timothy vs. alfalfa - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-15-2005, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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timothy vs. alfalfa

I've been feeding my prairie dogs a bit of alfalfa largely because a friend of mine is in to horses and can get it free. However, I was reading a book (bringing a prairie dog pup into your home by Karen Stoica and Betsy Callis -- very good, by the way) in which they say that alfalfa is really bad for prairie dogs and could potentially kill them.

Does anybody know if this is true? I always thought that hay was hay really, but I suppose I'll need to be more careful about what they eat in the future. I was also feeding them things (rat blocks or whatever you want to call them) which had corn in it that I probably need to stop doing.

What do you feed your dogs besides timothy hay?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-15-2005, 09:33 AM
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Alfalfa is ok for an occasional treat, but it's not a good idea to feed as their main diet. Corn is a no no also because pd's are prone to obesity.

My girls get all the Timothy hay they can eat, and I give them a plain shredded wheat as a treat about 3 times a week. They can also have small pieces of carrots, very small pieces of apple, and sweet potato as treats.

I have that book too and I use it as my pd bible.


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-15-2005, 09:46 AM
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From what I've read, sources just say that alfalfa is too high in protein for prairie dogs. Which can cause kidney problems. I've also seen another source which cites that the high calcium level of alfalfa can cause problems as well. Though, it wasn't real clear exactly what kind of problems. My guess would be something like kidney stones.

I feed largely Oxbow's Prairie Delight, with timothy hay, coastal hay, and sometimes some orchard grass (but they don't seem to like it much). In the wild buffalo grass, sedge grasses, and blue grama grass make up a good chunk of their diet and would probably be good if you could provide a clean source of it.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-15-2005, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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The source I was looking at cited calcium as the major problem, though I don't believe it was terribly clear why this was a problem. It just said that it could potentially kill them.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-15-2005, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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from the oxbow site:

Quote:
Many vets believe that animals prone to kidney stones, bladder stones or calcium crystals in their urine should always avoid alfalfa.
I guess that's what they mean by "could potentially kill them".
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