* Prices may differ from that shown
As a dedicated piggy owner I am always looking at ways that I can improve my boys' lives and something I am keen on getting perfect is their diet. The food my trio have been eating for a while is fine and dandy but sometimes I think that they must get a bit bored of chomping their way through the same pellets day after day and I like to mix in a bit of different food now and again for variety. Of course I could always give them muesli mix but I find that they are very selective with that and the ingredients in such foods are mostly rubbish anyway. I had heard nothing but good reviews about Science Selective so I decided to get a little 350g trial pack to see what my lads would make of it.
This particular food promises to be nutritionally complete and balanced as well as having added vitamin C; I'm sure all you fellow piggy owners out there will know that guinea pigs are like us in that they cannot make their own vitamin C and so require it added to their daily diets. A lack of vitamin C can result in all sorts of problems for your pig, scurvy being one of them. Thankfully pet food manufacturers have realised the importance of this vitamin and most add it to their guinea pig muesli or pellets as a matter of course. Science selective states that this food has no added sugar or artificial colourants and that each 50g serving meets 100% of a guinea pig's recommended daily allowance in fibre, protein, calcium and vitamin C.
The pellets are composed of lucerne meal (alfalfa), whole wheat, wheat feed, soybean hulls, soybean, flaked peas, linseed (min 2%), sugar beet pulp, soybean oil, fennel seeds (min 0.5%), salt, minerals, dandelion (min 0.25%), dried nettle (min 0.25%), L-lysine and DL-methionine.
My view of the ingredients is that I am not keen on something that is nearly entirely cereal based, there are other foods out there that are very reasonably priced and happen to me made up of various hays, grasses, herbs and vegetables with not one added cereal. If I'm honest I was expecting science selective to contain a higher quality of ingredients, there are herbs but these are in tiny amounts and I have no idea what L-lysine or DL-methionine is!
The actual pellets are brown and rough to the touch, if I'm honest they remind me of dry cat food due to their appearance but apparently their shape promotes dental wear - I would of thought that if a guinea pig was constantly chewing on hay as they are meant to do then they wouldn't need much help in the dental department anyway as this would naturally wear their teeth down?
Anyhow, on to the most important part, what did my boys make of it? 2 of them tucked in straight away and actually ate the few bits of science selective before their usual pellets, my other pig wasn't as overjoyed but did eat some eventually. They seem to have no trouble in crunching on them and overall I think that they are probably better for them than conventional treats on the market; there is no way I am switching them over completely to this food but a few pellets added to their regular stuff a couple of times a week will do them no harm and provide a bit of variety.
This food is quite expensive, I have seen a 2kg bag sell for over £6 in my local pet shop so for those with more than a couple of pigs I would of thought it could prove quite costly, especially if you give each pig the recommended 50g per day serving. Overall I would give this food 3 out of 5 stars as although my pigs liked it I wasn't too keen on the ingredients or the price. If you shop around there are much better foods out there.
*What is Science Selective?*
Science Selective is a range of small animal foods made by Supreme Petfoods. I am reviewing the Guinea Pig food.
*What the manufacturers say:*
"Science Selective is a nutritionally complete balanced daily diet, specifically designed to ensure that your guinea pig receives all the vitamins and other nutrients it needs in a tasty, easy to eat biscuit. The blend of herbs helps to encourage the natural elimination of stored water, eases constpation and stimulates gastric mobility to aid digestion and calm bloating. The Omega 3 and 6 in the linseed promotes a glossy coat. It also contains added Vitamin C as guinea pigs are unable to store it in their bodies but is vital for healthy bones and cartilage." **
Science Selective comes in a pale purple bag with a picture of a guinea pig on the front. The front tells me that it is made from Dandelion, Fennel & Nettle. I am also given the nutritional information for a 50g serving. I am told that it is nutritionally complete & balanced, has added vitamin C, it is high in fibre and contains no added sugar or artificial colourants. The back gives further information including feeding guidelines, ingredients and typical analysis; this is repeated in Dutch, German and French.
This food is a complete pellet food, rather than a coarse mix muesli style guinea pig food, because it is a pellet it prevents the guinea pigs from selectively feeding and picking out their favourite bits of the food. Each pellet is the shape of a four leaf clover and about one centimetre in size, they also have a small hole running through the centre of them I believe this makes them easier to break up when the guinea pig is chewing them, apparently the shape also aids dental wear. They are a greyish brown in colour and don't look too appetising to my human eyes. I have sniffed the pellets and they have a similar smell to hay. As guinea pigs cannot produce their own Vitamin C (like humans) it is important to me that this is added to the food, a 50g serving of this contains 100% of a guinea pigs RDA of vitamin C.
*What I... or more importantly the guinea pigs think*
Obviously I haven't tried this food for myself but my guinea pigs said "wheek wheek wheek" when I asked them what they thought of it. When you introduce a new food to a guinea pig it is recommended that you do it gradually over 7-14 days, starting with a small amount of the new food to more of the old gradually changing the ratios as you go. When I did this with my two guinea pigs they immediately picked out the Science Selective first and left the previous brand until last. I started with a sample sized bag which was 350g, and I ordered a 5kg bag as it was apparent how much they loved this food. When I put it in their food bowls they head straight to them to eat it. There are never any pellets left in the bowls by the next morning. It is slightly more expensive than the brand they had before but I don't feed too much dry food so it will last for quite a while. For me the extra pennies are worth it to hear their happy wheeks at feeding time.
Available in 4 sizes 350g, 2kg, 5kg and 10kgs. The RRPs are
350g (sample size) £1.50-£2
2kgs - £6.99
5kgs - £12.99
10kgs - £26.99
I first got this food for free from Supreme, my guinea pigs love it but unfortunately nowhere locally stocks it. However it is readily available from many of the online pet stores, of course if you are ordering online you do have to factor in delivery costs as well. I just use this as an excuse to buy a few other bits and spoil my pets while I'm ordering.
*Anything Else to Add*
The 5kg bag I bought has a best before date of November 2011, so it is worth buying the biggest bag you can afford. However it can lose its goodness when opened and my bag isn't resealable so if you are buying a large pack make sure you have somewhere airtight to store it once opened.
If you would like to try this food for your guinea pigs, I would recommend emailing via the contact us link on their website as they seem more than happy to send samples out to prospective customers, they were also very helpful when I was trying to locate a nearby stockist. The samples are 350g which the pack states is enough to feed an average guinea pig for 7-10 days (30-50g serving).
Remember fresh water and hay should be available at all times.
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