We are going to look at the premade foods that are available on the market and see what we can do to unravel their ingredients and determine if they have real value for our degus. This is NOT to undermine the natural nutrition that is a high value to the forum . . . but is for the purpose of working to be as informed about these products as we can be . . . so that we are able to advise wisely any owners that are facing limitations in their choices for degu food/feeding. Foods can be accurately categorized as good, mediocre, or poor.
So . . . can you please list any premade foods that you use here? If we can have their names, we can then look up their ingredients and work from there. If you know of several premade food brands, please feel free to list them all.
Thank you! ;D
Edit: It is also suggested that knowing what is available in different countries will be helpful, so if you can include your country of origin when you post your foods, it will be much appreciated.
While my girls have a 50% natural diet, I have been using the Versele-Laga Degu Nature nugget mix. They love some of the pieces, but leave the orange and red ones. Here is the ingredient list as it appears on the package:
VERSELE-LAGA Degu nature
INGREDIENTS: Derivatives of vegetable origin Vegetables (min. 11,5% of which 36% carrots, 5% Jerusalem artichoke and 6% parsnip) Vegetable protein extracts Minerals Seeds (min. 1% of which 91% linseed) Yeast FOS (??Fructooligosaccharide??) Herbs Marigold extract Marigold Algae Yucca-extract MOS (??Mannan-oligosaccharide based nutritional supplements??) Grape seed extract
Butters, that's a massive list of food you/they (lol) have tried! I think your photos speak volumes and are very valuable information, very interesting to compare the listed ingredients in their relative volumes and then to see what those proportions look like. I think it would be a great resource if you would be willing to post the 3 photos of each mix just like you have just done for Multifit. It would be brilliant if you could also post your impressions of each food, whether your degus liked it, whether they fed selectively, how much it cost, anything else of note.
Perhaps as part of a basic diet sheet, we should state which (main diet) feeds we unreservedly recommend, and then a second list of which feeds we recommend with reservations and then state the reservations.
Perhaps we could then compile more detailed info with the end user in mind, things like I have asked Butters about - selective feeding, appeal to degu, cost, and then a simple rating for nutritional content, and any specific comments (eg watch out for the 2 versions of xtravital).
Yes I know this is in process, and if you think the list on Degutopia has an accurate break down of the foods, but a poor method of indicating their approciateness, what changes would you make?
We are not going to make recommendations and only aim to provide the information degu owners need to make an educated decision. I would say however that with enough premade foods for degus available there is no need or reason to use food produced for other rodents.
but not all of our many members (new, old, inbetween, or soon to join) are able to take on the wider more natural nutrition.
I wouldn't agree with this at all. The feeding guide will show how owners anywhere can easily feed a 50% natural nutrition, at the same costs, if they wish to do so.
I thought the whole 50% natural nutrition was born by the fact that degu owners couldn't find or buy any decent degu food in the shops.
What's wrong with pre-made degu food? Most brands are not bad and easy to use and safe, of course you have to check what ingredients are in and such.
I think the whole 50 or even 100% natural nutrition is a good idea and although for me it's a new thing i will probably go that direction either, but i think a lot of degu owners will never go that far.
Maybe it isn't that easy to get all those product together, or it's maybe just too much work and it's just so much easier to buy pre-made food.
Maybe people think it's also safe to buy pre-made food, just look at all different forums and degu websites and you see so many opinions about what a degu can eat and what not.
Hi butters, the 50% natural project was about adding natural ingredients to diet that's based on hard feed (nuggets, pellets...). There is nothing wrong with pre-made food.
This is why I think there is value in having a good assessment of the pre-made foods that are out there. It is where most people start, and then often will move further into a more natural diet as they continue to learn about their degus. I think being able to take even a list of ALL rodent foods and say, these items are a definite NO for degus; IE Hamster, Rat, and Rabbit pellet foods should be avoided completely and why, could help to clear up questions that people have when new to degus. Something like you can buy, Butters, is marvelous, and as I said earlier . . . I sure wish those products were available in Canada!!
1 Bichon/Shi-t-zu Ollie (b'gollie), 1 Standard poodle, Indie
Is it pre-made food or can you call it 100% natural nutrition?
That's actually an interesting question! I'd say that was pre-made natural nutrition, similar to jr farm degu special. These types of product are great in that they make it much easier to feed natural food that is interesting & healthy for the degus. The slight frustration is that the mix is rarely just what you would chose yourself to make a complete, ideal diet. For example the mix you show looks great and tasty, but I'd prefer there not to be so many carrots & peas. You can see the companies thinking we need to put some veg in - I know, peas & carrots are cheap and look good, we'll stick those in.
I also used many foods: Prestige Crispy C Vitakraft Degu Menu JR Farm Spezial JR Farm Premium Xtravital Degu Agrobs Chincilla and Degu Food TPF Degu fit Agrobs grascobs Noname Briketts (Big Pellets) Jr Farm Meerschweinchen light JR Farm Zwergkaninchen light
Some of them were Bad and i Fed only shortly.
Vana, Clio and some dwarf tropical woodlice (Trichorhina tomentosa)
I still think it would be useful to collect information about pre-made foods. Could you tell us anything you think might be relevant about those foods, Davx and anyone else that would like to join in? Things like selective feeding issues, did the degus like it, anything you noted about the proportions of the mix, any unsuitable ingredients, value and so on would all be of interest.
I think it is the wrong thinking that the forthcoming feeding guides answers any questions. A forum is a place where people meet and can discuss experiences, ideas, observations, knowledge, meanings etc. If everyone says that a paper in preparation will answer the questions there isn't any room for exchange of ideas. Well it is of course a good idea to work out background information we can refer to, especially when I think about things like extrudate or pellets. It is more exhaustive to work out an elaborative text over several weeks than write all the details new from remembering the facts stored in the own brain.
So I will go more to the details of course. When I wrote my last post I was in a hurry because I was preparing food before leaving the home and going to work.
Some general aspects (my own point of view) about some international brands: - Brands I don't like/don't trust are especially Versele Laga/Prestige and beaphar, yes I fed the Prestige guinea pig food (Crispy C) at the beginning of my degu keeping for several years, but I had poor knowledge about degu feeding and it was a comfortable choice. The beaphar food was a pretended Norwegian Degu Food, my sister bought for me. I was rather disappointed, when I found out, that the food is international available, but that was not the reason, why I'm not enthusiastic about this foods. - Brands like Vitakraft, Bunny and some others long times seemed to be similar to Prestige etc. But I have the impression that this Brands learned their lesson and offer more natural mixtures. - The other way round made JR Farm. Once a small but very interesting brand, it was the favourite food of many degu owners. They had had a good quality and were open for wishes from degu owners. Nowadays we can compare them with Vitakraft and so on, but I have the impression JR Farm is even worse. While companies like Vitakraft have a straight forward food collection, the food collection is similar to a weed garden, it is a jungle of similar products and there isn't any logic, too much mixtures for any purposes and much food is also questionable, e.g. "Pizza" for rodents or so called "Wellness" food. They meet the demands of rodent owners yes, but the rodent owners don't have to eat this food, but their animals and this is in my opinion the wrong way of thinking. - Brands like Agrobs, Hansemann or TPF The Pet Factory - all small german companies have good food quality and are my favourite ones I recommend for German degu owners. But here international it is different, they are unknown and probably do not ship outside Germany.
Criteria I use for analysing a food mixture:
- The usual suspects of cheap and nasty animal food: pellets, extrudates and other artificial shaped, often coloured food items. - Vitamins and Minerals: many questionable food mixtures contain loads of vitamins and minerals. Often I have the impression they are added with the intention: the more the better. I really prefer to supplement fresh green stuff instead of all this artificial vitamins and questionable minerals. - Toxic substances: e.g. Menadione (so called vitamine K3, in fact it isn't a real vitamine, for human usage it is banned) - Questionable health claim substances, like the so called FOS (that are indigestible sugars! what a rubbish), aloë vera extract, probiotic substances, etc. Often this substances are promoted on the package with claims like "anti hair-ball", "no smell", "gut regulation" and so on - Herbal by-products: also an indicator for cheap and nasty animal food. It includes stuff like flour/meal, pomace, oil, etc. Often used plants are soy bean, alfalfa, corn, wheat, barley, peas, rape, oil palm, grape etc.
beaphar Xtravital Degu picture (and desc.): www.degupedia.de/wiki/index.php/Beaphar_Degu_Xtravital My Norwegian degu food... Well I found disappointing the amounts of extrudates and pellets. Also nearly all ingredients are cheap animal food, no fine herbs... I can buy a no-name mixture as well and I'll get a similar mixture for much less money.
Agrobs Chinchilla and Degu Food pictures (and desc.): www.degupedia.de/wiki/index.php/Agrobs_Pre_Alpin_Lepo_Nature One of the best food mixtures I ever tested. The quality was impressive... but also the price. The only disadvantage besides the price was the lack of energy rich food items (e.g. seeds, grains). But that isn't a problem because it is simple to enrich the food with a bird seed mixture.
Agrobs grascobs pictures: www.degupedia.de/wiki/index.php/Agrobs_Pre_Alpin_Wiesencobs It looks like thick pellets but the ingredients are different: the so called "cobs" contain meadow plants... it is similar to a good quality hay, but chopped in particles of about 0,5 to 2-3 cm lenght and pressed in a pellet like form. My degus didn't love this food much, but in smaller quantities they used it as supplement to the regular food.
Jr Farm Meerschweinchen light no picture, similar to the Zwergkaninchenfutter (below).
JR Farm Zwergkaninchen light picture: www.degupedia.de/wiki/index.php/JR_Farm_Zwergkaninchenfutter_light I used this as supplement because it contains dried vegs and no grains, extrudate and so on. The cobs limited the amount I fed to the degus. They ate them only in smaller quantities, therefore it never was a option as main food. But I was pretty happy with this food, only the cobs were a bit a problem.
In addition I pick here out some further mixtures:
Yes I also tested the Multifit Degu Food and I wasn't happy with it. here the picture: www.degupedia.de/wiki/index.php/Multifit_Degu I tested it in 2007 once. For me there were to much extrudate, pellets and it had hardly high quality food items like fine herbs.
Quiko (in US known as Sun Seed!) Garden Flower Salad picture: www.degupedia.de/wiki/index.php/Quiko_Blumen_Garten_Salat This was a pretty interesting mixture. Perhaps that is also an option for our American owners. Because Quiko (Germany) and Sun Seed (US) work together. Quiko is known as supplier for bird food and accessoires and Sun Seed probably has a similar collection. It might be worth to search for a bird shop and have a look to their products. Eventually there are interesting products also suitable for our degus.
JR Farm Chinchilla Spezial picture: www.degupedia.de/wiki/index.php/JR_Farm_Chinchilla_Spezial Interesting mixture intended for chinchillas. I tested it only once, because it was when I already fed mainly fresh plants. I had the impression that quality is pretty good and it seemed worth to test it.
Vana, Clio and some dwarf tropical woodlice (Trichorhina tomentosa)
Davx, THANK YOU for writing out that Criteria for analyzing a food mixture!! THIS is very helpful information to have and I am most grateful for it. It gives us examples and an idea of what we are seeing when we read ingredients. I have often wondered at the long lists of vitamins and minerals, but assumed they were of value rather than just something more to throw into the pot. This, at least to me, is a very helpful tool to "untangle" the messy lists of ingredients that are so confusing.
Providing owners with tools that will help each one discern what they are looking at will go a long way to helping us make better and wiser choices.
Price approx £8 for 2kg Observations: Good food, well liked by my degus, they eat all of it. Would prefer there to be fewer bean flakes, carrots, parsnips and beetroot, but I pick some of them out and make sure they are evenly distributed
Beaphar Xtravital Degu
Price approx £4.50/kg Observations: Watch out for different versions of this food, there is a version with 20% protein which is higher than preferred. My degus like it, but do show preference for some pieces over others. Too many locust/ carob bean pieces. More peas and carrots than I would prefer.