I'm an experimental cook, love reading and research, and bring those things together when working to provide for my tortoises.
In the years I've lived with the tortoises in my creep I've developed numerous products that enrich and improve their lives; in response to people asking, I've made some of them available through this website.
The main difference between the things I make and the ones I'd found already being offered for sale online is that mine use organic, human-food-grade ingredients that you'll recognize and I also make a point to formulate these products with as few ingredients as is possible (I'm a big fan of the KISS principle, there are at most five ingredients in the products below).
Darwin's Grin - shell conditioner & treatment
Darwin was my first tortoise, and she'll always be special to me. I made this shell conditioner for her after reading a lot online discussions about shell treatments, and talking with numerous keepers who'd been keeping tortoises for decades.
There's a lot of bad and out-of-date information out there, but the important thing is that while you don't have to use a shell conditioner for a tortoise kept under ideal conditions, it will not in any way hurt (and may help).
The current formulation uses Almond oil, Olive oil, Coconut oil, Cocoa butter, and Shea butter... and nothing else.
Nelson's Magic Bath Powder - rehydration therapy additive
Nelson is a Hingeback Tortoise who came to me severely dehydrated and underweight; I reached out to other hingeback keepers and found the trick that would end up saving his life... really long soaks in special bathwater.
The magic dust is, in reality, hibiscus flowers reduced to a very fine powder, along with cane sugar and sea-salt in the proper proportions for rehydration therapy, that can be added directly to warm water to make a healthful bath additive to help speed a dehydrated tortoise on the way to renewed health.
Persephone's Dream - calcium supplement
Persephone is a huge female Russian Tortoise who was found wandering in a park in Virginia before coming to live with me; her fondest dream is to regain her health and have lots of babies.
One way I could help her is to provide a healthy way to increase her calcium intake, which I do by making a fine powder from the eggshells of local and organic chicken and duck eggs; I sprinkle pinches of the powder over her food a few times a week.
Chili's Booster - vitamin and mineral sprinkle
Chili, an old male Russian Tortoise, came to live with me after a few decades living in a Tupperware container on a poor diet with insufficient UV light; my goal has been to bring him back to peak condition.
His booster is a powder made from hibiscus (healthy and bright red), wakame (a seaweed), moringa (a superfood), and eggshells (for extra calcium)... I give pinches of it to him a few times a week over his regular foods
Aretha's Seaside Snack - seaweed superfood
Iodine is an important nutrient often missing from the diets of tortoises; seaweed has tons of iodine in it, as well as other necessary nutrients. It occurred to me to supplement the diet of Aretha, a Black Mountain Tortoise I live with, with occasional helpings of the seaweed I use in making soups for my family.
The wakame is dried, but rehydrates in warm water into strips of a lettuce-like green that my tortoises have all taken to quite easily. I feed it to them once a week.
Wilhelmina's & Bertha's Bouquet - edible flowers
In summertime, feeding my creep of Russian Tortoises is pretty easy, but in the depths of winter, it can be tricky. One of the ways that I make sure to keep them healthy and happy and eating a varied diet of nutritious foods is to keep a few different mixes of add-ons that I can shake over the mixed greens I often find myself feeding them in January.
A mix of moringa leaf, echinacea flowers, wakame seaweed, calendulaflowers, nettle leaf, chamomileflowers, raspberry leaf, rosebuds, dandelion leaf, and hibiscus flowers makes for a colorful and healthful addition to the greens you'll be feeding your tortoises.