The Tortoise Chef

Kapidolo Farms

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I flavor them with different things. The first thing was Aloe juice (100% pure juice). Then I tried mashed opuntia cactus. In both cases enough to thoroughly moisten the pellets so they break up readily.

Some time later I started using cold brew hibiscus tea. The hibiscus used for tea is a different species than the one commonly found in gardens. I put some hibiscus in a yogurt container or other small plastic tub, pour cold water over it, just enough to cover, let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, then use that water to moisten/soften the pellets. Now it's both colored and flavored. Rose hips work well too.


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.
 

DawnVaughn

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Thank you for your advice. I will try that. I have softened some with water and put it in a blender with Romain and bell peppers. It hasn’t been touched. I’ll try it like that.
 

Kapidolo Farms

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I have never tried blender-ing things, I see it's not so uncommon. You loose some of the fiber effect. Not too weird a thing to do for just hatched tortoises, but still seems un-necessary. They are living off yolk for awhile even after hatching. Many babies will eat solid food right away, and even their egg shell, in a few cases, while still not fully hatched.

Soaking can be a double edge sword of a habit in preparing foods. Many nutrients are water soluble, and if you use too much water some of the nutrients can be lost to the 'extra' water. I have gotten pretty good at estimating how much water is needed. I also manually break the pellets up and mix with greens - chopped to the size that works for the tortoises.


Thank you for your advice. I will try that. I have softened some with water and put it in a blender with Romain and bell peppers. It hasn’t been touched. I’ll try it like that.
 

JeffR

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This is a thread about what you actually feed out. @Yvonne G , my 'tortoise wife', posted this scrumptious fare with a description here http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/live-naked-people.126107/page-19#post-1472245

View attachment 204330

Other wonderful meals by other members are @Anyfoot here http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/live-naked-people.126107/page-11#post-1371343 TFO said the file was too big to repost your image.

I started a thread some time ago about 'grocery store greens good' here http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/grocery-store-greens-good.81609/

I do "get it" that free range/graze is great for a few tortoises in a very large outdoor enclosure. But I have more tortoises than outdoor enclosure, so the grocery store is the tortoise food life for me.

I buy at Restaurant Depot and some wholesalers who will sell COD to some weird guy that wants to buy case quantities for tortoises. Sometime Costco and Smart and Final have better prices. H-Mart a limited national grocery chain (Korean foods, bigger than most grocery stores though, their produce section is bigger than a small grocery store) has many wonderful things for a tortoise chef.

I don't know if Julia Child would approve of the title "tortoise chef" but that's okay.

This thread is about grocery store greens prepared to be a good diet.

@RosemaryDW please share your culinary tortoise talent.
 

RosemaryDW

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Thank you for your advice. I will try that. I have softened some with water and put it in a blender with Romain and bell peppers. It hasn’t been touched. I’ll try it like that.

I don’t think sulcatas or Hermans should be eating bell peppers regularly, they are pretty high in sugar. Did you get that feeding advice from this forum? I’m no sulcata expert so I will hope an experienced owner will speak up.
 
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I soak the dried dandelion or hibiscus overnight in extra water and poor it off to soak a mixture of laying crumbles and zoo med pellets. My Herman’s have learned to love it (months of offering) but I’m still working on my leopard to love it. It Sure adds to variety. But so darn hard to get them used to things. I have experimented with a lot of things at kapidolo farms and enjoy the options. (Even if the torts don’t)
 

Salspi

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Sorry if you have already covered this, but are my jade plant leaves safe to feed to my tortoises?
 

Kapidolo Farms

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The tortoise table is suggesting feed modestly due to oxalates. Oxalates are NOT an issue.
As long as the tortoise has free choice of foods, no 'moderation is needed. I have found most tortoises do not seem to find this plant appetizing. Many sedums seemed to be preferred. Or opuntia cactus, which also has a good fiber profile and a great deal of calcium.

Sorry if you have already covered this, but are my jade plant leaves safe to feed to my tortoises?
 

Salspi

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thank you - so if i just put a few plants in the enclosure and let them decide if they want to eat it, that should be an ok idea? Or can they over indulge on their own?
 

KarenSoCal

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thank you - so if i just put a few plants in the enclosure and let them decide if they want to eat it, that should be an ok idea? Or can they over indulge on their own?

You can just put the plants in and let them decide, within reason. You don't want them to eat so much jade plant that they don't want dinner. But I don't think that happens very often.
 

Kapidolo Farms

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Over indulge on their own, is possible. Like people and donuts, it comes down to the individual. If some is available among a wide range of things to eat, and a tortoise goes nuts for it, maybe once in a while that is okay, but also informative. That tortoise is thinking it needs something that's in the jade plant.

There are several sorta obscure references to this genus of plants being fodder. I have requested some through research gate.

here is one about rhinos eating it in a blog. https://trees.org.za/feeding-rhinos-and-offsetting-carbon/

Further, I can't see into the the future. Your tortoise will tell you something through its behavior and the outcome of it's eating the jade plant. It's on you to tell us, TFO readers, what your tortoise tells you.


thank you - so if i just put a few plants in the enclosure and let them decide if they want to eat it, that should be an ok idea? Or can they over indulge on their own?
 

RosemaryDW

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Soooo this tortoise needed about five minutes to snap out of hibernation and start on her path of destruction. I wasn’t expecting such a speedy awakening and had to run to the weed patch.

Wow, looks like my community isn’t playing when it comes to keeping the weeds down this year, probably because there were some fires on the far side of town. Look at all this mulch!

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Not just that but when I got to the shrubby tree that nasturtiums grow under it had been taken out. :(

After a few days everything I brought home was gone so I took another pass at it, this time seriously.

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I’ve been trying to find a way to show her growth over the past five years; she looks the same, just bigger so it doesn’t really work well in photos. I took a new approach this year. Here she is her second year with us, in early spring. And a couple from today.

Then:

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Now:

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RosemaryDW

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She’s a bit grumbly, due to overcast weather but I’m still excited because our move to “orange” level COVID risk means we can shop more freely at the farmers market.

Didn’t matter to her: radish leaves, watercress, chayote vines are not in favor, only okra leaves.

Perhaps I shall make myself some fancy watercress tea sandwiches.
 

RosemaryDW

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Famine to Feast

Last week was very pell mell. With new freedoms I took a quick trip to visit my family and ended up searching through empty stores for a dress after my niece’s prom was announced with a week’s notice! We succeeded, though saddened to see how many stores had closed, perhaps for good. Food shopping was interrupted and the tortoise had a scruffy week of some small endives saved for tortoise emergencies; odd pieces of romaine; grape leaves; a couple of paddles from our very small cactus; and a little snapdragon we found to snip. Much of the yard was eaten as a result of these paltry offers.

Back at the farmers market this week I was disoriented to find we were actually allowed to touch and choose produce ourselves. As the virus progressed we had experienced a closed market; a drive-thru; another closed marked; a “you point“ and they bag it model; and now back to something approaching normal. As a born hermit the tortoise hasn’t noticed a thing over the last fourteen months but isolation has left me tentative. Turns out tortoise shopping is like riding a bike, I had my hands full in a few minutes. Our second Indian produce vendor has returned, along with several other farmers. I grabbed massive bundles of bittermelon and chayote vines; squash blossoms; okra; too much ong choy. Fortunately I had only one shopping bag or I would have bought even more. Naturally the tortoise was very “eh” about most of it. Bittermelon not organic? No thanks. She *was* enthusiastic about the very large fava bean pod I gave her (I kept the beans for myself).

Who knows what next week will bring but it feels pretty good so far.
 

RosemaryDW

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For heaven’s sake. Left the house today—because we can!—and came back to find she hadn’t eaten a single thing I’d left. Can’t imagine what she destroyed while we were gone. :/
 

RosemaryDW

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We set off last week for my niece’s high school graduation. When we made our reservation months ago we weren’t sure if the state would be allowing more than a drive-by event and found a house rental far from town, in a woody canyon.

When we got there we were in (temporary) ownership of a real live meadow; not our usual scrawny scrub. We had driven so I took the opportunity to see what plants I might take back with me. It was already fairly dry there but I was able to find plenty of narrow leaf plantain; two different wild peas; what I think is small head clover; and a very slight miniature lupine. I would have taken mallow but what I found was full of ladybugs and bees so I left it for them. I had no such qualms about grabbing some mustard, as it’s invasive here.

Plantain only grows in maintained lawns around here so I’ve never fed her any. She ate this with no hesitation, leaving me wondering if she’d been keep out in someone’s grass yard before we found her.

She ate the clover too, despite some difficulty with getting the leaves stripped from the stems. She liked the peas but the stems on those were too difficult, or at least not worth the bother when there were other foods available. Not even the seed pods were worth the effort.

Despite my telling her many times she would like the lupine if she just tried it, she did not. Again, not even interested in the seed pods. No point in hanging onto any seeds to plant next year.
 

jsheffield

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Yesterday was an unintentional fasting day for the torts, so today they all started off the day with a big handful of greens, followed by a mixed plate of yum:

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Forest Tortoises: raw dog food, butternut squash, mango, banana, egg w/shell, mushroom, shrimp, avocado; all dusted with powders of pumpkin seed, opuntia cactus, hibiscus flower, and wakame seaweed

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Grassland Tortoises: butternut squash, mushroom, Mazuri dressing; all dusted with powders of pumpkin seed, opuntia cactus, hibiscus flower, and wakame seaweed

Jamie
 

RosemaryDW

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Yesterday was an unintentional fasting day for the torts, so today they all started off the day with a big handful of greens, followed by a mixed plate of yum:


Forest Tortoises: raw dog food, butternut squash, mango, banana, egg w/shell, mushroom, shrimp, avocado; all dusted with powders of pumpkin seed, opuntia cactus, hibiscus flower, and wakame seaweed


Grassland Tortoises: butternut squash, mushroom, Mazuri dressing; all dusted with powders of pumpkin seed, opuntia cactus, hibiscus flower, and wakame seaweed

Jamie
What purpose does the pumpkin powder serve? Also are you really telling me your Russians eat seaweed?!!
 
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