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Category: Product Reviews

  1. Product Review - Back-2-nature Bedding

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    We haven't used sawdust for either guests or our own piggies for a few years now, but we have still had to use sawdust for visiting rabbits and hamsters, mainly because we hadn't found a suitable alternative and unlike piggies who just love hay on newspaper rabbits and hamsters need something extra.

    Well, we think we may have found something better - Back-2-nature Small Animal Bedding & Litter.

    Back2nature-400

    As you can see from the photo the manufacturers have many claims - don't they always. So, we initially tried a small 10 litre bag costing £5.99, but are now using the 30 litre sack.

    Let's start with what we think is the one and only bad point about this product - price. We bought a 30 litre sack for £12.99 from Pampurred Pets, which compared to sawdust is much more expensive per volume, unfortunately, we have also found this item for £16.99 from Pets At Home, so you do have to watch where you buy from. Having said that we have seen the 30 litre sacks reduced to £9.00 on occasion, so grab them when you can.

    On the plus side, we are looking at a product made from recycled paper; brilliant - Is chemical and additive free; excellent news for small furries lungs etc - Is biodegradable; very useful - And the best bit, it's highly absorbent, which is especially good for those pets who, (now how shall we put this politely), smell !!!

    The look and feel of the product is quite unique too as it is in the shape and form of pellets. Our hamsters still manage to create small mountains for their nests though, and for our guest rabbits we add a mound of hay on top. And it is so much easier to use, with virtually no mess.

    So, even though this product is more expensive than sawdust, all the other advantages out way the cost and for us it means we will keep buying it.

  2. Product Review - Fibafirst

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    With so many new products coming to the small pet market recently and with such a large menagerie of willing volunteers we thought it may be helpful if we 'tried', for you to decide whether you wanted to 'buy', especially as we are all having to watch what we spend our money on these days. There is no room for wastage any more.

    So, with this in mind we thought we would start with Supreme Science - Fibafirst - Monoforage Feed For Guinea Pigs - 350g.

    Bought from our local Pampurred Pets for £2.99.

    Also available is a version for rabbits, which has exactly the same composition but with different nutritional values.

    Fibafirst

    The specifics on the front of the box declares - 'A veterinary recommended, highly palatable and nutritionally complete fibre-rich diet, specifically designed to satisfy the natural feeding behaviour of guinea pigs.'

    The reverse of the box goes into a little more detail - 'Using only the very finest ingredients and Monoforage technology, Supreme has created Fibafirst, a premium high fibre diet that satisfies the natural nutritional and physiological needs of your guinea pigs. It is vital that guinea pigs are able to forage and chew to satisfy their natural feeding behaviours. With longer fibre particles provided using Monoforage technology, Fibafirst will help to extend your guinea pigs feeding time, promoting dental wear and digestive health, as well as enhancing environmental enrichment.'

    What's Inside - Timothy Hay, Alfalfa Stalks, Ground Peas, Soybean Flour, Wheat Flour, Locust Bean Flour, Flaked Oats, Alfalfa Protein Extract, Linseed, Soya Oil, Vitamin A 23000 IU, Vitamin C 1000 mg, Vitamin D3 1500 IU, Vitamin E 60 mg

    First Impressions - We love the packaging, basically a cardboard box it means it can be recycled and that is always a good thing, in our opinion. The food itself is enclosed in a small plastic bag, but already what is thrown away is halved. The graphics are attractive, especially as a piggy picture very similar in looks to our own piggy Pumpkin is on the front. The look and feel of the food is a little strange as you will find; long (about 12cm), hard, square edged sticks of what appears to be compressed hay. There is also a faint aroma of dried hay which is quite pleasant. At the bottom of the box you will find a helpful hint feeding guide which explains how to introduce this new type of food into your guinea pigs diet, but it doesn't say whether to leave as a whole stick or break into small chunks, so for our piggies first try we fed each one a third of a stick and watched what happened.

    We have 8 piggies of our own, all have different likes and dislikes, but they all had an inquisitive nibble. Then, we would say, about half left their stick and half dragged their 'find' somewhere quiet for a more thorough taste test. For later tries, 7 piggies now 'grab and run' with their sticks with only 1 piggy refusing his offering.

    We won't be replacing our piggies usual pellets with this product as our piggies particularly love the Burgess Excel Blackcurrant and Oregano Nuggets, and with 8 piggies this product is simply not cost-effective for us. However, we will occasionally buy this product as we can give our piggies a stick once or twice a week as a treat. A better alternative to those seed/nut/honey treat sticks that are on the market and are nutritionally inappropriate for a guinea pigs diet.

    We have found comments on various interweb forums that suggest other piggy owners are concerned with the alfalfa content. Alfalfa is known to be high in protein, calcium and carbohydrates and is primarily fed to young pups and pregnant cavies, but in healthy, adult piggies overfeeding calcium increases the risk of bladder stones. Although, comparing the nutritional figures of Fibafirst to Burgess Excel Blackcurrant and Oregano Nuggets the calcium content is 0.6% to 0.8%. Whereas the fibre content is 22% compared to 15%.

    In conclusion - We love that companies are steadily moving away from muesli style/junk foods for guinea pigs which are so damaging to their health and behaviour and we congratulate Supreme Science's philosophies - 'to enrich the lives of guinea pigs everywhere', 'to continue to achieve excellence in small animal nutrition', 'to ensure satisfaction from every pack', but it all comes down to the ingredients. We feel that a diet primarily of hay/grass, complimented by a good all round nugget, with the occasional natural snack, fresh veggies and water is by far the best nourishment for all our piggies. No one complete food is ever the answer.