Increasing Calories in Diet of Ill Guinea Pig

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Lynx
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Post   » Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:32 am


Okay. Making this a sticky for a while, really wanting to get feedback on an idea I have for increasing calories for a guinea pig that has lost weight due to illness.

I recently bought a whole bunch of dried meal worms for my new chickens as a bribe. Because I look for deals, I found a place online that even happens to be in my home state of Virginia. In quantity, they can be perhaps $6/pound (large quantity).

I tried to get the nutritional content of the meal worms and in so doing found so much information on meal worms and bugs in general.

Guinea pigs are herbivores but it is to be expected, they might eat some bugs along with the greens. Bugs can be incredibly nutritious, high in protein, vitamins, minerals, and yes, in fat (which would hopefully be a more digestible fat and add calories). They are not high in calcium and in fact must be "loaded" with calcium when given to small reptile/amphibian pets.

A fascinating page I found concerning bugs in the human diet also has an entry listing nutritional data for mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) on page 75, where you will find a detailed comparison between mealworms and beef.
http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3253e/i3253e06.pdf

I'm wondering if anyone who might have mealworms available, could give feedback on if guinea pigs will even eat them.

And if there are other ideas for increasing calories, maybe we can collect them here. Personally, I think the mealworm idea holds some promise.

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pigjes
Cavy Comic

Post   » Mon Jul 18, 2016 1:35 pm


I spoke to a scientist years ago, who studied pigs in the wild. They ate bugs, he said. I remember a story of a woman trying to shoo away a giant praying mantis from her pig, who was on a lawn. The pig ate the mantis before she had a chance to do so.

Years ago, when I had Kooky, there was little info on how to add weight to pigs. She had bad bowel absorption, after a vet gave her Baytril for bloat. Very dumb of her, and I had no chance to prevent it, the jab was in before I could ask.

So, for the next 4 years, I fed her fattening extra's to maintain her up to 700g, which was very little, as she was a decent sized pig who could have been better being 900g. She loved white oat flakes, not the ones for human consumption. As she was the bos, I gave her a treat egg and she ate the lot almost 90% on her own, only giving the others a chance to eat small leftovers.

In this day and age, having recovery types of food, I would give that daily as an extra, I have used that for every sick pig who ate on her own as a fattening compound. There are varied types of recovery food, to keep the pig interested, so you can use another bag once one is emptied. Making a veggie juice instead of water, using a different veg type a day, keeps them interested.

Mealworms are fatty though, which would increase cholesterol.

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Lynx
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Post   » Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:49 pm


It depends on the fat source and metabolism on whether something more fatty might affect cholesterol.

Where do you get white oat flakes? From what I know, oats are somewhat starchy. There are cut oats and flaked oats (thinner or thicker). I give some to my chicken for variety. If you can point to a source, that might be helpful.

Mealworms:

Average approximate analysis of selected Tenebrio molitor as a percentage of dry matter except for moisture content

Moisture (% of fresh weight) ..........61.9
Protein .............49.1
Fat ................35.2
Metabolizable energy (kcal/kg) ............2 056

Edit, it is likely the mealworms are unsaturated fat. They mention termites, grasshoppers, and crickets as having unsaturated fat. See:

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/nutrition-values-edible-bugs-insects-9602.html

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pigjes
Cavy Comic

Post   » Tue Jul 19, 2016 2:46 am


New studies are stating that fat is just fat and the source has little impact, on making a difference in cholesterol levels. It now boils down to reducing fat in general for weight control and cholesterol.

My old source of white oat flakes got canceled, because of incorrect deliveries 3 times in a row, and then me begging to refund the forgotten items each time.

I now order from www.Futterparadies.de, which is only for the European market. I know that the US has similar providers. This day and age, there is a greater choice of dried low calcium vegs. I forgot to mention that I always mingled the white oats for Kooky with other dried edible vegs as well. I did that because her body needed more nutrients anyway, not just fattening food. Back then, the choice was limited, but now, there is just about anything a pig can eat in a dried version. They sell white oat flakes and white peeled oats, which the pigs love too. Bubbly hated the shells, but she loved spitting them out, makes me wonder how on Earth she managed to get those off in her mouth, lol.

I now mingle dried low calcium vegs with any decent low calcium pellet I can find over here, at the moment that's Mucki for me. Normally, a pellet type is sufficient, but it keeps them busy, as they just love trying to find their favorite types of veg in the lot. And those favorites vary from pig to pig.

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Lynx
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Post   » Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:52 am


This article seems to point to white oats being what we normally eat (flattened, heated):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oatmeal

'Oatmeal is made of oat groats (i.e. grains) that have either been ground, crushed, steel-cut, or rolled. Ground oats are also called "white oats". Steel-cut oats are known as "coarse oatmeal" or "Irish oatmeal" or "pinhead oats". '

'The oat grains are de-husked by impact, then heated and cooled to stabilize the oat groats, the seed inside the husk. The process of heating produces a nutty flavour in the oats.[1] These oat groats may be milled to produce fine, medium or coarse oatmeal.[2] Steel-cut oats may be small and contain broken groats from the de-husking process; these may be steamed and flattened to produce smaller rolled oats...Rolled oats are steamed and flattened whole oat groats.'

Do you know what process makes the white oats you describe?



Theories on cholesterol and fat are all over the place. Unfortunately, there is not much around on guinea pigs but lots for humans. There has even been debunking of lowering the fat intake to improve weight control and cholesterol levels.

Traditional big sites still point to good fats vs. bad fats ( http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/Prevent ... .V44M8_krLiw ). Apparently the move to lower fat overall for humans has resulted in increased weight.

I was proposing adding a small amount of natural protein source (mealworms) to increase caloric intake for our guinea pigs who are underweight. I don't think bugs should be a major part of the diet - but who knows? Might even improve heart health (a few bugs if they will eat them).
Last edited by Lynx on Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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pigjes
Cavy Comic

Post   » Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:57 am


The human white oats are the same as the ones for the pigs, but stuff is added for human consumption, like some preservatives and sometimes even sugar, whilst the ones for pets is pure as you described.

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Lynx
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Post   » Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:18 am


It is easy to get plain oats here. Nothing is added. Plain Quaker Oats are sold in most grocery stores and health food stores offer a variety of oats of various cuts, some organic, some not. What I learned a while back is that the processing (heat treating) gives oats the decent life they have. I researched this when I stockpiled oat meal some years back.

Easy to avoid a product that has added sugar (clearly marked).

So, no sugar, no preserving. That is what you are pointing out.

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pigjes
Cavy Comic

Post   » Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:26 am


That's great. Last time I checked the local oats I bought, there was enough stuff in it, even the supposedly organic one.

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