I think I have the basics of food/diet down, but I would love some input.

scarhbar23

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Hey there, first time keeper here!

I have a little 4" Male Russian Tortoise (Agrionemys horsfieldii) and I want to make sure that I'm providing him with an adequate diet. It's my understanding that weeds make up most of their diet, and leafy greens and grasses/hay make up a smaller portion. I've seen some people add cucumbers and zucchini pretty regularly too). I'd love to let him eat stuff outside, but my yard and the local parks/hiking trails don't have plants that are recommended or that are pesticide free. What I'm trying to do is create a "staple" meal that I can give on a regular basis, and supplement with something new every meal.

Here was his meal last night(I sprinkled mutlivitamin and calcium on top):
-Dandelion Greens
-Turnip Greens
-Collard Greens
-Mustard Greens
-Small amount of Kale (I hear that it's not a super nutritious one)
-side of Timothy and Orchard Grass

When I told someone my meal for him last night, they said that most of the greens I listed were "occasionally feed" foods, so I'm a little confused. I've got fiber in the hay serving, and I have my weeds and greens in the list as well. What am I missing? What would you change or add?
 

TheTattooedTortoise

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Hi, I think the most important thing is a wide and varied diet.

Obviously in the UK we have very different plants to you guys but here are a few extras I know of that you can get over there even if in seed form.

Hibiscus leaves/flower
Pansies leaves/flowers
Geraniums leaves/flowers
Mallow leaves/flowers
Violets leaves/flowers
Mulberry leaves
Endive/escarole
Carrott greens
Bramble- (Not sure if you guys have those- BlackBerry plant)
Red dead-nettle
White dead-nettle
Prickly pear cactus
Aloe (succulent)
Echeveria (succulent)
Gasteria (succulent)

Food for thought... literally! 😀
 

TheTattooedTortoise

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Here's a copy n paste from @Tom 's Russian care sheet, diet section. Hopefully the links work as I don't know how to directly link the thread 😑🤤 tech is not my strong suit.

Diet:
Russian tortoises need broadleaf weeds. You will need to learn about the weeds near you and which ones are okay to feed or not. Pics can be posted here on the forum in the "Plant ID" section, or you can take samples to a local nursery. Look for dandelion, sow thistle, mallow, filaree, hawksbit, and many more. If you are not 100% sure that your source is free of pesticides and other chemicals, don't feed anything from there.
You can grow your own food too. Here is one of my favorites: http://www.tortoisesupply.com/TestudoMix
I also get lots of seeds here: http://www.groworganic.com
If you must use grocery store foods I like to favor spring mix, endive and escarole heavily. Also add in carrot tops, cilantro, mustard, turnip and collard greens, and lots of other leafy greens.
It is a good idea to add a product called "Salad Style" to grocery store greens to add some fiber: http://www.tortoisesupply.com/salad-style-food-topper/
This is a new food topper and I like it a lot so far: http://www.tortoisesupply.com/HerbalHay
You can also feed them grape, mulberry and hibiscus leaves, tender young spineless opuntia cactus pads, Mazuri tortoise chow and ZooMed Grassland tortoise food. Alternating and mixing up any of these foods will give your russian a good diet and meet its nutritional needs.
 

ZenHerper

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Grasses and hay are not a part of this species' diet. Stick with broad leaf weeds and flowers.

Russian tortoises cannot metabolize large amounts of sugar: steer clear of fruit.
 

scarhbar23

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Grasses and hay are not a part of this species' diet. Stick with broad leaf weeds and flowers.

Russian tortoises cannot metabolize large amounts of sugar: steer clear of fruit.
Oh dang it, I’ve seen stuff that says they need it for the fiber? I’d assume those leafy weeds would have more than enough fiber?
 

ZenHerper

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Oh dang it, I’ve seen stuff that says they need it for the fiber? I’d assume those leafy weeds would have more than enough fiber?
They get plenty of fiber from eating mature leaves...bagged baby greens from the grocery store should only be used as a last resort due to the low fiber/low nutrient content.
 

scarhbar23

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If they're scarce over there you should order seeds, dandelions grow sooo fast and will literally grow in the worse soil you can find as long as you can water them.
My area of town is on this sandy/rocky soil where trees do really well, but it’s so dry for plants. I’d love to build a raised planter bed some day though!
 

TheTattooedTortoise

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As mentioned above, what your feeding is basically root vegetable greens there... the bulk of nutrition is in the root veg, not the green part.. where as actual flowers and leaves of the correct plants should in theory provide all the fibre and nutrition your tort will need.
 

scarhbar23

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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Colorado Springs
Here's a copy n paste from @Tom 's Russian care sheet, diet section. Hopefully the links work as I don't know how to directly link the thread 😑🤤 tech is not my strong suit.

Diet:
Russian tortoises need broadleaf weeds. You will need to learn about the weeds near you and which ones are okay to feed or not. Pics can be posted here on the forum in the "Plant ID" section, or you can take samples to a local nursery. Look for dandelion, sow thistle, mallow, filaree, hawksbit, and many more. If you are not 100% sure that your source is free of pesticides and other chemicals, don't feed anything from there.
You can grow your own food too. Here is one of my favorites: http://www.tortoisesupply.com/TestudoMix
I also get lots of seeds here: http://www.groworganic.com
If you must use grocery store foods I like to favor spring mix, endive and escarole heavily. Also add in carrot tops, cilantro, mustard, turnip and collard greens, and lots of other leafy greens.
It is a good idea to add a product called "Salad Style" to grocery store greens to add some fiber: http://www.tortoisesupply.com/salad-style-food-topper/
This is a new food topper and I like it a lot so far: http://www.tortoisesupply.com/HerbalHay
You can also feed them grape, mulberry and hibiscus leaves, tender young spineless opuntia cactus pads, Mazuri tortoise chow and ZooMed Grassland tortoise food. Alternating and mixing up any of these foods will give your russian a good diet and meet its nutritional needs.
Ok thanks!
 

scarhbar23

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Joined
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Messages
14
Location (City and/or State)
Colorado Springs
As mentioned above, what your feeding is basically root vegetable greens there... the bulk of nutrition is in the root veg, not the green part.. where as actual flowers and leaves of the correct plants should in theory provide all the fibre and nutrition your tort will needs
As mentioned above, what your feeding is basically root vegetable greens there... the bulk of nutrition is in the root veg, not the green part.. where as actual flowers and leaves of the correct plants should in theory provide all the fibre and nutrition your tort will need.
I’m assuming the best way to find those things is to just grow them? The flowers would be something I could pick up from a nursery to feed, correct?
 

TheTattooedTortoise

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I’m assuming the best way to find those things is to just grow them? The flowers would be something I could pick up from a nursery to feed, correct?
Yea absolutely however always speak to a member of staff to ensure that they aren't fertilizing or using pesticides.
Most decent nurseries will have organic sections too which obviously don't have pesticides or chem fertilizers. To be extra safe you can wait for new plant growth before feeding it to your tort

But yea essentially buy as many 'safe daily' feeders as you can, and plant the sh*t out of them!
 

scarhbar23

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Location (City and/or State)
Colorado Springs
Yea absolutely however always speak to a member of staff to ensure that they aren't fertilizing or using pesticides.
Most decent nurseries will have organic sections too which obviously don't have pesticides or chem fertilizers. To be extra safe you can wait for new plant growth before feeding it to your tort

But yea essentially buy as many 'safe daily' feeders as you can, and plant the sh*t out of them!
Ok! Also, what’s the general consensus on those tortoise pellets? Those seem to have a lot of the same stuff listed above, just not in hydrated form. Is there a best one? Is it best to avoid those all together?
 

TheTattooedTortoise

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Messages
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North Wales, UK
Ok! Also, what’s the general consensus on those tortoise pellets? Those seem to have a lot of the same stuff listed above, just not in hydrated form. Is there a best one? Is it best to avoid those all together?
I can't comment from experience but I see a lot of the Mazuri tortoise diet being used on here as a filler outer along with weeds flowers or being fed once a week in place of weeds. My tort won't entertain them so I stick to grown food.

We can't get the Mazuri over here otherwise I probably would give it a whirl as a bit of an extra.
 

scarhbar23

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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Colorado Springs
I can't comment from experience but I see a lot of the Mazuri tortoise diet being used on here as a filler outer along with weeds flowers or being fed once a week in place of weeds. My tort won't entertain them so I stick to grown food.

We can't get the Mazuri over here otherwise I probably would give it a whirl as a bit of an extra.
Ok sweet, thank you! Thanks for all the help today! I might scout out my mom’s house later this week for some local weeds. She has a jungle!
 
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