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Mar 26 12 6:12 AM

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I've recently started feeding my 2 boys a mix of half Barastoc workhorse mix and half chaff, with a handfuf of cracked lupins added in as well. The workhorse mix only comes in 20kg bags and I only have 2 piggies. Can anyone advise how long the workhorse mix stays edible after the bag is opened? Is there some way I should store it to make it last longer? Currently I just leave it in the bag it came in tied with a cable tie as the bag says it is of a breathable material. The bag is then left in the pantry at a fairly constant temperature of 26-28 C.
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#1 [url]

Mar 27 12 9:28 AM

Barastoc workhorse mix has caused some debate on the forum. I stopped using it because it contains molasses.

I tried to find the threads in which we talked about this but my search magic has left me and I can't pull up the threads that I remember.

Hopefully someone else will come along and explain further (or remember the previous discussions we had about it).

PS. Hi and welcome to the forums.

Allison
~ I could give up chocolate, but, hey, I am not a quitter! ~

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#2 [url]

Mar 27 12 11:12 AM

GPS wrote:
Barastoc workhorse mix has caused some debate on the forum. I stopped using it because it contains molasses.

I tried to find the threads in which we talked about this but my search magic has left me and I can't pull up the threads that I remember.

Hopefully someone else will come along and explain further (or remember the previous discussions we had about it).

PS. Hi and welcome to the forums.


Thanks. I am aware of the molasses. Most of the shop foods marketed specifically for guinea pigs contain molasses, including the much touted and expensive Oxbow Cavy Cuisine.

What are you using instead of the workhorse mix?

And I'm still looking for an answer to my original question. Or is no one using this product anymore? If not, what are you all feeding your piggies for their dry food?

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#3 [url]

Mar 28 12 12:24 AM

I feed Oxbow, I was unhappy with the quality most 'seed mixes' (and with only a few pigs Oxbow isn't that expensive, works out to less than a dollar a day!) in Australia.

I used the Workhorse mix once...about 6 years ago and was not impressed with it. Clumps of molasses were commonly found in the bag, and I felt it spoiled quite quickly (even though I transferred it into a tub, kept it inside etc) it still went mouldy.

I also found that my pigs gained weight on it. I went from having svelte pigs to really chubby pigs. As soon as I switched to Oxbow they dropped weight by up to 150g! (Charlie tipped the scales at nearly 1500g at one stage, when I switched to Oxbow he slowly lost the excess flab to around 1350 and stayed at around that weight until he got sick {Lymphoma})

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My Current Babies: Emma + Fizzy (aka Fizz-Wizz)
My Angel Pigs: Charlie, Caramel, Josef, Josephine + Frank
My Angel Mice: Megann, Merryll, Alyssa, Carmen, Hermione, Eryn + Samantha
My Angel Pups: Wilbur

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#4 [url]

Mar 28 12 3:29 AM

Jess has a fantastic grain mix. she can also post them to you.

Katy
...........................................................
Radish and Little Foot
Rocky and Liam

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chuffnut

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#5 [url]

Apr 1 12 9:46 AM

Any foods containing molasses WILL eventually grow mould on them...take it from me, don't use any horse mixes or other mixes containing lots of molasses. I have learned the hard way. I lost a lot of pigs a while back and it took ages to find the problem. It was traced back to a gut bug that grew out of control when they had sugary foods...I took horse-mixes out of their diets and the deaths stopped. Last year, I stupidly used some horse mix again, and after a while some of my pigs looked a bit odd...then I lost the most loved of all my pigs (Milky Mouse) through severe diarrhoea that was linked (by my vet) to yet another gut bug that was feeding on the rich molasses. It killed my girl...

About 2 months after Milky died, I thought I'd use a tiny bit of the left over horse mix in my chaffmix, just to use it up. Honestly, it was only a couple of handfuls...and the next few days, I had 5 bloat pigs - two died despite emergency vet care, I pulled the other girls through with day and night care for a week. Again, traced back to the food - I hadn't noticed at the time that a very fine, almost invisible to the naked eye, mould had grown on some of the molasses loaded foods, and even this tiny amount was enough to make my piggies sick. I found the mould later using a microscope.

I've learned my lesson, finally - I thought that it can't be that bad as other shelters have used horse mixes for years (including Jess) - but every single time I let my defences down and use the stuff, I end up losing pigs. And I wouldn't be surprised if some of the piggy-deaths that Jess has experienced with sick rescue pigs are simply because their guts are not able to handle the rich, molasses-loaded horse mixes in her chaff mix hence they can't get better despite all other treatments given to them!

Pigs don't need molasses. They can live a perfectly healthy life on a diet of good grassy hay (one that has all sorts of grasses and herbs in it, not just one type of grass), vegies and fresh grass. Chaff mixes are really just a way to alleviate boredom as they keep my lot occupied for a while. I never use horse mixes, just a mix of oaten chaff, lupins, rolled oats, and jack-rabbit micropellets (not too many as they are made with lucerne). And if you don't want to make a chaff mix like mine, then simply use oxbow cavy cuisine along with their hay and vegies - yes, cavy cuisine has some molasses in it but only a tiny amount that is carefully measured - the key is to give them only the recommended amount of the pellets.

-=[[ Lynlee ]]=-
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There are 1000's of homeless guinea pigs in rescue shelters all across Australia that NEED YOU!!

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#6 [url]

Apr 1 12 10:02 AM

I'm just finding out how amazing activated charcoal is. Would it help mould poisoning or bloat?

I did come up with google results for humans, but nothing for guinea pigs so far.

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#7 [url]

Apr 1 12 10:06 AM

Lilly wrote:
What are you using instead of the workhorse mix?
I only give them hay now.

Plus grass & vegies everyday.

Allison
~ I could give up chocolate, but, hey, I am not a quitter! ~

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chuffnut

Posts: 5,818 Site Admin

#8 [url]

Apr 1 12 12:40 PM

hayfever wrote:
I'm just finding out how amazing activated charcoal is. Would it help mould poisoning or bloat?

I did come up with google results for humans, but nothing for guinea pigs so far.


Yes, I saved my girls (3 of them) with charcoal. One girl, Buttercup, is actually prone to bloating now and again so I keep charcoal on hand and dose her up every time I see her looking uncomfortable. Works a treat unless the bloat is really severe - then they need emergency vet attention to be intubated to remove the gas.

Charcoal also works with toxins...but is also removes nutrients and makes medications less effective, so long-term use isn't recommended.

-=[[ Lynlee ]]=-
image
There are 1000's of homeless guinea pigs in rescue shelters all across Australia that NEED YOU!!

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#9 [url]

Apr 3 12 3:06 AM

chuffnut wrote:
Any foods containing molasses WILL eventually grow mould on them...take it from me, don't use any horse mixes or other mixes containing lots of molasses. I have learned the hard way. I lost a lot of pigs a while back and it took ages to find the problem. It was traced back to a gut bug that grew out of control when they had sugary foods...I took horse-mixes out of their diets and the deaths stopped. Last year, I stupidly used some horse mix again, and after a while some of my pigs looked a bit odd...then I lost the most loved of all my pigs (Milky Mouse) through severe diarrhoea that was linked (by my vet) to yet another gut bug that was feeding on the rich molasses. It killed my girl...

About 2 months after Milky died, I thought I'd use a tiny bit of the left over horse mix in my chaffmix, just to use it up. Honestly, it was only a couple of handfuls...and the next few days, I had 5 bloat pigs - two died despite emergency vet care, I pulled the other girls through with day and night care for a week. Again, traced back to the food - I hadn't noticed at the time that a very fine, almost invisible to the naked eye, mould had grown on some of the molasses loaded foods, and even this tiny amount was enough to make my piggies sick. I found the mould later using a microscope.

I've learned my lesson, finally - I thought that it can't be that bad as other shelters have used horse mixes for years (including Jess) - but every single time I let my defences down and use the stuff, I end up losing pigs. And I wouldn't be surprised if some of the piggy-deaths that Jess has experienced with sick rescue pigs are simply because their guts are not able to handle the rich, molasses-loaded horse mixes in her chaff mix hence they can't get better despite all other treatments given to them!

Pigs don't need molasses. They can live a perfectly healthy life on a diet of good grassy hay (one that has all sorts of grasses and herbs in it, not just one type of grass), vegies and fresh grass. Chaff mixes are really just a way to alleviate boredom as they keep my lot occupied for a while. I never use horse mixes, just a mix of oaten chaff, lupins, rolled oats, and jack-rabbit micropellets (not too many as they are made with lucerne). And if you don't want to make a chaff mix like mine, then simply use oxbow cavy cuisine along with their hay and vegies - yes, cavy cuisine has some molasses in it but only a tiny amount that is carefully measured - the key is to give them only the recommended amount of the pellets.


Oh, thanks for that! I am going back to making my own mix as I did before - no molasses at all. I recently joined a local Brisbane cavy club and it was they who advised I feed half workhorse mix with half chaff! Even then I didn't completely follow their advice but added cracked lupins because the protein content of the workhorse mix did not seem high enough. I did not mind making my own mix. I thought they would get better nutrition by following what the club advised! Admittedly though the workhorse mix seemed very moist when I opened it compared to my own mix, so I did get concerned about storage & spoilage. As the club only meets monthly, I joined this forum to get an answer quicker. Now you've got me frightened! I can't get out to the shops until tomorrow arvo, so the boys are only going to get their grass, veggies, lupins, chaff and hay until I can buy the rest of the stuff to make my usual mix.

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#11 [url]

Apr 8 12 6:04 AM

It's funny, Peter Gurney didn't mention charcoal for bloat and though I have tried it myself (dairy issues~ >.<) I completely forgot about it when I suspected bloat in my piggy which didn't turn out to be anything. But I also know charcoal can stop a runny tummy, and a tummy that isn't runny can well, get rather *slow*. So even though the charcoal might reduce the bad bacteria that causes bloat, I wasn't sure whether it'd work for piggies as it probably slows down the movement of food and all that.

I guess for very mild cases of bloat, a dose of good bacteria like Protexin might help too (though obviously not together with charcoal)? If it's not too risky to try. (This is the yogurt ads working on me.)

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chuffnut

Posts: 5,818 Site Admin

#12 [url]

Apr 8 12 6:36 AM

hayfever wrote:
It's funny, Peter Gurney didn't mention charcoal for bloat
Aah, there be it! Peter Gurney was brilliant when it came to piggers but he didn't know it all! In fact, if you look at his earlier books first, then his later books, he even has some apologies for having given different advice in his earlier books because his understanding had changed! I reckon he would have used charcoal for bloat if he'd known about it.

But I also know charcoal can stop a runny tummy, and a tummy that isn't runny can well, get rather *slow*.
It can cause minor constipation if you give too much but, in my experience, it has to be one hell of a lot before that is an issue! I guess the full impact is gonna be a case-by-case scenario as it probably affects individual people (and animals) differently.

I guess for very mild cases of bloat, a dose of good bacteria like Protexin might help too
yep!

though obviously not together with charcoal?
... shouldn't be a problem - charcoal doesn't stop the activity of the bacteria, it actually breaks up and disperses the gas that is created by the bad bacteria! So taking protexin with charcoal works ok - but charcoal with medications is a big no-no as charcoal deactivates/absorbs the medications!

-=[[ Lynlee ]]=-
image
There are 1000's of homeless guinea pigs in rescue shelters all across Australia that NEED YOU!!

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