Feeding Sulcata during winter

Aleks

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Jul 2, 2020
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Michigan
Hi All,

We live in Michigan- Winter is fast approaching and we've been trying to figure out the best way to go about growing grass/weeds indoors for Sullivan- our Sulcata tortoise.
Does anyone have recommendations on seed mixes that will provide a good variety of weeds and grass? I'd prefer if he didn't have to eat store bought veggies all winter long, as he really enjoys the outdoor ruffage that we provide to him.
Additionally, any preferred lights and soil to use for growing aforementioned seed mixes indoors? If it helps for recommendations, the grass/weeds will be grown in a separate container than what Sullivan lives in.

A final question - we do have a Mulberry tree that over hangs in our yard from our neighbor's. We incorporate the leaves into his diet. Is there any way to preserve some leaves from it, so that he can get them in his diet throughout the winter seasons as well?

Any advice is greatly appreciated, thanks!!
 

AgataP

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Wheat grass will grow on anything I actually put few seeds in the enclosure and within few days (4-7) I have fresh grass. I also grow it on sprout trays of amazon. No soil needed. Leaves wise I actually froze some.

I collected dandelion, clover seeds and some other ones I will try to grow.
I just ordered clover seeds, I will plant them tomorrow so I will keep you posted.


3A851CF1-0F93-4D1B-A44B-CD75280DD3B5.jpeg
 

Aleks

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Joined
Jul 2, 2020
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Michigan
Wheat grass will grow on anything I actually put few seeds in the enclosure and within few days (4-7) I have fresh grass. I also grow it on sprout trays of amazon. No soil needed. Leaves wise I actually froze some.

I collected dandelion, clover seeds and some other ones I will try to grow.
I just ordered clover seeds, I will plant them tomorrow so I will keep you posted.


View attachment 309112

We've tried giving him wheat grass on multiple occasions, he just doesn't like it as much as the grass that grows in our yard. Unfortunately I'm not even sure what kind of grass specifically is in our yard..

Definitely keep me updated on the growth of your clover seeds- Sullivan loves clovers!
 

AgataP

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Seattle, WA
We've tried giving him wheat grass on multiple occasions, he just doesn't like it as much as the grass that grows in our yard. Unfortunately I'm not even sure what kind of grass specifically is in our yard..

Definitely keep me updated on the growth of your clover seeds- Sullivan loves clovers!

Ah you can buy different types of grass - I get it from feed store, safe for animals, usually they have a bulk section. So I only take like like a spoon 🤣😂. Luckily in WA weeds grow pretty much all year long.
Do you feed your baby Mazuri ?
 

Aleks

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Location (City and/or State)
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Ah you can buy different types of grass - I get it from feed store, safe for animals, usually they have a bulk section. So I only take like like a spoon 🤣😂. Luckily in WA weeds grow pretty much all year long.
Do you feed your baby Mazuri ?

Mazuri, like the pellets?
I got him some ZooMed grassland tortoise pellets but we haven't tried feeding him any yet. Our vet actually recommended against giving store bought pellets like that, but I haven't asked for a second opinion regarding it on here yet. Our vet said they're pretty high in regards to a protein/calcium/phosphorus ratio so I've been holding off on trying it.
 

AgataP

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Mazuri, like the pellets?
I got him some ZooMed grassland tortoise pellets but we haven't tried feeding him any yet. Our vet actually recommended against giving store bought pellets like that, but I haven't asked for a second opinion regarding it on here yet. Our vet said they're pretty high in regards to a protein/calcium/phosphorus ratio so I've been holding off on trying it.

This one.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BOG8YU6/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20
 

Tom

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Mazuri, like the pellets?
I got him some ZooMed grassland tortoise pellets but we haven't tried feeding him any yet. Our vet actually recommended against giving store bought pellets like that, but I haven't asked for a second opinion regarding it on here yet. Our vet said they're pretty high in regards to a protein/calcium/phosphorus ratio so I've been holding off on trying it.
Most vets know very little about tortoise care. I used to also recommend against any kind of pelleted food. I was ignorant and wrong. I know better now. Your vet doesn't.

The ZooMed pellets are an excellent supplement and a great way to add fiber and variety to grocery store greens in winter. You can use the grassland or the forest type. Both are good for your tortoise. Your tortoise won't like it or eat it first. It will take time to introduce that, or any other new food. Same with the wheat grass. Start with tiny tiny amount mixed in with the favorite greens. Soak one little tiny piece of a ZooMed pellet for an hour or more, and then mix the mush in with a big pile of the tortoise's favorite greens. There should be hardly any of the new food. Almost like you dropped a leaf on the floor and some dirt stuck to it. Over time, add more and more of the new stuff as the tortoise accepts it and eats it. In time, they will view the new stuff as food and eat it with vigor.

You can and should do the same thing with "herbal hay" from @TylerStewart at tortoisesupply.com, an assortment of the dried leaf offering from Will @Kapidolo Farms , and you can also use soaked horse hay pellets in the same way. From the store use mostly endive and escarole as your base, but mix in arugula, cilantro, collard greens, dandelion greens, spring mix, and more for variety.
 

Aleks

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Joined
Jul 2, 2020
Messages
12
Location (City and/or State)
Michigan
Most vets know very little about tortoise care. I used to also recommend against any kind of pelleted food. I was ignorant and wrong. I know better now. Your vet doesn't.

The ZooMed pellets are an excellent supplement and a great way to add fiber and variety to grocery store greens in winter. You can use the grassland or the forest type. Both are good for your tortoise. Your tortoise won't like it or eat it first. It will take time to introduce that, or any other new food. Same with the wheat grass. Start with tiny tiny amount mixed in with the favorite greens. Soak one little tiny piece of a ZooMed pellet for an hour or more, and then mix the mush in with a big pile of the tortoise's favorite greens. There should be hardly any of the new food. Almost like you dropped a leaf on the floor and some dirt stuck to it. Over time, add more and more of the new stuff as the tortoise accepts it and eats it. In time, they will view the new stuff as food and eat it with vigor.

You can and should do the same thing with "herbal hay" from @TylerStewart at tortoisesupply.com, an assortment of the dried leaf offering from Will @Kapidolo Farms , and you can also use soaked horse hay pellets in the same way. From the store use mostly endive and escarole as your base, but mix in arugula, cilantro, collard greens, dandelion greens, spring mix, and more for variety.
Thank you Tom! I will try incorporating it into his food. I had read on here before that it is good, but second guessed giving it to him when my vet recommended against it. They are a fairly tortoise savvy vet, but I did notice that the husbandry sheet they gave us had some old dated sources.

Our tort loves endive, escarole, spring mix, and other veg that we give him on occasion already in addition to his grass/weeds meals, so it shouldn't be a problem for winter time if all else fails. He also doesn't mind the orchard grass hay that I give to my guinea pigs. Thankfully he is very apt to try new things and there's not a whole lot that he doesn't like.

We just got done increasing his indoor enclosure size so that he'll have more exercising room during winter as well. Normally we would take him outside a few times a week for exercise and UV exposure, but it's getting too chilly for that now. He's exploring his new and improved home right now and seems very pleased.

I'd like to think we're almost completely winter ready. :)
 
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