- Supporter in '12
I switched all 9 of my guinea pigs onto Sherwoood pet health pellets and have to share the awesome findings we have had so far. The pellets have no soy, wheat, byproducts, molasses or fillers like other brands.
1. All pigs who had weird poops or bad poops are normal and perfect looking
2. The unaltered male cages have way less smell
3. My chronic digestive upset pig Bullseye is successfully off Cisapride. He used to be on that twice a day every day for 3.5 years. I tried to take him off it before and it was always unsuccessful in less than 12 hrs. His stomach would stop, backed up and poop everyone once we got him going again. He is pooping perfect now and has normal stomach movement on his own.
4. My chronic bloat and sludge piggy Pecan depuffed in just a day after the switch where before it was a daily battle of the bulge. Gas drops and cisapride daily only to still look bloaty and now she is medication free. I do find she can only tolerate small portions of veggies as well but no more puffed up pig and discomfort. Her sludge has so far not been back in 2 weeks where before was a few times a week of very bad sludge that has caused bleeding and uti's. Deposits she has currently are white chalk powder vs her creamy coloured grit.
5. All pigs eat half as much as before and eat more hay. A pair takes 12 hours to finish 1/8th of a cup, before they would wolf down 1/4 cup in a few hours and want more. They are satisfied with less and no more scarfing it down.
I had to share. Perhaps think how ingredients could be bothering your pigs, I never considered before that their pellets played such a huge roll in their overall health. Soy and wheat are known allergens, hard to digest, can ferment in the stomach. Molasses can cause bad bacteria to form. Why not pay for good ingredients and natural protein vs having them fill up on unnecessary fillers.
- And got the T-shirt
Anecdotal stories are fine, but they're not solid evidence.
- Supporter in '12
It would be helpful to have a breakdown of ingredients here. Alfalfa, though it does have lots of calcium, is also a high protein food which may have a positive effect on health.
If they do not add any other calcium at all, this might offset the negatives for this product.
- Supporter in '12
They have a pie chart of ingredients. Half Timothy hay, half alfalfa hay, small section safflower and small section flax, then the minerals/vitamins.
I get my stuff from Hop Online, online shop in Calgary. That is the only place I have found for Canada thus far.
- Supporter in '12
Protein minimum 14%
Fat minimum 5%
Fiber min-max 24-29%
Calcium min-max 1-1.6%
Phosphorous min 0.4%
Salt min-max 0.25-0.75%
Vitamin C min- 250mg/kg
Alfalfa Hay, timothy hay, whole flax, whole safflower, monodicalcium phosphate, salt, choline chloride, DL-Methionine, Vitamin C, Copper, Amino acid chelate, lysine, Zinc amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, niacin, L-threonine, selenuim yeast culture, ethylene diamine dihydroiodide, cobalt carbonate.
I’ve got a folder here on my desktop of ingredients and analysis for all the most commonly used brands that I was looking at and pouring over when I was debating on trying these or not
Ingredients: Alfalfa hay, timothy hay, whole flax seed, whole safflower seed, Monodicalcium phosphate, salt, choline chloride, essential amino acids, chelated minerals, ethylcellulose coated ascorbic acid (vitamin C made shelf-stable by coating it in cellulose fiber), B-vitamins, cobalt carbonate.
Crude protein, minimum……14%
Crude Fat minimum…………….5%
Crude Fiber min..………………...24%
Crude Fiber max……………………29%
Calcium (min)……………………... 1%
Calcium (max)………………………. 1.6%
Phosphorus (min)………………... 0.4%
Vit C min……………………………….250mg/kg
We have one pig, Truman, who was diagnosed with a suspected bladder stone last February, it either broke up or he passed it, because he never required surgery. He does still cry when passing stool, but maintains weight and appetite and has a good attitude. The tentative diagnosis for him was Interstitial Cystitis. He's not passing calcium like he should and it sits in his bladder. So far I haven't noticed any significant changes with Truman, aside from the fact that he's actually passing the sludge now.
In January, we unexpectedly lost Roosevelt, Truman's cagemate,to a very large bladder stone. He was booked for surgery, went downhill and they suspected it may have passed into his urethra, pushed his surgery up, and the morning we brought him in felt like it was actually in a ureter. Our clinic isn't equipped for micro surgery, we could have taken him to Cornell, but his recovery prognosis was poor. I wasn't going to torment him and so we decided the kindest thing to do was to let him go.
Fiona, my female rabbit, has always been what I'd call finicky. The Oxbow pellets were hit or miss with her, sometimes she'd eat them, sometimes she'd ignore them. Her hay intake wasn't that great either and I very rarely ever saw her drinking. Two weeks ago she went into GI stasis. No apparent cause noted by the vet. If you think hand feeding a guinea pig is a challenge, rabbits are worse. I think I still have scratches. It took probably two days to get her back to eating enough on her own to stop hand feeding, and a week before she went back to normal. Since switching, her stool...which were pretty consistently small and black, are much more golden brown and normal looking. She actually eats the pellets, her hay intake has increased and I actually see her at the water dish. I feel like she's more active as well. I look back on some of her old photos and realize she looked bloated and unhappy.
Gus, my senior pig. Back in November he had short period of appetite change and weight loss. As he's hit senior age, he's also had some issues with soft,smelly poop. He went off pellets, but was showing interest in hay and veggies. We booked him in with the vet, who said clinically and body composition wise everything checked out. We decided to book a follow up, I'd chart weight and diet for the week and see what happened. Nothing significant was changed in his diet, just lots of observation. The first few days, his weight continued to dip slightly, but then a few days before our followup it went back up to what we had deemed his "senior weight." He maintained weight and appetite until January, but the soft and smelly poops were pretty consistent. He lost weight while I was gone for two weeks and they were in my husband, but as soon as I got home it went back up and every thing was normal. It started up again about two weeks ago, right around the time I'd been debating making the switch in foods. Our vet visit today was inconclusive. She wants to see how he maintains on the new pellets.
This is what his poops looked like before, and this is a week off Oxbow.
There's been a few other small things I've noticed as well. Woodrow looks far less puffed and bloated, and my pens and litter pans smell better. Every one is eating more hay, and drinking more water. They used to throw themselves at the dishes for the Oxbow. Now they seem much more measured in grazing on the pellets through out the day than just inhaling them. I was really on the fence switching, but after the past few months something needed to change. So far I'm happy with what I'm seeing. My vet is on board with trying them out and was interested in looking into the food. We also talked about some of the studies being done about the risk vs benefit of low calicum diets and whether you're trading one issue for another by restricting too much calcium. If you don't get the right balance, the body pulls it from the bones and then you end up with other issues. Just thought I'd add my 2 cents.