The Tortoise Chef

Kapidolo Farms

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A daily 'small tortoises' prep of salad includes enough to fill a 2 foot by 3 foot cement mixing tray. Another salad is made for outdoor Manouria, and a third for 'medium' sized tortoises (large redfoots, teen Manouria, and Forsten's).

This (the picture) is for the 'small' tortoises, under four pounds. This particular day included 15 heads or green leaf lettuce (top 3/4 of each leaf), 2.5 pound of spring mix, 2 cups of chopped grape leaves, 2 cups of chopped fresh hibiscus flowers, 2 cups of moistened ZooMed Forest tortoise food, two cups of dried loose leaf moringa, 2 cups of grated green summer squash, and about one cup of grated sweet potato.


IMG_20200531_133948.jpg

The outdoor Manouria got six heads of green leaf, 8 green summer squash - ripple cut, a whole sweet - potato ripple cut, two frozen bananas - ripple cut and then thawed, two cups of whole green beans, two large opuntia pads - ripple cut, two cups of layer crumbles. The banana and opuntia make the layer crumbles stick to everything else.

The medium size tortoises get the bottom 1/4 of each head of green leaf lettuce. Half a sweet potato - fries cut, four green summer squash - fries cut, a single banana - fries cut, and a smaller whole opuntia - fries cut, 1/2 cup green beans, half cup of okra, 1/2 cup of layer crumbles, 1 cup of moringa, and any small tortoise diet that is not already fed out.

Total prep time about a hour, feed out time about an hour. When you do something frequently you can get pretty quick. Some days the time is more limited. Frozen - thawed gel diet can be a great time saver if made ahead.
 

RosemaryDW

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A daily 'small tortoises' prep of salad includes enough to fill a 2 foot by 3 foot cement mixing tray. Another salad is made for outdoor Manouria, and a third for 'medium' sized tortoises (large redfoots, teen Manouria, and Forsten's).

This (the picture) is for the 'small' tortoises, under four pounds. This particular day included 15 heads or green leaf lettuce (top 3/4 of each leaf), 2.5 pound of spring mix, 2 cups of chopped grape leaves, 2 cups of chopped fresh hibiscus flowers, 2 cups of moistened ZooMed Forest tortoise food, two cups of dried loose leaf moringa, 2 cups of grated green summer squash, and about one cup of grated sweet potato.
I immediately wondered “Why not the bottom of the lettuce?“ but naturally you are feeding it to your bigger tortoises and not letting any go to waste. :)
 

RosemaryDW

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I’m trying to be responsible but I’m feeling really “done” with quarantine. I didn’t have the energy to spend ninety minutes at the drive-thru farmers market for two dollars worth of jute leaves, nor did I want to make a trip to our Korean grocery store for the tortoise, as I can’t get my full human shopping list there. So I did another pass at the community garden. Some regular weeds hanging on at the periphery of the garden; a random stalk of overblown arugula, a very healthy amaranth (she won’t eat it but worth a shot); a super random brassica I think *might* be yellow cress but why anyone would grow it I don’t know; and finally some of what I think are spaghetti squash leaves from the green waste area. I couldn’t be a crazier looking old lady if I tried. It’s super hot right now so fortunately she‘s not very hungry.
 

waretrop

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So I try this every spring without success. I have tried to get Alice to eat orchard grass, dried and from local farmers freshly cut and dried and baled. She will have nothing to do with it. I have cut it in an small pieces, soak it and serve it wet and just moist. She actually opens her mouth and shakes it out. No kidding......So my organic farmer friend has what he calls orchard grass. He told me he cut it last night and this morning and that I may go get a few bags if it. It is mostly green and some dried things. Alice ran over to it and loved it. I hae now cut it to 8 or 10 inch lengths. At the beginning she was taking it into her mouth as one long big gob of spaghetti that was going to last the while pile that I placed in front of her.

I am not sure if this is only orchard grass or something else in it and how much should I let her have at the beginning without harming her.???? I am hoping to keep giving it to her until it slowly dries out and maybe she will continue eating it that way.

What do you all think??? Any advice...?

orchard grass1.jpg

orchard grass2.jpg
 

Yvonne G

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Silly creature! In my opinion let her eat as much as she wants, and hope she'll continue to love it as it dries.
 

waretrop

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OMGosh!!! Alice has not stopped eating all day...but now she is laying on her piglet heating pad in her horse tank. That's a good thing. She will sleep until the morning.. My local farmer only makes gigantic bales. My hubby says they are 1800 pounds...I don't think I can do that... NOW, maybe Alice could eat that all winter but I don't think I can get it to my house....LOL

orchard grass4.jpg
 

Toddrickfl1

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Anybody know if my Redfoots can eat this? First time seeing it IMG_20200627_091633855.jpg
 

method89

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I don't see why not but they do have a pit in them ( if I remember correctly)

Similar to the lychee
 

Kapidolo Farms

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Not lychee but https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambutan
Lychee is different https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lychee

They are related but different tree species. They both have a floral smell and flavor.

If you notice in the nutirent content part of the wiki pages, lower right hand side, you'll notice the Rambutan has a good C: P ratio, where as the Lychee does not. Also notice the Rambutan analysis is for 'packed in syrup', while the lychee 'raw'. This should not have a bearing on the C: P ratio as far as I am aware?
 

RosemaryDW

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Yay! Our farmers market finally returned to “regular” walk-in status, compared to the drive-thru model. As regular as standing in groups six feet apart while wearing masks can be. I think we’ll be back in lock down status fairly soon in California so made the most of it for human purchasess—the tortoise benefited as well. Finally we procured some squash vines (chayote); it’s been so long it took her a minute to remember she loves them. Hedou (Tiny) bok choy; the leaves of a Daikon radish; a few squash blossoms; and a piece of what I eventually figured out was some kind of large pole bean.

My husband asked what would happen if he accidentally dropped a bite of one of his peaches in the yard and she found it. “Nothing,” because if you drop fruit out there you darn well better pick it up!
 

RosemaryDW

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Wow, you definitely can’t sleep in at our farmers market right now. I don’t know if it’s hungrier people or fewer choices but you can expect to find few Indian plants at that booth if you aren’t early. Jute mallow that was on the table when I got in line was gone by the time it was my turn. Sourleaf (gongura) was practically gone and the moringa was running low as well.

The early birds were taking wagons of food away. Who needs multiple cartons of moringa? And this wasn’t all this family bought. My husband suggested they might own a restaurant, which would make sense. You can’t easily buy this stuff at the grocery store.

EB0EFB39-98A4-4443-9CF6-6971F9B16825.jpeg
 

Kapidolo Farms

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I have tried the fresh when I found it, it tastes sorta like chew-able vitamins or Gin - take your choice.

Wow, you definitely can’t sleep in at our farmers market right now. I don’t know if it’s hungrier people or fewer choices but you can expect to find few Indian plants at that booth if you aren’t early. Jute mallow that was on the table when I got in line was gone by the time it was my turn. Sourleaf (gongura) was practically gone and the moringa was running low as well.

The early birds were taking wagons of food away. Who needs multiple cartons of moringa? And this wasn’t all this family bought. My husband suggested they might own a restaurant, which would make sense. You can’t easily buy this stuff at the grocery store.

View attachment 301240
 

RosemaryDW

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I have tried the fresh when I found it, it tastes sorta like chew-able vitamins or Gin - take your choice.
I researched it and it is apparently very common in Indian dal. Maybe it is better cooked. Tortoise isn’t in love with it this year so I’m going to give it a shot! What else do I have to do? If nothing else I’ll just pretend it’s gin.
 

RosemaryDW

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We dragged ourselves down to the market right at opening today and managed to get a bundle of jute mallow, which is one of her summer favorites.

We have several native holly leaf cherry bushes in our yard and for the first time they finally set fruit. The fruit is almost entirely seed, about the size of large a hazelnut with a very thin layer of sour fruit and skin around it. Even with that little fruit on them, it’s more sugar than she should have so when the cherries started to drop I got in the habit of shaking the bushes in the morning and putting anything that fell up where birds could get at it. The fruit ripened nearly all at once and so it was only about a week that I had to keep an eye on things.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling great on what I thought would be the last day and didn’t get to the yard. The next morning I went out to give the biggest bush a shake. No cherries fell? I looked down at the ground for them and slowly realized there was only a pile of seeds left. :eek: She’s perfectly fine but next year we’ll figure out a better method.

82735D22-3581-49CC-AECB-7437539F3CA3.jpeg
 

KarenSoCal

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I looked down at the ground for them and slowly realized there was only a pile of seeds left.

I've looked closely at a tortoise's mouth. I wouldn't think that they would be adept at pitting, then eating a cherry, and spitting out a perfectly clean seed. I'm also amazed at how skillfully they maneuver huge pieces of greens only using their mouths. Then the occasional arm use to shove it in better.

How beautifully made they are!
 

RosemaryDW

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I've looked closely at a tortoise's mouth. I wouldn't think that they would be adept at pitting, then eating a cherry, and spitting out a perfectly clean seed. I'm also amazed at how skillfully they maneuver huge pieces of greens only using their mouths. Then the occasional arm use to shove it in better.
Oh, it’s not anything like a cherry we see at the store, it really is almost all pit, more like a plum. I ran into her eating one when they first started falling. She basically gummed and licked off what little fruit there was; it took quite a while. A big tortoise would just swallow the whole thing and let nature sort it out, I think. :)
 

RosemaryDW

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Tried feeding bittermelon for the first time today; a gourd that is (unsurprisingly) on the bitter side when it gets older but similar to a zucchini when it is young. It was a hit except for the center, which is the most bitter part. We’re on a (very remote) vacation so I won’t be sampling any of it myself. A kind neighbor gave me some escapee bittermelon leaves and hyacinth bean leaves from her garden (neighbor doesn’t eat either) so she’ll be in good shape while we’re gone.
 

DawnVaughn

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This is great. Being that I'm in Alaska, the store is my go to until we make our transition this fall!

This morning our little Sully had a breakfast of chopped romaine, arugula, endive and bok choy; topped off with some shredded grassland pellets.
How do you get yours to eat the pellets? I have a Sulcata and a Herman’s tortoise and they won’t touch them. They mostly get their leafy greens.
 
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