Do they know when to stop eating?

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CourtneyAndCarl

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Today I decided to go out and buy some spring mix so that I can convert Carl to his new winter diet. He hasn't been able to go outside for over a week, I finally broke down and installed his UVB light too. It looks like Carl's days of tearing it up in the backyard are either over or coming to a very abrupt end

At any rate, I chopped up some spring mix for the little guy, a little bit more than I thought, too, it was quite the pile. Apparently Carl remembers his spring mix days from when he was a wee little tike (or wee littler than he is now) and absolutely GORGED himself on the stuff... within a half an hour, the pile was gone. He doesn't even eat his stone crop with that much vigor. Right after though, he went back into his sleeping hide, poked his little head out (so I know he isn't actually sleeping) and hasn't moved an inch since... I think he might have a tummy ache :p

What I suppose I'm attempting to get at is... should I start feeding him this much all the time since he's eating it, or are tortoises capable of accidentily eating too much like us people? Normally he won't eat all of it if I accidentily prepare too much so I wasn't worried but I was quite surprised when I checked in on the little guy and there wasn't a scrap left.
 

wellington

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If he hasn't had it all summer, he might have really missed it, you know,something new again, that he really liked. I would almost bet he won't eat it like that again. However, don't forget he is bigger then when you fed it to him before, so will eat more. My opinion anyway, see what others say.
 

shellysmom

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It's not unusual for animals to gorge themselves on an awesome meal. The first 2 days I had had my adult redfoot she went through an entire pound of Mazuri. I couldn't believe it since that's almost as much food as my 35lb dog eats. It didn't seem to make her sick or anything, and after that she sort of caught up with her appetite and eats a more reasonable amount now. I suspect my girl was not fed regularly in her previous home... I think your guy just really loves greens. He'll either start pacing himself, or if he doesn't, you can do it for him. I've heard of torts getting chubby from eating too much of the wrong food, but greens are probably a pretty safe thing to gorge on as long as there's not too much spinach involved. :)
 

Edna

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Courtney, I know that with leopards and sulcatas people feed for maximum growth and it seems to work out OK. With a Hermanns, though, you'll need to make sure he isn't eating so much that he's growing at an unnatural pace. Power-feeding in Hermanns causes porous bone growth and distortions in the shell. The distortions aren't pyramiding per se, but rather flaring, bumps, and dents instead of the lovely rounded shell of a wild Hermanns.
 

Tom

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There are a couple of things here...

First is the fact that spring mix doesn't have much "bulk" to it. When I reuse my empty 1lb. spring mix tubs and refill them with weeds, grass and leaves, it weigh waaaayyyy more than one pound. They can really put away a large volume of grocery store greens because it compacts down to nothing in there gut.

The next thing is playing with hunger drive. It is my job to manage hunger on a multitude of species including birds, rodents, cats, insects, reptiles, dogs, etc... When an animal is kept on the hungry side for a period of time, it creates an innate desire to eat all the time. This is a well know training tool. Back in '98 when I got my current adult sulcatas, the thinking of the day was to feed them lightly and skip an occasional day to simulate the scarcity of food during the dry season that was (incorrectly) thought to occur over there. This was supposed to be the key to preventing pyramiding. (It didn't.) When my boys were growing up, they were always starving. They would eat anything I put in front of them and as much as I would give them. When Scooter, Bert and Delores were between 10 and 12", I put 9 big heads of romaine in with them just to see how much they would eat. It was all gone in minutes and they were looking for more. Apparently, the romaine only whetted their appetite, since they walked away from the food tray and went over to graze on some weeds... Nowadays, they always have food of some sort available to them, even if its only grass hay. They eat less per day now than they did when they were smaller. By allowing them to always graze at will, they choose to eat a lot less. When you you start holding back food from a hungry animal, it changes things in their mind. Sometimes you end up creating a monster that you didn't intend to. I don't recommend "power feeding" any tortoise. But allowing them to graze all day, the way they would naturally, is the best practice in my opinion.

And don't forget that for species that are instinctually programmed to hibernate, now is the time of year for them to fatten up. The shortening days and changing weather is often a cue to kick the appetite into overdrive.
 

CourtneyAndCarl

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Hmm, getting mixed reviews here but Edna knows her Hermanns so I trust her judgement :) Just to make sure, I gave him a skimpy lunch. Carl has always been a little on the lean side, with his length to weight ratio, so it wouldn't hurt him to pack on a couple grams but I definitely don't want him to suffer for it. Thanks everyone! I'm just glad he still likes the spring mix, I was worried that he was going to be a pain over the winter.
 

Edna

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Don't give me too much credit, Courtney. I don't know anything about Hermanns that I didn't learn from GB or the Wegehaupt book or others on the forum.
You're right; that he'll eat the spring mix is a win! Tom has a great point about not making the little guy go hungry. Other ways to keep him from over-growing are reducing the overnight temp (at 80 degrees he's digesting and growing) and reducing a little the number of hot daytime hours.
 

CourtneyAndCarl

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Definitely don't want to start a new thread for this, but Carl's poo has looked different since he started back on the spring mix... not bad, just different. Is that pretty normal?
 
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