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new baby.....
Posted: 23/04/2009 by barneyrubble

Hi - I bought my baby horsfield on Sunday.  It is now Thursday and he hasn't eaten a thing!  I have bathed him as advised, which he seems to love.  I have put him out on the back lawn and he becomes slightly more active!  When in his enclosure he hides away. He has a basking and a heat lamp.  Should I be concerned about this lack of interest in food or is he just 'settling' in???

Re: new baby.....
Posted: 23/04/2009 by vivtpgadmin

Hi, Click and drag me down to the editor to the TPG and congratulations on having your baby horsfieldClick and drag me down to the editor.

It could be that he is just settling in and is a little scared to venture out and eat, (one of my horsfields took six weeks before he would eat, but he was older and was used to his last owner feeding him chips and the odd hobnob!!! So dandelions and other weeds took a while to tickle his appetite!!)

Can you tell us a little more about your tortoise, for example where you purchased it from, ie. breeder/petshop/internet?  As if it is the latter it maybe that he is an imported tort and may be carrying worms in which case a trip to the vet with a poo sample may help.  Also, what food are you feeding him and is he in an open top enclosure?   Sorry for all the questions, by the way dont forget to post some pics of him and what's his name.

Look forward to hearing from you

Regards Vivienne

Re: new baby.....
Posted: 23/04/2009 by barneyrubble

I purchased him (his name is barney rubble!) from a reptile/aquarium centre.  He is basically in a large indoor guinea pig enclosure so it is a wired top.  I have tried him on spring greens, lettuce, carrots and even 1/2 a grape! Today I sprinkled a small amount of calcium on spring greens too.  At the reptile centre he was being fed on tortoise food which looked like a dry food?  In his hide out I have put a tea towel which he likes to hide underneath. I will definitely post some pics of him at the weekend, when I can work out how to do it!


ClareClick and drag me down to the editor

Re: new baby.....
Posted: 24/04/2009 by vivtpgadmin

Hi Clare,

It is quite likely that Barney is an imported tortoise, in which case I would take him to a good reputable tortoise vet and have his poo tested for worms/parasites, please see the recommended list to the left headed 'Vets in the UK', you should be able to find one near to where you live.

Your set up sounds fine, lots of us use the large rabbit type cages. What sort of lighting do you have?  He will need a basking lamp (60-100w spot reflector from B&Q) and a a UV strip light of no less than 10%.  Or you can use a combined heat/uv lamp (eg Megaray). 

With regard to food it is best to feed only weeds and some garden plants, there are loads about at the moment eg dandelions, sowthistle, plantain, chickweed, deadnettle, pansies, sedum, check out this site for pics and good weeds to feed him.  With regard to supplements he will need limestone flour 3-4 days a week and nutrobal on the other days.  Our care sheet will give lots of advice too, that can be found on the left under 'Tortoise' then 'care sheets'.

When uploading your photos, make sure they are reduced and the title of them doesnt contain any ' / etc!! If you have any problems let us know

Regards VivienneClick and drag me down to the editor

Re: new baby.....
Posted: 24/04/2009 by barneyrubble


Can you offer some advice please on barneys substrate?  We were recommended when we got him to put him on what I term as 'pony nuts' could this be upsetting him too? We have out in lots of pebbles etc for him but he avoids these!



Re: new baby.....
Posted: 24/04/2009 by tpgNina

Hi Claire,

Not Vivienne here, but I think you would be better off with a soil/sand mix. I don't know what pony nuts are, but if your substrate is alfalfa pellets or something like that, then it is not good for your tortoise, and especially not good for horsfields, as they are a burrowing species, and like nothing better than to dig a nice hole or tunnel and explore underground.

For your indoor enclosure I would have a mixture of 60% or 70% steriised topsoil (available from places like B&Q and 30% or 40% playsand (available from the same places). And keep part of it a tiny bit damp, by spraying it when it dries out, or pouring water in and mixing it in every couple of days (not wet but very slightly damp, and only in the warm half of the enclosure). The enclosure should be as big as possible with lots of things to break up the sightlines (rocks, plants, etc.), as tortoises get bored if they can see from one end of the table to the other. A flowerpot on its side can make a nice little hidey place, or you can buy one of those curvey log/bark things they sell in pet shops.

Outdoors, you will need to make sure that Barney can't escape by burying the walls of his enclosure a foot or so in the ground. You will find that once Barney gets used to the outdoors he will love it. But you must also make sure that the enclosure is predator proof by putting mesh or something on top so that birds cannot take him (magpies have been known to take torts). If you cannot make it very secure -- to keep out rats and foxes -- then you can always bring him in at night, but do keep him out as much as possible, as the UVB from the sun is far better for him than any lamp indoors.

Hope that helps a bit.



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