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Bumper year!
Posted: 04/08/2010 by DavidWYork

Just thought I would comment on the year so far...here in York.Click and drag me down to the editor


My old tort has never eaten so well, even the dull days have been warm enough for natural feeding, though she does have a perspex solarium to warm up in each morning. This is merely a 3foot square area of clear perspex she has to go through to get to sleeping box, and back to feeding and basking areas. On cooler days she lingers here to decide whether or not to search for food. Like me, she scarcely misses a meal.


As for what she eats...well thanks to other members' advice (on this site), I now feed loads more wild and garden species, which she relishes. Prior to this summer, she lived on dandelions, grass, clover and yellow thistles, plus supplements. Now she gets plantains, nettles, thistles, hostas, honesty leaves, vine leaves, mallow, willowherb, honeysuckle flowers ...all in addition to former diet. It has been a fantastic growing season round here, plenty of sun and night time rain. Everywhere is lush and green, not like some summers when its either really wet, or powder dry. I wondered what other members had experienced in their regions, plant and weatherwise. I would be interested in details from other regions, and thought others might be too. So, get on those computers and lets have some reading. I thought the posts would be buzzing this time of year


...I NEED SOME TORTOISE RELATED NEWSClick and drag me down to the editor DON'T YOU????


Best wishes from David in York

Re: Bumper year!
Posted: 05/08/2010 by winnie

Well, lets see, here in lovely Liverpool we've had, in the last month or so, rain and rain and rain, bit of sun, more rain, thunder storms WITH HAIL!!, bit of sun, more rain, very gusty winds, more rain and erm, let me think, oh yep, you've guessed it, more rain. A friend and myself have spent ages building a big spacey and fully secure outdoor enclosure for my horsfield and he's been out in it about 3/4 times. Don't you just love summer!!!!!!!!!!!

Glad you've had it better where you are David.

Winnie

Re: Bumper year!
Posted: 05/08/2010 by tortoise7

Hi Guys
Well in Northampton, we have had some really good weather, odd days we have had showers some heavy. The last 2 days have been a bit cooler but that is only in the mornings, it warms up and gets sunny again by the afternoon. So all in all we are having good torty weather, well my two seem to be enjoying themselves.
This year it has been lovely to watch my Molly (rehomer) be like a true tortoise, she now not only eats 100% weeds and lots of them, but shelikes to take the food herself from the garden, I just love watching her. I wish Keya my baby was able to do that, but she would eat eat and eat until she popped  Click and drag me down to the editor she would definately get overgrowth if I didn't control her. Hey Dave from York, sounds like you have got the weed growing off to a tee. My garden only has Tort flowers weeds in it too, you can make a lovely display can't you. Anyway that is my input, hope that has given you an idea of the weather in the Northampton Region

Jane, Keya & Molly 

 

Re: Bumper year!
Posted: 06/08/2010 by VivTPG

I'm not too far from you Jane in Birmingham, and I have to say the tortoise and I have loved this summer, even on the rainy days its been warm and humid, I think this is the first summer the torts have been out every day.  The Margies and horsfields are waiting for the greenhouse hatches to open.  And its been great to get the baby margies out each day.  It has even been warm enough to leave them out at night (but mine are tucked up each night in their respective sheds and greenhouses!). 

Like you say David food has been plentiful, I have packed all my tubs with pansies, petunias, hostas, geraniums so good supply, shame I dont get to see the flowers for long tho!!  The nastursams (sp?) have been a big hit, and are still leafing up and flowering. 

I hope this weather continues into September!!  Vivienne

Re: Bumper year!
Posted: 06/08/2010 by winnie

That's it, I'm moving..............

winnie

Re: Bumper year!
Posted: 07/08/2010 by DavidWYork

Winnie, I was wondering if you have a glazed or "cloched" area in your outdoor enclosure. If not, I do recommend one. Even on a dull day the tempereature will be significantly higher than normal air temperature. You'd be amazed how quickly a tort can warm up under cover. Hope weather picks up for you...this may be the year we get one of those much talked about indian summers.

David in York

Re: Bumper year!
Posted: 07/08/2010 by DavidWYork

Re: Bumper year!
Posted: 07/08/2010 by DavidWYork
  

Winnie, I was wondering if you have a glazed or "cloched" area in your outdoor enclosure. If not, I do recommend one. Even on a dull day the tempereature will be significantly higher than normal air temperature. You'd be amazed how quickly a tort can warm up under cover. Hope weather picks up for you...this may be the year we get one of those much talked about indian summers.

David in York

Re: Bumper year!
Posted: 10/08/2010 by winnie

Hi Dave,

I have got a glazed area were they can warm up but I don't like putting them out when their substrate is so wet. I'm thinking I might be best looking for one of those mini greenhouses, hopfully it will fit in their enclosure but up to now alls I've come across are the normal sized greenhouses. The search continues............

Winnie

Re: Bumper year!
Posted: 11/08/2010 by DavidWYork

Hello Winnie, thanks again for communication.

In my outdoor setup the cloche is only 3foot by 3 foot and 15 inches high, nothing elaborate, but does give higher temperatures than without. It is attached to sleeping box and on a raised part of the pen getting sun at sunrise. In this area the substrate is deep grit sand, so its always bone dry. Ethel has to pass through it to get out of sleeping box. She lingers here for a while evey morning and warms up before going on a search to see where and what I have put for her to eat. It makes her walk quite a distance on her quest for food, though she does love just cropping grass too. Don't spend mega bucks. I used 4mm acrylic sheet, flat top straight sides and open to the garden...though I am in the process of enclosing the end with dangling strips of celluloid to make it warmer for the autumn. Hope the info helps,        

David in York

Re: Bumper year!
Posted: 12/08/2010 by winnie

Hi Dave,

In my torts new enclosure there is no grass, it's all sand/soil to try and make it a bit more natural for them. Although it does drain well as with anything, to much water at any one time will cause puddling. As my torts are all horsfields the idea of them digging down in such a wet substrate does worry me as I know that they are prone to respiratory probs if they're in damp/wet conditions. This has been my achilles heel (soz, not to sure on the spelling) since building their enclosure. I'm debating whether to put a plastic roof on but that holds probs of it's own such as it will block out uv from sun (if we get any) and will it stay on with the strong winds that pass. I just don't know what to do for the best. Just incase you haven't seen my new enclosure here's a pic to shed a bit more light on it, please keep in mind though that more has been added to the enclosure since the pics were taken.

Re: Bumper year!
Posted: 13/08/2010 by DavidWYork

Hi again...luxurious space to develop! Get busy with the planting and shelter areas. I would ensure several well raised areas and low shrubs for shelter. Personally I would seed 75% with grass and meadow flower mixture. Despite what people say about tortoise rich mixtures torts do love cropping grass and turf bound weeds. Add in a couple of cloched areas where sun catches early, and nightime shelter is situated, and you have a great enclosure. Google Horsefields Tortoises in the wild and see what they endure in home regions. Rock, stones and slopes are desirable, plus shrubs for dappled shade when sun at its highest. I think you will be the envy of so many people, who are using tort tables indoors. Try to ensure places where their view is restricted and they have to explore. I regularly move the large rocks around and feed at different spots to avoid boredom, but the cloche and sleeping box remain constant. All the best from David in York.

Re: Bumper year!
Posted: 06/09/2010 by VivTPG

Enclosure looking great, I agree with David on the cloche, I have used a cold frame, I got a glass one off freecycle (now freegle) and bought a couple of polycarbonate ones from Lidl (24.99), I placed them on a row of bricks, leaving one out for them to come and go as they please.

Also, some grass/turf is a good idea.

Vivienne

 

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