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Outdoor Enclosure Questions


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#1 Pickle1983

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 11:01 AM

Hi all,
So I'm about to start building an outdoor enclosure for Queenie. Unfortunately the one I have used previously was damaged over the winter so I wanted to start from scratch.

I am going to use 50% topsoil and 50% play sand as a substrate mix, I will have a small cold frame that she can easily get in and out off so that she can stay out overnight too and I am going to plant lots of edible plants in her enclosure so she can feed as and when.
I will also put chicken wire over the top to stop any predators getting in.

However, I have a few questions:
This may sound silly - but what about if it rains?! Will the substrate mix get ruined or will it be ok?
Do I need to provide some kind of overnight heating for her as she will be staying out overnight?
Is a cold frame enough to provide shelter for her overnight or would something else be better?

Any help would be greatly appreciated - I am going to start building it this weekend and then do it bit by bit in time for some nice weather!

Thank you,
Nic

#2 Hellymack

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 07:51 PM

Here are some pics of my George's garden.

 

This was the garden we constructed last year but felt was too small  Attached File  George original garden.jpg   60.3KB   2 downloads

 

He has an entrance to his bedroom which is in the shed and inside he has a heat bulb which is powered by a safe electric cable which is controlled in the house with an rcd and a timer for safety.

 

My hubby extended it this week for me

 

Attached File  George garden extension1.jpg   61.94KB   0 downloadsAttached File  George garden extension.jpg   46.31KB   0 downloadsAttached File  George extension2.jpg   42.85KB   0 downloads

 

 

Next step is to construct a wooden sided and perspex roof cold frame to enable him to bask on a cooler day.

 

There are some plants that I need to remove this week that I know torts dont eat and I will also paint the wood to preserve it and then fix weed control fabric along the sides to stop him from peeping through to the outside.

 

I will also plant up further with hebe's etc and wild flower seeds. 

 

George wont stop outside over night until May, I tend to bring him in and out every day  until then and he is not at all bothered by this.

 

He is still currently sleeping in his hibernation box and plan to get him up 2 weeks tomorrow if all goes to plan and I cant wait to see him.

 

 



#3 Hellymack

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 07:52 PM

Forgot to say I dont use any sand, just the usual garden soil and he loves the rain!



#4 Guest_Stella_*

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 08:43 PM

Hello Nic, ordinary garden soil works well, why don't you check out the enclosures posted on this site to give you ideas. I don't know about cold frames, mine live in what my joiner called a 'glorified rabbit hutch'......I prefer to call it 'Tort Lodge' .... As for tort friendly feeding plants, I tried that last year with devastating results..... What they didn't eat in minutes they flattened!!! I don't think torts think ' I am hungry so will peck at this plant' .....I think they think ' wow I can eat that so I will'..... Lol.
During the summer months torts are ok outside but depends on whether you think your garden is safe to leave torts out and what kind of night time accommodation is required. Personally I like mine to be locked in their 'glorified rabbit hutch' but so wish I dare leave them outside x x x hugs x x

#5 Pickle1983

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 10:37 PM

Hi both,

Thank you for your really helpful replies. I will just use top soil then instead of play sand as well.
I've looked at the pics on here of outdoor enclosures and I've googled a few as well so I've got a fairly good idea know of how I want it to look. There is a spot in my garden that gets the sun from the early morning until about 4pm so I am going to put it there so she gets lots of sun :)

I was looking at getting a ceramic heat emitter to install inside the hutch just to wake her up in the morning, but I guess if I get the sun in my garden first thing I shouldn't really need to - am I right in thinking this?

Judging by how Queenie is currently spending everyday stomping around her enclosure (and making a right old mess) I'm guessing she is going to LOVE her outdoor enclosure!

Thanks again for your help :) I will post picture updates as I go along.

Thanks
Nic




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