Encouraging a more varied diet - advice please

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ClareJ
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Joined: 12 May 2018, 10:37

Encouraging a more varied diet - advice please

Post by ClareJ » 12 May 2018, 10:53

Hi.
I am new to this forum and want some advice on how I can encourage Mattie (med spur thighed) to have a slightly more varied diet.
I have had her several years now and I am led to believe that she is possibly 70 years old. She currently weighs approx 3100g with shell length of 250mm. She previously had free range of a garden (so presumably grazed) but was fed - wait for it - bread and milk! Over the years I have persuaded her to move to a bit of lettuce and she will eat lots of lambs lettuce - anything else is ignored (and if birds drop bread that is hoovered up - I don't provide it). I have recently planted a 'Mattie patch' using info from your books and the tortoise mix from Chiltern seed which is just coming up (and this morning she was eating a seedling) but any suggestions for ways to encourage her to try new things please?
Thanks in advance and apologies for such a long post.

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lin
Posts: 296
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Encouraging a more varied diet - advice please

Post by lin » 12 May 2018, 11:37

Hi Clare and welcome to you and Mattie.
I am tempted to say that this will be easy. I believe deep down tortoises know what they should be eating and bread and milk does not surprise me in the least. I took on a tortoise that was fed on cooked frozen vegetables, peas, carrots and the likes...but because he had the run of the garden (except in winter) he was able to fill up on what is good for him. He is mid 90's and as smooth as a babys bottom.

We do leave an article on a change over but if he is fit and healthy I would suggest putting him in the garden on warm days with a selection of weeds from the Mattie patch if you cant pick some of the favorites and watch nim from a distence if you must. Consistency is the key because tortoises do like things the same but once a pattern and the tortoise is established it can be adjusted.
Hope this is helpful and here is the link.
Lin
https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... -new-diet/

ClareJ
Posts: 3
Joined: 12 May 2018, 10:37

Re: Encouraging a more varied diet - advice please

Post by ClareJ » 27 May 2018, 11:26

Many thanks for the prompt reply.

Meant to say in previous post she does have a bit of an overbite and several years ago had an awful case of mouth rot - the comment the vet made was that the state of her mouth was from his nightmares! I also try and bath her regularly but in her previous life she was taken in whenever it rained (in case she got wet!) so a bath is something else 'new' to her

Over the last couple of weeks I have been watching Mattie and at the moment she 'grazing' on the 'Mattie patch' and has been for about 15 mins! ! Popular choices today appear to be cat grass and clover plus a few other bits that I can't identify from the window - if I go out she stops eating!!

Thanks again

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Nina
Posts: 479
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Encouraging a more varied diet - advice please

Post by Nina » 27 May 2018, 11:35

Hi Clare and thanks for the update! That is great to hear that Mattie has moved on and expanded her diet a bit. If you have any dandelions around, she might be very brave and try a flower or a leaf, and if you have the ground cover purple campanula, mine seem to love the leaves and flowers of that. The baths are a great idea, so do keep those up. It sounds to me like you and Mattie have gone through a lot since you got her and come out the other side triumphant! She is very lucky to have found you -- would love to see a photo of her if you can post one, as she sounds lovely.

Nina

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lin
Posts: 296
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Encouraging a more varied diet - advice please

Post by lin » 27 May 2018, 13:15

Hi Clare.
Hiding from view to watch Mattie eat is perfect and shows what I meant. When they are new to change its their eating habit that first becomes noticible.
You have done great and hopefully she will go from strength to strength now.

Lin



ClareJ wrote:
> Many thanks for the prompt reply.
>
> Meant to say in previous post she does have a bit of an overbite and
> several years ago had an awful case of mouth rot - the comment the vet made
> was that the state of her mouth was from his nightmares! I also try and
> bath her regularly but in her previous life she was taken in whenever it
> rained (in case she got wet!) so a bath is something else 'new' to her
>
> Over the last couple of weeks I have been watching Mattie and at the moment
> she 'grazing' on the 'Mattie patch' and has been for about 15 mins! !
> Popular choices today appear to be cat grass and clover plus a few other
> bits that I can't identify from the window - if I go out she stops eating!!
>
> Thanks again

ClareJ
Posts: 3
Joined: 12 May 2018, 10:37

Re: Encouraging a more varied diet - advice please

Post by ClareJ » 31 May 2018, 15:09

Hi,

Hopefully this has worked - a couple of pictures of Mattie, one of them on her 'Mattie patch', as you can see it is starting to grow now.

Clare (& Mattie)
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Nina
Posts: 479
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Encouraging a more varied diet - advice please

Post by Nina » 31 May 2018, 17:26

Isn't she lovely! What a nice smooth shell (and you can tell that she is old because of the way the scutes have worn smooth). It is amazing, given her previous diet of bread and milk, that she doesn't have a deformed shell, so I think she made good use of the time that she was given free range of the garden and managed to provide herself with a diet that was healthier than her previous owners intended.
I don't think she has much of an overbite at all from those pics -- her mouth and beak look fine. Hasn't she been lucky to have finally come to your home when she reached a pensionable age! She certainly looks to be enjoying her patch, and thanks so much for the photos -- she is really a beautiful tortoise.

Nina

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