For Those Who Have a Young Sulcata...

Tom

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Tom

I got two. Keep them together but I’m set up to keep them separate. A family that breeds them in the Chicago suburbs. Have been bringing their adults to the Reptile show for many years. Say they feed the hatchlings mixed greens with a bit of calcium powder several time a week.
They are active and eat well but very selective.
Don’t want to starve them into field greens unless it’s recommended.
I’ve tried yard and garden foliage off the list with no luck.
Most breeders feed them something easy as babies. "Mixed greens" is probably store bought spring mix. Super easy and the babies like it, but its not a great food, and it makes it really hard for the new owner to get their babies eating the right foods.

Tortoises are creatures of habit. They eat what they've eaten before. Most of them don't take to new foods very quickly unless they were started by someone who does what I do. I don't feed them the same food twice for at least their first couple of weeks. Every day they see some new and novel food.

Its worth the time to get them eating better foods. Store bought greens don't meet their needs very well. Start by mincing up a tiny tiny amount of the new food and then mincing up the old favorite. Wet the greens and thoroughly mix them together. When I say a tiny amount, I mean like one percent. Over time, they will start incidentally eating the new stuff and get used to the taste, smell and texture. You can gradually up the ratio of new to old. Don't worry about it if they choose to eat light a few days. The more angry they get the less picky they will be. You aren't starving them. There is a whole plate of food right in front of them. They can eat whenever they want.
 

Oldbro

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Thanks
I was sprinkling a small amount of powdered Mazuri on the wet greens to up the nutrition intake. I’ll work on the percentages while my yard is still productive. Once we get a freeze
there won’t be much to harvest.
 

Meika

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I’m struggling with getting my young Sulcatas to eat grass and tortoise food. They won’t even eat hibiscus leaves and flowers. If you have any other tips that can help I would appreciate it.
 

Tom

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I’m struggling with getting my young Sulcatas to eat grass and tortoise food. They won’t even eat hibiscus leaves and flowers. If you have any other tips that can help I would appreciate it.
Mince up a tiny amount of the new stuff. Chop up the old stuff and wet it. Thoroughly mix in the new stuff with the old. Keep doing this and gradually add more of the new stuff. It will take weeks or months, but its worth it.
 

Meika

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Mince up a tiny amount of the new stuff. Chop up the old stuff and wet it. Thoroughly mix in the new stuff with the old. Keep doing this and gradually add more of the new stuff. It will take weeks or months, but its worth it.
Ok I will thanks. I also could use some help with good plants to put in outdoor enclosure I’m building that they can eat on their own and last question, I bought some dessert tortoise grass seed mix from tortoise supply but I’m not sure how to start it? Do I put on top of dirt and water or cover with a little dirt?
 

Tom

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Ok I will thanks. I also could use some help with good plants to put in outdoor enclosure I’m building that they can eat on their own and last question, I bought some dessert tortoise grass seed mix from tortoise supply but I’m not sure how to start it? Do I put on top of dirt and water or cover with a little dirt?
Refer to the list on post number one of this thread for good plants to grow.

To plant your seed mix:
  1. Prep the soil, as needed. I usually churn it up with a shovel and add fertilizer or amendments as needed.
  2. Wet the area heavily.
  3. Scatter some seed.
  4. Cover the seed with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of dirt or soil.
  5. Water heavily.
  6. Don't let that area dry out for a few days at least. I have to water every hour or two in summer to keep it from drying out. Then I water heavily at sunset and this usually lasts until morning.
  7. Cover the area with netting or chicken wire or something to keep the local birds from eating all your seed before it sprouts.
  8. After it sprouts be prepared to go to war with gophers, squirrels, voles, rabbits, grasshoppers, moths/caterpillars, pincher bugs, ants, and any number of other pests who all want to eat your newly sprouting tortoise food.
 

Meika

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Refer to the list on post number one of this thread for good plants to grow.

To plant your seed mix:
  1. Prep the soil, as needed. I usually churn it up with a shovel and add fertilizer or amendments as needed.
  2. Wet the area heavily.
  3. Scatter some seed.
  4. Cover the seed with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of dirt or soil.
  5. Water heavily.
  6. Don't let that area dry out for a few days at least. I have to water every hour or two in summer to keep it from drying out. Then I water heavily at sunset and this usually lasts until morning.
  7. Cover the area with netting or chicken wire or something to keep the local birds from eating all your seed before it sprouts.
  8. After it sprouts be prepared to go to war with gophers, squirrels, voles, rabbits, grasshoppers, moths/caterpillars, pincher bugs, ants, and any number of other pests who all want to eat your newly sprouting tortoise food.
Wow lol I’m growing in a container so hopefully that helps with pest and once I’m done with their enclosure I’m going to do half of it with the grass also. Thanks I’m on it now
 

Meika

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Hi everyone I have a question about baby Sulcata shells and how hard should they’d be? Mine hatched July 27th but I feel like their shell aren’t that hard. Could it be what I’m feeding them? I got them on August 27th. I do daily soaks, I bought them the calcium with d3 supplement and I do that 3 times a week, they eat store bought lettuce right now and I’m slowly adding grass, tortoise food, and hibiscus to the mix because they won’t eat it alone. I’m building an outdoor home for them and I’m growing a mix seed grass for them also. Please let me know what I can’t do to help with this. Thanks
 

Tom

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Hi everyone I have a question about baby Sulcata shells and how hard should they’d be? Mine hatched July 27th but I feel like their shell aren’t that hard. Could it be what I’m feeding them? I got them on August 27th. I do daily soaks, I bought them the calcium with d3 supplement and I do that 3 times a week, they eat store bought lettuce right now and I’m slowly adding grass, tortoise food, and hibiscus to the mix because they won’t eat it alone. I’m building an outdoor home for them and I’m growing a mix seed grass for them also. Please let me know what I can’t do to help with this. Thanks
The shell is supposed to be flexible on babies. It should feel like a plastic butter tub lid and have some "give" to it when you press on it. It should not feel spongy.

Where did you get your baby and how was it started? Indoors or outdoors all day? Daily soaks, or once a week?
 

Meika

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The shell is supposed to be flexible on babies. It should feel like a plastic butter tub lid and have some "give" to it when you press on it. It should not feel spongy.

Where did you get your baby and how was it started? Indoors or outdoors all day? Daily soaks, or once a week?
Aquarium indoors from what I saw and they said soak at least 3 times a week but my research said daily so that’s what I do. They told me to feed them spring mix without spinach and tortoise food. That’s all i really know about their care before me
 

Tom

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Aquarium indoors from what I saw and they said soak at least 3 times a week but my research said daily so that’s what I do. They told me to feed them spring mix without spinach and tortoise food. That’s all i really know about their care before me
That doesn't sound great, but let's hope for the best. Have you seen these already?
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/
 

Meika

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What I’m doing doesn’t sound great or how they had them? I just want to know if what I’m doing is a good start? When you say hope for the best do you mean they might not be ok lol sorry I’m a little paranoid . Just want healthy babies and to raise them right I’m open to all advice and thank you for taking the time to explain
 

Tom

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What I’m doing doesn’t sound great or how they had them? I just want to know if what I’m doing is a good start? When you say hope for the best do you mean they might not be ok lol sorry I’m a little paranoid . Just want healthy babies and to raise them right I’m open to all advice and thank you for taking the time to explain
The way they were started doesn't sound great. What you are doing sounds great.

Babies kept outside and started too dry with infrequent soaks sometimes don't make it. No sense worrying. What's done is done. At three soaks a week, your chances are pretty good that they are fine. I prefer daily. Weekly soaks would not bode well.
 

Kipley

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I was offered a year old Sulcata last week. He was purchased at an expo last October, and has was raised in an enclosed habitat, but it is only 36" x 18". His shell looks good, he seems healthy (we see the vet on Friday, dropping off a fecal today), he is a bit small at 90 grams.
I need to upgrade and enlarge his enclosure. As a yearling does he need to stay in a closed environment or can he graduate to an open top environment?
 

Meika

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1F152DE3-46BE-4D58-9F59-C36740A83875.jpeg So I just built this outdoor enclosure for my baby Sulcatas Tank and Franklin. I want to take away some mulch and add more dirt but does anyone have any suggestions for me to make it better? One photo is of there’s outdoor home and the other is indoor home. THe blocked off square of dirt is grass in growing for them.
 

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Rebeez

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Tom, thank you so much for your advice about sulcatas and what they need to eat! I am a newbie to this site, and to my new tortoise, so I found your info extremely helpful. Since searching this forum, I've also decided that I should post a pic to be sure that what I have is really a sulcata and not a desert turtle. There is a big difference in the two, so later I'll post a pic and see if anyone can definitely identify my rescued tortoise. Thanks again!
 

bluewolf

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I wouldn't bother with hay or grass for a russian or babcocki leopard. Its not a "natural" part of their diet according to the studies I've seen.

As far as the other stuff, you know the routine for introducing new good stuff... Finely chop it all up and just use a little of the new stuff with mostly the old familiar stuff. Gradually flop the ratio.
thanks was wondering how to do this he did eat the hard boiled egg but not the shell today. So guess same rules apply
 

bluewolf

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Tom, thank you so much for your advice about sulcatas and what they need to eat! I am a newbie to this site, and to my new tortoise, so I found your info extremely helpful. Since searching this forum, I've also decided that I should post a pic to be sure that what I have is really a sulcata and not a desert turtle. There is a big difference in the two, so later I'll post a pic and see if anyone can definitely identify my rescued tortoise. Thanks again!
A friend sent me a pic of the tort she rescued. I was confused because she kept ‘sonara’ tortoise. But I do have a pretty nice pick if anyone wants to see it
 
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