New outdoor enclosure for Marginated

sbwalker5

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
79
Location (City and/or State)
Sheffield, UK
Hi,
I haven't posted here in a while - had a new (human) arrival a little over year ago!

We've had Douglas, our 3 year old Marginated for 2 and half years now, and it's finally time to get him outside. He's rapidly outgrowing his indoor table!

I've had a separated area of lawn in my mind for a while for his outdoor enclosure. The area is 6 x 2m, of which we are using half (3x2m), whilst Douglas is still small (we'll update / extend in 5 years or so)

Didn't get a photo of the area beforehand, but the 6x2m section was turfed a couple of years ago. I had someone come and dig up the grass (I have a bad back to be digging myself!)

image_3.jpeg



I then attempted to dig a small 'trench' around the edge, for the sides of the enclosure, and try and turn the soil a little bit (I had very little time before dark, and the enclosure was coming the next day!)
image.jpeg



I'd contacted a joiner, as I knew I didn't have the skills to make anything out of wood. I asked for a 2 x 3m enclosure, that had 0.5m high panels around the side, and another 0.5m of mesh, with a hinged 'roof', also covered with metal mesh, to ensure it is predator proof. There are lots of roaming cats, and apparently foxes around our back garden, so needs to be predator proof!

I was delighted to return home from work to this... (So glad I didn't attempt to make something myself!)
image_2.jpeg



I had to wait nearly a week, as we've had heavy rain every single night, but last night I climbed in and started to turn the soil over some more, so it's not compacted. I'd also discovered bluebells, and plenty of bulbs within the soil, so spent a long time meticulously pulling them all out (apparently they're pretty toxic?).

After turning the soil, and pushing it into the edges, it looked like this...
image_1.jpeg


The soil is quite rocky, so my plan is to get a few bags of play sand to cover the soil, for drainage. Then I'll mix in a lot of new, clean topsoil, before I create his 'landscape' (a few hills etc). I also thought about mixing in a load of coco coir, as that's what we use for his indoor enclosure at the moment?

This is it so far... I keep this thread updated. I'd love some feedback, questions or advice on this!

Thanks
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
88,998
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
That's really a nice build. I do have a suggestion for you though, something that means more work, I'm afraid. That bare wood needs to be protected. It won't last very long in the rain and weather unless you put a couple coats of some sort of paint or varnish or something on it...especially where it is contacted by the dirt.
 

sbwalker5

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
79
Location (City and/or State)
Sheffield, UK
I did think that, and wondered how long it would last, especially as we often get a fair amount of rain here in the UK. What do people generally use, that is tortoise-safe?
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
88,998
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
As long as you allow the finished product to air out for a week or so, I think anything would be ok to use.
 

sbwalker5

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
79
Location (City and/or State)
Sheffield, UK
I've purchased some clear wood varnish to protect the frame slightly. The side panels have been pressure treated, but the frame definitely needs some sort of treatment.

Just as a frame of reference, here is Douglas' current indoor living arrangement...
ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1466678068.977699.jpg

It's been fine for 2 years now, but he's about 4 or 5 times the size he was as a baby, so he desperately needs more space, and outdoor time now.

Also, does anyone in the UK have a decent cold frame, or knows where to get one from? I've been searching online, and there seem plenty, but it's hard to tell if they're sturdy enough.
 

sbwalker5

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
79
Location (City and/or State)
Sheffield, UK
Little update; after waiting for the constant rain to stop (every night!), I finally managed to fill the enclosure with 12 bags of clean topsoil (300 litres). Purchased a mini greenhouse / cold frame from eBay, I believe it's 80 x 90cm (probably similar in size to his current indoor enclosure!). It is sitting on some bricks I bought, with a gap missing on either side for Douglas to get in and out.

We've had a bit of sunny weather, so had him out for a while this afternoon. It is not yet complete, but thought it would be good to get him gradually used to it - and benefit from the sunshine.

ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1467585413.518459.jpg
ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1467585435.288969.jpg

I've spent some time this evening placing in some cut logs (mainly as stepping stones for myself to enter), and started filling the greenhouse with coconut coir. I'll post more images tomorrow.
 

Rue

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 29, 2016
Messages
1,259
Location (City and/or State)
Canada
Awesome! It looks great. Stepping stones of some kind is a good idea.
 

surfergirl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2015
Messages
489
Looks great and he will love the outdoors! I cannot wait until my margie gets that big. Douglas is a great looking tort!
 

sbwalker5

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
79
Location (City and/or State)
Sheffield, UK
Thanks @Rue and @surfergirl

Still work in progress but it's getting there!

It's crazy really, I still see him as a small baby tortoise, but he's about 5 times the size he was!

Here he is this morning, gave him a warm soak as I put him out.. It's still only around 12-13 degrees Celsius at 7am, but this week has forecast sunshine, so day temps should be ok. Once I've got a night box sorted to maintain night temps, he'll be out permanently!

ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1467617734.539959.jpg
 

Anyfoot

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
6,312
Location (City and/or State)
UK Sheffield
Thanks @Rue and @surfergirl

Still work in progress but it's getting there!

It's crazy really, I still see him as a small baby tortoise, but he's about 5 times the size he was!

Here he is this morning, gave him a warm soak as I put him out.. It's still only around 12-13 degrees Celsius at 7am, but this week has forecast sunshine, so day temps should be ok. Once I've got a night box sorted to maintain night temps, he'll be out permanently!

View attachment 179108
Looks reyt good. Impressed

Must be a united fan. :D
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top