baby spur thigh, weight

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adam
Posts: 5
Joined: 29 Feb 2020, 13:20

baby spur thigh, weight

Post by adam » 29 Feb 2020, 13:41

hi all
am new here was given a baby spur thigh as a birthday prezzie, she was hatched last august 2019, I have a good set up ect,
and I have started weighing her on a monthly basis, this being the second month, I have a set of digital scales that I use, so
the first weigh-in she was 73g second was 98g, is this to fast of a weight gain as I have seen things saying 1 to 4g a month and other different sizes mentioned so am a tad confused, I want to get things right after all.
I will try list the foods. I buy rocket salad leaves/mixed baby salad/romaine lettuce/ very rarely small bits of baby corn cob/ red pepper (although she not keen on this), cress (her favourite, so it seems) have slowed up on this, the odd dandelion leaves(bit hard to find at the mo.. have tried tomato and cucumber once as a treat am aware of possible diarrhoea, so she only had it once and didn't seem keen on them either, feed enough once a day to cover the shell area, as that's what I was told would be a good gauge of amounts, and feed once a day at the same kind of time 11am to 12am, ( sits in the bowl waiting now )(funny how she knows the time !!), fresh water everyday, soaked 2 to 3 times a week, soil and area sprayed everyday, as is the moist hide, temps are good ranging from 35 to 25 at the cool end she is very active, poo`s well as she should, she don't eat all the food I put in so after say
1hr what's left I remove and that's all till the next day.
so the weight is my concern is it ok or not. keep thinking I didn't weigh her properly or something the first time but used the same scale and logged it the same time.
any input would be appreciated.. adam

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Nina
Posts: 1119
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: baby spur thigh, weight

Post by Nina » 29 Feb 2020, 14:17

Hi Adam,
Welcome to The Tortoise Table, and congratulations on getting your little Spur Thigh (what's her name, by the way?).

It sounds to me like you are doing a good job, but a weight gain of 25g in one month is really too much. It's true that the guidelines are a gain of between 1g - 3 or 4g per month, but that is just an average and some months she will gain more and some less -- but that is what to aim for. It can make a difference of 3g or 4 g if you weigh a tortoise just before or after a poo, so that has to be taken into account, but if your scales are accurate then I think you need to monitor her food intake a bit more. Or perhaps the reading on that first weighing wasn't correct -- see what happens next month and if there is another big weight gain then you will need to make some changes. The reason for restricting weight gain is that if they gain too quickly their shells grow too quickly and can get deformed, and it can also lead to metabolic bone disease. Does she have a good calcium supplement (like Nutrobal) as well, and some extra calcium in the form of cuttlefish bone in her enclosure that she can nibble on at her leisure?

Feeding once a day with enough leaves, flowers, etc. enough to cover the shell area is one of the standard guides, as is feeding once a day all she can eat in 20 minutes (and then taking away what she hasn't eaten). Lol, I'm wondering if your theoretical covering of the shell was with a thicker blanket of leaves rather than a thinner one.

The diet you are feeding her is OK, and I know it's difficult to get fresh food from outdoors at this time of year. There is a salad mix that you can get at most supermarkets called Florette Crispy that is a mixture of some of the better salad leaves, so you could try that, but in the long term all salads are what we call 'wet' food, which means they go through the digestive system a bit too quickly, so aim for weeds and flowers once the weather gets better. You could also add a smalle bit of Kale to her diet (not too much, as we don't recommend Brassicas, but Kale is the best of them.

Just a cou[ple of other things. 35C is a bit high, and you should aim for 30C directly under the heat source, and 20C at the cool end, and this must be measured directly under the lamp and at the height of the tortoise's shell (not from a thermometer mounted on a nearby wall).
Is she in a tortoise table or a glass and wood enclosed vivarium? Do send us a photo of her and her set-up if you can, as we never get tired of looking at photos of tortoises and their set-ups, and sometimes we can suggest a tiny tweak that makes it nice for them.

You probably already have a good care sheet, but if not then here is a link to one:
https://www.tortoise-protection-group.o ... 014New.pdf

Cheers,
Nina

adam
Posts: 5
Joined: 29 Feb 2020, 13:20

Re: baby spur thigh, weight

Post by adam » 29 Feb 2020, 15:12

Hi Nina
Thanx for the reply, I will thin out the food as suggested, and raise the lamp a little, but I did have it a little higher before as was trying to get it right and she hardly moved at all, but since lowering yo present position she is quite active alway trundling around checking things out digging ect, she a busy little thing ( oh her names is flower ) as I did have it live planted and she hid in them with her head poking out, but they where a bit of a failure as she just stomped them flat, wouldn't of minded if she ate them but nooo squashing them seemed to be the way to go, yes the currant plants are fake and yes I know folk say don't use as torts eat them and get impacted ect, but she has no interest in them at all, that being said I am building a small stone wall around them so she can't get at them before I get beaten up on the subject.
Have started to grow nasturtiums and chickweed they coming along nicely, I do use that bag of mixed salad that you mentioned also but it depends what's in the supermarket when I go shopping, so a little tweaking here and there trying to get things better is what I do regularly lol she can't get board with the same scenery as it changes weekly lol. The table is 4 feet by 2.5 feet. But this summers project it a bigger 8 feet one, ( not told the wife yet lol) thanx for the info / help am sure there will be more to come as am always asking and learning new stuff everyday.
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Nina
Posts: 1119
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: baby spur thigh, weight

Post by Nina » 29 Feb 2020, 20:37

Well, I think you've done an excellent job and made a really nice enclosure for her! Lots of interest, different textures to walk over, things to climb on and walk around -- it really looks good. And Flower is a lovely name for a lovely tortoise. But I can see that her shell is already bumpy (the individual scutes are raised, like little pyramids, and in fact the condition is called 'pyramiding'. What you are aiming for is an absolutely smooth shell (which is hard to achieve with tortoises in captivity). My Doris was very bumpy when I got her, and you can't get rid of that, but with careful management the subsequent growth will be smooth and those original bumps will hardly be noticeable. She also needs a good calcium supplement to form strong shell and bone.

Ah yes, plants. I always warn people who are planting edible plants in the enclosure that they should be prepared for them to be either trampled or eaten to the ground in one afternoon (and all your hard work is gone in an instant). You can try planting real plants in pots that sit in the substrate, and the leaves of the plant are either out of reach or enough just hang down so that she can nibble them. Personally I use decorative grasses. I have one in the garden called Carex 'Frosted Curls' and it seeds itself everywhere, so I just dig some up and plant it in the table. They usually look like this in the table https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/139091/Ca ... ls/Details but outside where it can get bigger it gets very pretty, like a fountain and they like to shelter under it https://www.outsidepride.com/seed/ornam ... -seed.html They mainly don't try to eat it, but sometimes they do, so I just dig up some more from the garden. You can buy seeds in mixtures especially for tortoises, and I think it's a good idea to grow them in small trays, in succession, so you get the plants in one tray large enough to make it worth it, put that in the enclosure, and by the time Flower has finished that you have another little tray ready to replace it. I also have spider plants in pots sitting just outside the table and then the long wiry stems with the little plantlets on the end hang down into the table and they can reach up and nibble the plantlets but not destroy the main plant (there is one shown in one of the photos).

What a lot of people don't realise is that tortoises get bored very easily. In the wild they sometimes walk miles looking for food in a countryside where much of it has dried up, so they get a lot of excercise and encounter different terrain. If they can see from one end of their table to the other without interruption, they do get bored, and that is why putting little features and structures in there, like you have done, is great. I love the little slate and stone hideaway.

Her table sounds fine for now, but she will appreciate having a larger space (and 8' sounds great!). I have a 7' table and like previous tables I have had, it has a second level in it, with access up via a ramp. They just love it, and I tend to feed them up there so they spend a lot of time getting good exercise walking up and down the ramp to see if there are any treats there. Have attached some photos. I think it's always good to have a second level because you dramatically increase the space without increasing the footprint of the table.

Cheers,
Nina
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adam
Posts: 5
Joined: 29 Feb 2020, 13:20

Re: baby spur thigh, weight

Post by adam » 01 Mar 2020, 12:18

Thanx again for the info, will be stealing some of your table idea (nice table by the way. I do put ark vits with extra calcium powder on all feeds should I add a cuttlefish bone I the enclosure as well , now should I reduce the amount of food intake she has to help with the bumps ? As I don't want it to get worse, am always concerned that she gets enough to eat, I have read you can taste them for a day what's your thoughts on that ? I want her to be healthy, (small tread mill perhaps) 🐢

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Nina
Posts: 1119
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: baby spur thigh, weight

Post by Nina » 01 Mar 2020, 17:57

Ha, ha - treadmill a great idea!

I have some photos of my table as it was being built, and could send you some if you're interested. It sits on top of some cupboards, which have no back wall, so it's a great place to keep all your electrical stuff for the table, and the wires just go out the back and up. Also, the upside down' 'U'-shaped structures that hold the lights can slide along the sides of the table that they rest on, so you can move them easily. My table is only two feet wide, because of the space it had to fit in, but at 7' long and with the upper level, it's ample for my two Horsfields when they have to be indoors.

Re the feeding. Yes, some people just don't feed one day a week, and there is nothing wrong with that, but personally I think it's a bit mean, so I prefer to just feed enough to allow mine to gain the average of between 1g - 3g per month. Having said that, in the summer when they are outdoors they often gain a whole lot more than that (but I think that is averaged out by the three months they are in hibernation, when they aren't gaining anything (and usually lose 10g or so). I wouldn't want you to get obsessive about it, but maybe weigh her once a fortnight for a while to closely monitor her weight gain. If she gains too much then reduce the food and if she isn't gaining at all then increase it.

Nina

adam
Posts: 5
Joined: 29 Feb 2020, 13:20

Re: baby spur thigh, weight

Post by adam » 02 Mar 2020, 13:11

hi
yes photos would be nice to see as my spring project will be the bigger table, I like the idea of a split level just got to make sure she doesn't fall off the sides of the ramp, so a side wall I think, may do as you done put food on upper level so that she has to use up some energy to get to it,
it hard not to get a bit obsessive over any pet as I am the kind of person that likes to get things as right as I can as its my job to make sure they healthy as I can make it, as I think most animal illnesses in my experience is due to bad husbandry.
I will weigh her fortnightly I also don't like to not feed for a day like you feels a bit mean, I have cut down leafage to see how I go.
thanx again for more info sry if I seem to be a bit of a pest but gotta get things right....

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Nina
Posts: 1119
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: baby spur thigh, weight

Post by Nina » 02 Mar 2020, 19:04

When you're ready, just email me at nina@thetortoisetable.org.uk and I'll send some photos along. Re ramps, I have little guide rails on my ramp, but actually outdoors they have a ramp going up into a hutch, and they have never come close to falling off of it. I think most tortoises have a bit of a fear of dropping off the edge of things and are usually careful when going up or down (but there could always be the exception). There are all sorts of little things to consider when making a table, and a second level (like make sure the floor of the second level is easily removable so that you can get to the area underneath it (where your tortoise is probably going to sleep) for cleaning. And don't make the second level too big because the space underneath is becomes a bit wasted as it will only be used for sleeping and tortoises don't actually like a big space for sleep in -- they prefer to be wedged into a small area. Anyway, I can point out stuff to consider when the time comes.

I think you are going to be a really excellent tortoise keeper, and you certainly aren't a pest. Keep asking those questions, as I always think that is the best way to learn, and that's what we're here for!

Nina

adam
Posts: 5
Joined: 29 Feb 2020, 13:20

Re: baby spur thigh, weight

Post by adam » 15 Mar 2020, 12:07

update, as you suggested I have been reducing the amount of food I give her, so weight on the 20th feb was 98G a 25g weigh gain from the month before weighed her today 15th march she has lost a little now she at 89g, still very active, leaves some of her food so I am guessing she isn't left hungry with the reduction.
regarding cuttlefish bone should I put one in the enclosure ? if so should it be a whole one or should I chunk it up a bit, she does have arkvit+calcium powder mix on her food every day...

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