Where did I ever even get the idea to feed chicken food to tortoises? Kay Booth, it was her idea. I saw Kay speak at conferences a few times regarding her long history of successful desert tortoise breeding. Kay wrote the book “Forty years with tortoises”, a fun read with many great anecdotes about raising pet tortoises before it was a common practice.
I’m not suggesting you buy that book or not, it’s just where the concept came from. It was published in 1980, and it’s been another 40 years since then. Kay fed her tortoises Purina Mills Layer crumbles. They now come in an ORGANIC version.
Layer Crumbles now have 80 years of use with tortoises, which is more than all the other ‘tortoise diets’ combined. That in itself does not mean it is better or worse, but it does speak to the fact that it works.
So, let’s look at some of the ingredients. More or less the same for 95% of the ingredients of the diet between “old” Mazuri and PM organic layers crumbles, but of course the Mazuri is not organic. Layer crumbles don’t have molasses and do have more calcium and a corresponding amount of D3 to be utilized with that calcium. Enough calcium to support a chicken laying a new egg everyday!
The protein content, a constant worry for prepared diets for tortoises, is the close with old Mazuri at 15% and PM organic layer crumbles at 16%. As with all dry foods, make sure your tortoise drinks enough, and make sure there is a high fiber component in the diet.
Mazuri “old” tortoise pellets: Ground soybean hulls, ground corn, dehulled soybean meal, ground oats, wheat middlings, cane molasses, dehydrated alfalfa meal, wheat germ, dicalcium phosphate, soybean oil, brewers dried yeast, calcium carbonate, salt, dl-methionine, choline chloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, d-alpha tocopheryl acetate (form of vitamin E), biotin, cholecalciferol, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K), calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, folic acid, riboflavin, preserved with mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract, nicotinic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, citric acid, l-lysine, manganous oxide, zinc oxide, ferrous carbonate, copper sulfate, zinc sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, cobalt carbonate. Guaranteed Analysis
Purina Mills organic Layer crumbles: Organic Ground Corn, Organic Soybean Meal, Organic Wheat Middlings, Organic Wheat, Organic Heat Processed Soybeans, Calcium Carbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Organic Soybean Oil, Salt, Diatomaceous Earth, Organic Tagetes (Aztec Marigold) Meal (Color), Dried Kelp, Methionine Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Choline Chloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Calcium Panothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Menadione Nicotinamide Bisulfite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin. Guaranteed Analysis
The layer crumbles have a similar nutrient profile to “old” Mazuri, less the molasses, BUT far more important, many times more calcium, enough to support a chicken laying an egg everyday. It also has enough D3 to support the use of that more calcium. AND IT’S ORGANIC.