Horsfield Tortoise weight gain problems

Rainbow Tortoise

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Oct 3, 2018
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I weighed my 1 year old tortoise today and am concerned with the results. I have not had him very long but here are his weights so far:
1/7/18 - 59 grams
29/7/18 - 68 grams
31/8/18 - 72 grams
3/10/18 - 68 grams

I am concerned about him loosing weight as he is a growing tortoise. Is this normal? What could I be doing wrong? Any help is greatly appreciated.
 

SweetGreekTorts

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What do you feed him and what amount each day?

I would also recommend feeding Mazuri a couple times a week, that's great for putting on some weight.
 

Rainbow Tortoise

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I feed him green leaves and kale. I feed him two piles of food a day, about the amount you would need to cover his shell (both piles are this size). He usually doesn’t eat it all however. And I sprinkle calcium powder on one of his meals everyday. He seems to go through phases of eating lots and then not eating much at all.
 

SweetGreekTorts

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I feed him green leaves and kale. I feed him two piles of food a day, about the amount you would need to cover his shell (both piles are this size). He usually doesn’t eat it all however. And I sprinkle calcium powder on one of his meals everyday. He seems to go through phases of eating lots and then not eating much at all.
Kale isn't a regular feed for Russians, only moderate. The majority of the diet should be weeds and broadleaf greens. I feed my Russians the "store bought" greens twice a week. They also get spineless prickly pear cactus, optunia fruit, and Mazuri.

I highly recommend Mazuri twice a week. It's loaded with nutrients and helps to put on weight.

I would also add a cuttlebone to his enclosure and only sprinkle calcium powder on his food a few times a week.

What about his enclosure? What substrate do you use? Lights? Basking temps? All of those contribute to a tortoise's daily activity level.
 

Rainbow Tortoise

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I will try to get some mazuri. I struggle with finding food for him as I bought some tortoise feed seeds but it is winter and they are not growing very well. The vet recommended kale to me and I’m not sure what else to get from the store. I will try to find better things to feed him. The vet also told me to put calcium on everyday but I know the vets can sometimes be wrong.

His enclosure is 4feet by 2feet and the substrate I use is a sand/soil mix. I have a heat and UVB light however basking temps are an issue that I wrote about on another thread as I’ve been having trouble with them. I have a cuttlefish bone in his enclosure but he has never shown much interest in it. I have tried also giving him vitamin powder but he never eats the food with it on.

Most of the time when I check on him he is asleep in the corner of his cage but I am out quite a lot most days and I have seen him be active. How much weight should he be gaining a month?
 

katieandiggy

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My Russians gains very small amounts. He has gained about 8g per month. A total of 40g since I got him in April. I grew tons of weeds in the summer but he didn’t like most of them. Now I mainly feed the Crispy Salad from Tesco/ASDA etc have you seen that one? I feed that along with some Kale, petunia flowers, dandelion leaves and flowers, campanula flowers as and when they grow, broadleaf plantain, sometimes some Aloe and the occasional treat of cucumber. I feed cucumber a little more in the summer purely for hydration. My tort does not eat any pellet type food, I’ve tried for months and months and he will not eat it. But he’s slowly gaining weight so I’m not worried.

You mentioned about your other post about temperatures, I haven’t seen it yet but I can tell you that if your temperatures are wrong your tortoise will hide away and won’t eat. It’s crucial that you rectify them ASAP
 

SweetGreekTorts

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Basking temps in the enclosure should be between 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit. I keep mine around 96-97. All my hatchlings graze at their food throughout the day and they bask a lot. By 3pm they turn in for the night, and their lights are on timers (on at 4am and off at 4pm) so they are used to the daily routine. I have cameras set up in every enclosure so I can check on them when I'm not home. They are quite active with no humans hovering over them.
 

TechnoCheese

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I will try to get some mazuri. I struggle with finding food for him as I bought some tortoise feed seeds but it is winter and they are not growing very well. The vet recommended kale to me and I’m not sure what else to get from the store. I will try to find better things to feed him. The vet also told me to put calcium on everyday but I know the vets can sometimes be wrong.

His enclosure is 4feet by 2feet and the substrate I use is a sand/soil mix. I have a heat and UVB light however basking temps are an issue that I wrote about on another thread as I’ve been having trouble with them. I have a cuttlefish bone in his enclosure but he has never shown much interest in it. I have tried also giving him vitamin powder but he never eats the food with it on.

Most of the time when I check on him he is asleep in the corner of his cage but I am out quite a lot most days and I have seen him be active. How much weight should he be gaining a month?

Definitely change the substrate. Sand is a huge impaction risk, along with being an eye, skin, nose, and cloaka irritant. Change it to coco coir, peat moss, orchid bark, or cypress mulch.
 

TammyJ

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I will try to get some mazuri. I struggle with finding food for him as I bought some tortoise feed seeds but it is winter and they are not growing very well. The vet recommended kale to me and I’m not sure what else to get from the store. I will try to find better things to feed him. The vet also told me to put calcium on everyday but I know the vets can sometimes be wrong.

His enclosure is 4feet by 2feet and the substrate I use is a sand/soil mix. I have a heat and UVB light however basking temps are an issue that I wrote about on another thread as I’ve been having trouble with them. I have a cuttlefish bone in his enclosure but he has never shown much interest in it. I have tried also giving him vitamin powder but he never eats the food with it on.

Most of the time when I check on him he is asleep in the corner of his cage but I am out quite a lot most days and I have seen him be active. How much weight should he be gaining a month?
Your vet does not sound like a good reptile vet, telling you give him kale as if that is all he needs, and telling you to put calcium on his food every day. Make sure you read some correct care and diet sheets for this species of tortoise, and try to locate a real reptile vet. All the best! You came to a very good site and we (not me, the experts here!) will be more than happy to help you find all the "right stuff" for your tortoise.
 

Rainbow Tortoise

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I have changed his vet and his substrate. I changed the substrate to orchid bark, however the pieces were too big for him and so I have changed it to coco coir. The food is still a struggle. The food I am growing is not growing well as it is not the right season. I have got him the crispy salad bag that katieandiggy recommended and he eats it. Is pellet food ok to feed my tortoise as I thought fresh food was better but if he’s not getting the right nutrients from them I could give him that. I can’t get mazuri in the UK. Thank you for all your help.
 
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