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Old 08-09-2016, 12:38 PM   #1
baldocktort
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Default Hibernating a Horsefield

Hi,

I am sure all of this has been asked many times so sorry!

I have custody of my daughters 4 year old horsefield. He has never been hibernated!

She works away a lot and I have refused to let him hibernate in case i kill him.

So, I now have custody for about 18 months and am contemplating hibernating him but i am, frankly, quite terrified!

My house is modern, insulated, and heated so never get cold enough for a tort to hibernate.

I have a brick garden shed/store but having monitored it last winter it doesn't often get below 4 or 5 degrees and being south facing if the sum appears it warms up very quickly.

Ant advice on how to hibernate safely would be very, very welcome
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Old 08-09-2016, 01:11 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by baldocktort View Post
Hi,

I am sure all of this has been asked many times so sorry!

I have custody of my daughters 4 year old horsefield. He has never been hibernated!

She works away a lot and I have refused to let him hibernate in case i kill him.

So, I now have custody for about 18 months and am contemplating hibernating him but i am, frankly, quite terrified!

My house is modern, insulated, and heated so never get cold enough for a tort to hibernate.

I have a brick garden shed/store but having monitored it last winter it doesn't often get below 4 or 5 degrees and being south facing if the sum appears it warms up very quickly.

Ant advice on how to hibernate safely would be very, very welcome
If you go to www.thetortoisehouse.com you will find some great hibernation info.
With the weather we are having at the moment, you have quite a lot of time to sort things out.
It all sounds complicated, but if you are strong minded, then its a doddle:0)
I have been hibernating tortoises for over 35yrs with no losses yet, fingers crossed:0)

I let my tortoises hibernate naturally in the garden soil in my greenhouses. If the shed has soil in it, or you could section a part off, and put soil in it, then you have a good chance of hibernating in the shed.
Using a thermometer you can monitor the temps easily. Which is what I did in my GH around 15yrs ago. I found no matter what the temps were on the outside (being glass the GH warm up quite quickly even in the Winter) once the tortoises were down properly then they didnt come up until the actual soil began to warm up.
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Last edited by sandy; 08-09-2016 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 08-09-2016, 07:49 PM   #3
Jan W
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Welcome to the forum.

I only joined last autumn and it will be worth you keeping an eye on the posts, as there was much discussion while they were all hibernating.

I was terrified too. Fuss, fuss, fuss! It seems such a responsibility. I have to admit I only let them hibernate for 4 weeks the first time, due to my inexperience, so importantly I would NOT advocate following this. I didn't have the forum to help me. I just try to be honest about what I have done as I think it makes it easier for others to be open.

This past winter they both work up at 8 weeks and I am not sure why. The temperatures at times really warmed up, but they woke up when it was cold. As they were on the move I decided to get them up. Beatrice laid 3 eggs a few hours after waking.

This year I will move to 3 months, but will seek advice from the forum as we go as there is a wealth of experience to help guide us.

Good luck
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:00 PM   #4
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welcome ! Sandy has posted run down on a recent post. They usually tell you when its time as they stop eating. (if outside). Some of mine have been known to go down in Sept and not get up til February maybe March. They are very individual. I hibernate mine in the greenhouse. they burrow down and that's it. I don't disturb til they know the don't disturb sign down but I do check on them. Rule of thumb for me (if your tortoises is right size , weight and healthy) is first week in November they are put away if they haven't already done so. (but check as is weather dependent also and whether they've purged). You may find that though your shed/garage is warmish, packed away they wont ever warm up enough to wake up until spring. Temps inside a box are lower than outside. CB
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Old 09-09-2016, 09:43 AM   #5
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welcome ! Sandy has posted run down on a recent post. They usually tell you when its time as they stop eating. (if outside). Some of mine have been known to go down in Sept and not get up til February maybe March. They are very individual. I hibernate mine in the greenhouse. they burrow down and that's it. I don't disturb til they know the don't disturb sign down but I do check on them. Rule of thumb for me (if your tortoises is right size , weight and healthy) is first week in November they are put away if they haven't already done so. (but check as is weather dependent also and whether they've purged). You may find that though your shed/garage is warmish, packed away they wont ever warm up enough to wake up until spring. Temps inside a box are lower than outside. CB
Last year was not exactly a normal year for hibernation was it:0)
Most tortoises were ready in September for hibernation, this year I think its not going to be until late October or early November here in the SE. As temps are a lot lot higher now than they were last year.
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Old 09-09-2016, 10:42 AM   #6
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Last year was not exactly a normal year for hibernation was it:0)
Most tortoises were ready in September for hibernation, this year I think its not going to be until late October or early November here in the SE. As temps are a lot lot higher now than they were last year.
I would love to let mine sleep outside but as we are prone to flooding I can't take the risk.

Just to throw a spanner in the works this is why I let mine tell me when they are ready then they go in wooden boxes in a fridge that way the temps are more stable.
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Old 05-11-2016, 10:03 AM   #7
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When is my tortoise empty?

I have been following the "fridge hibernation plan" and I am in my third week. My poor little tortoise has not had anything to eat for nearly 3 weeks - the pleading looks are killing me - and he has been having a warm bath every other day since I started the programme.

He seemed to stop passing anything about a week ago but has now started again. Its not much and its pretty wet, mainly wet with a bit of colour really, just after his bath. Does this mean he is not empty? HELP!
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Old 05-11-2016, 10:48 AM   #8
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morning, stomach, gut and bladder. When you say wet is that poop or urates? I think you need to weigh also to make sure he isn't losing masses of weight which could be an indicator of ill health, especially if he has exceedingly runny poops. Rule of thumb would be another couple of weeks but it does depend on the tortoise, weight , length and background. No one tortoise is the same which is why its a guide only. Don't reduce temps fully as it seems more food needs to pass perhaps. Keep us posted and I suspect others will give their support and thoughts on here too. CB
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Old 05-11-2016, 01:26 PM   #9
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Weight is pretty constant, has been dropping slightly over last couple of weeks. I would say urates with a brown fleck. Poops have always been OK. I kind of assumed that as he is hydrated I would see urates passing right up to the hibernation point?
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Old 05-11-2016, 03:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baldocktort View Post
When is my tortoise empty?

I have been following the "fridge hibernation plan" and I am in my third week. My poor little tortoise has not had anything to eat for nearly 3 weeks - the pleading looks are killing me - and he has been having a warm bath every other day since I started the programme.

He seemed to stop passing anything about a week ago but has now started again. Its not much and its pretty wet, mainly wet with a bit of colour really, just after his bath. Does this mean he is not empty? HELP!
If you are into week 3 of a controlled wind down , he should be nearly there, another week or two, and you should be reducing the light and heat, in a cool room, and reduce the temp of the bath to tepid and then cool. So by now he should be slowing down and coming out less each day and not really wanting any food. If he's wanting food still , then he's too warm. Remember you are gradually cooling him down over the weeks. So if he's in a modern warm house, it might be too warm. I live in an old house and my kitchen is quite cold now, so perfect for the last stage of wind down. If you are following a controlled wind down correctly, he will be empty enough.
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