Caring for Western Chicken Turtle Yearlings - A Complete Guide
The Western Chicken Turtle Yearlings for sale is a small freshwater turtle species gaining popularity in the pet trade. Raising healthy yearling western chicken turtles requires meeting their specialized housing, nutrition, and care needs during this crucial development stage. This in-depth 3,000 word guide covers everything owners need to know to successfully raise western chicken turtle yearlings.
An Introduction to Western Chicken Turtles
The Western Chicken Turtle Yearlings for sale (Deirochelys reticularia miaria) is named for its long striped neck resembling a chicken. Native to the Pacific coast from Baja California to Washington state, they grow to just 5-8 inches in length as adults.
Western Chicken Turtle Yearlings for sale have olive to brown carapaces (upper shell) marked with light blotches giving them camouflage in their native waters. Their engaging personalities and manageable size make them appealing pets.
A Western Chicken Turtle Yearlings for sale is a juvenile that is 1-2 years old. At this stage they are growing rapidly and have higher care requirements compared to mature adults. Proper husbandry now prevents future health issues.
Meeting their specialized housing, nutrition, and care needs at this critical life stage lets western chicken turtle yearlings thrive into adulthood.
Housing Considerations for Yearling Westerns
Yearling western chicken turtles need the following habitat setup:
Size - 75 gallon or larger aquarium or plastic tub.
While adults need 40 gallons minimum, growing yearlings require extra space.
Water Temperature - 72-75°F maintained with submersible heater and thermometer.
Cooler than adults, which thrive at 75-80°F.
Basking Area - Ramp or platform to completely exit water and access heat/UVB lamps above.
Lighting - Reptisun 5.0 UVB fluorescent bulb changed every 6-12 months.
Critical for calcium metabolism and shell growth.
Canister Filter - Rated for 2-3x total tank volume.
Yearlings are messy! Frequent water changes are also key.
Plants - Anacharis, hornwort, floating lettuce help oxygenate and filter water.
The proper environment supports healthy development in juvenile western chickens.
Feeding and Nutrition for Yearling Westerns
A varied diet with ample calcium is crucial for yearling western chicken turtles. Feed them:
Protein Sources - Feeder fish, river shrimp, red worms, crickets. Plus commercial turtle pellets.
Protein fuels rapid growth at this stage. Pellets provide balanced nutrition.
Produce - Dark greens like dandelion and collard. Veggies like zucchini and carrots. Fruit treats.
Greens offer key nutrients like vitamin A. Veggies provide vitamins and minerals.
Calcium + Vitamin D3 Supplements
Dust food daily to prevent shell abnormalities like pyramiding. Use ZooMed Repti Calcium.
Amounts - Feed yearlings daily given their higher metabolism. Provide as much as they will consume in 10-15 minutes.
With diverse nutrition tailored to their life stage, yearling western chickens thrive.
Caring for Yearling Western Chicken Turtle Health
Preventing illness and addressing issues early is key. Watch for:
Ensure cool water temperatures under 75°F. Seek treatment for wheezing, nasal discharge.
Review diet and lighting if pyramiding or softened shells occur.
Swollen, closed eyes can indicate vitamin A deficiency. Improve diet.
Have fecal test done annually to check for parasite load. Treat accordingly.
Bring yearlings to exotic vet ASAP if lethargic or losing appetite. Growth issues must be addressed quickly.
Wellness exams every 6 months let vets assess development and bloodwork values for any red flags. Support proper growth through attentive husbandry and care.
Handling Western Chicken Turtle Yearlings
Yearlings are more fragile than mature turtles. Use these safe handling tips:
Two Hand Method
Support the plastron (bottom shell) fully with both hands when lifting yearlings. Avoid pulling on legs or tail.
Handling should be limited to avoid stress. 10 minute periods once or twice a day are sufficient.
House new yearlings separately until eating well for 2 weeks. Then introduce slowly to avoid bullying.
Good for Children?
Yearlings may be nippy and easily scared. Older children able to handle gently can interact under supervision.
Get to know your yearling's personality. Bonding takes time but leads to an interactive, engaging turtle.
Ensuring Proper Husbandry for Yearlings
While appealing, western chicken turtle yearlings are not easy pets. Proper care demands:
- Substantial research into their specific needs
- Financial investment in large setup and accessories
- Time for daily maintenance and interaction
- Preparedness to provide lifelong care (25+ years)
Never impulse buy a turtle. Fully understand the responsibilities before acquiring a yearling western chicken. Their proper start now impacts their lifelong health.
Conclusion: Enjoying Western Chicken Turtle Yearlings
When their unique needs for housing, varied nutrition, veterinary care, and responsible handling are met, western chicken turtle yearlings become a joy to own. While more delicate than adults, attentive care during juvenile development leads to a thriving, personable turtle pet for decades to come. Do ample research to prepare for successfully welcoming one of these special turtles into your family.