“ Manufacturer: Burgess / Type: Small Pet Food „
_My Guinea pigs_
At the time I started feeding Burgess Excel I had two Guinea pigs: Bailey and Miss Piggy. Two lovely ladies I had bought a year prior to this at my local Pets at Home. Having been helped through my original purchases by a Pets at Home staff member with a small Guinea pig care leafet on hand we had bought what we had been told they needed and for obvious reasons this included the P@H home brand Guinea pig muesli food. At the time I believed I had done a lot of research so was happy to buy an 80cm cage among other things. Over the next year/ year and a half the pellets/ muesli I fed them changed every couple of weeks, mainly the Pets at Home brands but on occasion the Tesco brand food and a few others. As they started selective feeding (leaving the yellow and green flakes) we moved them onto the pellets. Then one day whilst in P@H to get some food for the girls I noticed an orange bag of Guinea pig food and decided to give it a go: that was the first time I bought Excel nuggets and since haven't fed them anything else.
The thing that had originally attracted me to Excel was the bright orange bag. It was a normal 2kg bag of the plain nuggets: a pretty orange colour with the outline of two guinea pigs and grass, a variety of different nutritional information on both the food itself and what a guinea pig needs and a nice section on the Burgess company. For someone concerned about what my Guinea pigs were eating it was quite refreshing to see packaging like this and when I looked at it I did get the feeling that it was a nutritional option. After a little read of each section I had decided this was enough to make me want to try it out.
The appearance of the actual pellets was pretty typical of Guinea pig pellet food. They were little, brown and hard but had a slightly odd moon crescent shape that I hadn't seen before. Though not the most appetising food to look at, the shape and hardness of the pellets seemed to do a good job (along with hay) keeping their teeth down and the piggies didn't seem to care about how they looked.
_What the piggie thought_
Having only really taken much notice of what my dog was eating before getting Guinea pigs I was aware that with most animals it is best to feed them gradually rather than change them cold turkey. So slowly but surely I changed from the P@H pellets to the Excel. Though there were definate differences between how the pellets looked I couldn't honestly tell you how the first reception was but soon enough they were happily munching their way through a bowl every couple of days. Along with hay and fresh food I continued to feed them Excel pellets and was always happy to refill an empty bowl. They loved the stuff but at the same time didn't become addicted to it so weren't over indulging, something I'd found when they were on other brands. Now two and a half years after first buying that bag of Excel I have five Guinea pigs (sadly lost Bailey but gained Betsy, Forrest, Lola and Emi) who all love these. Having come from different places (three were recues and one I rehomed) I wasn't sure what they had originally been fed on so moved them straight onto the pellets and now they share two bowls of the stuff and whenever a bowl is empty I'm greeted by plenty of 'wheeks' until I refill their bowls.
_What I thought of it_
The one problem I think I've found with Excel pellets is the price. Though only 40p more expensive than the P@H home brand for a 2kg bag they are still on the higher end of the price scale at around (£4.89 for a 2kg bag of the normal pellets at P@H), though for the quality I am happy to pay the extra money. A problem I had, had with the P@H pellets was that it was only sold in P@H, my two locals weren't that close so would require a trip specifically to go there or Internet shop and pay packaging which was near enough the same price as the actual food. Excel pellets are available in a variety of place both in actual shops and online, including 'The range', smaller local pet shops and a lot of different websites. This meant I could easily pop down to the local pet shop or stop in one of the retailers if I'm at the local shopping centre.
Another great thing about these pellets is there is a couple of options to suite your needs. It comes in three flavours: the plain pack (Orange) , the blackcurrant And oregano pack (Red/ brownish) and the new plain pack with added mint (a lighter orange). As of yet I've only tried the original plain bag as the Blackcurrant and Oregano is 50p more and I have yet to see the new packet yet but have heard good things about both. It is also availiable in three sizes: 2kg, 4kg and 10kg bags depending on how much you use. I buy either the 2kg or 4kg as although the bigger pack would be more ecological my pigs don't eat enough to get through a bag whilst it is still fresh, but I understand it would be good for someone with a large amount of Guinea pigs or someone who can't get t the pet store very often. My pigs have about a 2kg bag every 2 weeks between the five of them so I like to stock up and this will happily last me quite a while. When I had just the two pigs a 2kg bag would last me a little more than a month so I was very happy to grab a bag every month.
One thing that had originally attracted me to this food was the information about the Excel, Burgess company on the packaging. After reading through all the company information n the bag I soon learned about the 'Burgess Feeding Plan' which is a really great guide to feeing your fibrevote that although is very much focused around Excel products does give owners a good guide to the five sections their pet should be feed. Later going on the website I was again delighted to see they were very much into promoting good care and nutrition of pets to their owners and have also recnelyy done a competition highlighting some great owners who give their pets some excellent care.
(Taken from the back of a bag)
Beneficial Fibre 36%
Crude Fibre 17%
Vitamin D3 *1,500iu/kg
Vitamin E *100mg/kg
Vitamin A *22,000iu/kg
(Taken from the back of a bag of food)
Grass, Maize, Wheat, Lucerne, Soya Bean Hulls, Peas, Soya, Oat Bran, Unmolassed Beet Pulp, Yeast, Soya Oil, Ligno-cellulose, Molasses, Calcium Carbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Vitamins, Fructo-oligosaccharides 0.25%, Salt, Minerals. Contains Natural Antioxidants. No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives
Burgess Excel tasty nuggets form the main part of the diet for our three little (guinea) pigs; that's quiet Misty who loves to sing, scruffy Malty and the oh so greedy and noisy Maisy. They do talk a lot in their own cute squeaky way and I'm sure they'd be telling you how much they enjoy their food. Their bowl is always emptied when they are fed with this food and that is definitely not the case when we've tried other brands such as the Gertie Guinea pig food, where they pick out their favourite bits and leave the rest which means that they don't get a fully balanced diet and that I am paying for food that I then throw away.
Burgess make these pellet foods for other small animals and we first used it on the recommendation of the pet shop when we brought our rabbit about ten years ago. He sadly died and when we moved onto having guinea pigs we kept our allegiances with the Excel food, but moved onto the orange bags that are especially formulated to meet the nutritional requirements for guinea pigs. Rabbits need to have the green bags, but it is very clear on the labelling of each bag which pets they are suitable for. The packaging states that Burgess Excel is the number 1 vet recommended food for small animals, and I know that it is sold in our vetinary surgery.
Burgess are an English company with their mill in Yorkshire. They pride themselves on sourcing all of their ingredients locally and their grass is grown just a tractor ride away from the mill. They also have a Forever Promise where they commit to making the lives of pets better by not only providing food that is healthy and tasty, but by also supporting pet rescue centres and encouraging responsible pet ownership.
Guinea pigs are 'fibrevores'. That means that their natural diet which is primarily as grass grazers is very high in fibre. Burgess excel therefore is formulated to include a high fibre content (36%). Ingredients include grass, maize, wheat, lucerne, soya bean hulls, peas, soya, oat bran, yeast, unmollased beet pulp and soya oil. Other supplements include calcium carbonate, mono calcium phosphate, vitamins A, D3, E and C, Fructo - oligosaccharides (some form of sugar, at a guess), salt and minerals. With 17% protein being provided this seems like it contains a pretty good all round nutritional package.
Burgess do point out that the nuggets should not be the only food that your pigs should eat. They also manufacture their own herbage/ forage which is similar to hay. We haven't used this as our pigs seem to be very happy to eat regular hay that I buy very cheaply by the bale from our garden centre. There are also Excel Nature Snacks which I don't think we've tried, but ours do occasionally eat a variety of small animal treats - they're supposed to be good for their emotional health. Although as ours get loads of play time and cuddles I'm not too worried about it from this point of view. The final elements to a healthy diet are fresh greens, that ours eat in abundance, as well as grazing on the grass in their run and obviously a plentiful supply of fresh water. Right now Maisy has been plonked on the chair beside me, as I write by my daughter, and is trying to break into the new bag of food that I'm using to write this review - she loves it so much. I've had to tell her that bright orange plastic does not form a part of a balanced guinea pigs diet!
**Other health benefits**
Guinea pig teeth continue to grow all of the time as grazing causes them to constantly wear away. The nuggets are very hard so they help to grind the teeth down and keep them in good condition as the pigs nibble on them. Grazing on grass and hay should also be included to ensure healthy teeth, but these really do seem to help too. I've not noticed any smelly breath problems with our little ones either.
**What do they look like**
Unappetising and uninspiring is the best I can say about their appearance from a human point of view, but the guinea pigs don't seem to have any complaints, although I think they go for smell rather than looks. There are two types of pellet, the original flavour that I'm primarily reviewing, but there is also a blackcurrant and oregano version, blackcurrant for tastiness and oregano to relieve stress. The original nuggets are a crescent shape forming about 2/3 of a 1cm diameter circle. They're a lovely greeny brown colour, not too dissimilar to their poos! The blackcurrant ones are small cylinders of just under 1cm in length with the same colouring - now they look even more poo like due to their shape, so not highly appetising in my opinion. The pigs don't rate these as highly either and if given the choice will always polish off the original ones first. We just give the others occasionally, as you know what they say about variety being the spice of life.
**What do they taste like**
Well here I do draw the limits of researching for review writing - I am not going to taste them, so you'll just have to buy some and try yourself or take the word of my three little pigs and believe them that this is a tasty breakfast and tea. No lunch though - they have two meals a day, as well as grazing, and the pack recommends feeding each pig 30 - 50 grams a day. I give ours a handful each a day - I'll have to go and measure to make sure I'm not giving them too much.
This food seems to be readily available in most reputable pet food suppliers, although I've not seen it on supermarket shelves along with their pet food selections. I buy mine from the garden centre pet store, Pets at Home where a 2kg bag costs £4.89 or from my local independent pet shop where my latest bag has a price tag of £5.09. The blackcurrant ones are slightly more expensive. The nuggets are also available in a 4kg bag for £9.49. Although this is slightly better value I don't tend to buy the bigger bags, partly as they are heavy to carry, but mostly as I want to ensure that the food stays fresh. The bags are not resealable and although we do use a large food bag clip to keep them closed the air does get to them and I'm sure that by the time we got to the bottom of a large bag they would be pretty stale. If I had a large storaeage box this probably wouldn't be such an issue. A small bag lasts us a good 6 weeks with our three, so buying these doesn't cause too many frequent trips to the pet shop.
I highly recommend these nuggets as my pets have remained healthy eating the balanced diet that they provide and they obviously enjoy eating them. I give them five stars.
When my other half's brother and his family emigrated to Australia at the start of the year we found ourselves taking in their guinea pig Stitch.
Stitch came with everything a middle aged guinea pig could want for, his hutch, water bottle, hay and most importantly for a guinea pig - his food. The food was a mix type, the sort that looks a bit like muesli but Stitch wasn't eating all of it which meant that he wouldn't be getting all of the goodness he needed from the food. I decided that I would introduce a complete "nugget" food to his diet instead of the mix, so I would know that he wasn't missing out on anything nutritionally.
My own two piggies Amber and Coco were already on a complete food but I was coming to the end of the bag. So I had a walk round to my local pet shop to see what foods they stocked.
They only had two different brands in stock, one of which was the mix that Stitch was already being fed on the other was Burgess Excel. I knew that this was a good feed to give them, as it contained the vital nutrients that guinea pig's require and being a pellet food they cannot selectively feed from it leaving out the bits that they do not like. It also does not contain any artificial colourings or flavourings which some of the muesli foods can have in them.
When introducing a new food to a guinea pig it is best to introduce it gradually over seven to fourteen days so that their delicate tummies can get used to it. The best way to do this is adding more of the food each day until eventually the old food is phased out.
For my three though this was easier said than done. Amber and Coco were not at all taken with the Burgess to begin with much preferring to eat their old food and leave the Excel, Stitch was the opposite way round and left all of his old food and gobbled up the Burgess.
For Stitch I made the majority of his daily feed the Burgess nuggets, and after a few days of observing for soft poops etc... made the change completely.
With Amber and Coco I was worried about them not getting enough food and going hungry so I changed them over more gradually and eventually when they realised they were not going to be getting as much of their favourite as they hoped they did eat the Burgess. They do now eat it all and are quick to let me know if I am late in feeding them.
The nuggets of food are quite large measuring just over a centimeter in length, they are also quite chunky and a sort of crescent moon shape. I'm not sure if this is why my two girls didn't like them initially as the previous brand of food was quite small in comparison.
I feel that very young piggies may struggle to eat these.
Burgess recommend feeding each guinea pig between 30 and 50 grams of the nuggets per day. I always feel that manufacturers over estimate how much should be fed so that we buy more of their product. Each of my guinea pigs get a small handful of food morning and evening, this is probably around 20g a day. (Young piggies up to ten months should have an unlimited amount of pellets).
The pellets are only part of a guinea pigs diet and fresh vegetables and fruit should be given each day as well as unlimited amount of good quality hay.
Finding Burgess Excel on the shelves is very straightforward due to it's bright orange packaging, it is easily spotted on the shelves amongst the other small animal foods.
It is also easily available and I find that most good pet shops have it in stock, I also know that my vetinary clinic sell it although they do have to order it in, it is usually available the next day.
I find the price of Burgess Excel to be quite reasonable I paid £5 for a 2 kg bag, it can be got for less if you buy online however there are usually delivery costs to take into account. 2kgs lasts just over a month between three guinea pigs. It is also available in 750g, 4kg and 10kg bags.
Although two of my piggies weren't initially too keen on the food, I would recommend this to other guinea pig slaves.
*********************** (taken from Burgess website)
Beneficial Fibre 36%
Crude Fibre 17%
Vitamin D3 * 1,500iu/kg
Vitamin E * 100mg/kg
Copper ** 12mg/kg
Vitamin A * 22,000iu/kg
Vitamin C 800mg/kg
Ingredients Grass, Maize, Wheat, Lucerne, Soya Bean Hulls, Peas, Soya, Oat Bran, Unmolassed Beet Pulp, Yeast, Soya Oil, Ligno-cellulose, Molasses, Calcium Carbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Vitamins, Fructo-oligosaccharides 0.25%, Salt, Minerals. Contains Natural Antioxidants. No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
When I went in to my local Pets at Home store recently I spotted this on the shelves and decided to try my guinea pigs on it (mixed with what was left of their muesli). This is a complete food in the form of little brown nuggets, one of the benefits of this food is that it prevents your guinea pig from feeding selectively so he or she doesn't miss out on any of the nutrients. I know of a lot of pigs that will just pick their favourite tasty bits out of their muesli and leave the rest, my boys unfortunately have this habit!
I was worried that they weren't getting all the nutrients they needed so made the decision to wean them on to complete nugget food. You can buy Burgess Excel Guinea Pig Nuggets in 2kg or 4kg bags, I buy the 2kg bags as they're not as heavy to carry back from town!
According to the manufacturers, "Burgess Excel Tasty Nuggets for Guinea Pigs is a delicious, complementary food for guinea pigs that is high in fibre, Vitamin C and rich in nutrients to keep them healthy and happy." It's very important that your guinea pig gets enough vitamin C as like us they cannot make their own. Lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy and other problems.
The ingredients of the nuggets are as followed:
* Soya Bean Hulls
* Oat Bran
* Unmolassed Beet Pulp
* Soya Oil
* Calcium Carbonate
* Monocalcium Phosphate
* Fructo-oligosaccharides 0.25%
* (Contains Natural Antioxidants)
As you can see, there's no nasty chemicals or E number in there. This food is specially formulated for guinea pigs and has lots of fibre to keep them regular. You don't want a constipated piggy on your hands!
The typical analysis is listed below:
* Beneficial Fibre 36%
* Crude Fibre 17%
* Protein 17%
* Oils and Fats 4%
* Ash 6%
* Calcium 0.9%
* Phosphorous 0.50%
* Vitamin A 22000iu/kg
* Vitamin D3 1500iu/kg
* Vitamin E (a-tocopherol acetate) 120mg/kg
* Vitamin C 800mg/kg
* Copper as cupric sulphate 12mg/kg
This food has all the essential nutrients your pig needs in its daily diet, though of course you should still feed veggies! Pigs love them, my trio can't get enough of Parsley bless them. The recommended amount you should feed is 30-50 grams per day, depending on your pig.
My boys were initially a bit dubious but now they can't get enough of these nuggets! I feel a lot better too as I know they're getting everything they need. Definately worth trying I think and much better than muesli for nutritional value. The only downside is a bag of these are slightly more expensive to buy than other brands of guinea pig food.
I've been feeding Burgess Excel Guinea Pig Nuggets (formerly Supa Guinea Excel) to my Guinea Pigs for about 4 and a half years and wouldn't feed them any other brand or type of complementary feed. This is without doubt the best feed they've had - all three are healthy weights, have good teeth, bright eyes and very shiny coats. Excel is suitable for all ages - mine range from 18 months to nearly five years and all very happily eat this feed.
The main ingredients are grass, maize, wheat, lucerne, soya bean hulls, peas, soya, oat bran, unmolassed beet pulp, yeast and soya oil. The feed contains 36% beneficial fibre, which is essential to maintain healthy digestion. A guinea pig's natural diet is mainly grass, which is extremely high in fibre. Excel is designed to mimic this as much as possible. Pelleted feeds such as this one are much better for pets than muesli-type feeds as they prevent 'selective' feeding - this is where the animal picks out the bits it likes and leaves the rest. Each nugget is blended so that the pet gets a balanced diet with all the nutrients it needs. Like us, guinea pigs can't make vitamin C in their bodies, so they need a daily supply of this which can be found in most ready-made feeds, including this one.
These sorts of feeds are known as 'complementary' feeds as no one food type can provide everything a pet needs. Guinea pigs also need plenty of hay for fibre (and to wear down their teeth), fresh water and a variety of fresh vegetables to keep life interesting.
About the company
Burgess is a British family-run business that has been involved with agricultural and food businesses for over 300 years. Wherever possible, they source ingredients from local farmers. The grass for Excel comes from a farm near to the company's Yorkshire mill, for example. The feeds have been developed with the advice of vets and nutritional experts.
As well as guinea pigs, Burgess also makes foods for dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, rats, gerbils and chinchillas.
It's a little more expensive than some brands, but you get what you pay for. I pay about £8.40 for a 4kg bag from my local independent pet store, but you can buy it online at varying prices. Direct from Burgess, the 4kg bag is £8.99.
The recommended feeding amount is 20-30 grams a day for a 1kg guinea pig and I find a bag lasts about 6-7 weeks for 3 large adult pigs.
Burgess has lots of information about feeding on their website: http://www.burgesspetcare.co.uk/
I pay £8.40 for a 4kg bag