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Brands of cavy feed

There are many brands of guinea pig foods available in Singapore and I have featured some of them here. I have used some of these brands before so for those I'll be able to give my personal opinions. For the other brands, I'll just include info from the manufacturer or feedback from friends. I also have point form summaries with thumbs up & down for easy reference. The products have been divided according to pellets & mixes.

Pellets

I strongly recommend giving pellets instead of mixes which tend to be more unhealthy. However there are good & lousy pellets as well. I'm unable to "test" every single product so I can't really rank them. However I've given my comments for each of them. Products with two asterisks ** next to them are feed that DO NOT contain chemical preservatives & hence are better choices. The recommended amount of fibre is 25 to 28% so you will notice that except for Oxbow Cavy Cuisine, ALL the feed featured here are actually considered low in fibre since they have less than the minimum 25% fibre.


Oxbow Cavy Cuisine **

Cavy Cuisine is the only feed in Singapore made from timothy & not alfalfa meal & is suited for cavies 8 months & older. Its not suited for gestating or lactating cavies. Minimum crude protein is 14%, minimum crude fat 1.5%, minimum crude fibre 25%, maximum crude fibre 28%, minimum calcium 0.35%, maximum calcium 0.85%, minimum Lysine 0.60%, minimum Phosphorous 0.25%, minimum vitamin A 13000 IU/lb & minimum vitamin C 200 mg/lb.

Ingredients include timothy meal, soybean hulls, wheat middlings, molasses, vitamin A Acetate, vitamin D3, vitamin E, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Niacin, vitamin B12, Thiamine, Lactobacillus Plantarium, Streptococcus Feacium, Lactobacillus, etc. The vitamin C used is Stay C-35 which is a stabilised form of vitamin C that has a 6-month shelf life.

Oxbow pellets are great 'cos they do not contain artifical colours, chemical preservatives or animal by products. No corn is used due to the fact that pet herbivores do not require the energy content contained in corn. Corn is also an ingredient that can have undesirable storing conditions which can lead to poor quality feed. The fat in a feed is what requires a preservative to prevent rancidity. Since Oxbow does not add animal fat, oil or high oil grains it is not neccesary to use preservatives in their feeds. Out of all brands, Oxbow pellets have the least amount of fat & most fibre. Oxbow feed now come in a new packing which is airtight. Highly recommended for mature cavies!!

Has the perfect amount of fibre (recommended 25-28%).
Less fat than any other brand.
Low in protein & calcium (good for mature cavies).
No artificial colours.
No chemical preservatives.
No animal fat or byproducts.
No corn.
Contains Lactobacillus.



Oxbow Cavy Performance **

Alfalfa based pellets are more suitable for cavies under 8 months 'cos timothy based pellets don't have enough calcium & protein for young cavies. Since all Oxbow pellets contain no corn, artifical colours, chemical preservatives or animal by products, Cavy Performance is your best choice for alfalfa pellets. It also has the least fat & most fibre. Oxbow is also one of the few brands that use stabilised vitamin C rather than ascorbic acid which tends to deteriorate faster.

Minimum crude protein is 18%, minimum crude fat 2.5%, maximum crude fibre 20%, minimum calcium 0.65%, maximum calcium 1.05% & vitamin C 380 mg/lb. Highly recommended for young cavies!! All Oxbow products are of high quality & I personally recommend both Oxbow Cavy Cuisine & Cavy Performance & rank them #1!

Ingredients include alfalfa meal, soybean hulls, wheat middlings, molasses, vitamin A Acetate, vitamin D3, vitamin E, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Niacin, vitamin B12, Thiamine, yeast culture, etc. The vitamin C used is Stay C-35 which is a stabilised form of vitamin C that has a 6-month shelf life.

One of the lowest in fat content.
High in protein & calcium (good for young cavies).
No artificial colours.
No chemical preservatives.
No animal fat or byproducts.
No corn.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).


Tima

This is quite a new brand & I've not seen it being sold at petshops I frequent. But I do know of a guy who sells & delivers them. According to him, these pellets are timothy based & have no artificial colours or chemical preservatives. I am unable to confirm this, nor find out if it has fat, corn & animal by-products 'cos Tima's website lacks lots of info. According to this guy cavy breeders approach him for Tima. Since I'm unable to get confirmed info on these pellets, I can't comment on them at all.



Hagen **

Special thanks to my pal Xueyan for letting me know about this brand & also taking the trouble to type the ingredients & nutritional analysis for me! One of the better feeds due to the fact that no chemical preservatives are used.

Minimum crude protein is 18%, minimum crude fat 2%, maximum crude fibre 14%, minimum calcium 0.72%, maximum calcium 0.8% & vitamin C 887 mg/kg. Ingredients are dehydrated alfalfa meal, wheat shorts, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, grounded lime-stone, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, vitamin K supplement, niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, biotin, manganous oxide, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, ferrous sulfate, calcium iodate, ascorbic acid, riboflavin, folic acid & calcium pantothenate.

One of the lowest in fat content.
No chemical preservatives.
Contains corn.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).



8 in 1 Ultra Blend Select **

Not too sure about its ingredients but its one of the better feeds due to the fact that chemical preservatives are not used.

No chemical preservatives.



Mazuri Guinea Pig Diet 5664 **

This brand is more well known for chinchilla products & is seldom seen except at shops specialising in chinchilla products. Little Pet Wonder is one shop which sells Mazuri products. Its located at Blk 416 #01-23, Bedok North Ave 2 (opposite the library). You can walk from Bedok MRT. Contact them at 6876 1383. Mazuri's distributor is Allpets & Aqualife Vets Pte Ltd. They're located at 219 Jalan Kayu #01-01 Singapore 799442 & can be contacted at 9863 4258, fax 6484 2107 or email aqualife@pacific.net.sg

Crude protein not less than 18%, crude fat not less than 4% & crude fibre not more than 16%. Ingredients include dehydrated alfalfa meal, dehulled soybean meal, ground corn, ground soybean hulls, wheat middlings, ground oats, ground wheat, dried whey, l-ascoryl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C) & dried Yucca Shidigera extract. The vitamin C is stabilised & is supposed to last for 9 months. No chemical preservatives, animal fat or animal byproducts are used, hence its one of the better feeds.

No chemical preservatives.
No animal fat or byproducts.
Contains dried yucca shidigera extract.
Contains corn.
One of the highest in fat content.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).



Sunseed Vita GP

The Sunseed brand is very rare & out of all the petshops I've been to, Pet Kingdom is the only one that stocks it & they have a very large variety of Sunseed products too. Minimum crude protein is 22%, minimum fat 3%, maximum fibre 16% & minimum vitamin C 400IU/lb. This feed is not recommended 'cos it contains animal fat as well as the preservative BHA.

Ingredients include dehydrated alfalfa meal, kibble corn, dehydrated celery, dehydrated carrot, dehydrated potato, dehydrated bell pepper, dehydrated parsley, dehulled soybean meal, ground yellow corn, ground whole oats, wheat middlings, cane molasses, corn starch, animal fat, salt, corn oil & natural and artificial colours.

Preserved with BHA.
Contains artificial colours.
Contains animal fat.
Contains corn.
Rather high in fat content.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).



Kaytee Forti-Diet

I used to use this product. Fortidiet has stabilised vitamin C & comes in re-sealable ziplock bags so if you wish, you could keep the food in the bag & don't have to transfer to an airtight container. It is slightly cheaper than Oxbow. Its preserved with Ethoxyquin & the minimum crude protein is 18%, minimum crude fat 3.5%, maximum crude fibre 14% & minimum ascorbic acid 100 mg/lb. Like all other Kaytee pellets, it contains ascorbic acid as a source of vitamin C. Nothing really wrong with that except ascorbic acid doesn't last as long as Oxbow's vitamin C.

Dehydrated alfalfa meal, ground corn, dehulled soybean meal, ground oats, ground wheat, dried cane molasses, corn oil, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Yucca Schidigera extract, Ethoxyquin & Cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3) are some of the ingredients.

Preserved with Ethoxyquin.
Contains corn.
Rather high in fat content.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).



Kaytee Rainbow Exact

Contains no pellets at all & is made up of "crunchies". It has cultures added to it to assist in the digestion of food (enzymes in the digestive system help prevent diahhroea and guarantee more complete use of nutrients). However I hear that the scent of this product is horrible, so it may take effort to get your cavies adjusted to it. It also has quite a lot of artificial colours & is preserved with Ethoxyquin. I don't like to give food with too much artificual colouring hence I personally wouldn't recommend this product. Minimum crude protein 18%, minimum crude fat 3.5% & maximum crude fibre 14%.

Some ingredients are dehydrated alfalfa meal, wheat middlings, ground corn, dehulled soybean meal, ground oats, ground wheat, dried cane molasses, soy oil, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Yucca Schidigera extract, Ethoxyquin, Cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), dried A. Oryzae fermentation extract (source of protease), dried Bacillus Subtilis fermentation extract, dried bacillus coagulans fermentation product, dried bacillus Licheniformis fermentation product, dried Bacillus Subtilis fermentation product, artificial colour, natural & artificial flavour

Has cultures to assist in food digestion.
Preserved with Ethoxyquin.
Contains artificial colours.
Contains corn.
Rather high in fat content.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).



Vitakraft Vita Special

This product is unique in that it comes in 3 versions. Vita Special Junior for cavies up to 6 months, Vita Special Regular for cavies up to 5 years & Vita Special Senior for cavies 5 years & older. I've not looked through the ingredients in detail but it mentioned something about alfalfa so I think its safe to assume its not timothy based. It has added Biogerm, which supposedly is a high-quality "active ingredient-package" made from cold pressed wheatgerm. Not really a pellet since its a round ball but I don't know what else to call it! This product is usually found in pet corners of supermarkets & seldom at pet shops.



Brown's Traditional

Some ingredients include alfalfa meal, soy bean meal, barley, oats, wheat bran, corn, wheat germ meal, gluten feed, brewers grain & ascorbic acid. Minimum protein 15%, minimum fat 3% & maximum fibre 14%. No mention about preservatives however that does NOT mean its without preservatives. In some countries the law doesn't require preservatives to be stated. Also, even though Ethoxyquin & BHT are common preservatives, perhaps some lesser known preservative was used.

Contains corn.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).



Brown's Encore Premium

This has the least fat of all Brown's products. However it contains fish meal. Since cavies are herbivores, I don't think its a good idea using animal by-products. Ingredients include alfalfa meal, soy bean meal, ground corn, ground oats, ground barley, ground wheat, fish meal, dried whey, wheat germ meal & ascorbic acid. Minimum protein 20%, minimum fat 2.25% & maximum fibre 14%. No mention about preservatives however that does NOT mean its without preservatives. In some countries the law doesn't require preservatives to be stated. Also, even though Ethoxyquin & BHT are common preservatives, perhaps some lesser known preservative was used.

One of the lowest in fat content.
Contains fish meal.
Contains corn.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).



L/M Classic Blend

I've heard some rather bad things about this, like the fact that the vitamin C isn't stabilised. Also, animal fat is used in all L/M products making them all unhealthy choices. It contains alfalfa meal, corn meal, soy bean meal, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, hydrolysed animal & vegetable fats. Preserved with Ethoxyquin. Protein not less than 22%, fat not less than 3.5%, fibre not more than 15% & vitamin C not less than 200 mg/kg.

Contains Lactobacillus Acidophilus.
Preserved with Ethoxyquin.
Contains corn.
Contains animal & vegetable fat.
One of the highest in fat content.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).



Bunny Regular

This brand has lots of feed for rabbits & is clearly more of a rabbit food maker so I don't really recommend their cavy food. Besides the box only has German words so you're going to have trouble understanding it. Will include the ingredients once anyone can translate for me!



Hartz Guinea Pig Diet

Crude protein not less than 18%, crude fat not less than 2%, crude fibre not more than 15% & vitamin C not less than 200mg/kg. However I believe that the vitamin C is not stabilised. Hartz failed to provide me with the ingredients so if anyone uses this product, kindly let me know the ingredients.

One of the lowest in fat content.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).


Mixes

I strongly DO NOT recommend giving mixes 'cos they are very unhealthy. Not only are they very fattening but they usually lack fibre & contain artificial colouring. The nuts & seeds also makes it necessary to use preservatives. I'm unable to "test" every single product so I can't really rank them but like I said, I don't recommend mixes at all. They are featured here only for information.


Mazuri Guinea Pig Diet 5E11

Crude protein not less than 18%, crude fat not less than 4%, crude fibre not more than 16% & ascorbic acid not less than 613 mg/lb. Ingredients include dehydrated alfalfa meal, dehulled soybean meal, ground soybean hulls, ground corn, ground oats, wheat middlings, safflower seed, sunflower seed, whole oats, ground wheat, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), dried Yucca Shidigera extract. Vitamin C is stabilised & supposedly lasts up to 9 months. No preservatives, animal fat or animal byproducts are used.

Contains dried Yucca Shidigera extract.
No chemical preservatives.
No animal fats or byproducts.
Being a mix, it contains seeds, grains & other stuff that are fattening & unhealthy.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).



Kaytee Forti-diet Garden Blend

The pellets found in Garden Blend is exactly the same as regular Forti-diet however Garden Blend contains additional stuff like peas & carrots. That makes it a mix & you know how I feel about mixes! Preserved with Ethoxyquin. Both versions of Forti-diet have minimum crude protein 18%, minimum crude fat 3.5%, maximum crude fibre 14% & minimum ascorbic acid 100 mg/lb. Like all other Kaytee pellets, it contains ascorbic acid as a source of vitamin C. Nothing really wrong with that except ascorbic acid doesn't last as long as Oxbow's vitamin C.

Ingredients include dehydrated alfalfa meal, ground corn, dehulled soybean meal, ground oats, ground wheat, whole oats, sun-cured timothy hay, dehydrated carrot, green split peas, flaked corn, flaked wheat, rice flour, soybean hulls, dried cane molasses, corn oil, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Yucca Schidigera extract, Ethoxyquin, Cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), artificial colour, etc.

Contains Yucca Schidigera extract.
Preserved with Ethoxyquin.
Contains artificial colours.
Being a mix, it contains seeds, grains & other stuff that are fattening & unhealthy.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).



Kaytee Fiesta

This is a mix which contains hulled sunflower seeds, oats, oat groats, dehydrated carrots, green split peas, barley, toasted corn flakes, dried bananas, raisins, safflower seeds, shelled peanuts, pumpkin seeds, dried papaya, dehydrated sweet potato & dehydrated apples. Sounds delicious but is very fattening & unhealthy for your cavies. Out of all the Kaytee pellets, Fiesta has the highest minimum crude fat percentage. It is also preserved with Ethoxyquin and all kinds of artificial colorings are used. Not recommended! Minimum crude protein 16%, minimum crude fat 6% & maximum crude fibre 14%.

Contains Yucca Schidigera extract.
Preserved with Ethoxyquin.
Contains artificial colours.
Being a mix, it contains seeds, grains & other stuff that are fattening & unhealthy.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).
The highest in fat content of all products!



Sluis Banquet

This was the first brand of food I used. I no longer use this since I am now convinced that mixes are not good. I recall my cavies used to avoid the black coloured "crunchies" so wastage was quite high. Unlike Fortidiet Garden Blend which is 90% pellets with some crunchies, Sluis Banquet is all "crunchies" with no pellets. Protein 13%, fat 4%, fibre 9% & vitamin C 225 mg/kg.

Contains artificial colours.
Being a mix, it contains seeds, grains & other stuff that are fattening & unhealthy.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).



L/M Guinea Pig Bonanza

Firstly this is another mix so its bad in my opinion. That plus the fact that the vitamin C isn't stabilised & animal fats are used makes it even more crappy! Ingredients include alfalfa meal, corn, wheat, oat groats, yellow split pea, corn flakes, trapper pea, carrot, banana, raisin, shelled peanut, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, papaya, ground corn, apple, dried egg product, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, hydrolysed animal & vegetable fats. Preserved with Ethoxyquin.

Yet another example of why mixes are unhealthy. All those seeds, dehydrated fruit, peas, corn, etc are fine in small amounts given occassionally as treats, but not on a daily basis as food. Protein not less than 18%, fat not less than 5%, fibre not more than 15% & vitamin C not less than 200 mg/kg.

Contains Lactobacillus Acidophilus.
Preserved with Ethoxyquin.
Contains artificial colours.
Contains egg product.
Contains animal & vegetable fats.
One of the highest in fat content.
Being a mix, it contains seeds, grains & other stuff that are fattening & unhealthy.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).



L/M Premium Vita Vittles Gold

This mix contains alfalfa meal, ground corn, corn flakes, carrot, hydrolysed animal & vegetable fats, ascorbic acid, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, etc. Preserved with Ethoxyquin. Its good that all L/M products contain L. Acidophilus but the animal & vegetable fat sucks! Vitamin C is not stabilised.

Contains Lactobacillus Acidophilus.
Preserved with Ethoxyquin.
Contains artificial colours.
Contains animal & vegetable fats.
Being a mix, it contains seeds, grains & other stuff that are fattening & unhealthy.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).



Brown's Cafe Tropicana

Has the most fat & least fibre of all Brown's products. Alfalfa meal, soy bean meal, ground corn, ground oats, wheat germ meal, ground barley, oat, wheat, flaked corn, peanut, split green pea, raisin, potato, papaya, lentil, pumpkin seed, dates, carrot, fish meal & ascorbic acid are some of the ingredients. Minimum protein 15.5%, minimum fat 3.75% & maximum fibre 10.5%. No mention about preservatives however that does NOT mean its without preservatives. In some countries the law doesn't require preservatives to be stated. Also, even though Ethoxyquin & BHT are common preservatives, perhaps some lesser known preservative was used.

Contains artificial colours.
Contains fish meal.
Contains animal & vegetable fats.
Being a mix, it contains seeds, grains & other stuff that are fattening & unhealthy.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).



Supreme Gerty Premium

Contains alfalfa pellets, flaked wheat, flaked beans, flaked maize, flaked peas, wheat extrusions, whole oats, alfalfa stalk, hipro soya, linseed lozenges, vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E & ascorbic acid. Protein 17%, fibre 10%, oil 3%, vitamin C 250 mg/kg. Supreme says all their products are preserved naturally with vitamin E.

No chemical preservatives.
Contains artificial colours.
Being a mix, it contains seeds, grains & other stuff that are fattening & unhealthy.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).



Hartz Bonanza

Doesn't have stabilised vitamin C. Crude protein not less than 18%, crude fat not less than 5% & crude fibre not more than 15%. According to Hartz it is going to be discontinued soon.

Contains artificial colours.
Being a mix, it contains seeds, grains & other stuff that are fattening & unhealthy.
Low in fibre (recommended 25-28%).


Additional info about cavy feed

Technically speaking, alfalfa based pellets should be given to young cavies only while timothy based ones are for mature cavies. The rational is that timothy pellets may not provide enough calcium for young cavies & that alfalfa pellets provide too much calcium for mature cavies. Ultimately its your finances that determines which you use.

If you can afford timothy based pellets, they should've been totally switched over to timothy based pellets by 6 months of age. Remember to make it a gradual switch. At least a week for the transition will be good. But if you can't afford it, then just stick to alfalfa based pellets. No one's gonna blame you for not being able to afford it!

As I said in my "Food" page, pellets made from alfalfa are not necessarily bad. In fact most pellets are alfalfa based. In Singapore the only timothy based pellets is from Oxbow which is the most expensive brand here. If you can afford Oxbow's Cavy Cuisine, good for you. If not, don't fret 'cos alfalfa based pellets like Hagen is perfectly fine.

Just make sure you do NOT give free flow alfalfa on top of the alfafa based pellets 'cos that would be too much alfalfa which is bad. Timothy, brome, oat or orchard grass hay plus alfalfa based pellets is perfectly fine, with small amounts of alfalfa or alfalfa blocks as occassional treats. Of course don't forget fresh fruits & vegetables & lots of fresh water.

Although vitamin C is important to cavies, too much can be harmful. If vitamin C is a little bit in excess, it can be passed out through the urine. But if there is far too much vitamin C, it can harm their liver. Younger cavies tend to require more vitamin C as can be seen by how Oxbow Cavy Performance has 380 mg/lb compared to Cavy Cuisine's 200 mg/lb. Therefore please don't be mistaken that pellets with the most vitamin C is good. This is not always the case! It depends on whether its stabilised & also the age of your cavies.

Feeds high in protein are also not necessarily better. This is 'cos more protein is needed only for growing cavies & less is required for mature ones. Hence you'd notice Cavy Cuisine has only 14% compared to Cavy Performance's 18%. Mature cavies also need less calcium as can be seen by Cuisine's 0.35% compared to Performance's 1.05%. So its not quite true that a feed high in everything is always good.

There is a small chain of pet supply shop called Pet Station & they produced their own house brand of hay blocks & pellets. I don't recommend either product simply 'cos of the lack of info on the packaging. No mention of whether it is alfalfa or timothy hay block, no mention of whether the pellets are timothy or alfafa based, no mention about the ingredients nor fat, protein & calcium content, expiry date, etc. Hence I strongly advice you to avoid Pet Station's house brand pellets & hay blocks due to lack of info.

I also urge you to avoid any product which doesn't have English text. There's a brand called "Bunny" which has both rabbit & cavy pellets. All words are in German so you wouldn't know the nutrient content, ingredients & other info. Vitakraft is another brand to look out for. Some of their products have English words, but some only have German words. It is always good to be able to read what's on the box!

For those of you interested in translating German words to English, you might want to try this translator from Alta Vista which also translates other languages to English, as well as English to other languages. Alternatively you can visit my translation page which has French & German translations for some pet related words.