Growing food for my redfoot

jsheffield

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One of the reasons I chose a redfoot is for the variety of things I can feed my Darwin. I love giving him a wide variety of foods, feeding him the rainbow, and the fresher the better.

A large portion of his diet is made up of various greens, and I've been working on expanding the variety of greens I can grow for him, to provide him with healthy foods he'll enjoy.

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One of the mainstays of his homegrown greenery is pothos ... it's easy to grow and he loves it!

I have hanging baskets of it all over the house, but don't feed him the stuff from Home Depot until I've repotted it in better soil, and generally only new growth (to avoid their fertilizers and pesticides).

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From those baskets I take cuttings from the new growth and put them in water to root ... once they have been in water for a few months, I trim off some leaves for immediate feeding and plant the rooted stems to make directly edible plants (either for his enclosure, or for meal supplementation).

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I ordered some opuntia from eBay and Amazon, fed Darwin some, and planted some ... all of them have shown some growth and it's just about warm enough for them to move outside for the summer.

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I've been sprouting wheat seeds and planting the mason jars in Darwin's enclosure for him to snack on the young shoots.

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I just set up this raised bed yesterday with a bunch of tortoise foodstuff seeds and mixes ... my hope is that it will start producing snacks for Darwin in a few weeks, then overproduce throughout the summer and into the fall so that I can dry/preserve/freeze the extra for the long NH winter.

I'd love your thoughts and ideas for other ways to grow more of Darwin's food based on your experience farming for your torts.

Thanks,

Jamie
 

Yvonne G

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Looking good, Jamie!

I don't do anything about growing stuff for my tortoises to eat, but just feed them what grows on my property naturally. I have lots of weeds all around the place. You need to look into getting some weed seeds, rather than depending too much upon the house plants. Dandelion, plantain, fillaree, etc. You can also plant a mulberry tree (I prefer the fruitless), as mulberry leaves are a good staple. Plus grape leaves. My tortoises LOVE grape leaves.
 

RosemaryDW

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Your cactus is doing great!

We already had growing plenty of things a tortoise will eat in our native yard: wild primrose, wild snapdragon, buckwheat, desert four o’clocks, tacoma stans, yarrow, wild strawberry, rose bushes, chaparral honeysuckle, plus Chinese maple (a hibiscus relative) and a grape vine. There is a bunch of other stuff she nibbles on. We just lucked out there: had recently put in the yard, found the tortoise. If you are thinking about planting anything in your yard, you can probably find something you both like. :)

I grow some for her cactus now and this year planted buttercup (already devoured).

I am on my third year of zero luck with tortoise seed mixes grown in my yard and next year will focus entirely on weed seeds, which always do well. It’s already dry enough here for me to harvest seeds from filaree and all the chicory relatives; mallow seeds will be ready in a few weeks, along with burr and sweet clover. It’s very easy to dry and store weed seeds but you can buy them online as well.

We’ve also tried zucchini, which is a great and easy to grow food but I only have space for one. Unfortunately one of my cats wouldn’t stop sleeping in it so I gave up. A squash or melon/cucumber vine would be my first choice for homegrown food, great mineral and fiber content and she loves loves loves vines. They are also a good one to preserve (there is some good info on here for freezing squash vines and leaves from Prariemom).
 

jsheffield

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The 4X4 plot of tortoise weeds, grasses, flowers, and broadleafs has taken off!
 

jsheffield

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I harvested a bunch of dandelion greens today and Darwin loves them!

If I wanted to save some, should I freeze or dry them?

Thanks,

Jamie
 

jsheffield

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I moved the opuntia outside for the warm months... 14 out of 14 sprouted new growth as a result of being stuck in dirt.

J
 

Relic

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I moved the opuntia outside for the warm months... 14 out of 14 sprouted new growth as a result of being stuck in dirt.

J
I found my juvi yellowfoot will more readily eat the tender new opuntia pads (with the small leaves still attached) than the older, harder pads once they have dropped the leaves and seemingly become more fibrous.
 

RosemaryDW

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Your cactus really took off!

My tortoise is the same about young growth. I can buy her a very nice youngish pad picked the day before but she is unlikely to eat anything that isn’t as small as your new growth. In other words, I’d better harvest it myself. o_O
 

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