For Those Who Have a Young Sulcata...

Twanderer

New Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2017
Messages
8
Over and over I type up and answer diet questions and try to get people feeding the right stuff, but I find that the "norm" is grocery store food. Grocery store food is expensive, a hassle to obtain, and very low on the list of what is best for sulcatas.

These tortoises are GRASS eaters. From the moment they hatch, until the day they die, grass should be a large part of their diet. Spring mix, romaine, kale and other greens are okay as a small part of a varied diet, but should not be the bulk of the diet. If someone must feed grocery store foods, the pile should be sprinkled with grass clippings or "Salad Style". For those who like the convenience of pre-packaged, easy to handle stuff, "Salad Style" is basically finely blended up grass hay that can be sprinkled over any other food to add bulk and fiber. I got my "Salad Style" from Tyler at tortoisesupply.com.

For those that have a lawn, or access to one: Get a tub, get some scissors, get down on your knees, and go to work! It is so EASY to cut a few handfuls of fresh, green, tender, young grass, and dramatically improve your baby sulcatas diet. Any kind of grass will work. Finely chop it for little tortoises and sprinkle it all over the other food, or feed it by itself in a pile. Do be careful about lawn chemicals and pesticides. If you have a gardener, or its not your lawn, use extreme caution. Live in a condo or apartment complex? Don't do it. Not worth the risk, no matter what they tell you. Just grow your own grass in pots on your patio or window sills. Friends, family and neighbors might be able to help you out here.

For those who still just love the grocery store: Most stores are now selling little plastic pots of live, freshly sprouted, organic wheat grass. You can find it at many pet stores too. This is a great way to add grass to the diet of a young sulcata. Get your scissors, hold the pot over the food pile and chop away. Water it and keep the pot in a window sill, and in a few days, you'll have more. You might need several pots as your baby grows, or you can buy seed from one of our site sponsors (Thank you Carolina Pet Supply) and sprout even bigger trays of it yourself.

Some of you may find that your "grass eating" tortoise wants nothing to do with eating grass. This should surprise no one, since most breeders and most keepers never even attempt to feed actual grass to their grass eating tortoise babies. So sad! I can tell you from first hand experience with literally HUNDREDS of babies, they WILL eat it. It may take a month or more to slowly introduce it, but PLEASE, slowly introduce it.

Other items that are good for babies and young sulcatas:
Mulberry leaves
Grape vine leaves
Hibiscus leaves
African hibiscus leaves
Blue hibiscus leaves
Rose of Sharon leaves
Rose leaves
Geraniums
Gazanias
Lavatera
Pansies
Petunias
Hostas
Honeysuckle
Cape honeysuckle
Leaves and blooms from any squash plant, like pumpkin, cucumber, summer squash, etc...
Young spineless opuntia cactus pads

Weeds:
There are soooooooo many...
Dandelion
Mallow
Filaree
Smooth Sow thistle
Prickly Sow thistle
Milk thistle
Goat head weed
Cats ear
Nettles
Trefoil
Wild onion
Wild mustard
Wild Garlic
Clovers
Broadleaf plantain
Narrow leaf plantain
Chick weed
Hawksbit
Hensbit
Hawksbeard

Other good stuff:
"Testudo Seed Mix" from http://www.tortoisesupply.com/SeedMixes
Pasture mixes or other seeds from http://www.groworganic.com/seeds.html
Homegrown alfalfa
Mazuri Tortoise Chow
ZooMed Grassland Tortoise Food


When sulcatas get a little older and bigger, usually around 10-12" for me, they will start munching on plain, dry grass hay, all on their own. I like orchard grass hay the best for this, but I also used bermuda grass hay for years too. When they hit this stage, life gets MUCH easier. Just make sure you have drinking water readily available when they start eating hay, and consider soaking regularly if you are not 100% sure your tortoise is drinking enough, or if you live in a really dry area, like me.

I live in a desert and yet there is still green stuff all around me. I beg you to take a walk and learn about all the green stuff around you, INSTEAD of driving to the store again. Instead of a trip to the grocery store, take a trip to a local nursery for some weed IDs, and tips on growing your own stuff. What could be better than stepping out into your backyard and collecting all the free, healthy tortoise food you can carry? Think of the gas savings! Anyone who is a tortoise keeper, ought to be somewhat of a gardener too.

I beg of you... PLEASE stop the grocery store MADNESS!!! :D
Yea, I need to figure somethnig out because Mine is going through Numerous heads of Romain lettuce!!! He's 7 years old... And although lives in the back yard... never thought it was enough to sustain him.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,503
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Yea, I need to figure somethnig out because Mine is going through Numerous heads of Romain lettuce!!! He's 7 years old... And although lives in the back yard... never thought it was enough to sustain him.
I hope this thread helps and inspires you! :)
 

SherryV

New Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2020
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Florida
Over and over I type up and answer diet questions and try to get people feeding the right stuff, but I find that the "norm" is grocery store food. Grocery store food is expensive, a hassle to obtain, and very low on the list of what is best for sulcatas.

These tortoises are GRASS eaters. From the moment they hatch, until the day they die, grass should be a large part of their diet. Spring mix, romaine, kale and other greens are okay as a small part of a varied diet, but should not be the bulk of the diet. If someone must feed grocery store foods, the pile should be sprinkled with grass clippings or "Salad Style". For those who like the convenience of pre-packaged, easy to handle stuff, "Salad Style" is basically finely blended up grass hay that can be sprinkled over any other food to add bulk and fiber. I got my "Salad Style" from Tyler at tortoisesupply.com.

For those that have a lawn, or access to one: Get a tub, get some scissors, get down on your knees, and go to work! It is so EASY to cut a few handfuls of fresh, green, tender, young grass, and dramatically improve your baby sulcatas diet. Any kind of grass will work. Finely chop it for little tortoises and sprinkle it all over the other food, or feed it by itself in a pile. Do be careful about lawn chemicals and pesticides. If you have a gardener, or its not your lawn, use extreme caution. Live in a condo or apartment complex? Don't do it. Not worth the risk, no matter what they tell you. Just grow your own grass in pots on your patio or window sills. Friends, family and neighbors might be able to help you out here.

For those who still just love the grocery store: Most stores are now selling little plastic pots of live, freshly sprouted, organic wheat grass. You can find it at many pet stores too. This is a great way to add grass to the diet of a young sulcata. Get your scissors, hold the pot over the food pile and chop away. Water it and keep the pot in a window sill, and in a few days, you'll have more. You might need several pots as your baby grows, or you can buy seed from one of our site sponsors (Thank you Carolina Pet Supply) and sprout even bigger trays of it yourself.

Some of you may find that your "grass eating" tortoise wants nothing to do with eating grass. This should surprise no one, since most breeders and most keepers never even attempt to feed actual grass to their grass eating tortoise babies. So sad! I can tell you from first hand experience with literally HUNDREDS of babies, they WILL eat it. It may take a month or more to slowly introduce it, but PLEASE, slowly introduce it.

Other items that are good for babies and young sulcatas:
Mulberry leaves
Grape vine leaves
Hibiscus leaves
African hibiscus leaves
Blue hibiscus leaves
Rose of Sharon leaves
Rose leaves
Geraniums
Gazanias
Lavatera
Pansies
Petunias
Hostas
Honeysuckle
Cape honeysuckle
Leaves and blooms from any squash plant, like pumpkin, cucumber, summer squash, etc...
Young spineless opuntia cactus pads

Weeds:
There are soooooooo many...
Dandelion
Mallow
Filaree
Smooth Sow thistle
Prickly Sow thistle
Milk thistle
Goat head weed
Cats ear
Nettles
Trefoil
Wild onion
Wild mustard
Wild Garlic
Clovers
Broadleaf plantain
Narrow leaf plantain
Chick weed
Hawksbit
Hensbit
Hawksbeard

Other good stuff:
"Testudo Seed Mix" from http://www.tortoisesupply.com/SeedMixes
Pasture mixes or other seeds from http://www.groworganic.com/seeds.html
Homegrown alfalfa
Mazuri Tortoise Chow
ZooMed Grassland Tortoise Food


When sulcatas get a little older and bigger, usually around 10-12" for me, they will start munching on plain, dry grass hay, all on their own. I like orchard grass hay the best for this, but I also used bermuda grass hay for years too. When they hit this stage, life gets MUCH easier. Just make sure you have drinking water readily available when they start eating hay, and consider soaking regularly if you are not 100% sure your tortoise is drinking enough, or if you live in a really dry area, like me.

I live in a desert and yet there is still green stuff all around me. I beg you to take a walk and learn about all the green stuff around you, INSTEAD of driving to the store again. Instead of a trip to the grocery store, take a trip to a local nursery for some weed IDs, and tips on growing your own stuff. What could be better than stepping out into your backyard and collecting all the free, healthy tortoise food you can carry? Think of the gas savings! Anyone who is a tortoise keeper, ought to be somewhat of a gardener too.

I beg of you... PLEASE stop the grocery store MADNESS!!! :D
Tom, I have read that a sulcata over 1 year should only be fed 3 times a week, not daily? Do you agree with that thought?
 

AgataP

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
631
Location (City and/or State)
Seattle, WA
I am setting up pots with grass to grow for my new incoming baby T.
I seen wheat grass is ok - I want to have something ready when he/she arrives. I luckily I have grass and weeds in my yard.
Is it ok to "transplant" a dandelion to the enclosure to help with humidity ? Probably in some container, and I can provide a new plant pretty much every day.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,503
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Tom, I have read that a sulcata over 1 year should only be fed 3 times a week, not daily? Do you agree with that thought?
No. Not at all. That is preposterous. That is old incorrect info from someone who still mistakenly believes that food causes pyramiding. It doesn't. In the wild they graze daily at will. Babies hatch in the monsoon season when it ir wet, rainy, humid, and there is green growing food everywhere. On their first birthday, those monsoons come back and they eat as much as they can in their second year too.

Any other information from the source that told you that should also be suspect. There is a lot of old, out-dated, incorrect info out in the world for this species.

Read this for the correct care info:
 

SherryV

New Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2020
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Florida
No. Not at all. That is preposterous. That is old incorrect info from someone who still mistakenly believes that food causes pyramiding. It doesn't. In the wild they graze daily at will. Babies hatch in the monsoon season when it ir wet, rainy, humid, and there is green growing food everywhere. On their first birthday, those monsoons come back and they eat as much as they can in their second year too.

Any other information from the source that told you that should also be suspect. There is a lot of old, out-dated, incorrect info out in the world for this species.

Read this for the correct care info:
Thank You !!!!
 

Sue Ann

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2019
Messages
409
Location (City and/or State)
chapin , South Carolina
@Tom Dexter is 18 months old, 10 in. long, 5 1/2 lbs. I recently moved him outdoors full time. He is allowed to roam in a 40x44 ft fenced in area with a 4x4 heated night box. he is locked in every night at dark and released in morning between 7:30 and 9:00am. we feed him around 5PM after his daily soak.
how much food should we be giving him daily? Is evening the best time to feed? I wanted to encourage him to graze daily, but he seems to mostly like to got to his favorite plant and sit all day.
any advice about how to manage his transition to outside would be much appreciated.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,503
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
@Tom Dexter is 18 months old, 10 in. long, 5 1/2 lbs. I recently moved him outdoors full time. He is allowed to roam in a 40x44 ft fenced in area with a 4x4 heated night box. he is locked in every night at dark and released in morning between 7:30 and 9:00am. we feed him around 5PM after his daily soak.
how much food should we be giving him daily? Is evening the best time to feed? I wanted to encourage him to graze daily, but he seems to mostly like to got to his favorite plant and sit all day.
any advice about how to manage his transition to outside would be much appreciated.
No need to soak every day anymore, but it will do no harm if you want to.

I'd feed in the morning. Let him eat as much as he wants of the right foods. Now would also be a good time to introduce hay. I use a fast food restaurant type tray, put a layer of Bermuda or orchard grass hay on it, and put the food on top of that. Within a few months, they usually start eating the hay by itself.

His behavior will likely change with the weather.
 

AgataP

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
631
Location (City and/or State)
Seattle, WA
This baby is going wild on weeds, some flowers and the grass. He really loves when the grass is stuck like it’s growing, same with the flowers. Yes he has a whole plate of small chopped pieces but seems like he really enjoys walking through the “garden”. 8D506752-FA52-484E-BE80-F4079FB22AE7.jpeg
 

Lana Dhaou

Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2020
Messages
69
Location (City and/or State)
United Arab Emirates
Over and over I type up and answer diet questions and try to get people feeding the right stuff, but I find that the "norm" is grocery store food. Grocery store food is expensive, a hassle to obtain, and very low on the list of what is best for sulcatas.

These tortoises are GRASS eaters. From the moment they hatch, until the day they die, grass should be a large part of their diet. Spring mix, romaine, kale and other greens are okay as a small part of a varied diet, but should not be the bulk of the diet. If someone must feed grocery store foods, the pile should be sprinkled with grass clippings or "Salad Style". For those who like the convenience of pre-packaged, easy to handle stuff, "Salad Style" is basically finely blended up grass hay that can be sprinkled over any other food to add bulk and fiber. I got my "Salad Style" from Tyler at tortoisesupply.com.

For those that have a lawn, or access to one: Get a tub, get some scissors, get down on your knees, and go to work! It is so EASY to cut a few handfuls of fresh, green, tender, young grass, and dramatically improve your baby sulcatas diet. Any kind of grass will work. Finely chop it for little tortoises and sprinkle it all over the other food, or feed it by itself in a pile. Do be careful about lawn chemicals and pesticides. If you have a gardener, or its not your lawn, use extreme caution. Live in a condo or apartment complex? Don't do it. Not worth the risk, no matter what they tell you. Just grow your own grass in pots on your patio or window sills. Friends, family and neighbors might be able to help you out here.

For those who still just love the grocery store: Most stores are now selling little plastic pots of live, freshly sprouted, organic wheat grass. You can find it at many pet stores too. This is a great way to add grass to the diet of a young sulcata. Get your scissors, hold the pot over the food pile and chop away. Water it and keep the pot in a window sill, and in a few days, you'll have more. You might need several pots as your baby grows, or you can buy seed from one of our site sponsors (Thank you Carolina Pet Supply) and sprout even bigger trays of it yourself.

Some of you may find that your "grass eating" tortoise wants nothing to do with eating grass. This should surprise no one, since most breeders and most keepers never even attempt to feed actual grass to their grass eating tortoise babies. So sad! I can tell you from first hand experience with literally HUNDREDS of babies, they WILL eat it. It may take a month or more to slowly introduce it, but PLEASE, slowly introduce it.

Other items that are good for babies and young sulcatas:
Mulberry leaves
Grape vine leaves
Hibiscus leaves
African hibiscus leaves
Blue hibiscus leaves
Rose of Sharon leaves
Rose leaves
Geraniums
Gazanias
Lavatera
Pansies
Petunias
Hostas
Honeysuckle
Cape honeysuckle
Leaves and blooms from any squash plant, like pumpkin, cucumber, summer squash, etc...
Young spineless opuntia cactus pads

Weeds:
There are soooooooo many...
Dandelion
Mallow
Filaree
Smooth Sow thistle
Prickly Sow thistle
Milk thistle
Goat head weed
Cats ear
Nettles
Trefoil
Wild onion
Wild mustard
Wild Garlic
Clovers
Broadleaf plantain
Narrow leaf plantain
Chick weed
Hawksbit
Hensbit
Hawksbeard

Other good stuff:
"Testudo Seed Mix" from http://www.tortoisesupply.com/SeedMixes
Pasture mixes or other seeds from http://www.groworganic.com/seeds.html
Homegrown alfalfa
Mazuri Tortoise Chow
ZooMed Grassland Tortoise Food


When sulcatas get a little older and bigger, usually around 10-12" for me, they will start munching on plain, dry grass hay, all on their own. I like orchard grass hay the best for this, but I also used bermuda grass hay for years too. When they hit this stage, life gets MUCH easier. Just make sure you have drinking water readily available when they start eating hay, and consider soaking regularly if you are not 100% sure your tortoise is drinking enough, or if you live in a really dry area, like me.

I live in a desert and yet there is still green stuff all around me. I beg you to take a walk and learn about all the green stuff around you, INSTEAD of driving to the store again. Instead of a trip to the grocery store, take a trip to a local nursery for some weed IDs, and tips on growing your own stuff. What could be better than stepping out into your backyard and collecting all the free, healthy tortoise food you can carry? Think of the gas savings! Anyone who is a tortoise keeper, ought to be somewhat of a gardener too.

I beg of you... PLEASE stop the grocery store MADNESS!!! :D

Thank you for this thread! I bought some baby sulcatas just today and after reading this I made sure to purchase seeds for grass and edible flowers, hopefully they'll arrive soon.
 

Lana Dhaou

Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2020
Messages
69
Location (City and/or State)
United Arab Emirates
Over and over I type up and answer diet questions and try to get people feeding the right stuff, but I find that the "norm" is grocery store food. Grocery store food is expensive, a hassle to obtain, and very low on the list of what is best for sulcatas.

These tortoises are GRASS eaters. From the moment they hatch, until the day they die, grass should be a large part of their diet. Spring mix, romaine, kale and other greens are okay as a small part of a varied diet, but should not be the bulk of the diet. If someone must feed grocery store foods, the pile should be sprinkled with grass clippings or "Salad Style". For those who like the convenience of pre-packaged, easy to handle stuff, "Salad Style" is basically finely blended up grass hay that can be sprinkled over any other food to add bulk and fiber. I got my "Salad Style" from Tyler at tortoisesupply.com.

For those that have a lawn, or access to one: Get a tub, get some scissors, get down on your knees, and go to work! It is so EASY to cut a few handfuls of fresh, green, tender, young grass, and dramatically improve your baby sulcatas diet. Any kind of grass will work. Finely chop it for little tortoises and sprinkle it all over the other food, or feed it by itself in a pile. Do be careful about lawn chemicals and pesticides. If you have a gardener, or its not your lawn, use extreme caution. Live in a condo or apartment complex? Don't do it. Not worth the risk, no matter what they tell you. Just grow your own grass in pots on your patio or window sills. Friends, family and neighbors might be able to help you out here.

For those who still just love the grocery store: Most stores are now selling little plastic pots of live, freshly sprouted, organic wheat grass. You can find it at many pet stores too. This is a great way to add grass to the diet of a young sulcata. Get your scissors, hold the pot over the food pile and chop away. Water it and keep the pot in a window sill, and in a few days, you'll have more. You might need several pots as your baby grows, or you can buy seed from one of our site sponsors (Thank you Carolina Pet Supply) and sprout even bigger trays of it yourself.

Some of you may find that your "grass eating" tortoise wants nothing to do with eating grass. This should surprise no one, since most breeders and most keepers never even attempt to feed actual grass to their grass eating tortoise babies. So sad! I can tell you from first hand experience with literally HUNDREDS of babies, they WILL eat it. It may take a month or more to slowly introduce it, but PLEASE, slowly introduce it.

Other items that are good for babies and young sulcatas:
Mulberry leaves
Grape vine leaves
Hibiscus leaves
African hibiscus leaves
Blue hibiscus leaves
Rose of Sharon leaves
Rose leaves
Geraniums
Gazanias
Lavatera
Pansies
Petunias
Hostas
Honeysuckle
Cape honeysuckle
Leaves and blooms from any squash plant, like pumpkin, cucumber, summer squash, etc...
Young spineless opuntia cactus pads

Weeds:
There are soooooooo many...
Dandelion
Mallow
Filaree
Smooth Sow thistle
Prickly Sow thistle
Milk thistle
Goat head weed
Cats ear
Nettles
Trefoil
Wild onion
Wild mustard
Wild Garlic
Clovers
Broadleaf plantain
Narrow leaf plantain
Chick weed
Hawksbit
Hensbit
Hawksbeard

Other good stuff:
"Testudo Seed Mix" from http://www.tortoisesupply.com/SeedMixes
Pasture mixes or other seeds from http://www.groworganic.com/seeds.html
Homegrown alfalfa
Mazuri Tortoise Chow
ZooMed Grassland Tortoise Food


When sulcatas get a little older and bigger, usually around 10-12" for me, they will start munching on plain, dry grass hay, all on their own. I like orchard grass hay the best for this, but I also used bermuda grass hay for years too. When they hit this stage, life gets MUCH easier. Just make sure you have drinking water readily available when they start eating hay, and consider soaking regularly if you are not 100% sure your tortoise is drinking enough, or if you live in a really dry area, like me.

I live in a desert and yet there is still green stuff all around me. I beg you to take a walk and learn about all the green stuff around you, INSTEAD of driving to the store again. Instead of a trip to the grocery store, take a trip to a local nursery for some weed IDs, and tips on growing your own stuff. What could be better than stepping out into your backyard and collecting all the free, healthy tortoise food you can carry? Think of the gas savings! Anyone who is a tortoise keeper, ought to be somewhat of a gardener too.

I beg of you... PLEASE stop the grocery store MADNESS!!! :D

My sulcatas don't like grass🙁 I put grass on their food like you said everyday, they just eat everything and leave the grass until it's so old and dead so I throw it away and put more, but ill keep putting it and hopefully they will start eating it, I really hope so.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,503
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
My sulcatas don't like grass🙁 I put grass on their food like you said everyday, they just eat everything and leave the grass until it's so old and dead so I throw it away and put more, but ill keep putting it and hopefully they will start eating it, I really hope so.
They all do this. If the breeder didn't introduce grass when they were little hatchlings, then you have to do it.

For little babies you need soft, tender, freshly sprouted grass. Then you need to wet the greens and finely chop a small amount of grass onto the wet greens and mix it all up. Start with a tiny amount of grass at first and slowly add more.

This pattern will need to be repeated with each and every food the tortoise has never seen before.
 

Lana Dhaou

Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2020
Messages
69
Location (City and/or State)
United Arab Emirates
They all do this. If the breeder didn't introduce grass when they were little hatchlings, then you have to do it.

For little babies you need soft, tender, freshly sprouted grass. Then you need to wet the greens and finely chop a small amount of grass onto the wet greens and mix it all up. Start with a tiny amount of grass at first and slowly add more.

This pattern will need to be repeated with each and every food the tortoise has never seen before.

Yeah, I will make sure to do that, just like human babies, they need to be introduced to new foods little by little, tanks for the reply!
 

cihuyMarihuy

New Member
Joined
May 30, 2021
Messages
3
Location (City and/or State)
Tangerang Selatan
hello, I bought baby sulcata a few days ago. When I bought it, my sulcata still wanted to eat grass, green mustard and pellets for these two days, my sulcata only wants to eat kangkong(Ipomoea aquatica planted on the ground not in water). even so, my sulcata looks very lively and pup smoothly every morning. sometimes pup up to 2 times. How do I get my sulcata to eat more grasses or variations of vegetables? I am afraid my sulcata growth will be bad
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,503
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
hello, I bought baby sulcata a few days ago. When I bought it, my sulcata still wanted to eat grass, green mustard and pellets for these two days, my sulcata only wants to eat kangkong(Ipomoea aquatica planted on the ground not in water). even so, my sulcata looks very lively and pup smoothly every morning. sometimes pup up to 2 times. How do I get my sulcata to eat more grasses or variations of vegetables? I am afraid my sulcata growth will be bad
Get the tortoises favorite food items, chop them up and wet them. Then get the new food items you want the tortoise to eat and chop up a tiny amount of that super fine. Mince it up into minuscule pieces and then thoroughly mix that in with the large amount of the favorite stuff. It will take weeks, but over time add more and more of the new stuff.

Here is the correct care info:
 

Kymberlyn

Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
May 19, 2021
Messages
20
Location (City and/or State)
Southern Ohio - Zone 6b
Over and over I type up and answer diet questions and try to get people feeding the right stuff, but I find that the "norm" is grocery store food. Grocery store food is expensive, a hassle to obtain, and very low on the list of what is best for sulcatas.

These tortoises are GRASS eaters. From the moment they hatch, until the day they die, grass should be a large part of their diet. Spring mix, romaine, kale and other greens are okay as a small part of a varied diet, but should not be the bulk of the diet. If someone must feed grocery store foods, the pile should be sprinkled with grass clippings or "Salad Style". For those who like the convenience of pre-packaged, easy to handle stuff, "Salad Style" is basically finely blended up grass hay that can be sprinkled over any other food to add bulk and fiber. I got my "Salad Style" from Tyler at tortoisesupply.com.

For those that have a lawn, or access to one: Get a tub, get some scissors, get down on your knees, and go to work! It is so EASY to cut a few handfuls of fresh, green, tender, young grass, and dramatically improve your baby sulcatas diet. Any kind of grass will work. Finely chop it for little tortoises and sprinkle it all over the other food, or feed it by itself in a pile. Do be careful about lawn chemicals and pesticides. If you have a gardener, or its not your lawn, use extreme caution. Live in a condo or apartment complex? Don't do it. Not worth the risk, no matter what they tell you. Just grow your own grass in pots on your patio or window sills. Friends, family and neighbors might be able to help you out here.

For those who still just love the grocery store: Most stores are now selling little plastic pots of live, freshly sprouted, organic wheat grass. You can find it at many pet stores too. This is a great way to add grass to the diet of a young sulcata. Get your scissors, hold the pot over the food pile and chop away. Water it and keep the pot in a window sill, and in a few days, you'll have more. You might need several pots as your baby grows, or you can buy seed from one of our site sponsors (Thank you Carolina Pet Supply) and sprout even bigger trays of it yourself.

Some of you may find that your "grass eating" tortoise wants nothing to do with eating grass. This should surprise no one, since most breeders and most keepers never even attempt to feed actual grass to their grass eating tortoise babies. So sad! I can tell you from first hand experience with literally HUNDREDS of babies, they WILL eat it. It may take a month or more to slowly introduce it, but PLEASE, slowly introduce it.

Other items that are good for babies and young sulcatas:
Mulberry leaves
Grape vine leaves
Hibiscus leaves
African hibiscus leaves
Blue hibiscus leaves
Rose of Sharon leaves
Rose leaves
Geraniums
Gazanias
Lavatera
Pansies
Petunias
Hostas
Honeysuckle
Cape honeysuckle
Leaves and blooms from any squash plant, like pumpkin, cucumber, summer squash, etc...
Young spineless opuntia cactus pads

Weeds:
There are soooooooo many...
Dandelion
Mallow
Filaree
Smooth Sow thistle
Prickly Sow thistle
Milk thistle
Goat head weed
Cats ear
Nettles
Trefoil
Wild onion
Wild mustard
Wild Garlic
Clovers
Broadleaf plantain
Narrow leaf plantain
Chick weed
Hawksbit
Hensbit
Hawksbeard

Other good stuff:
"Testudo Seed Mix" from http://www.tortoisesupply.com/SeedMixes
Pasture mixes or other seeds from http://www.groworganic.com/seeds.html
Homegrown alfalfa
Mazuri Tortoise Chow
ZooMed Grassland Tortoise Food


When sulcatas get a little older and bigger, usually around 10-12" for me, they will start munching on plain, dry grass hay, all on their own. I like orchard grass hay the best for this, but I also used bermuda grass hay for years too. When they hit this stage, life gets MUCH easier. Just make sure you have drinking water readily available when they start eating hay, and consider soaking regularly if you are not 100% sure your tortoise is drinking enough, or if you live in a really dry area, like me.

I live in a desert and yet there is still green stuff all around me. I beg you to take a walk and learn about all the green stuff around you, INSTEAD of driving to the store again. Instead of a trip to the grocery store, take a trip to a local nursery for some weed IDs, and tips on growing your own stuff. What could be better than stepping out into your backyard and collecting all the free, healthy tortoise food you can carry? Think of the gas savings! Anyone who is a tortoise keeper, ought to be somewhat of a gardener too.

I beg of you... PLEASE stop the grocery store MADNESS!!! :D
Thank you Tom. I have been feeding 95% grass/hay clippings chopped up and adding a little romain and plantain a few times a week. I also offer soaked Mazuri pellets but Zippy doesn't seem to care for those.

I just made a list of all the other things that I know are growing around this farm. With this much variety I can gather a tub full in no time.

My question: Does this lose nutrients being stored in baggies in the fridge? Can I dehydrate it and store in mason jars for winter use?

Thanks in advance for any guidance that you, or anyone else, can offer on the benefits or downfalls of stored grass and weeds.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,503
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Thank you Tom. I have been feeding 95% grass/hay clippings chopped up and adding a little romain and plantain a few times a week. I also offer soaked Mazuri pellets but Zippy doesn't seem to care for those.

I just made a list of all the other things that I know are growing around this farm. With this much variety I can gather a tub full in no time.

My question: Does this lose nutrients being stored in baggies in the fridge? Can I dehydrate it and store in mason jars for winter use?

Thanks in advance for any guidance that you, or anyone else, can offer on the benefits or downfalls of stored grass and weeds.
I don't use hay for babies. Not until they are around 12 inches. More weeds, leaves and flowers for babies. Fresh picked weeds and leaves tend to last a week or two in my fridge. Never tried to keep them longer than that.

Will @Kapidolo Farms sells a bunch of wonderful dehydrated food items. I buy from him, and highly recommend his items. My tortoises love them, and I've broken my own records for number of eggs, numbers of hatchlings, and hatch rates for all of my breeding species since I started mixing Will's offerings into my daily food buckets. I had five platynota clutches go 100% this last year! So to answer your question, I know that some things can be dehydrated, stored, and mixed in with "wet" food items later on, but not sure about all things. Will has the knowledge and experience in this arena.
 

tigerscott79

New Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2021
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Elkhart
Over and over I type up and answer diet questions and try to get people feeding the right stuff, but I find that the "norm" is grocery store food. Grocery store food is expensive, a hassle to obtain, and very low on the list of what is best for sulcatas.

These tortoises are GRASS eaters. From the moment they hatch, until the day they die, grass should be a large part of their diet. Spring mix, romaine, kale and other greens are okay as a small part of a varied diet, but should not be the bulk of the diet. If someone must feed grocery store foods, the pile should be sprinkled with grass clippings or "Salad Style". For those who like the convenience of pre-packaged, easy to handle stuff, "Salad Style" is basically finely blended up grass hay that can be sprinkled over any other food to add bulk and fiber. I got my "Salad Style" from Tyler at tortoisesupply.com.

For those that have a lawn, or access to one: Get a tub, get some scissors, get down on your knees, and go to work! It is so EASY to cut a few handfuls of fresh, green, tender, young grass, and dramatically improve your baby sulcatas diet. Any kind of grass will work. Finely chop it for little tortoises and sprinkle it all over the other food, or feed it by itself in a pile. Do be careful about lawn chemicals and pesticides. If you have a gardener, or its not your lawn, use extreme caution. Live in a condo or apartment complex? Don't do it. Not worth the risk, no matter what they tell you. Just grow your own grass in pots on your patio or window sills. Friends, family and neighbors might be able to help you out here.

For those who still just love the grocery store: Most stores are now selling little plastic pots of live, freshly sprouted, organic wheat grass. You can find it at many pet stores too. This is a great way to add grass to the diet of a young sulcata. Get your scissors, hold the pot over the food pile and chop away. Water it and keep the pot in a window sill, and in a few days, you'll have more. You might need several pots as your baby grows, or you can buy seed from one of our site sponsors (Thank you Carolina Pet Supply) and sprout even bigger trays of it yourself.

Some of you may find that your "grass eating" tortoise wants nothing to do with eating grass. This should surprise no one, since most breeders and most keepers never even attempt to feed actual grass to their grass eating tortoise babies. So sad! I can tell you from first hand experience with literally HUNDREDS of babies, they WILL eat it. It may take a month or more to slowly introduce it, but PLEASE, slowly introduce it.

Other items that are good for babies and young sulcatas:
Mulberry leaves
Grape vine leaves
Hibiscus leaves
African hibiscus leaves
Blue hibiscus leaves
Rose of Sharon leaves
Rose leaves
Geraniums
Gazanias
Lavatera
Pansies
Petunias
Hostas
Honeysuckle
Cape honeysuckle
Leaves and blooms from any squash plant, like pumpkin, cucumber, summer squash, etc...
Young spineless opuntia cactus pads

Weeds:
There are soooooooo many...
Dandelion
Mallow
Filaree
Smooth Sow thistle
Prickly Sow thistle
Milk thistle
Goat head weed
Cats ear
Nettles
Trefoil
Wild onion
Wild mustard
Wild Garlic
Clovers
Broadleaf plantain
Narrow leaf plantain
Chick weed
Hawksbit
Hensbit
Hawksbeard

Other good stuff:
"Testudo Seed Mix" from http://www.tortoisesupply.com/SeedMixes
Pasture mixes or other seeds from http://www.groworganic.com/seeds.html
Homegrown alfalfa
Mazuri Tortoise Chow
ZooMed Grassland Tortoise Food


When sulcatas get a little older and bigger, usually around 10-12" for me, they will start munching on plain, dry grass hay, all on their own. I like orchard grass hay the best for this, but I also used bermuda grass hay for years too. When they hit this stage, life gets MUCH easier. Just make sure you have drinking water readily available when they start eating hay, and consider soaking regularly if you are not 100% sure your tortoise is drinking enough, or if you live in a really dry area, like me.

I live in a desert and yet there is still green stuff all around me. I beg you to take a walk and learn about all the green stuff around you, INSTEAD of driving to the store again. Instead of a trip to the grocery store, take a trip to a local nursery for some weed IDs, and tips on growing your own stuff. What could be better than stepping out into your backyard and collecting all the free, healthy tortoise food you can carry? Think of the gas savings! Anyone who is a tortoise keeper, ought to be somewhat of a gardener too.

I beg of you... PLEASE stop the grocery store MADNESS!!! :D
Love this info so very much ty truly for it.
 
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cihuyMarihuy

New Member
Joined
May 30, 2021
Messages
3
Location (City and/or State)
Tangerang Selatan
Get the tortoises favorite food items, chop them up and wet them. Then get the new food items you want the tortoise to eat and chop up a tiny amount of that super fine. Mince it up into minuscule pieces and then thoroughly mix that in with the large amount of the favorite stuff. It will take weeks, but over time add more and more of the new stuff.

Here is the correct care info:
thank you so much @Tom. After a month now my baby sulcata is look healthy, fat, and maybe
 

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ss22matt

New Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2021
Messages
6
Location (City and/or State)
West Midlands
Thanks for this. I've had my baby for 3 weeks, and was getting concerned. He's really avoiding eating the grass I give him over weeds/other leaves as much as he can. His poop is starting to lose consistency which was getting concerning. I'll try to be persistent and maybe reduce the leaves a little bit more to encourage him to go for the grass and cut it into tiny pieces.

I know the pet store was feeding him mostly if not completely pellets (Which I still have but I am ditching those or reducing it to very minimal, as he's gone off them anyway). Poor thing doesn't understand what his primary food source is thanks to that :(
 
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