For Those Who Have a Young Sulcata...

Dizisdalife

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I have used both the Premium Horse Pasture Mix and the Dairy Pasture Mix and would recommend the Premium Horse Pasture Mix. The Dairy Pasture mix was mostly clover and medics. Good as part of a diet, but not much grass. The Premium Horse Pasture Mix has lots of grass and grows really fast and thick. It seems to do well in full sun and in shady areas. I grow it outside.
 

Tom

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tortwalt said:
which mix from the groworganic.com list do you recommend Tom?

This one:
PVFS Premium Horse Pasture Mix (Irrigated) - Nitrocoated Seed (lb)

Once it gets going, I can fill a five gallon bucket with grass every two weeks in summer out of a 4x8' plot. It just keeps coming back over and over again.
 

Saleama

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Tom said:
Caboose said:
Where can i buy weeds


My Sulcata Michelangelo[TURTLE]
and my RedFoot Raphael [TURTLE]
Nobody sells weeds. You find them growing in your yard or out in wild areas.
Actually, many of the weeds you mentioned in the opening post are sold as seeds on ebay. I bought most of that list last month.
 

Annaliisas

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I just planted grass in my enclosure. It was too hot this summer to get it started, but it has an automatic sprinkler. Wally is getting into it, but he like the hibiscus leaves and the rose of Sharon bushes best. And the plants make great shade, hiding spots, and they are pretty to boot. I buy 5 gallon hibiscus plant at my whole sale nursery for $6. I probably had to replant new ones 2 times this summer. His enclosure is what I see from my kitchen window, so I get all different color flowers to make me happy and I give them to him before the wilt.

ImageUploadedByTortForum1382116920.333004.jpg
 
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Coconut

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I love this! I already have some of these plants and started growing a lot of the plants in this list and a lot of these weeds grow around my house! I also found this site called http://www.africantortoise.com very helpful. I have most of these greens available all year so I don't, hopefully never, have to buy greens at the store. I agree that it's healthier for the torts and healthier for your sanity to do some gardening. Thanks for the info :)

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
 

DeanS

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This one:
PVFS Premium Horse Pasture Mix (Irrigated) - Nitrocoated Seed (lb)

Once it gets going, I can fill a five gallon bucket with grass every two weeks in summer out of a 4x8' plot. It just keeps coming back over and over again.
Is this the source for the alfalfa you grow?
 

Tom

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I buy it from that site, but that is not the link to that specific product. The alfalfa is the "non-dormant" type.
 

koopa82

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Thanks for sharing Tom! My sully's diet consist of more leaves then grass- there are a lot of hibiscus trees and other leafy plants around my area. I bring him out to graze on grass only about once a week. Is this ok or should I be feeding him more grass? He's approaching a year old now.
 

DeanS

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Thanks for sharing Tom! My sully's diet consist of more leaves then grass- there are a lot of hibiscus trees and other leafy plants around my area. I bring him out to graze on grass only about once a week. Is this ok or should I be feeding him more grass? He's approaching a year old now.
The diet should be (at least) 90% grass/weeds. Flowers and leaves make a nice supplement...once or twice a week. But, never a substitute for grass.
 

Tom

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Thanks for sharing Tom! My sully's diet consist of more leaves then grass- there are a lot of hibiscus trees and other leafy plants around my area. I bring him out to graze on grass only about once a week. Is this ok or should I be feeding him more grass? He's approaching a year old now.
To my knowledge there is no body of scientific that clearly defines exactly what a sulcata tortoise should and shouldn't eat. We have all sorts of accepted "truths" from a variety of sources and for a wide variety of reasons, but I don't honestly know "the truth". Lots of people and websites list percentages for various items, but where does that come from? And why does no harm appear to happen when those percentages are widely deviated from? I promote what I believe to be the best thing for them based on my years of experience, observation and study.

I can share what I have seen out in the world, and that is that sulcatas are very adaptable and can thrive on all sorts of diet and feeding routines. I've seen every technique you can imagine from nothing but grocery store lettuces and greens to nothing but grass, and everything in between. It seems to me that they can thrive and be healthy on just about any reasonable feeding regime. How many people all over this country feed nothing but grocery store greens. As long as calcium and vitamin needs, hydration, exercise and uv needs are all met their tortoise grow up and look, behave and reproduce just fine. Some people let them eat dog poop. I know one guy who feeds lots of whole bananas. I saw a guy in FL whose gorgeous young adults ate cat kibble everyday along with weeds and grass. All of the above examples appear just as healthy as mine. From the little I have seen on wild sulcatas, they appear to be opportunists. They eat mammal feces, carrion, windfall fruit, as well as all the leaves, weeds, grass and succulents they can find. We hear that they "need" a "high-fiber" diet, but the ones eating grocery store lettuce for their first few years appear to do just fine.

I have my opinions about what I think is best, but truth be told, they appear to do just fine on almost any reasonable diet. I feed my sulcatas almost everything on this list. So far so good for me...
 

sam biggs

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hi, im new to the forum and im looking into buying a sulcata. i would like to know if anyone can suggest a tortoise supply shop in the uk where i could purchase seed mixes from. i want to have this all set up and growing before i get one. also would i be able to let a young sulcata in the same outside enclosure as my two 7 year old hermanns ?! thanks for any help or suggestions ....... sam
 

JoesMum

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hi, im new to the forum and im looking into buying a sulcata. i would like to know if anyone can suggest a tortoise supply shop in the uk where i could purchase seed mixes from. i want to have this all set up and growing before i get one. also would i be able to let a young sulcata in the same outside enclosure as my two 7 year old hermanns ?! thanks for any help or suggestions ....... sam
The Shelled Warriors shop http://www.shelledwarriorsshop.co.uk/seeds---grow-your-own-food-1g---1kg-49-c.asp

We never recommend mixing species as they carry different pathogens and what one carries harmlessly could kill another.

In any case, they must be kept entirely separately in quarantine for at least 6 months to make sure that neither makes the other sick. A mature sulcata is big and the bullying implications are awful. Your proposed sulcata will eat you out of house snd home and test your perimeter fencing to the max. It must be kept separtely from your Hermanns.
 

koopa82

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To my knowledge there is no body of scientific that clearly defines exactly what a sulcata tortoise should and shouldn't eat. We have all sorts of accepted "truths" from a variety of sources and for a wide variety of reasons, but I don't honestly know "the truth". Lots of people and websites list percentages for various items, but where does that come from? And why does no harm appear to happen when those percentages are widely deviated from? I promote what I believe to be the best thing for them based on my years of experience, observation and study.

I can share what I have seen out in the world, and that is that sulcatas are very adaptable and can thrive on all sorts of diet and feeding routines. I've seen every technique you can imagine from nothing but grocery store lettuces and greens to nothing but grass, and everything in between. It seems to me that they can thrive and be healthy on just about any reasonable feeding regime. How many people all over this country feed nothing but grocery store greens. As long as calcium and vitamin needs, hydration, exercise and uv needs are all met their tortoise grow up and look, behave and reproduce just fine. Some people let them eat dog poop. I know one guy who feeds lots of whole bananas. I saw a guy in FL whose gorgeous young adults ate cat kibble everyday along with weeds and grass. All of the above examples appear just as healthy as mine. From the little I have seen on wild sulcatas, they appear to be opportunists. They eat mammal feces, carrion, windfall fruit, as well as all the leaves, weeds, grass and succulents they can find. We hear that they "need" a "high-fiber" diet, but the ones eating grocery store lettuce for their first few years appear to do just fine.

I have my opinions about what I think is best, but truth be told, they appear to do just fine on almost any reasonable diet. I feed my sulcatas almost everything on this list. So far so good for me...
I see, that makes a lot of sense. Thanks Tom!
 

Tort-Rex

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Could a baby sulcata thrive on just grazing in the Grazing Tortoise Seed Mix?
 

Tort-Rex

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A baby sulcata could thrive on your yard and nothing else...if you'd like!
Thanks for the info! I've been hoping to get a baby sulcata and have been doing as much research as possible!
 

Yourlocalpoet

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This is a common issue for leopard keepers. When sulcatas get big, you put them in a big grass yard or drop a flake of hay and they are good to go. When leopards get big, you either grow a lot of leafy stuff or buy a lot of leafy stuff. I've seen a lot of the leopard subspecies hybrids that like the grass, but a lot of the "pure" babcockii don't touch it.
Interesting. The main part of my leopard's diet is grass. In the summer it's pretty much all she eats as she's outside. Obviously, dandelions and clover take over the lawn at this time but she's a serious grass eater.
 
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