Russian Tortoise Diet (SOS)!

oliviaabrah

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Joined
Feb 5, 2021
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
MN
Hello, all!

I am really struggling to curate the ideal diet for my Russian. I live in Minnesota, and right now there is tons of snow on the ground, thus I am unable to find any weeds or grasses. That being said, it is a given that my Russian is in an indoor enclosure. I am very limited in what I can feed my tortoise, and I am struggling to pick the right foods/what kind of variety I should be giving him. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

Madzparrow

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Joined
Dec 21, 2020
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Minneapolis MN
If so, the Wedge (or probably any co-op) has really great produce. I'd check out the Tortoise Table app, as well as some of the care guide sheets that are hidden in this forum to get an idea of what to feed the little guy.
The Wedge is specifically rad because they have bundles of greens like Dandelion Greens, Carrot tops, bins of mustard greens ect. Someone more experienced can tell you more thuroughly the dos and dont's, but the main point is to add variation so that they have a nice balanced diet. And russians are vegetarian so no bugs.

(Also I have "heard" that spinach is not so great for tortoises, I don't know if this is confirmed but to be safe, I tend to buy the Spring Mix and just pull out all the spinach)
 

Lyn W

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Jul 22, 2014
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UK
This will help you with diet suggestions and all other aspects of care.

In colder climates like ours in the UK we have to use shop bought greens, like mixed crispy salad bags - anything with red and green multileaf, radicchio, escarole or, frisee as a base then add in better leaves like lambs lettuce, pak choi, dark romaine leaves, kale, collard greens,
I believe you have stores that sell dandelion greens in the US?
The caresheet will give you other ideas and also see www.thetortoisetable.org.uk as a guide to tort safe foods.
 

oliviaabrah

New Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2021
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
MN
If so, the Wedge (or probably any co-op) has really great produce. I'd check out the Tortoise Table app, as well as some of the care guide sheets that are hidden in this forum to get an idea of what to feed the little guy.
The Wedge is specifically rad because they have bundles of greens like Dandelion Greens, Carrot tops, bins of mustard greens ect. Someone more experienced can tell you more thuroughly the dos and dont's, but the main point is to add variation so that they have a nice balanced diet. And russians are vegetarian so no bugs.

(Also I have "heard" that spinach is not so great for tortoises, I don't know if this is confirmed but to be safe, I tend to buy the Spring Mix and just pull out all the spinach)
Thank you!! I was looking at the Tortoise Table app and I was getting so disappointed because most of them are weeds. But good to know! I've never heard of the Wedge but I will definitely check it out for a little day trip!
 

oliviaabrah

New Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2021
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
MN
This will help you with diet suggestions and all other aspects of care.

In colder climates like ours in the UK we have to use shop bought greens, like mixed crispy salad bags - anything with red and green multileaf, radicchio, escarole or, frisee as a base then add in better leaves like lambs lettuce, pak choi, dark romaine leaves, kale, collard greens,
I believe you have stores that sell dandelion greens in the US?
The caresheet will give you other ideas and also see www.thetortoisetable.org.uk as a guide to tort safe foods.
Thank you - Yes, we do have stores that carry dandelion greens. I just don't know if that should be considered a "staple" for his diet or not.
 

jsheffield

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2,338
Location (City and/or State)
Westmoreland, NH
My four Russians get through the winters in New Hampshire thanks largely to mixed greens from my local supermarket.

I feed them a bunch of that each day, with a bit of dried plant matter (hibiscus flowers, moringa, and wakame seaweed, all off of Amazon).

1-2 times a week, I give them a bit of butternut squash or pumpkin or spaghetti squash (I buy it frozen and already chopped in the freezer section of the supermarket).

1-2 times a week, I give them a bit of mazuri or zoo-med tortoise kibble.

That'll get them through to the warmer months.

Jamie
 

Madzparrow

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Joined
Dec 21, 2020
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Minneapolis MN
The main idea is no staples. you want to make sure you're changing up what greens you're feeding him so he gets a range of nutrition ect. I do like the mighty and spring mixes at the coop, pick out the spinach, change which ones you feed him.

For ex. I got Clyde some Mighty mix last week, this week I bought him Kale and Dandelion greens. Common tip but I throw them in a plastic bag with a paper towel so they last longer.

Some other things I do, I have a green I feed him throughout the week every day (changing it each time I go out to get more food for him) and then I add stuff to have more variety from day to day. I soak a few Mazuli Pelletes twice a week and add that to his food to give him any nutrients I accidentally left out, and twice a week I also chop up some veggies for him (again, this only takes up like half his meal that day I'm still feeding him hella greens) Clyde likes bell pepper and cucumber. A lot of the plants on the app are common house plants you can get at a plant shop, so I have a few of those to add further variety.

He also needs calcium, make sure to drop a cuttle bone in his enclosure (again, common for pets like birds) and I sprinkle calcium powder on his food every other day.

* I live in Saint Paul too! The Wedge is in Minneapolis near the Whittier area, but when I don't feel like making the treck I actually just go to the Mississipi Market on Selby because its a decent shop and its super close to me.
 

oliviaabrah

New Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2021
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
MN
My four Russians get through the winters in New Hampshire thanks largely to mixed greens from my local supermarket.

I feed them a bunch of that each day, with a bit of dried plant matter (hibiscus flowers, moringa, and wakame seaweed, all off of Amazon).

1-2 times a week, I give them a bit of butternut squash or pumpkin or spaghetti squash (I buy it frozen and already chopped in the freezer section of the supermarket).

1-2 times a week, I give them a bit of mazuri or zoo-med tortoise kibble.

That'll get them through to the warmer months.

Jamie

That's amazing! Thank you for sharing this. I'm really eager to try the plant matter recipe :3!
 

oliviaabrah

New Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2021
Messages
21
Location (City and/or State)
MN
The main idea is no staples. you want to make sure you're changing up what greens you're feeding him so he gets a range of nutrition ect. I do like the mighty and spring mixes at the coop, pick out the spinach, change which ones you feed him.

For ex. I got Clyde some Mighty mix last week, this week I bought him Kale and Dandelion greens. Common tip but I throw them in a plastic bag with a paper towel so they last longer.

Some other things I do, I have a green I feed him throughout the week every day (changing it each time I go out to get more food for him) and then I add stuff to have more variety from day to day. I soak a few Mazuli Pelletes twice a week and add that to his food to give him any nutrients I accidentally left out, and twice a week I also chop up some veggies for him (again, this only takes up like half his meal that day I'm still feeding him hella greens) Clyde likes bell pepper and cucumber. A lot of the plants on the app are common house plants you can get at a plant shop, so I have a few of those to add further variety.

He also needs calcium, make sure to drop a cuttle bone in his enclosure (again, common for pets like birds) and I sprinkle calcium powder on his food every other day.

* I live in Saint Paul too! The Wedge is in Minneapolis near the Whittier area, but when I don't feel like making the treck I actually just go to the Mississipi Market on Selby because its a decent shop and its super close to me.
I really appreciate the tips! I constantly struggle with finding a small enough bag of greens that will last me throughout the week. Every time I buy some greens, I look in the fridge the next day and there's some gross brown stuff already starting to accumulate :(!

But yeah, I'm thinking I might have to make a little trip to Gertens or something for the house plants haha!

(Mississippi Market is wayyy closer to me, too. I think I might try going there since I've been going to the Lunds on Ford).
 

Lyn W

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Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
20,485
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Thank you - Yes, we do have stores that carry dandelion greens. I just don't know if that should be considered a "staple" for his diet or not.
There needs to be variety too but the caresheet and Tortoise Table will help you with that.
If you soak all leaves before feeding that will rehydrate them.

Many also use dried pellets which they soak to soften successfully but these should not be the main or only food,
 
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