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 Post subject: Re: Food type and results
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:58 pm 
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Yes, if you are able to buy in bulk then that tends to be very cost effective. I find with a small number of rodents it's easy to buy cost effective food in small amounts, and if you have a large number and can buy by the sack then that's good too. But if you have some sort of a middle number it can be tricky both to source suitable amounts and to get value for money!

I buy barley from the local feed shop, but if you're doing smaller supermarket amounts then it tends to be hidden in the aisle with lentils and broth mixes rather than with other grains.

I buy rodent food ingredients in bulk sacks (10-20Kg) for the most part. I have large storage containers for each of the ingredients, and then mix up specific mouse food batches every couple of months in a smaller tub that is easier to feed groups from. Each batch varies a bit but currently it's:
5Kg pig grower pellets
4Kg premium depurative pigeon food
2Kg HBB (barley-based muesli rabbit food that most of the rat fancy use as a base)
800g white rice
1.4Kg dog food.

The specific analysis of the above mix overall is 15.56% protein and 5.39% fat. I have a big spreadsheet so I can input the ingredients and nutritional values so I know exactly what I'm feeding at any one time (and what past batches were) to monitor condition and react accordingly.

In any case, my general batch base is a mix of pig pellets, low-legume pigeon food, and usually some chicken corn (I sometimes buy one which is wheat and maize, sometimes buy one which is barley and maize). With dog food (usually working kibble as that's VAT free in the UK) and other bits and bobs (e.g. cornflakes, porridge, rice, nuts, dried fruit, any other small bags of commercial rodent food I'm given) added.

This is a photo of the batch of food I made up before the current one
Image

Hope the slower reply is still useful; I don't check this forum regularly.


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 Post subject: Re: Food type and results
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:55 pm 
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Its very useful thank you, I was looking at the pig or young goat sweet feed considering if they would be ok for mice as part of a mix.

I cannot find barley except at the supermarket but its really expensive there and for me not cost efficient so oats will have to be the base. I am in the place where I have middle numbers, around 20 or so adults and whichever babies I have, but fluctuates a bit.

I don't mind getting 50lb bags of stuff as long as it will give them their nutritional needs, maybe better to alternate between a mix and blocks

I am not sure I have ever heard of HBB over here but will look into some of the things.

Trying to aim for 18% protein but it seems almost all grain based things are most dog foods that are not $60+ a bag are only around 25% so would have to use rather more of it than I am comfortable doing. Maybe setting up a little feed bug farm might be the solution, gut loaded mealworms and dubias or something similar

Thank you for your reply even if it is delayed :)


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 Post subject: Re: Food type and results
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:50 pm 
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I chuck extra kibble at does on the nest (low fat cat kibble) and running on groups (dog kibble) to meet their growing needs. But I find it better (both cost effective and more nutritionaly suitable for other adults) to do that on top of the main mix, rather than havIng the whole mix at top level protein.

HBB is Harrison's Banana Brunch, which I think is a UK only brand. I wouldn't specifically aim for it for mice, I'm just trying to use up the end of a bag I already have! It's currently replacing the usual chicken corn part.

I'd definitely try some pig nuts if you can get them. Over here ones which are for nursing pig mums or weaning piglets are higher in protein than those for adult pigs if you have the choice. Goat mix tends to have a lot of fibrous bits of plants in, so is less energy dense (energy levels may be made up with molasses in some products) and the mice may well not eat all the bits. If you had higher numbers it might be worth buying a sack to try adding it, but from the sounds of your setup it sounds like the pig nuts would be more appropriate out of the two to try.

Take care with bugs; while they're very high in protein, they're also super high in fat too.


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 Post subject: Re: Food type and results
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:31 pm 
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Just wanted to follow-up on this that I got so frustrated with the smell that I decided to go back to my own mix but its very different from the mix I had before, inspired a lot by Torin saying about pig nuts I looked around at other animal feeds and found that you can get game bird crumbles that are 30% protein as well as pig pellets being 20% and other things like that, as long as its grain based or protein based rather than forage based anyway.

I started using it last Monday on clean out day so food and clean cages went in together. Normally by wed morning I would be smelling ammonia, by thurs it would be stinging my nose when I walked in and prompt me to have to clean again in the smaller bins. It is now Monday again. The only cage I have had to clean was a cage where the water bottle leaked a bit and it got a lot of the bedding wet. I do not smell ammonia, I do not smell a mousey smell when I walk in and although the cages smell mousey if I put my nose to them, it is a normal mousey smell rather than a really dirty needs changing smell.

Downside is I have 150lb of food since I had to get them in 50lb bags (not really a downside I guess other than high initial cost, but will last monhs)! + some of the blocks left that I will slowly use up on rats and save for transport since that is easier than a mix for shows etc.

I need to make changes, I would like to have something that is higher protein and affordable to add in case the crumbles get a bit lost, pig pellets over here are very expensive compared to other things, but possibly look at game bird pellets or such.


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