Help with feeding adult sucatas

MsParedes

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I have 2 sulcatas, male and female, both over 25 years old. (They are both fine so I'm going to skip their stats)
I'm looking for help with feeding. They have been grazing (grasses, leaves, roses, cactus) since they have been outside full time, more than 15 years, no problems.
We live in California and the last few years our drought has made watering the lawn (for maximum growth) a little challenging.
Besides grass, I have mature mulberry trees and grape vines, all with lots of leaves. The problem is, that requires me getting up on a ladder, and I'm not as gracefully as I use to be (or as young).
I'm looking for feeding suggestion. I got a bag of Timothy grass pellets that I tried to feed wet, but they are not having it.
I'd like to say that caring for sulcatas this size, is not easy, but if you have a suggestion on how to integrate a food I don't have to gather, I'd appreciate it.
Please fight the urge to tell me to read the care sheet. I know that no 2 tortoises are not the same, but I'm looking for some advice that has been successful for you.
Thank you in advance.
 

Maro2Bear

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Kapidolo Farms

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Aside from @Maro2Bear 's great suggestion, you might try baled grasses. At my local feed and tack store I am welcome to get all the stuff that falls off of the bails for free. Burmuda, orchard, and prairie grass are available here. Despite its popularity I avoid timothy, cattlemen tell me they think it is least palatable.

With the pole saw, you don't have to strip leaves off the branches, the tortoises will do that, and eat bark and soft green wood too.
 

Maro2Bear

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Aside from @Maro2Bear 's great suggestion, you might try baled grasses. At my local feed and tack store I am welcome to get all the stuff that falls off of the bails for free. Burmuda, orchard, and prairie grass are available here. Despite its popularity I avoid timothy, cattlemen tell me they think it is least palatable.

With the pole saw, you don't have to strip leaves off the branches, the tortoises will do that, and eat bark and soft green wood too.

Yes, with the sharp cutting pincers, I easily trim branches up to probably 1 inch diameter. Reach up, grab branch, pull rope, snip.
 

MsParedes

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MsParedes

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Location (City and/or State)
Atwater CA
Aside from @Maro2Bear 's great suggestion, you might try baled grasses. At my local feed and tack store I am welcome to get all the stuff that falls off of the bails for free. Burmuda, orchard, and prairie grass are available here. Despite its popularity I avoid timothy, cattlemen tell me they think it is least palatable.

With the pole saw, you don't have to strip leaves off the branches, the tortoises will do that, and eat bark and soft green wood too.
I guess I should have expanded on that topic. I can't get them to eat any type of bales at all. If you have a trick to get them started on that, I'd appreciate it. I have tried soaking.
 

Yvonne G

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Even I can use a pole saw!!
 

Tom

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Click this link for a different pole saw:

You simply extend the pole, rest the blade on a tree branch, and saw it off. Or you can lop smaller branches off with the blade and pull cord. Ask a salesperson at Lowes or Home Depot to demonstrate. It is really really simple when you see it in person.

No tortoise will just walk up and eat hay. Soaked or not. One way to introduce it is to feed the tortoises on a bed of the hay. Every day. In time, they will begin to associate the hay with the food and begin eating it intentionally. You can also cut up a handful of hay, soak it for an hour, and then mix the soaked cut pieces with the greens of the day. Again, this will take lots of time. Weeks or months for them to begin to recognize it as food. Also, a hungry tortoise is not a picky tortoise. Let them eat light for a few days, and they will be much more willing to try something new.

As they start eating more and more dry hay, be sure they are well hydrated.

And you can ignore the stupid CA regs. Just water your lawn. Tell them its food for your animals if they even ask.
 

NorCal tortoise guy

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I have had several large sulcatas over the years refusing to eat hay. Though it sounds a little mean to us I find the tough love approach works the best for them. Let them get a little hungry and they will eat hay. A few days without supplemental food will not harm a large sulcata and in the end them excepting hay is a good thing for there health.
 

Yvonne G

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I don't really understand how it works from the picture, but I'll do some research.
that particular picture isn't a pole saw, it's a lopper. You grab onto a small branch with the 'jaws' of the lopper and pull the rope to 'bite' off the branch. With the pole saw there's a jagged toothed pruning saw at the end of the pole and you just saw off the branches.
 

MsParedes

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I have had several large sulcatas over the years refusing to eat hay. Though it sounds a little mean to us I find the tough love approach works the best for them. Let them get a little hungry and they will eat hay. A few days without supplemental food will not harm a large sulcata and in the end them excepting hay is a good thing for there health.
I don't think it sounds mean at all. Mine are both over 100 lbs. I don't think they will starve with a couple days of light feeding.
 

MsParedes

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Click this link for a different pole saw:

You simply extend the pole, rest the blade on a tree branch, and saw it off. Or you can lop smaller branches off with the blade and pull cord. Ask a salesperson at Lowes or Home Depot to demonstrate. It is really really simple when you see it in person.

No tortoise will just walk up and eat hay. Soaked or not. One way to introduce it is to feed the tortoises on a bed of the hay. Every day. In time, they will begin to associate the hay with the food and begin eating it intentionally. You can also cut up a handful of hay, soak it for an hour, and then mix the soaked cut pieces with the greens of the day. Again, this will take lots of time. Weeks or months for them to begin to recognize it as food. Also, a hungry tortoise is not a picky tortoise. Let them eat light for a few days, and they will be much more willing to try something new.

As they start eating more and more dry hay, be sure they are well hydrated.

And you can ignore the stupid CA regs. Just water your lawn. Tell them its food for your animals if they even ask.
Thank you for the suggestions.
 

queen koopa

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Weeds! Weeds are my best friend. Rocket, purslane, dandelion, and good ol Bermuda grass. Those are very hard growing here in Las Vegas.
 

tortalyn

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I have had several large sulcatas over the years refusing to eat hay. Though it sounds a little mean to us I find the tough love approach works the best for them. Let them get a little hungry and they will eat hay. A few days without supplemental food will not harm a large sulcata and in the end them excepting hay is a good thing for there health.
My 185 lb. sulcata Hairy who resides here in Florida grazes on the grasses in his area. However, he eats orchid grass bales in the evenings and mornings. The hay is kept near his enclosure. We use the other foods, like cactus pads, mango's hibiscus, etc., as his treats.

Hairy is just 20 years old and I noticed he is a bit lazier and enjoys his bales as much as he enjoys the roaming and grazing. He is a big and healthy Boy enjoying life in the Sunshine state.
 

Maro2Bear

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The extended “snipper” really works well. Ours is an extendable fiberglass pole - reaches a good 15-20 feet maybe. It had a saw and the saw cutter, but i removed our saw a long time ago. Just easier to snip w/o the saw in the way. I’ll try to take a quick video of the process. Good luck.
 

tortlvr

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I guess I should have expanded on that topic. I can't get them to eat any type of bales at all. If you have a trick to get them started on that, I'd appreciate it. I have tried soaking.
I wrap the hay in romaine and hand feed. Mine just started eating it by themselves after 10 years. Still do this with opuntia for the male.
 

DianeS

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Nov 21, 2018
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San Diego, California
I have 2 sulcatas, male and female, both over 25 years old. (They are both fine so I'm going to skip their stats)
I'm looking for help with feeding. They have been grazing (grasses, leaves, roses, cactus) since they have been outside full time, more than 15 years, no problems.
We live in California and the last few years our drought has made watering the lawn (for maximum growth) a little challenging.
Besides grass, I have mature mulberry trees and grape vines, all with lots of leaves. The problem is, that requires me getting up on a ladder, and I'm not as gracefully as I use to be (or as young).
I'm looking for feeding suggestion. I got a bag of Timothy grass pellets that I tried to feed wet, but they are not having it.
I'd like to say that caring for sulcatas this size, is not easy, but if you have a suggestion on how to integrate a food I don't have to gather, I'd appreciate it.
Please fight the urge to tell me to read the care sheet. I know that no 2 tortoises are not the same, but I'm looking for some advice that has been successful for you.
Thank you in advance.
Hello, I mix romaine, green beans with Bermuda green hay. The feed store lets me bag up what's on the ground for free. I alternate adding sliced tomato, or apple, and Nopales cactus. Usually I add some Masuri on Friday's. I check the store adds for cheapest cost on green beans, my tortoises love them! I buy the romaine at Smart&Final, large bags, I buy the Masuri from Amazon. I'm lucky to have access to a well for my landscaping for water.
 

Kadels

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Besides grass, I have mature mulberry trees and grape vines, all with lots of leaves. The problem is, that requires me getting up on a ladder, and I'm not as gracefully as I use to be (or as young).
Besides grass, I have mature mulberry trees and grape vines, all with lots of leaves. The problem is, that requires me getting up on a ladder, and I'm not as gracefully as I use to be (or as young).
Picking up on something the OP said -- I am in AZ and I have a grapevine. I don't know what kind, but last year it produced green grapes (that the birds ate before I could even see if they were edible for humans). Could I cut off some of the vines and let my Sulcata (nearly age 9) eat the leaves off the vines???
 

Tom

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@Kadels asked: "Picking up on something the OP said -- I am in AZ and I have a grapevine. I don't know what kind, but last year it produced green grapes (that the birds ate before I could even see if they were edible for humans). Could I cut off some of the vines and let my Sulcata (nearly age 9) eat the leaves off the vines???"

Yes you can. I find it better to pull leaves and offer them separately, but you can cut whole vines too. Grape leaves are a great tortoise food. Look around the neighborhood and see if you can also find a mulberry tree. The leaves are great tortoise food. You should also be growing some spineless opuntia.
 
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