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Red cabbage, Keeping it (too) simple and Quality of life

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cdmay

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I have read many of the posts here over a good bit of time. I have seen debates go back and forth over what I consider to be trivial issues. Sometimes I have chimed in, other times I decided not to add to the lunacy.
At some point though one cannot just sit back and remain silent.
I have kept redfoots since 1973 and have been breeding them since 1978 or 79. In all that time I have tried to provide what I felt was the best possible life for my animals. As I learned more about their life in the wild I have tried to replicate those conditions for those tortoises that I have kept.
But more and more I see people posting about what is "Needed vs. Not needed", and other posts that scream "Keep it simple!" which for me translates into, "Tortoise keepers are all morons so don't confuse them with advanced care".
Recently there was a thread about feeding red cabbage that got reduced to an argument about the minutiae of food ratios or what was the ONLY thing to ever feed a tortoise. Sheesh! How about considering quality of life for your animals?
It is true that redfoot tortoises probably do not need access to UVB light or natural sunlight. It is also probably true that they do not 'need' a varied diet. But I would wager that they DO BETTER when provided with these things. I would also wager that those keepers who provide a varied diet, natural sunlight (or the next best thing) have higher fertility, a higher hatch ratio and HAPPIER animals than those who don't give such things. I know that my adult cherryheads get the above and I get nearly 100% fertility and close to 100% hatching with NO deformities, year after year. I also get huge clutches of huge eggs from my females. Is this a coincidence? I doubt it. And for the record, when provided with natural sunlight redfoot tortoises will often bask in it like lusty co-eds on spring break...regardless of the fact that some people tell you otherwise.
True, I could keep my redfoot tortoises in a 10' X 10' indoor pen and I would still get some hatchlings. I could feed them nothing but Mazuri chow or a few greens and still get some hatchlings. But once again, I would bet that because mine get a 50' X 75' outdoor enclosure with as varied a diet as I can provide that I get the results I do. I would go on to add that I think my tortoises might even live longer under this regime. But, do they 'NEED' it?
Well, a human child can live and grow completely indoors and with a diet that provides only essential nutrients. But would you subject your child to such treatment? What if someone told you that giving your child fresh air and sunshine and the occasional treat was making things too complicated? I know what you'd say. You would say that "That person is full of crap!"
Me too.
I watch my animals. I watch what they eat when wandering around in my yard that is landscaped with palms, bromeilads, flowering bushes (non-toxic, of course) and other things they can browse on. I watch them when they line up and bask in the early morning sun--even in the summer. Should I go out and spank them when they are munching on the bromeliads and tell them "You don't NEED that!" Or should I go out and lecture them about the evils of basking in the sun because someone on the Internet swears they never do?
Of course not.
I try and give them a good life. Maybe the calcium/potassium ratios aren't perfect. Maybe they should never get the mangos I give them in the summer or the mushrooms they seem to like so much. Maybe I shouldn't let them eat the Neoregelia and Vriesea bromeliads (oh gosh, what is the calcium/potassium ratio of those things?!) or the Heliconias that grow in the yard because its all too complicated and not simple.
No way. My tortoises will continue to get what I can give them. I will always try and provide more than the barest minimum for them. And they in turn will keep giving me back jumbo fertile eggs year after year. I could go the route of many snake keepers who just tuck their animals away in sterile shoeboxes that have no light and only enough room to turn around in. But I want better than only what is 'needed'.
And don't keep preaching to me to keep it simple as if I am some idiot.
 

Neohippy

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You mean you care about your torts, and enjoy them? Or even more importantly, you recognize them as living breathing critters who might actually feel things other than the desire to eat and sleep in a dark box? Well that's crazy!

Good to see an experienced keeper who isn't calling people idiots for wanting the best for their tort.
 

matt41gb

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AMEN!!!!!!!!!!! It's about time someone said something. Too many people give bad information. Nobody looks at the natural life of the red-foot so they believe what Joe Pet Store tells them. All of mine stay outside (except for the freak snow storm we had yesterday in Texas). All of my red-foots bask and are so much more active outside. True, they do hide a lot but at least they have access to the sun whenever they choose. I rarely worry about calcium intake, In my opinion people over supplement their torts. I think some people "baby" and "anthropomorphize" their torts. You have to step back and see where they come from and know what they do in their natural world.
 

Redfoot NERD

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Carl it would be nice if everyone had what you have available.. but some of us don't - so why would YOU be offended if someone like myself is trying to help those of us that don't have to realize that they shouldn't feel like they have BETRAYED their tortoises if they don't 24/7/365???

We try to do our best with what we have to do with.

How many really felt like they were being called morons when I posted that it was O.K. if you couldn't feed your redfoots a dozen different greens in a given period of time? And of course that was misunderstood at best.. and ended up being what Carl described by those that heard otherwise someplace else. ( or went out of the way 'purposely' to prove otherwise ).


BTW.. Carl I look forward to the day that my breeding group is as "mature" as yours.. so I can have those numbers you mentioned about yours.

You see everyone - Carl has taught me virtually everything I know about breeding and hatching redfoot tortoises.. but not everything he knows. :rolleyes:

So everyone have a blessed day and do your best by your redfoots. You can make it as "scientific" or as "simple" as you see fit!

Terry K
 

Madkins007

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I've been evolving my definition of Red-foot care to what the medical field calls "Best Practices" (as I understand it). The idea is that we may never KNOW for absolute certainty what our Red-foots really want and need, so what seems to offer the best results to the largest number of knowledgeable people based on what seems to be the best research.

For example, Red-foots seem to do better with UVB, even if it is not critical, so offering it would be a good practice.

I hope I am not offending or confusing people with my posts, or that I am coming across as condescending or smart-alecky, or anything.

Thank you, Carl, for a thoughtful post!
 

Bryan

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Great post Carl, I didn't read the other thread, but I do know that I greatly respect your opinion and agree with you 100%. A varied diet is healthier for any animal. Ie. just the other day I decided to buy some Dandelion leaves from Safeway for $6 despite giving my RF's fig leaves, mulberry leaves, hibiscus leaves, romaine (when there's some left over), and collards as just my greens. If you live in a place that freezes in winter this would be much more difficult, however I would encourage in the spring and summer to vary their diet more. That said, I'm just a newbie, but like Carl would like to raise the healthiest animals possible so that one day I could be blessed with a 14" cherryhead like Darth Maul and many other beautiful and large cherryheads. BTW-Merry Christmas to you Carl and all of those that make this board a great learning tool and fun to visit.
 

Candy

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I knew it. I knew what I had thought all along must be true. If I put Dale in the middle of the produce isle at Whole Foods he would find what he likes on his own, but since I can't do that I bring it home to him. I give him some of everything and I let him decide what he wants. I guess I can do that because I only have one tortoise and not a lot of them I realize that too. I love to give him a smorgasbord and let him have at it. He loves that! Like I said before I really don't have a set feeding schedule for him I just love to watch him eat and love to see what he chooses to eat. I remember when he was at the petstore and the romaine lettuce that was in his tank looked yucky so I loved it when we brought him home and he could have anything that he wanted to eat. I think I spent (the first time I went shopping in the produce isle) around $50.00 just to see what he liked. It was fun I loved it and so did he. I also catch him out in the mornings now basking under the light which surprised me for a moment, but he's been doing it lately. Thanks Carl for clearing that up and I want to know if you have that many adult Cherryheads why can't you send me a female for Dale? :p No seriously. :D
 

Stephanie Logan

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Please don't misunderstand me, Carl, but I think there are two different forums here: one that experts use to argue about the minutiae of "best" tortoise keeping practices, and the other one where newbies and rookies and kids and single tort owners come to cry for sympathy and beg for advice so they can just begin to do all the things that people like you don't even consciously think about anymore because they are automatic to your tortoise-keeper nature now.

I feel like many of the "arguments" on this forum result simply from someone new to tortoise keeping asking for help, and then all the chiefs gathering to pronounce the Right Answer and ending up coming to blows over relatively minor differences in the details....

And thanks for yet another great post to let people like me know that I will not destroy my tortoise if I make a judgment call over one small aspect of her daily routine!:D

I think the vast majority of TFO members are just da**ed grateful to have a place to go to ask for help. I just got a book by A Highfield (who, ironically, was mentioned here recently as a "my way or the highway" type of tortoise expert :p ), and I think he spoke the Truth when he said, though "tortoises...have a reputation as easy and relatively undemanding, quite the opposite is true."
 

Candy

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My husband says that you nailed it StephanieLogan. He says that's exactly what happens on Tortoise Forum. :D You teachers sure think alike. :p
 

egyptiandan

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Very true Stephanie :p It happens all over the "tortoise world" unfortunately though.
People tend to forget that no one can reproduce how someone else is keeping their tortoises. If you notice I never "tell" people how I keep my tortoises, as no one else can do it exactly as I do it and I know that (I wouldn't want them to either :p). I give advice on keeping tortoises and thats all.
You can take some of what works from one person and add things from someone else (in essence what works in your situation as it's going to be different from anyone else).
People do get very caught up in "it's my way or the highway" attitude.

Great post Carl :) There are plenty of things people can take and apply to their own Redfoot keeping. :D

Danny
 

Stephanie Logan

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"You teachers sure think alike."

That, or we are pacifiers by profession!;)

Thanks, Mr. Builder of Most Excellent Dale Enclosures!:D
 

cdmay

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I get your point Stephanie in that new keepers need a source for reliable information.
What I was getting at though was that much of the information that gets posted is given in absolute terms. In many of these posts (or responses) there is no room for variation...in other words, 'you must do as I say' or you will be a failure as a tortoise keeper.
Also, aspects of a tortoise's (in this case, redfoots) life in the wild are often overly simplified or generalized and this results in inaccurate advice for their care. For example I have read posts where people have made the claim or insinuated that redfoots are found only in deep rainforest and therefore never see the sun and so they should not get natural sunlight or the artificial equivalent in captivity. This is of course, completely untrue as redfoots are mostly NOT found in deep rainforest and in the vast majority of their habitat exposure to sunlight is a regular feature. Once again I am not saying that they must have this light to live. But I do say that since they are exposed to it in the wild, are often found actively basking in the wild and then also bask in captivity, why not offer it to them? And why keep insisting that they NOT get it?
Since they obviously want it, why not give it to them if you can? How do you know that they won't benefit from it?
The point I was making about over analyzing their diet was a response to the numerous discussions/arguements about what is the most perfect dietary items to feed tortoises. When people start arguing over this calcium/phosphorus ratio compared to that calcium/phosphorus ratio of various plants and that the one should NEVER be fed or this one should ALWAYS be fed. I want to scream. Or laugh.
Just because a certain food may not have that magic Ca/P ratio doesn't mean one should never feed it to their animals. Very often, foods that are not balanced in this regard may be beneficial in other ways (such as being high in iron, fiber, lipids and so on) and thus are good supplement items to offer from time to time.
My post was my response to the "I know more than you do 'cause I'm an expert" or "I know some experts so I know more than you" mentality that has become a smothering feature here.
Madkins007 mentioned Best Practices above and thats a good expression. But Best Practices can encompass a lot of things with a lot of variation and still get the same results.
 

Candy

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O.K. you Cherryhead keepers.....Dale is looking for a mate. Anyone of you out there have a female for him? ;) My husband gave me money for a new Cherryhead for Christmas. :)
 

Bryan

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Candy said:
O.K. you Cherryhead keepers.....Dale is looking for a mate. Anyone of you out there have a female for him? ;) My husband gave me money for a new Cherryhead for Christmas. :)
Nice! How big is Dale Candy? How big of a female are you looking for and how much was given to Dale's and your gift? ;)[hr]
Carl-I completely agree about the over abundance of absolute statements. It's basically as if someone is saying that they are all knowing and that the world should just stop trying to learn about these animals because everything of importance has already been learned. All reptiles that I have seen like to bask at times to regulate their body temperatures. If a tort is cold they are much slower moving than if they've been "solar powered" for a few minutes. I greatly appreciate ALL of the veteran RF keepers help and information here, because they have all had success in their own rite. And quite frankly those that feel that there's still room for interpretation on the rearing of these beautiful animals have a lot more respect from me because life quite simply isn't always black and white. Who is to say that one day Madkins might find something new and helpful about these animals that isn't already known, or frankly anyone on this board? Those with close attention to detail and an open mind often times pick up on things that others overlook. That said we are all enamored with these beautiful creatures and we all want happy and healthy animals, TOGETHER we can accomplish this because there is ALWAYS more to learn about every single thing in this world.
 

terryo

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Bryan said:
Candy said:
O.K. you Cherryhead keepers.....Dale is looking for a mate. Anyone of you out there have a female for him? ;) My husband gave me money for a new Cherryhead for Christmas. :)
Nice! How big is Dale Candy? How big of a female are you looking for and how much was given to Dale's and your gift? ;)[hr]
Carl-I completely agree about the over abundance of absolute statements. It's basically as if someone is saying that they are all knowing and that the world should just stop trying to learn about these animals because everything of importance has already been learned. All reptiles that I have seen like to bask at times to regulate their body temperatures. If a tort is cold they are much slower moving than if they've been "solar powered" for a few minutes. I greatly appreciate ALL of the veteran RF keepers help and information here, because they have all had success in their own rite. And quite frankly those that feel that there's still room for interpretation on the rearing of these beautiful animals have a lot more respect from me because life quite simply isn't always black and white. Who is to say that one day Madkins might find something new and helpful about these animals that isn't already known, or frankly anyone on this board? Those with close attention to detail and an open mind often times pick up on things that others overlook. That said we are all enamored with these beautiful creatures and we all want happy and healthy animals, TOGETHER we can accomplish this because there is ALWAYS more to learn about every single thing in this world.
Bryan, What a great post!! Posts like that remeind me of the old days on this forum. I learn something new every day just from lurking about on forums. Nothing is written in stone. Great post, and kindly said too.
 

DoctorCosmonaut

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I wish I could have an enclosure that big... Right now my 8" and 4" girls share a 2.16' x 7.5' enclosure... Is that torturing them? :( I do provide them with full spectrum florescent light, fake and real plants and a varied diet however.
 

dmmj

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completely agree about the over abundance of absolute statements. It's basically as if someone is saying that they are all knowing and that the world should just stop trying to learn about these animals because everything of importance has already been learned.

I don't mean to burst anyone's bubble but I am all knowing, I just keep a low profile. I HAVE SPOKEN[hr]
My qoute thingy did not work but my point is I am all knowing[hr]
I HAVE SPOKEN again
 
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