Feeding and Nutrition :: How to reduce my turtles food intake

Turtle diets and eating habits discussed here.

Post Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:03 pm   How to reduce my turtles food intake

Hi. I'm new here.
I have two young turtles (Suki and Fimo) that were probably hatched last July (2016). They still had the little white beaks on their snout when I got them in late July.

Figuring out what to feed them and the right amount to feed them has been tricky for me. There seem to be so many different and conflicting schools of thought on what's right for them. I'm realizing that I may have been feeding them too much, and/or too much protein.

They are starting to show what looks to me like the beginning of pyramiding. I want to address this immediately. What I had been doing is feeding them twice a day, a small piece of fruit in the morning and some pellets and green leaves (lettuce, kale, dandelion, collard) in the evening.

They seem to be fine, very energetic and lucid. They have the UVB light, they bask, they have calcium, I change the water regularly.

I'm wondering if I fed them too much and caused them to grow more than they should have. I'm thinking the way to go is to feed once a day, alternating plants and protein, having just looked at other people's feeding list posts. This would be a notable reduction for them and perhaps a difficult adjustment for them.

Any suggestions on how to transition from feeding twice a day to once a day would be appreciated. Should I do it gradually, diminishing the size of one meal over a few days (less traumatic), or cold turkey (more traumatic)? Is it better to feed them in the mornings or evenings? What is the right size of leaf vegetable to feed them if they're around 7 months old?

Any other observations or feedback would be appreciated. Is this pyramiding and fast growth? I want to do right by these turtles. Many thanks.
- Kamille
Attachments
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This is Suki
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This is Fimo
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Kamille
 
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:24 pm   Re: How to reduce my turtles food intake

Hi ! You are going to be a good parent ! Observing to me is the key. Yes look's like its time to correct there diet. Yes early pyramiding but will go away with a few shedding's in time if we correct there diet. NO twice a day , they are juvenile's now. Once a day is find and yes less protein. I make 75% or more veggies from this size to adult. Babies grow very fast and need all that extra protein but at this age the growth rate slows down. Just do it now , once daily , no matter how much they beg and they are good at begging ! Head size amounts not + neck ... to me still a lot. I go smaller amounts. Some days in wild well can go several days without eating. Pet turtles have their keepers to feed them , but they still act as if they were in the wild. So it's up to you to feed them only as much as they need. Also if you can't control "yourself" due to the begging ( OH they just look so hungry , Ha Ha , don't) and still go twice a day make it half head size portions. BUT mostly veggies. I would not alternate protein and veggies but a variety each day. I have a plant tank to save money and grow my own romaine to. Go some days all veggies only ! Make protein more like a snack , just a little. They will adjust , OK. Put some live safe plants in tank or extra leaf so they can snack on if really needed. Doing your homework great ! Haven't seen a fat turtle on veggies yet in a tank or the wild . Just ignore the begging , its may sound cruel , BUT overfeeding your turtle is one of the worst things you can do. You saw all those feeding list a good Variety is better and more veggies. I , my opinion, think some of those list are still to much. But read the comments and recommendation to.

Piggley's Over 3years old and he gets feed every other day but have live plants in tank. Once in a while see him taking a snack. If he begs I get his mind off food by playing a game and or just give him more attention. Been doing this for over 50 years and still learning , we all never stop learning !
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:32 pm   Re: How to reduce my turtles food intake

The little white beak is called an egg tooth which they use to slice open their egg. Whenever you are in doubt about feeding, always use less. Go with litefoot's advice and you'll be fine. Welcome to the forum!
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steve
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:04 pm   Re: How to reduce my turtles food intake

Hi Litefoot
Thank you so much for your detailed and thoughtful response. I’m still confused about the portion size for the veggies. Does the head size apply to plants or just to protein?

When you say variety each day, should the sum total of the different kinds of food (75% veg and 25% protein) be kept within the head size? Very tiny portions of two or three things?

My turtles’ shells are 3 ¼” and 3 ½” long. Although they have grown a lot since I first got them, they are still tiny. It’s sort of confounding for me to figure out the right size (piece of) leaf to give them. Can you offer anymore clarification on veggie portion size?

Thanks again for your response.
Kamille
 
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:11 pm   Re: How to reduce my turtles food intake

Thank you Steve!
I will feed them less.
Kamille
 
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:20 pm   Re: How to reduce my turtles food intake

It's hard to quantify the amount of veggies because there is no right answer. Since their appetites will change over seasons, I look out for loose stools which I then would cut back. If you trace the shell on a piece of paper, the amount of lettuce I would use is about 1/2 to 2/3 of it.
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:25 pm   Re: How to reduce my turtles food intake

Aah, that's a helpful tip. Thanks, Steve.
Kamille
 
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:58 am   Re: How to reduce my turtles food intake

Kamille sorry been gone a little , life's issues to take care of. Steve's veggie plan is very good to follow. Also a few let a leaf float in tank for them to snack on as needed. I have safe live plants for Piggley to snack on. Some people only feed stick food every day , not good ! Varity is say sticks , worms , crickets , shrimp , minnows , ... etc live and or dried. I use head size for the protein not veggie. Change it up sure you for yourself don't eat beans everyday. Sometimes I skip a day or two on the protein and its only veggies do to his size. For Piggley that's only protein two days a week but maybe a cricket here and there? When it's protein day may get two shrimp , four sticks , four mealworms , then say two crickets. Then he may get some live plants if he wants. Just an example I use / adjust to your turtles size. Piggley is older than yours and I have him about 80% veggie now with less protein , that's just me. If ever not sure better to under feed than over feed !!!
Look at some feeding list on this forum BUT also read if any comments and or recommendations that go with them.
Baby turtles need more protein due to they are growing at a fast rate. But as they get older growth slows down and need more veggies. Where most go wrong they feed an adult as a baby and that's BAD for health.

When I say veggie it's a mixture not just one veggie all the time. Good read here : http://www.redearslider.com/plants.html

As far as how to change there diet just do it. They will adjust , turtles will always beg , in nature they have no idea where there next meal is coming from. Captivity its us to feed them health ! If they beg , and are the BEST at that , make up a game to play get there minds off food give them attention not food.
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Post Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:35 pm   Re: How to reduce my turtles food intake

Thank you very much, litefoot. I have reduced their food to once a day. I'm feeding mainly red leaf lettuce with variations on what goes with it. A thin peel of carrot, a small piece of kale, and reduced amounts of protein. They seem okay, if not thrilled with all the red leaf lettuce. They still end up eating it. We'll see. I'll keep you posted. Thanks again.
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