Suggested uses of diet and food items

Basic use suggestion for Kapidolo Farms diet and food items.

A best use is to alternate different items from day to day.  If they were all combined and added every day, then the daily feed would be uniform. Creating variety day to day offers behavioral enrichment to the diet-feeding regimen.

I use these first four items differently than the loose-leaf items.

The rose hips, hibiscus, and cactus re-hydration water can be up-cycled to moisten any pelleted food the following day.  Yet another way to bring variety into the diet.

Rose Hips ‘fruit’ no amount per feeding session is suggested on the label, just how to prepare it for use, I use it once a week, about 1/2 cup dry (them moistened). Tumbled into the volume of 15 heads of chopped/tossed grocery store greens.  The variety is brought to that day’s food by smell more so than the actual consumable rose hips fruit. Place in a plastic dish like a cleaned yogurt cup or cottage cheese cup, add water until it’s just shows between the bits of rose hips, then cover and store overnight in your refrigerator.  Take out when you begin salad prep so it can lose some of the cold of the frig, poor water off into another similar cup and then you can use the rose hips water to moisten pellets.

Toss the chopped salad greens with the re-hydrated rose hips.

Hibiscus ‘flowers’, no amount per feeding session, I use it every other day, about 1/2 cup dry (them moistened).  Same suggestion as for Rose hips.  I moisten alfalfa pellets with the hibiscus water.  It offers a color and flavor change from one day to the next.

Cactus ‘chips’, I use the chips instead of fresh for variety reasons (as I grow it here I have fresh all the time) and follow the same route of preparation as the rose hips.  I re-use the water for the following day’s pelleted foods.

Alfalfa ‘pellets’ The same, again, as the rose hips.  These are almost always moistened with water from the rose hips, hibiscus, or cactus chips.  The major difference with pelleted alfalfa is the you should use twice the volume of water to pellets.  Fill the cup to no more than 1/3 volume and then top off with water to twice that amount.  The pellets will swell from being moistened.  Sometimes it takes two days in the frig to completely soften the pellets, they may require additional water, check after the first overnight in the frig.

I use cool/cold water with rose hips, hibiscus, and cactus that are re-hydrated to preserve as much nutrition as possible.

All the loose-leaf items I leave dry and toss into chopped greens.  When you chop greens, some moisture comes out of the stems, this is enough, when tossed, to make the loose-leaf items stick.

Alfalfa ‘loose leaf’ once or twice/week one tablespoons per head of greens.

Mulberry ‘loose leaf’ once or twice/week two tablespoons per head of greens.

Moringa ‘loose leaf’ once or twice/week one tablespoon per head of greens

Plantain ‘loose leaf’ once or twice/week 2 or 3 tablespoons per head of greens.

RedClover ‘loose leaf’ once or twice/week – two tablespoons per head of greens.

Dandelion ‘loose leaf once or twice/week – two tablespoons per head of greens.

Raspberry ‘loose leaf’ once or twice /week – one tablespoons per head of greens.

OatStraw (milky oats) ‘loose leaf’ every to every other meal mix one tablespoon per heads of greens.  I alternate using the oats with the pelleted alfalfa, both offer a fiber value.

These items should be further crushed or chopped for brand-new babies, or left out of the diet until they get to at least about ounce (25+ grams) in size.  I use them all with baby Egyptian tortoises (less than 15 grams each).  When I do this, I allow the tossed salad to sit for a while so the moisture in the chopped greens can moisten the little dry bits. I re-chop even finer for these small guys.

For the complete pelleted foods, I place a single high layer in a shallow flat bottom tray and just enough water to cover.  You may find you need to use more/less water based on how loose the single layer is. It may take from one morning to the next to soften, not just overnight.  I use cold water and place the tray in a refrigerator.  Hot or boiling water will reduce nutritive value and does not seem to speed up the absorption rate.

Calcium carbonate is used at the rate of 4-6 grams per kilo of total prepared diet, three times a week. On average a head of romaine weighs ½ kilo, a teaspoon of calcium carbonate powder weighs about 4 grams.  So, use the calcium carbonate at a rate of about one heaping teaspoon per two heads of greens. I use it on alternate days. If it’s a Hibiscus day, they do not seem to notice it.

Alternatively, it also works to leave a small pile of the powder at the edge of their feeding area, they will take a mouthful on occasion and they will most certainly track it through their food.

Last-ly on any and all food changes or additions, it is best to offer very low amounts of anything new.  I use whole heads of greens (romaine) as a starting point to offer amounts of different diet items/food/supplements and suggest tablespoons per head, or for calcium fractions of teaspoons per head.  Cut those amounts by half to three quarters at first offering.

Sometimes out pet tortoises will surprise us and shown a vigorous feeding response, most often we find the opposite. Build up slowly to the higher amounts suggested.

Will, Biologist

Kapidolo Farms, All Tortoise – All the Time

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