Suggested considerations/combinations for tortoises:
No matter what combination you decided on, these recipes make 2 pounds and 1 to 3 ounces. Thats a 8 x 8 cake pan about 1.5 inches thick.
If you get/got the chicken layer crumbles you’ll see that the kit includes four ounces, while the pelleted tortoise foods include two ounces. That is so the water used for soaking and the ‘food’ are matched. If you select a ZM pelleted food, the fiber content is already good, and any of the loose leaf/flowers will match well with it in regard to fiber content. I wrote a bog post about fiber, HERE.
The chicken layer crumbles have less fiber and should be matched with higher fiber loose leaf items (part 3), such as Echinacea, nettle, plantain, red clover, violets, or oat straw. If you select the cactus chips as the soaker (part 2) that will also ad fiber. Violets and Oat Straw are not recommended for tortoises under 100 grams – they are very fiber-y.
Suggested combinations for tortoises:
ZM Grassland (part 1) with any soaker which includes the option for rose petals c/s (part 2) and any of the loose leaf items (part 3). If you use the rose petals c/s you will be making the gel red and floral, so you have color and odor added at this point. Moringa as-is or made into smaller pieces is my first choice. Making the moringa into smaller pieces in a food processor will reduce some of the fiber effect (not content) but make gel easier to cut up.
ZM Forest (part 1) with rose hips (part 2) and raspberry loose leaf (part 3) will make a reddish fruity flavor/odor gel that forest species like. These are my first choice ingredients for redfoots, flat tail spider tortoises, small Manouria, and Forsten’s (Indotestudo) tortoises.
Layer crumbles (part 1) with hibiscus (part 2) and one of the choices from the LITTLES variety pack – Moringa, nettle, dandelion, alfalfa, red clover, are the best choices for neonates of any species. Plantain is also a good choice for this combination. If you will be using this for neonates, then it’s a good idea to use a food processor to grind up the loose leaf items to some extent – only so that cutting the complete gel will be easier and bites from the tortoise will be easier. Grinding in a food processor is meant to match the pieces size with easy biting for your tortoise, so that is the guide for size, I’d suggest not making it into a dust/powder, but actual bite size bits.
Other items not in the gel kit can be added as well, such as grated sweet potato, carrots, calcium carbonate, grated squash etc. Extra added items should be limited to about a 1/4 to half cup, and be fresh (not requiring water to rehydrate). Limit calcium carbonate to a heaping tablespoon.
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