style Hay, moisten a "pinch" of it and sprinkle the little bit over his greens. That way he isn't getting so much that it makes him not eat, yet he is getting used to what it smells like. You can also take the scissors out into the yard, and cut off a bit of grass and weeds to sprinkle over your greens. Also, I'd forget the "cubes" until he's older. When you say "cubes" do you mean those compressed cubes of hay that are about 2" square? Don't even get those. They're too hard and would never hydrate soft enough for a 1yr old to eat.

    Yvonne
  16. old4x4

    old4x4 Member 10 Year Member!

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    The perfect answer. Thanks!!!
  17. The hay that I get off the floor at the feed store is soft and smells very sweet. My adult Sulcata eats it without a problem, but it took several years of trying to get him to eat it...he didn't just appreciate all the work I went thru for him at first...but now he does!
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