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Feeding of Tortoises

Feeding European Tortoises

(by Dr. M. Baur and Prof. Dr. R. Hoffmann, Zoological Institute, Munich, Germany)

European and Central Asian Tortoises are very popular as pets. In the wild, they are extremely well adjusted to their original habitats. Therefore, their feeding requirements are also to be regarded as an adjustment to environmental conditions.
In the original habitats of European tortoises, a mild, during summer (from May on) and a dry Mediterranean or continental climate is prevailing. The animals have access to sufficient green plants - comparabel to the spring growth of a meagre central European meadow - only during springtime. From May on, the plants dry out increasingly and therefore contain distinctly less protein and easily digestible, highly energetic substances. The available nutrition is then partly comparabel to hay. In the steppe areas of central Asia, similar, however, even more extreme conditions prevail.
To exist in such habitats an to utilise the resources availabel there these species have developed particular anatomical structures and physiological adjustments. For example, they have a relativeley small stomach with a low extensibility so that they cannot consume large amount of food at once but have to take in many small rations distributed over the day. Caecum and Colon are enlarged adn form spatially highly extended fermentation chambers which fill a major part of the abdominal cavity. Within said chambers, crude fibre is decomposed by means of a controlled fermentation with the aid of an extremely efficient and diverse intestinal flora (various bacteria and protozoons) and made usable for the tortoise. For this purpose, the food remains in the digestive system for up to two weeks and forms a three-dimensional grid of crudes fibres therein, offering a large area of attack for nutrient absorption to the intestinal flora. However, if the structured crude fibres are missing or replaced by easily digestible substances (such as starch or saccharides), a faulty fermentation including an exteme decrease of the retention time of the food in the guts occur. The intestinal flora is partly displaced or dies off. The tortoises will lose liquids and may develop incurable diarrhoea. Further, parasitic diseases are promoted.
Since water my be very rare for months in the original habitats, tortoises discharge the end products of the protein metabolism in the form of uric acid crystals (urates) insoluble in water so that the organism will not lose water. This adjustment is extemely efficent unless too much protein is contained in the food. Too many urates in the organism due an excessive protein concentration in the forage can no longer be discharged. Renal failure and the extemely painful, lethal arthrolithiasis are the result.
Therefore, an appropriate diet for the European and Asian tortoises should only contain minor amounts of easily digestible substances, such as saccharides or carbohydrates, but a high percentage of structured crude fibre and it should not contain more than 5 to 8 % of protein.
By using a rich variety of plants, the requirments of the animals in liposoluble vitamins (A and E) can be covered completely or at least to a major part. Minerals and trace elements are also contained in a sufficient amount. The balanced ratio of calcium and phosphorus essential for the animals is achieved by processing fully grown plants and, if required, by additives.
Finally, it has to be mentioned that, for an adequate digestion of fibre-rich food, an optimum body temperature (of preferably 35 to 37°C) is indispensable. This is obtainable by sun bathing which must be simulated by installing a light-intensive lamp for locally heating the "sunny spot" up to a ground temperature of 35 to 40°C.
(The animals, however, also need cool retreats!)
Light and radiation warmth increase the activity and appetite of the animals.


How does Food in the Natural Habitat look like?

Tortoises are wild animals which were domesticated by humans. It is therefore the duty of the keeper to feed his pets appropriately. Wild Tortoises are often found in scanty environments and are obviously well adapted to a meagre diet. Pet tortoises, however, are often overfed and yet malnourished: "Their diet contains to much protein and they consume large amounts of easily digestible carbohydrates contained in unsuitable food. At the sametime they lack crude fibre and vital substances."

Why feed PRE ALPIN Testudo?

PRE ALPIN Testudo is the ideal basic diet for Tortoises. The types PRE ALPIN Testudo Herbs, Fibre and Baby contain the incomparable plant variety of the Upper Bavarian meadows. More than 60 different grasses and herbs growing on highly diverse poor-soil meadows make this product so valuable.

PRE ALPIN Testudo - the original, consists of selected grasses with a particularly low protein content and a particularly high crude fibre content. It is therefore particularly suitable in combination with fresh food. The reduced, but high-quality protein supply will, in particular, unburden liver and kidneys, and the detoxification of the body is promoted which is of particular importance during transition time and especially before the beginning of winter torpor.

The Institute of Zoology in Munich considers the PRE ALPIN Testudo product series a suitable diet for all tortoises.. The high crude fibre content of PRE ALPIN Testudo closely resembles the natural diet of tortoises. The digestion is enhanced, and the metabolism is relieved by the low protein content.

PRE ALPIN contains no additives such as pressing aids or protein-reducing admixtures such as straw or bran. The crumbling losses and the nutrient-consuming afterfermentation occurring during the conventional drying process are eliminated. Therefore the nutrients, the abundant and the trace elements as well as the vitamins contained in the green plants are preservered to the largest extent.

How to feed PRE ALPIN?

In amount of PRE ALPIN Testudo or Testudo Herbs corresponding to the weight of the animal and adjusted to the feeding plan is moistened with water and offered freely.
PRE ALPIN Testudo Fibre and Baby may als offered in a dry state. Since tortoises are frequently somewhat picky they should be given the time to get accustomed to unknown food - and please keep in mind that the food has to be replaced every day. Usually it takes a while until unknown food is accepted.

The most reliable way to get your pet accustomed to PRE ALPIN Testudo ist to mix it with known food.

The daily replacement of food that has not been eaten by fresh food is of vital importance.

Water
Tortoises must always have free access to fresh water. Since most tortoises will only drink while they are taking a bath the most suitable water container is a flat bowl of a sufficient size to accommodate the whole animal.



AGROBS feed consultation

Please fill in the form as completely as possible.

 

Information about the horse

Horse breed: ________

Age: __________

Gender: ___mare, ____gelding, _____stallion

Additional details for broodmares:

Pregnant in _________ monthLactating in ________ month
 
 
Height______ cmWeight______ kg (__weighed, __valued)

Current state: ___ correct ___too thin ___too fat

Activity

___easy work  ___mean work ___ hard work


Please describe the work of your horse:

 housing conditions:

___open stable

___horse box

___other: _________________________

 
bedding:

___straw

___sawdust

___hempstraw

___other:________________

 
Access to pasture:

___daily

___hours in summer

___hours in winter

___irregular

 

 Feeding of horse

Roughage:

___hay ___kg/day

Quality of hay:

___green ___brownish

___soft structure ___medium structure ___hard structure

___aromatic smell ___bad smell ___dusty hay

Quantity of roughage:

___haylage ____ kg/day

___silage ____ kg/day

___straw ____ kg/day

___grass ____ hours/pasture/day

vegetation:

___ little ___moderate ___rich

___mostly young grass ___mostly lignified grass ___grazed meadow

                                                    
Concentrated feed

___oats ___kg/day ___whole grain ___squashed ___oatmeal

___barley ___kg/day ___whole grain ___squashed ___milled ___flakes

___maize ___ kg/day ___ whole grain ___milled ___flakes

___premixed horse muesli; ___kg/day which muesli___________

___pellets ___kg/day; which pellets______________

___mash ___kg/day; which mash______________

___mineral feed ___kg/day; which mineral feed_______________

 
Other feedingstuffs:

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

 
Salt-lick-stone always available: ___yes ___no

Loose salt is supplemented ___ g/day

 
The horse gets ___ portions hay/day and ___ portions concentrated feed/day

What´s fed first? ___concentrated feed ___ roughage


Is the horse regularly dewormed? ___yes ___no

Last anthelmintic therapy?

_______________________________________________________________

 appearance of the horse

Please describe the appearance of the horse and any health problems as detailed as possible (coat, skin, hoofs, musculature, tensions, faeces, character (nervous, calm), teeth, etc.)

______________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________


Animal health

(Mark with a cross where applicable)

___ Allergy

___ Cushing syndrome

___ increased susceptibility for infections

___ Skin diseases

___ Pulmonary disease

___ Liver disease

___ Predisposition to colic

___ Diarrhea

___ Fecal water

___ Flatulence

___ Laminitis

___ Arthrosis

___ PSSM

___ Scurf

___ Allergic summer eczema

___ Kidney problems

___ Heart problems

___ Tendon injuries

___ Equine metabolic syndrom

___ Susceptibility to lumbago

 
Further comments / questions:

_____________________________________________________________________________________

 General data:

Customer number:

Name:

Address:

Email:

Please return this completed form by fax: 0049-8171-41 80 48 48

Email: info@agrobs.de or by mail!