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Hibernation 'au Natural'


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#1 Guest_Stella_*

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 06:53 PM

This year I am hibernating my creep of torts as natural as I can.

Last winter a joiner made me Tort Lodge, which was a purpose built home, which was double walled and insulated.

My gardener dug me a 3 feet deep pit which was insulated with 2inch thick polystyrene sheets. The whole thing was lined with double thickness pond liner and filled with sterilised top soil.

David then added heating and lights on a timer to enable us to have control of the temps we need.

Over the last few weeks one by one my torts have dug themselves down into the soil and have hibernated.... I have slowly reduced the temps in which the heater comes on and now it is set at 5degrees.

I still do the daily checks, so fingers crossed all will be well in the spring. I have every confidence in this method of hibernation. X x x hugs x x

#2 Kelly

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 07:05 PM

How brilliant. :happy2: That is exactly how I'd like to be doing it when my torts are all grown up. I'll be calling to you in a few years for advice from a well practiced pro by then. ;)
You should post some pics up, so we can see your outdoor enclosure and how you've done it all, so we can get some ideas. x

#3 Guest_Stella_*

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 07:34 PM

Will do!! It has been a few years in the planning and to be honest it is quite scary. But I personally feel this way is better than all the monitoring fridges and boxes offer.

In the past I have done both methods and this way is much less time consuming. My own tort years ago hibernated in the garden, by a sheltered south facing wall. And she was absolutely fine x x

#4 Patp

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:01 PM

Right, after Stellas post, I have also taken the plunge and decided to also go au Natural this year. I have bought 2 hot water tank jackets and put them around the inside and roof of their house and put some extra soil in (now about a foot in depth).

I have taken out the heater, although if it does drop too cold I can put it back in but was worried about the fire hazard. I will monitor the temps over the next couple of weeks, but have a box made up for them in the garage just in case

Fingers crossed all will be okay till spring. They are now both in there so will report on progress or any problems that arise.

Pat

#5 Freddy

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 06:13 PM

That sounds great, Pat. Hopefully it doesn't get too cold for them. Please keep us updated and let us know how you get on.
Kind Regards
Freddy

#6 Guest_Stella_*

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 06:54 PM

Pat.... That was spontaneous! But well done you!!

Even though it has felt really cold this last week, the heater only came on for a short while. Here in Sheffield we had a very heavy frost one day and I worried the heater had broken. But another thermometer in Tort Lodge gave the same reading. I have put a probe in the soil to monitor the underground temps.

I feel very confident they are safe and I check them everyday although I can only see two. X x hugs x x

#7 Patp

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 08:41 PM

Tbh when I set up torty towers it was with a view to keeping them outside as natural as possible and I had already dug down enough to have some soil depth with blocks and timber surround. I have a min/max thermometer but will order another probe one to put underground.

Can I ask how you knew your heater only came on for a short time? Do you have something attached to it that can tell you this? If you have that would be great and I will buy one, I can then judge the electricity costs as well for next years hibernation decision.

Thanks

Pat

#8 Guest_Stella_*

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:09 PM

Sorry Pat, I am not as technical as that. No I have to be up at 6 and check Tort Lodge from the house. I have only ever seen the heater glow once for about 15 mins. When we check in the night it hasn't been on at all. That is why we are checking the soil temp now. Not much help really. Thing is I know how well insulated it is.... Breeze blocks, 2" thickness polystyrene below soil level and double thickness walls to Tort Lodge which has insulation between them. X x x hugs x.

#9 jay

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:52 PM

Hello
my torts dug down a week ago in there outside home,not needed the tubular heater yet,i check the temps with a digital probe thermometer before i go to bed and as soon as i get up,i will put the heater on the thermostat when temps start to drop down,at the moment temps are around 7-8c.
Jaynex

#10 Patp

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 04:17 PM

Thanks, I think I might have a look at one of those plug in units that tells you what wattage is being drawn from an appliance. If I do, I will let you know what is being used.

Good luck to all the torts and stay well. xxxx

Pat x




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