Slowing Down

02/10/2012 22:13

For those of you who have torties outside now is the time to make sure everything is ready for them to hibernate, especially if they have a  house out side and you are going to let them hibernate naturally. My girls and boys are all slowing down now but most are still eating. Today the sun came out so I gave them some food and everyone ate . Although some days they don't come out at all it will be a few weeks before they hibernate. You must  just keep giving them food until they stop eating of their own accord. Once they stop eating they will then have to empty their stomachs before they go to sleep for the winter but they know what to do so just let them do what comes naturally. I have been watching my tortoises doing this for over 35 years now and have not lost one over the winter.What you must NOT do is force them to either stop eating and  or go to sleep because all you will do is cause stress to your tortoise and ultimately upset their whole system. I am only going to say a little about putting them in double lined boxes etc, in the loft or garage to hibernate and that is I would not do it myself  but if it is how you want to do it then it is up to you. All I would like to add is; A happy tortoise is one who is content in its surroundings and is left to hibernate where it lives and feels safe!!.....

New Houses

02/10/2012 21:59

Well, although the  tortoise houses outside were fine,my Hubby decieded to buy and alter new ones for me. So, last weekend Steve  made fab new doors with porches above and laid slabs to stand the houses on. He bought the same sort of thing I had before (Keter boxes with top opening lids). He also sealed all the joints and painted the doors. He  put little rungs on the door so that the tortoises can walk up and down   on it without slipping. I now have bags of bark  drying on all the radiators to use as a base substrate inside the houses; I will then put hay in . They are  brilliant,  the boys have two because  there are  17 of them now!!! I will put pictures in the gallery once it is all finished...

New Hatchlings

02/10/2012 21:44

Hi all, things have been rather hectic these past  few days as all the Hermann eggs   have hatched and some have already gone to their new homes.So, thats it for this year  no more eggs to stress about. It has been both wonderful with the Hermann eggs and very sad with the Spur Thighed ,  I hope next year will be a better one for my Spur girl Bertha. To those of you who have had bought a hatchling I would like to say a big Thankyou and wish you all  the most amazing time with your new babies..x...


24/09/2012 11:18

Hi everyone, well at last the pens are finished; my poor hubby was out side in the rain yesterday putting the finishing touches on them. I have posted a couple of pictures  to show you. They have roofs as well and a good lock on the door. He has welded it all too  for extra security. The cameras are pointed on them and next week I will have lights as well. So, it is nice not to have to worry after hearing about the breeders who have had theirs stolen this year and also my poor friend who is very unwell at the moment since hers were taken....


21/09/2012 18:25

Hi everyone, today I thought I would talk about Autumn arriving and the affects it has on outside tortoises. Firstly , as the weather gets colder it slows the tortoise down. It takes longer in the morning to warm up so don't be suprised if your tortoise doesn't come out of its house until mid morning. I have found over the years it is best to put their house in an area where the sun will catch it early in the morning ,that way they will warm up faster. When they come out  make sure their food is near the entrance to their house so that they don't have to  go very far to eat. During the Summer I put it all over the pen but as Winter approaches I  want them to eat without using too much energy. If they want to wander thats fine but this works well. Now is the time to weigh them every week to make sure they are not losing weight;   although its ok not to put it on .  You are watching for stability with no major fluctuations. If your tortoise doesn't come out during the day and you are worried about it  not eating, bring it out and put it next to the food. If it does not eat don't worry. All of mine do different things at different times so I let them do what comes naturally. Even though  some were bred here they still do what is inbred; they know when and what to do so we must let them  as much as possible. What I would say is don't bring them in because you think it is too cold, don't put them in a new place , ie the conservatory because it is warmer , just let them slow down and do what they have to do. I always put food out for them even when they stop eating because it is a good indication that they are emptying their stomachs ready for hibernation. As I said I have so many outside they all  do things at different times so if I stopped putting food out  for all of them I could be doing damage to a few . It is easier if you have one or two because if you put the limestone flour on their food you will easily see who has eaten because the residue of flour will be round their beak area. It is only September, so as the seasons have changed dramatically over the last ten years I  don,t see mine hibernating until November!!  One year it was the first week of December!  So, we have maybe 6-8 weeks still to go and it can be a worrying time, if anyone is worried about ANYTHING  please ring me or email me or post a question......I will help all I can......


19/09/2012 08:32

Hi everyone, well ,I am awaiting this years final hatchlings ! they are due in the next 2 weeks so it's an exciting but worrying time. It has been quite a season with the hatchlings.. The Spur Thighed  eggs  just weren't viable and from talking to other Spur breeders it seems to have happened to alot of us this year. Natural culling ? I don't know but sad... The Hermanns on the other hand have been brilliant again, I am so proud of all my girls; and boys of course because without them there would not be any babies at all.I  have finally turned off Gerties eggs, how horrible was that. I had a good long cry then went out and gave her some rasberries..The new pens will be finished this weekend ,I will post some pictures when finished.So, keep all fingers and toes crossed as I have alot of expectant mums waiting!!! 


17/09/2012 21:01

Hi everyone; well it has been a very sad weekend for a friend of mine who has had 4 tortoises STOLEN !  It would have been 5 if it wasn't for the fact one of them was basking under a bush!  The sad thing is it must be some one known to her  because it was not a break in , they just got into the garden and took the tortoises! I have said on many occasions it is hard not to talk about ones tortosies  and you can't help it because you love them so much. If you have children they will talk about them it is only natural but some where along the line the information passes on until one day a very nasty person hears and there you are ... You will probably never find out unless over time someone slips up. My friends tortoises were micro chipped and she has photo's but if someone has gone to this much trouble they are probably not going to be sold. So , what I want to say is, take photo's top and bottom ,of the face close up and  any marks. Micro chipping is recomended but I am not really sure it will get you tortoise back . Put up a camera in your garden if you can to monitor the tortoise area. Also ,a light that comes on automatically if something or someone walks by it. Put stones around the perimeter of your garden and by gates as these make a noise under foot and if you have a dog they will definitely hear it, so would you. I feel so upset for my friend ,it's not like you can just go and get some more tortoises off the shelf the same age and personality.. Please do all you can to safe guard your tortoise/s, if someone you don't know asks what are the pens for in your garden tell them you have rabbits. Do tell people  you have camera's so that anyone listening will think twice. This weekend my Hubby was really busy  building me closed in tortise pen's!  they have a roof and a lockable door so NOTHING is going to get in !  What with the camera's night vision and everything else I have done all I can. I appologise if this worries anyone but  I think it is important to tell you all.


14/09/2012 17:53

Hi everyone, today I saw a wonderful sight !  I went to the tortoise pens to check all was well and saw one of my chickens was merrily having a dust bath  while another Molly was sitting quite proud in one of the dips in the pen. The chickens and the tortoises get on well and often sit together. This time however on closer inspection Molly was actually sitting on two of the tortoises who were quite happily basking out of the wind!! I went indoors to get my camera but Molly got up when I went back because she thought I had some corn for her. Oh! I did laugh because Bo and Margo followed her!! Isn't nature wonderful.........

Tortoise Check Up

12/09/2012 18:59

As  winter approaches now is a good time to give your torties the once over. If you weigh them regularly which is a good idea then you will know if it is putting on weight. I keep a diary and scales together and weigh mine once a month. So, bring in one at a time if you have a few ; I have 26 outside so it takes me quite a while. Have a good look at the shell ,it should be nice and firm no soft areas which could be a sign of rot.Check for  anything unusual. Check the face and eyes they should be nice and bright. Check the nostrils, they should be dry with no mucas present. Look at the mouth;if you can  get your tortie to open it by offering a treat then all the better. The inside of the mouth should be pink and not dry.Look at the claws and all four legs. Any grazes found can be helped by germolene or antibiotic ointment. Check the back end and make sure it is clean as Very Very rarely flies can lay eggs on the male because he swings it to the side and if not clean can close  it  with a fly attached. If left the egg hatches and the maggot can eat into the flesh of the tortoise. I have known  this happen once in 36 years so please don't panic.Now weigh and bathe....Check every week now until hibernation. It doesn't take long and when they hibernate you will know all is well. Also stock up with good quality hay to use in their housing for hibernation. Please look at past blogs about hibernation, it is very important to do this as naturally as possible....


12/09/2012 18:07

Hi everyone, as promised I want to tell  you about water dishes. I have quite a few and the edges are a little high for Hatchlings and slightly older tortoises.So, I have found a way to lower it!  Now ,I usually buy Exo Terra dishes  which are made of fibre resin and I haven't tried doing this with other makes so I will leave it up to you. Right, put  on some safety glasses and get a bread knife; YES, a bread knife with a serated edge.Go outside because you will get little shards flying off. Then, what you do is put the dish on a table or hard surface and whack it with the knife ! I know it sounds  mad but it works. Hit it quite hard where you want to lower the edge and little pieces with chip off.Keep doing it along the edge until it has been lowered enough. You want it so it will still hold water. Once this has been done get  some sand paper or I used an emery board and smooth off any rough edges. It only took me a few minutes and I am now going to do it to the others. I tried an ordinary knife to start with and I LOOKED at a hammer but thought no! I think because the bread knife is serated it works really well. I have put a couple of pictures in the photo gallery to show you what the dish looks like after I have finished !!  DON,T forget the safety glasses though... Have fun....

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