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Hibernation Newbie


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#1 Guest_Suzired71_*

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 10:21 AM

Hi all.
I have never hibernated my crew before. This is their second winter with me. I am going to use the fridge method that I am sure of but that is where my decisiveness ends.
I was planning to wind them down over October and send them to sleep in november. Now we are having a heat wave so that , I guess, will delay it by a month which is no drama. So they will go in December now. What does everyone else do time wise? Does everyone use the Jackson ratio ? Iwas planning on keeping the fridge in our carpet lined shed which is very close to the house and alarmed. I have read the hibernation section of this site, which incidentally is the finest piece of information on the subject I have ever Googled and which also led me to this forum so thank you for that.
However, I am still full of questions and uncertainty cos it's a bit nerve racking. My Mum used to pop my much missed, childhood Tortoises in a box with some straw and into the garage they went for a few months and that was that! Oh how much more we know now! Help me please dear people.
Also I have had some difficulty uploading pics of my beloveds' onto the forum any top tips? Thank you x

#2 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 06:40 PM

Hi Suzi,
According to the hibernation guide on this forum you are doing the correct thing by winding your torts down in November for December/January and what would be their first 8 week hibernation. The Jackson Ratio is a good weight guide for hibernation but you will also have to take into account weight lost during the starvation wind-down period. However, providing your torts are a good weight to start off with this is never usually a problem. You also need to make sure your torts are 100% healthy before hibernation.
I wouldn't recommend using an outdoor shed for your fridge, as temps there could fall well below freezing point during the winter period , and this could be fatal to your torts. Instead I would choose a cool location somewhere in the house were the ambient temps remain relatively stable.
You will also need to weigh your torts at regular intervals during hibernation to make sure they are not losing too much weight (usually no more than 10% of their body weight). If they are you will need to get them up. However, If you find that at the end of their 8 week hibernation period they have lost little weight then you can continue hibernating them for another couple of weeks. Anyway Suzi there will be plenty of people here on the forum to lend a helping hand and see you through things during this time so stay in touch. For now I wish you the best of luck with your first hibernation and feel sure everything will work out just fine. Hopefully there will be others along shortly to offer you more, helpful advice. Take care.
Kind Regards
Freddy

#3 Guest_Suzired71_*

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 06:27 AM

Thanks for your reply Freddy,
I have rethought the position of the fridge and have found a place in the house for them. In truth, I am much happier to have them in the house. November wind down it is then . Good to know my plan of action is the right one. thanks again,
Kind regards Suzi

#4 Guest_Ozric_*

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 10:31 PM

Hi Suzi - can I ask how old / big your tortoises are? Weight is the main factor to take into account when deciding your wind-down scheldule.

I keep mine going till Christmas with artificial heat and light. I like to do it that way because it means they can start to outside soon after waking up, but I think the main thing is to make sure that the hibernation takes place during winter. Sadly, my winters here are so much longer than the mediterranean ones!

Domestic fridges are basically designed for indoor use and personally I think that's the best way to use one for hibernation.

The way I do the wind-down, I leave the option open of pulling out right till the last minute. That way, if the tortoise seems to have lost too much weight during wind down I can change course and keep the tortoise up after all.

I agree with Freddy it's important to do your health checks and carefuly weigh and measure the tortoises too.

There will be a lot of posts about hibernation over the next few months because although preparation is important, very few of us feel completely confident even when we have hibernated tortoises sucessully many times.

#5 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 07:51 PM

Hi Suzi,
I do the same as Oz and wait until a little later to hibernate them. My reason for choosing to wait is down to food. Weeds are more plentiful in the run up to wind down than early in the year due to frosts... and snow, :wacko: Weed picking is more difficult at this time.

Paula x

#6 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 11:19 AM

Hi again Suzi,
It can be hard keeping torts going until Christmas. If you can that's great. The important thing is that you hibernate them during the winter months.Last year was quite warm in parts of england during February, so it does depend a lot on where you live. If finding weeds become a problem you will find plenty of ideas on other threads. Anyway Suzi, please keep in touch and let us know how you're getting on. Best of luck.
Kind Regards
Freddy :D

#7 Guest_littledeedee_*

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 07:12 PM

Hey all

Am hoping to hibernate Alfie for his 1st time too.

Hes been very well and have hardly seen him as hes been in the garden all summer and gets the ump when I bring him in!
its like hes a different tort!!

Still flat though :( but hes acting like a tort should!!

Do you's think i should take him back to vet to get him the all clear before winding him down?

(hope all are well)

D
x

#8 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 09:07 PM

Hey all

Am hoping to hibernate Alfie for his 1st time too.

Hes been very well and have hardly seen him as hes been in the garden all summer and gets the ump when I bring him in!
its like hes a different tort!!

Still flat though :( but hes acting like a tort should!!

Do you's think i should take him back to vet to get him the all clear before winding him down?

(hope all are well)

D
x


Hi Dee,
How are things? Glad to hear Alfie is doing so well.
I think it would be a good idea to first get the OK from your vet before you hibernate Alfie!
Hope your keeping well? It's been a while....
Talk soon. ;)
Kind Regards
Freddy :D

#9 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 09:32 PM

Hi Dee,
Great to hear from you. :D
Sounds like the Alfster is still keeping you on your toes! :laugh:
After all the worries the lil fella has given you I think a check up would be good.

Chin tickles to Alfster, :wub:

Paula x

#10 Guest_jay_*

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 08:28 PM

Hello Suzi
I do the same as Oz and Paula and wait until christmas time to hibernate,i have used fridge for hibernation but now i use there outside home,best of luck
Jaynex

#11 Guest_Suzired71_*

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 08:50 PM

Hi everyone,
Thanks so much for all your advise and comments. Kind of good to know that the tummy butterflies get us all, no matter how experienced. Our Torts are so precious to us and their lives are in our hands. No pressure!!
However I do feel much more confident about our hibernation plan. At current there is still a plentiful supply of home grown weeds and edible plants for my guys in their garden so food is good for them. I have decided to wind them down when the supply dies down. As They are only going to kip for 8 weeks, I will keep them awake for as long as poss so that I am not waking them up in February when it is extremely likely that there will be snow on the ground if the last 2 years are any thing to go by. I have bought my gang a brand new larder fridge (they will have a shelf each) and I have cleared out the coat cupboard in my hall way so that the 'Hybo Pod' as I like to call it, can reside in the house. I have obtained 3 polystyrene boxes with lids from the local aquarium shop which I will put good size vent holes in and shred some bank statements in the shredder for them to bed in. All I need now is a good digi thermometer ( any recommendations?)
How often do people generally weigh there torts during hibernation? My inclination is to do it every few days.I am going to open the door daily though to keep their air fresh, bless them. I miss them already. :( Take care x

#12 Guest_Suzired71_*

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 09:08 PM

Hi Suzi - can I ask how old / big your tortoises are? Weight is the main factor to take into account when deciding your wind-down scheldule.

I keep mine going till Christmas with artificial heat and light. I like to do it that way because it means they can start to outside soon after waking up, but I think the main thing is to make sure that the hibernation takes place during winter. Sadly, my winters here are so much longer than the mediterranean ones!

Domestic fridges are basically designed for indoor use and personally I think that's the best way to use one for hibernation.

The way I do the wind-down, I leave the option open of pulling out right till the last minute. That way, if the tortoise seems to have lost too much weight during wind down I can change course and keep the tortoise up after all.

I agree with Freddy it's important to do your health checks and carefuly weigh and measure the tortoises too.

There will be a lot of posts about hibernation over the next few months because although preparation is important, very few of us feel completely confident even when we have hibernated tortoises sucessully many times.

Hi Ozric.
My tortoises weights are Shiva 419gms @3 years old, Murtle 283gms @ 2 Years old and Marigold 374gms @ 2 years old.
Murtle had a bad start in life but has really blossomed in the last 6 months. I had had him for 3 weeks when I realised he had a runny nose. I took him to the vet and not only had he got an upper respiratory infection but at only 35 gms in weight, an xray showed he was full of grit which was pressing his intestines against the bottom of his shell restricting the blood supply! He was a lucky little man to survive. I spent 3 months giving him critical care formular daily and oral antibiotics. He pulled through much to the vets amazement. Im really proud of him as he is such a fighter and he responds to me differently than the other 2 as a result of all the care I gave him. I have pictures on my phone of his xrays over the months. The vet had to put him on a 35mm film pot to take the xrays he was so tiny!. I go on.. Well up shot, I know that I need to keep a special eye on him during hibernation. Are there weights good for their ages?
take care suzi

#13 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 10:50 PM

My tortoises weights are Shiva 419gms @3 years old, Murtle 283gms @ 2 Years old and Marigold 374gms @ 2 years old. Are there weights good for their ages?


Hi Suzi,
If you could measure the length of each tortoises shell underside in centimetres we could give you a general idea if your torts are a good weight or not.
Best Regards
Freddy

#14 Guest_Suzired71_*

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 11:30 PM


Hi Suzi,
If you could measure the length of each tortoises shell underside in centimetres we could give you a general idea if your torts are a good weight or not.
Best Regards
Freddy


Hi Freddy, sorry it has taken me a while to respond to your question.
As of today they are as follows
Shiva is12.5cm and 419 grams
Murtle is 11cm and 298 gms
Marigold is12.4cm and 392gms
There is still a good supply of food growing in their garden so wind down will start as soon as the weeds are too poor to feed them with.
Kind regards Suzi

#15 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 12:37 AM

Hi Freddy, sorry it has taken me a while to respond to your question.
As of today they are as follows
Shiva is12.5cm and 419 grams
Murtle is 11cm and 298 gms
Marigold is12.4cm and 392gms
There is still a good supply of food growing in their garden so wind down will start as soon as the weeds are too poor to feed them with.
Kind regards Suzi

Hi Suzi,
According to the Jackson Ratio Chart on this forum.....
Shiva is a good weight
Murtle is slightly underweight at 2 grammes and
Marigold is 8 grammes underweight
All in all not bad.
Hope this helps.
Kind Regards
Freddy

#16 Guest_Suzired71_*

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 08:21 PM

Hi Suzi,
According to the Jackson Ratio Chart on this forum.....
Shiva is a good weight
Murtle is slightly underweight at 2 grammes and
Marigold is 8 grammes underweight
All in all not bad.
Hope this helps.
Kind Regards
Freddy


Hi Freddy thanks for looking at that for me. Do you think That Murtle and Marigold should hibernate. Any advise to built them up a bit . they both have very healthy appetites Marigold in particular strangely enough.
regards Suzi

#17 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 11:44 PM


Hi Freddy thanks for looking at that for me. Do you think That Murtle and Marigold should hibernate. Any advise to built them up a bit . they both have very healthy appetites Marigold in particular strangely enough.
regards Suzi

Hi Suzi,
I would have no hesitation hibernating Murtle and Marigold for an 8 week period on those numbers. Of course weight lost during their 18 day wind-down period would also have to be considered.
Continue feeding them well until wind-down and they should reach their average weights by then. They are doing well especially for this time of year. Any problems or questions you know were to find us. You are also welcome to PM me any time. Best of luck Suzi!
Kind Regards
Freddy

#18 Guest_Suzired71_*

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 07:41 PM

Hi Suzi,
I would have no hesitation hibernating Murtle and Marigold for an 8 week period on those numbers. Of course weight lost during their 18 day wind-down period would also have to be considered.
Continue feeding them well until wind-down and they should reach their average weights by then. They are doing well especially for this time of year. Any problems or questions you know were to find us. You are also welcome to PM me any time. Best of luck Suzi!
Kind Regards
Freddy


Thanks so much Freddy,
You are very kind. I feel much more confident now.
I have got some worming stuff on order too. I shall give them a treatment before wind down begins.
Kind regards Suzi

#19 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 08:59 PM

Hi Suzi,
Can you hold off with the worming stuff for a minute... I am fairly new to worming my own torts but I am not sure that it is a good idea before winding down. Usually more than one dose is required with two weeks inbetween doses.
Hopefully someone with a bit more experience can confirm whether it is the right thing to do this close to wind down. Of course you could always ring the vet to check. Like I say I am not experienced with this but think you should double check before going ahead.

Paula x

#20 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 09:48 PM

Hi Suzi,
I agree with Paula. I'd leave out the worming! Besides, if your torts had worms they wouldn't have such healthy appetites. Take care Suzi!
Kind Regards
Freddy




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