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basic human food for a horsefield
Posted: 13/02/2011 by tinalowry

hi can anyone advise me of the basic human food to feed an horsefield tortoise please some say kale is bad others say good !! i just want to know the basics like are cucumber, carrots, green beans, cauli, broccoli,cabbage the type of food we have in the fridge i know about various lettuce and weeds plants ect but cant seem to get a clear opinion on the above many thanks tina

Re: basic human food for a horsefield
Posted: 14/02/2011 by tortoise7


The foods you have mentioned are all no no's, high in protein (causes overgrowth) and oxulates (inhibits calcium intake) here is a guide which I took from the care sheets available on the left hand side.

Essential weeds/plants:

should consist of a varied diet of

a wide range of broad leafed

weeds such as dandelion,

hawkbits, sowthistles, plantains,

clovers, bittercress, bindweeds,

shepherds purse, chickweed,

hedge mustard, white and red

deadnettle, mallows, sedums

and vetches.


Re: basic human food for a horsefield
Posted: 17/02/2011 by TPGDave

Hi Tina,

There is so much conflicting information out there now but in short a Med/grassland tortoise does not have a gut designed to cope with most of the fruit and vegetables we eat. They live on low protein, high fibre diets very sucessfully. Our foods are very high in the "wrong" kind of carbohydrates, easily digestable for a gut designed to extract maximum nutrition from foods with low nutritional value. Virtually all the vegetables you list have quite high amounts of oxalic acid. This prevents the uptake of calcium and other minerals when present in quantity.

There are many schools of thought on tortoise nutrition with some not seeing a downside to the rapid growth of captive tortoises. I'm still sticking with the weed and plant routine, it works for my tortoises.


Re: basic human food for a horsefield
Posted: 11/12/2011 by DavidWYork

Another David here. I only use naturally occuring food for 95% (approx) of my tortoise food. I do give some salad veg such as cucumber to deliver supplements. I apply limestone flour and vitamins this way, then I know they go straight down and with plenty of moisture. Luckily for us tort keepers, euro/mediterranean tortoises are very obliging, and hibernate when there is a shortage of natural food. That gives a big clue as to whether or not to hibernate them. I firmly believe NOT hibernating healthy tortoises to be wrong. Their physiology is designed for winter resting, and this also gives a seasonal edge to breeding them too. Male fertility in tortoises is hightened by hibernation and the long cool period. I wonder what other keepers feel. I accept hibernation can be a stress for us, but equally wonder if 365 days feeding and activity is stressful to our torts. What say you?

Regards, David nr York


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