Summer outdoor enclosure for my sulcata

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Jun 13, 2021
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St. Charles
My boyfriend has owned a sulcata for just about 11 years and was not getting the proper diet so she is rather small for her age. I will post a pic showing her size. Since I've been around weve started giving her a better diet consisting of grassland tortoise pellets, wet grass pellets, and power greens. I've also been dosing her with calcium quite a bit to make up for the last 10 years.
Anyways, with how big she's already grown in the last year, she will need a summer enclosure because we live in the Midwestern united states and winter enclosures are not possible. Spacing is a minor concern but not a huge one.
Anyways I was looking for any tips on what materials we should use to build it. I was thinking if using concrete blocks but I don't know what size enclosure. Should I use chicken wire over the top to prevent predators? I was also planning on putting a solid roof on one side for shade.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! PXL_20210606_210742068.jpg


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ZenHerper

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Welcome! She's really pretty =))

Dietary note: over-dosing calcium is just as dangerous as under-dosing. If you feel her diet is calcium-poor, add just a wee pinch of calcium powder twice weekly. If her phosphorous and magnesium are getting all bound up with excess calcium, her bones will not mature and she may develop bladder stones.

Make sure that the majority of her diet is natural grasses and weeds. She can be started on Orchard Hay....chop it up and soak it in water first to soften it and make it smell grassy, then place a pile of it under foods that she likes. Soaked pellets twice weekly is fine, but most are made with grains, so they are too carb-rich for every day.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
St. Charles
Welcome! She's really pretty =))

Dietary note: over-dosing calcium is just as dangerous as under-dosing. If you feel her diet is calcium-poor, add just a wee pinch of calcium powder twice weekly. If her phosphorous and magnesium are getting all bound up with excess calcium, her bones will not mature and she may develop bladder stones.

Make sure that the majority of her diet is natural grasses and weeds. She can be started on Orchard Hay....chop it up and soak it in water first to soften it and make it smell grassy, then place a pile of it under foods that she likes. Soaked pellets twice weekly is fine, but most are made with grains, so they are too carb-rich for every day.
Thanks so much for that info! Now that she's growing more I plan on cutting back on the calcium and the pellets, I was really just trying to help her bulk up because she was a little more than half this size a year ago!
 

maggie3fan

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I live in the PNW with Sulcata. I have a tort shed as my Sulcata were bigger. Yours is small, you can't build a heated box? Also be careful with that calcium...you cannot make up now for previous neglect.
read this, maybe it will help...

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ZenHerper

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Yep. A balanced diet will do the work for you.

And having enough room to stretch and stomp those legs around.

The Sulcata gang will be along shortly to chat about enclosures...tea? =D


*tops up Maggie's cup*
 
Joined
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Location (City and/or State)
St. Charles
I live in the PNW with Sulcata. I have a tort shed as my Sulcata were bigger. Yours is small, you can't build a heated box? Also be careful with that calcium...you cannot make up now for previous neglect.
read this, maybe it will help...

View attachment 327108
I've only recently found that too much can be just as bad and definitely plan on cutting way back on the calcium. I will check out the article you shared. I could probably build the heated box. My main question is sizing and materials..
 

maggie3fan

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The B I
I've only recently found that too much can be just as bad and definitely plan on cutting way back on the calcium. I will check out the article you shared. I could probably build the heated box. My main question is sizing and materials..
Plywood, as big as you CAN make it. He's small he doesn't need really big yet. He's special so if he were mine he'd get different lettuces, kale, mustard, locally grown grass hay, and more. Also, I'd feed him twice a day morning and evening. for a while. If he can graze in your yard let him do that.
 
Joined
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Location (City and/or State)
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The B I
Plywood, as big as you CAN make it. He's small he doesn't need really big yet. He's special so if he were mine he'd get different lettuces, kale, mustard, locally grown grass hay, and more. Also, I'd feed him twice a day morning and evening. for a while. If he can graze in your yard let him do that.
What about concrete blocks? I know that wood prices are pretty expensive and wood toys so is concrete a good alternative? I also know that they are diggers so my thought was to sink some metal edging plates in the ground. I will definitely start the new diet 🙂
 

Tom

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What about concrete blocks? I know that wood prices are pretty expensive and wood toys so is concrete a good alternative? I also know that they are diggers so my thought was to sink some metal edging plates in the ground. I will definitely start the new diet 🙂
You don't need to sink anything into the ground. They don't dig out.

I use slumpstone block, but cinderblocks will work too. Just make it BIG. As big as you can. For his size, two blocks high will do it. Add a third row of block when he gets bigger in a year or two. Get some half blocks so that the individual bricks can be off set. Start your bottom row with a full sized block, and start your second row with a half block. This way the seems won't line up and your wall will be stronger. Here is one of mine:
IMG_0380.jpg

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You can also put pressure treated 2x4 or 4x4 posts in the ground every 8 feet and use planks, 2x12, or plywood to make walls. Attach the boards to the posts.

You should not need a lid for one his size, but you do need a secure heated night box to keep him safe and warm at night. Like this:

Welcome to the forum! Please feel free to ask any questions.
 

maggie3fan

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Members here have always said, oh Maggie your cinderblock pens are so cool...I move the blocks to change size or to let 2 pens rest while the third pen is grazed down. With my 120 lb plus Sulcata, I made the fence 3 high. But I am only 5'6" tall now so stepping over 3 high for me is lousy.
Memorial day I made Mary Knobbins pen smaller so the next pen can rest. She was visibly angry. I swear she actually screamed in her frustration. That probably meant she was *****d off...get over it...lol
I've had Sulcata big and small for the 15 years I have been here, and not one dug a burrow. Bob would break out and climb the 8 steps to my deck across the deck to the street...Fugitive escapes.
This is Big Sam...
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maggie3fan

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Joined
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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
PacificNorthWest
Members here have always said, oh Maggie your cinderblock pens are so cool...I move the blocks to change size or to let 2 pens rest while the third pen is grazed down. With my 120 lb plus Sulcata, I made the fence 3 high. But I am only 5'6" tall now so stepping over 3 high for me is lousy.
Memorial day I made Mary Knobbins pen smaller so the next pen can rest. She was visibly angry. I swear she actually screamed in her frustration. That probably meant she was *****d off...get over it...lol
I've had Sulcata big and small for the 15 years I have been here, and not one dug a burrow. Bob would break out and climb the 8 steps to my deck across the deck to the street...Fugitive escapes.
This is Big Sam...
View attachment 327139
View attachment 327140
View attachment 327141
What I was trying to say is, I am a single woman with a damaged right arm. I can't hammer or saw stuff. But I can carry cinder block. My property sorta looks trailer trash chic and a lot of people look at me umm... poorly. lol
But I can and do move all those blocks around when I need to. I just increased Mary Knobbins area, AND hadda make a whole nuther pen for this new Redfoot...Blocks are easy to move and for small tortoises you wouldn't need to make them like I have to. So...I like blocks, but there's always those who judge...
 
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