Being tough on fussy Tim

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Kimberley
Posts: 13
Joined: 03 Feb 2020, 17:53

Being tough on fussy Tim

Post by Kimberley » 10 Feb 2020, 08:37

So little Tim is doing really well in his new enclosure, he really likes the space and the walking and climbing he can do. He is also very friendly, I can touch him and when I put my hand flat he will come and sit on it or sit on it with the front half of his body. He's a great little dude.

But he is so fussy with eating. Sure he likes his lettuces (romaine, frisee, lambs lettuce is so so, cucumber and courgette). But the pre alpin he doesn't want. Not with mixing etc.

Now I'm like maybe I should only offer him the alpin, nothing else and be tough. I don't like it though😬 but I don't think he will eat it otherwise.
I don't get it, it smells really nice.

He also has 2 types of catgrass plants in his table and a rosemary plant in his enclosure btw, he doesn't touch them though, so he does have options.

I have managed to give him 3 superthin slices of cucumber with the alpin inside. He loves handfeeding, but I want him to eat it by himself. He won't go near it in his bowl.
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Nina
Posts: 919
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Being tough on fussy Tim

Post by Nina » 10 Feb 2020, 10:41

Hi Kimberley,

First of all thanks for the photo -- Tim's tortoise table is looking absolutely super -- what a nice environment you've made for him!

Regarding the eating -- tortoises are notoriously stubborn and have strong preferences, so sometimes it's just a battle of wills. You could try feeding him nothing but the pre alpin (and tortoises can go a very long time without eating, as long as they are well hydrated), so it might be a bit of a battle. I know you've seen our article on introducing a new diet, but you might have to be even more precise with it. Do you have the pre alpin cobs or the loose food? If the cobs then just cut off a small amount and rehydrate it in warm water (so you're not wasting a whole cob). When it's rehydrated, wet the lettuce leaves you are feeding him and sprinkle a tiny bit of the pre alpin on them, so that it sticks to the leaves and he can't help but get some when he takes a bite of lettuce. Then very very gradually increase the amount of pre-alpin until it is a substantial amount. You might have to do this very slowly, over several weeks. If that doesn't work then do try the tough love option of offering only pre-alpin.

If you can broaden out the type of food that you give him, that would be great. I know that at this time of year it can be difficult to find weeds outdoors, but in the UK we've had a very mild winter and there is sowthistle, plantain and even dandelions growing outdoors. The type of lettuces you are feeding are definitely the best of the lot, but they are still what we would call 'wet' food, meaning that they go through the tortoise's digestion system too quickly, and also they aren't that high in fibre. In the supermarket this time of year you can usually find Kale. In general we don't recommend feeding plants in the Brassica family, but Kale is the best of them and it could provide some variety for Tim.

Nina

Kimberley
Posts: 13
Joined: 03 Feb 2020, 17:53

Re: Being tough on fussy Tim

Post by Kimberley » 10 Feb 2020, 14:57

Hi Nina,

Well today I found a really good source of plantain and dandelionleaves :D so today he ate that and 3 superthin slices of cucumber with alpin inside.

I forgot about kale, endive and leaves of raddish, but he also eats those. Maybe I shouldn't focus as much on the alpin. It would be great if he liked that also though.

It's funny how he sleeps. The past 4 days he slept in the front, near the lamp in the cocohusk. He really likes that stuff. But last night he picked his cococloth hut again and in the cocopeat in the back. I have about a quarter of the table with coco husk, it's where the food and water is and really helps alot to keep it clean. He likes it alot too. The rest of the table is 5 inches of cocopeat or coir.

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Nina
Posts: 919
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Being tough on fussy Tim

Post by Nina » 10 Feb 2020, 19:04

That's great that you're finding some wild food for him! And I'm glad that his diet consists of more than just various types of lettuce. Do keep persevering with the pre alpin -- it can take a long time for them to get used to it. In a week or so, try sprinkling a tiny bit on the wet leaves you are feeding him. Mine hated pre alpin to start with -- wouldn't touch it -- but now they do eat it happily all on its own. Alhough I mainly feed a weed and flower diet, I try to give pre alpin at least once a week for variety, and if you have to keep your tortoise awake in the winter (or the weather is horrible and you can't be bothered to go pick stuff from outdoors) then it can be a godsend, and it is good for them.

Nina

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