Timothy Hay= More Fibre? - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-13-2006, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
 
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Timothy Hay= More Fibre?

A bit of a question here. When I feed my degus timothy hay, I notice that their cage, in the end, is much more filled with droppings than it is when they're eating alfalfa-based pellets. (This is not what they're eating, it was an experiment, simply because I noticed this). Timothy-based pellet seems to be the most incredibly messy food I can offer them. When they're eating, they're leaving crumbs that, after a while, actually absorb urine and water, and soon there's a terrible stain, odor, and mess. They're droppings are actually less frequent and smaller when they eat alfalfa... I know timothy hay is best for them, but I'm beginning to think all owners who are experiencing this should do a few of the following:

-- Put the food bowl on a mesh bottom, or if on wood, glass, etc, consider putting those stick-on tiles wherever the food dish is. I have done this. It makes daily clean-up time much easier, seeing as you can simply take a wet paper towel and swiff it good. (AKA: get the mess off and then throw it in the trash)

-- Offer meals each day on top of that. Then, there's not one huge mess at the end of the day, but a few smaller messes each time you offer food. Degus do eat a lot, we must remember. (You can do this or clean what mess they have at least three times a day)

-- Just clean very frequently.

Anyway, though timothy hay is incredibly messy, I think it's definitely the best thing you can offer to a degu. But I've begun adding even more fresh vegetables, seeing as timothy hay is incredibly messy and it seems to me as if it's simply just hay.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-13-2006, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
 
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Oh yes.



And the question was simply, "How much more fibre does timothy hay contain than alfalfa? Is too much fibre unhealthy?"
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-13-2006, 01:54 PM
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I'm not actually sure on the fibre levels but hay should always be readily available for degu's and needs to make up at least 19% of their diet as it helps the gut to function properly. In the wild they would eat a lot of grasses, roots and seeds all which would be full of fibre and nutrients to help support their systems in the environment in which they live. Research has also shown alfalfa pellets are quite safe to feed on a regular basis as unlike alfalfa they don't contain high amounts of calcium and protein. Which leads me on to the second part of my answer. In regards to more or less droppings remember degu's are known to coprophosise, which is basically the act of defecating and then re-eating the droppings so they get every ounce of goodness out of their food. They also do it when there is a lack of food so to keep up the gut function. So my theory is that they reingest more of the alfalfa based droppings because maybe they aren't getting as much goodness from it as they are the hay or they are getting more from it so ingest more to get the most from it. Either way this could be a reason you are seeing more or less droppings dependent upon food

Kirsty


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-13-2006, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
 
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I've never offered them alfalfa hay, but is it true that alfalfa-based pellets are alright for them? I've noticed that they don't contain as much calcium and protein, as you said, so is it possible to feed them that instead?
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-13-2006, 03:31 PM
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I don't feed a strictly pellet based diet personally, my boys have a good mix. But if i was you i would continue giving them what you are and maybe give them the alfalfa ones once a week or so as a treat. Research has shown they are safe to use as don't contain the high amounts of minerals that alfalfa does but as i don't personally use them i wouldn't really like to say either way but i only ever give alfalfa based products as a treat just in case as in small amounts it is safe to use

Kirsty


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-14-2006, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
 
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They actually prefer alfalfa pellets, and sometimes won't touch timothy hay. It doesn't seem like they even eat it all, because it all comes out as crumbs.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-14-2006, 02:51 PM
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You have to remember degus like any animal will selectively feed and if they can get away with it only eat what they want. Even if it is bad for them hence them loving the alfalfa pellets over the timothy hay ones What other dried food do you feed them?

Kirsty


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-14-2006, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
 
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Not much. They love oats, though. They would die for oats. A few seeds, here and there, but not much. They do get a lot of fresh vegetables though.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-15-2006, 07:56 AM
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I would suggest trying them on either guinea pig pellets or mix (look for one low in mollasses such as gerty guinea pig) or mix the both up as thats the ideal diet for degu's and a bit better for them then alfalfa pellets. There are also commercial degu mixes available now, not sure if you have them over there but worth looking out for to give them variety. If you can't get hold of them they are pretty much made up of seeds and dried peas, corn and carrot which you could replicate yourself by buying these things

Kirsty


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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-15-2006, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
 
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Yes. Good idea. I'll look around, but for now, include the guinea pig food and fresh vegetables for now. Thank you for everything.
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alfalfa hay, food bowl, gerty guinea pig, guinea pig, guinea pig food, guinea pig pellets, pig food, timothy hay


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