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Feeding Oilseed Rape plants establishing age

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#1 Guest_Gill1_*

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 07:58 PM

Hi,I would like to know if anyone has tried feeding their tortoises on the leaves/yellow flowers of oilseed rape. I have tried both my "girls" on it and they seem to really enjoy it. I have not picked the plants from fields as you can never be sure if it has been sprayed and I always wash all leaves thoroughly. Secondly how can you tell how old a tortoise is. I have had mine since I was about 7, I'm 53 this year and my sister has had hers since she was 8 and she is 63 this year. We do not know how old they are because we do not know how old they were when we got them. Mine is approximately 4.8kg and the little one (which is my sisters so should be older) is 1.84kg. Can you tell anything by measuring them. They are both spur thighed and have lived together all their lives. I have just taken them on last year as mum couldn't look after them anymore.

#2 Guest_sallybr0_*

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 08:16 PM

That's so nice that you've had them so long, I hope I can say the same when I'm your age. What's your secret?
P.S Don't know about rape & don't know how to age so I'm not much use to you.
Cheers SALLY x

#3 Guest_lepinsky_*

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 08:12 PM


How wonderful to have two such mature tortoises! I'm afraid I can't find anything specific in relation to oil seed rape and tortoises, but the plant is a member of the brassica family (like cabbage, etc.), and in general brassicas are not good to feed to torts, as they are high in oxalic acid which inhibits the uptake of calcium. Fed in small amounts as part of a varied diet it will not harm them. Unfortunately age is almost impossible to tell unless you know the date they hatched.
It would be lovely to see a picture of them.


#4 Guest_maz_*

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 07:40 AM

Hi, I too were wondering about rape flowers and leaves and was going to offer some to my leopards as there is an abundance of it just now,glad I read your reply from nina,and thanks for bringing the subject up.:-)

#5 Guest_Gill1_*

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 08:57 AM

I don't have a secret (well not that I am aware of). My dad kept a list of when they hibernated and when they woke up. I only have details since 1983 (with a few gaps) but it is usually around the end of October between 25th and 29th with a few exceptions of 30th September in 1984 and as late as 4th November in 1995 (hot year).
They usually wake up around late March 26th onwards but have woken as early as 8th March 1991. This year was 4th April. I shocked my vet when she asked me how I hibernated them as they have always just gone in an old heavy duty cardboard box with newspaper at the bottom and lots of straw on top which they dig into. They were placed side by side in an unheated bedroom but as I did'nt have this I put them in a plastic box with a cantilevered lid so they had some air but not airtight. I then placed them in a cupboard in the garage and left a max/min thermometer in there and checked on them about every month or so to make sure they were not cold. The vet said my mum and dad's method was very "Blue Peterish". She told me that they should be in two boxes one inside the other, insulated with polystyrene or other such material and so on. I nodded, listened and then thought to myself that these two tortoises have been hibernated as per Blue Peter for over 40 years and if it wasn't broken, don't mend it. I didn't tell her that though!!! When they start to wake up I bing them indoors and then gradually put them in warmer places. Their favourite is my old plastic dog bed by the french windows looking out into the garden. They then have a bath and this encourages them to drink and then after about 3/4 days they both start to eat, and boy do they soon EAT. They have a large rabbit like hutch which my husband built last year with a sloping door which bolts at the top and a large pen made up of my mum's old metal trellis which we had in the garden when I was a little girl. It got a new coat of paint for this year. The first time they came out "Pixie" slid down the slope of the "hutch" and the look on her face was a picture. If she could talk she would have said "I'm a tortoise, I'm not meant to go that fast". I have now put a rubber car mat on the slope so progress is a little more in keeping with the species. They both know their names and if I call them will come over to have their chin's tickled. They love dandelions, clover, plantains, peeled carrot skin, occasional strawberry and apple,(plus little fingers, if I am not careful) I will try to get some photos taken of my "girls" and post them on the forum.

Sorry to have gone on but as you probably can tell they are both very special to me.

One tip, make sure your garden is secure not just for them escaping but also from people stealing them. :D

#6 Guest_emma72_*

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 03:37 PM

sounds to me as if you have got their care down to a T Gill :D

cant wait for pics

well done x

#7 Guest_jadums_*

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 01:32 PM

Tortoises generally stop growing at about 25yrs so if they havent grown since you've had them they were probably at least that when you got them.

I recently got given 3 torts and by speaking to the previous owner they could be anything from 70+ :D

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