Reduced Calcium Oxbow Pellets?

Post Reply
User avatar
I dissent.

Post   » Sat Feb 05, 2022 9:52 am

I know it likely won't go anywhere, but I contacted Oxbow yesterday to inquire about the possibility of Oxbow developing a "reduced-calcium" pellet for guinea pigs/rabbits who are prone to sludge and bladder stones. I explained that I have been using another brand that has a maximum of 0.54% calcium, due to issues that our boys have had in the past with stones, and that it is getting increasingly difficult to acquire this product. I asked if they would be willing to consider creating a line of non-calcium carbonate pellets with a calcium percentage closer to that range (vs. Garden Select, Essentials, etc., which have a max. calcium percentage of 0.75). I received a courteous but somewhat canned response that they would pass my comments along to their "innovation team."

I wonder if there are others here who would be interested in such a product. Not sure the best way to try to move something like this forward with Oxbow (if there is even a way to do so), but given the issues many of us are having with KMS Hayloft these days, I really do hope their "team" pursues this idea further.

User avatar

Post   » Sat Feb 05, 2022 10:02 am

It would be great if they would. Lots of anecdotal evidence that lower calcium pellets help. I am sure they have not done the science to back up their choices but just go with what they have been using.

User avatar
Party Poop-er

Post   » Sat Feb 05, 2022 10:08 am

You'll probably be better off with a smaller company, not a conglomerate like Oxbow, given how bureaucratic and slow big companies can be to take action.

I took a peek at Small Pet Select's pellets and they list their max calcium as 0.6%.

User avatar
I dissent.

Post   » Sat Feb 05, 2022 10:14 am

You're probably right, Waddles, but I figured it wouldn't at least hurt to ask. SPS pellets do contain calcium carbonate, so that has been a deal breaker for me over the years. I did think about maybe contacting Zupreme.

User avatar

Post   » Sat Feb 05, 2022 11:22 pm

I hate to say this, but what KMS claims are their ingredients, may not actually be their ingredients. Sometimes mills make adjustments based on what they can get their hands on - I doubt one can find out what mill they use but only the mill would know the exact premix that is added to the basic ingredients (all blended animal foods seem to add some type of premix). I recall many years ago Linda finding out the mill failed to use a premix with vitamin C in it - this showed up when breeders she sold to began having problems. I am sure she took care of this asap.

So it could even be possible they are using calcium carbonate, despite what is listed on the labels.

A chemical analysis of the feed would provide this info but chemical analyses can be expensive.

For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Sun Feb 06, 2022 2:44 pm

I'd certainly be interested in such a product.

User avatar
Supporter in 2022

Post   » Mon Feb 07, 2022 12:50 am

It would be helpful if Oxbow could tell you exactly how much calcium carbonate is in any given lot of pellets. They usually list a minimum and maximum, but you never really know the amount in your particular bag of pellets.

I've run into this with fat content in dog food. Our dog had pancreatitis last year, so I'm looking for low-fat food. Most list a minimum and maximum, but some companies, like Purina, can tell you the exact amount if you have a lot number.

User avatar
Cavy Comic

Post   » Mon Feb 07, 2022 1:50 am

Living in the EU, we have access to decent low calcium pellets. It's baffling to me that Oxbow hasn't made the effort to put guinea pigs' health a top priority yet, years and years after it's a well known fact that piggies need a low calcium pellet. Of course this would sell, the need is high!

User avatar

Post   » Mon Feb 07, 2022 2:20 pm

So is Oxbow everyone's go-to now that KMS Hayloft seems to have gone down the tubes? I've been buying their pellets for probably a decade so I'm pretty unhappy with how things have turned out. I just bought a 10# bag from Small Pet Select to try out. A ways back when I was low on KMS pellets I bought a small bag of Oxbow Garden Select and my pigs would not touch them at all.

User avatar

Post   » Mon Feb 07, 2022 3:08 pm

Here is the ingredient list KMSHayloft has posted on their website for their timothy pellets, which I think most of you are interested in:

Ingredients List for Timothy Choice:

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein (min) 14.00 %
Crude Fat (min) 3 %
Crude Fiber (min) 20.00 %
Crude Fiber (max) 25.00 %
Vitamin A (IU/lb) 13,050
Vitamin D-3 (ICU/lb) 455
Vitamin C (mg/lb) 450
Calcium (min) 0.41%
Calcium (max) 0.54%
Phosphorus (min) 0.30%

Distributed by:
KMS Hayloft
Colbert, WA 99029

TIMOTHY PELLET INGREDIENTS: Timothy hay, whole wheat, soybean meal, whole oats, Pacific wheat, vegetable oil, molasses, Brewers yeast, salt, Vitamin C supplement, Vitamin A supplement, Vitamin D3 supplement, Vitamin E supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Choline Chloride, Folic Acid, Potassium Sulfate, Manganese Oxide, Zinc, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Lingon Sulfate

Assuming a correct listing of ingredients:
They actually do NOT list any form of an added calcium source. I know Sef is wary of pellets listing added calcium carbonate. The listed "d-Calcium Pantothenate" does not seem to be a calcium source but vitamin B-5.

See the synonyms to note this is aka d-calcium pantothenate

Molecular Formula:

This appears to be:
[18] molecules of carbon + [32] molecules of hydrogen + [2] molecules of calcium nitrate [?] + [10] molecules of oxygen

  • calcium pantothenate
  • 137-08-6
  • D-Calcium pantothenate
  • Calpanate
  • Calcium D-pantothenate
  • [and more...]
Calcium Pantothenate is the calcium salt of the water-soluble vitamin B5, ubiquitously found in plants and animal tissues with antioxidant property. Pentothenate is a component of coenzyme A (CoA) and a part of the vitamin B2 complex. Vitamin B5 is a growth factor and is essential for various metabolic functions, including the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fatty acids. This vitamin is also involved in the synthesis of cholesterol, lipids, neurotransmitters, steroid hormones, and hemoglobin.
Keep in mind, though there perhaps is actually NO added calcium (I do not know this), the other food ingredients listed ("Timothy hay, whole wheat, soybean meal, whole oats, Pacific wheat, vegetable oil, molasses, Brewers yeast"), will have some. But I do no think a lot, perhaps accounting for the overall low calcium numbers.
By the way, I vaguely remember Linda saying something to me once upon a time about not adding any calcium at all to her pellets. As I mentioned, the food sources add calcium too. So perhaps she felt bumping up the calcium more, was not needed or wanted. I am not placing any bets on my remembering this correctly but throwing this out there. Hopefully the ingredient list has not been messed with over the years/since it has been sold.

User avatar
I dissent.

Post   » Wed Feb 09, 2022 10:10 am

"I hate to say this, but what KMS claims are their ingredients, may not actually be their ingredients."
I wonder about this, too, Lynx. I wish I could find my notes from years ago, when I first contacted Linda about her pellets. She gave me a very detailed explanation at the time of what her mill was putting in the pellets and why, including the calcium source. We have moved many times since then, and all of that has gotten lost.

User avatar

Post   » Wed Feb 09, 2022 7:34 pm

I think she might have continued to tinker with it a tiny bit - partly due to availability of ingredients. She had me change one entry because there was a typo or change that hadn't gotten added before she sold her business. Do note that there is actually no mineral calcium source listed on her pellets. I think the calcium was provided by the other ingredients (calcium is in a lot of foods - you can't --and shouldn't-- eliminate it).

Edit: I looked at my old correspondence with her. I was a typo. She wrote, "On the Timothy Choice and Alfalfa Complete labels, there is a typo. I have noticed this for years but don't know how to change it. Instead of Riboflavin, it says Tyboflavin."

User avatar

Post   » Wed Feb 09, 2022 7:45 pm

p.s. I was reading an email she sent me in June of 2012. She included this disclaimer:

The content of this email has been reviewed and approved by Linda.

This email is intended for the use of the individual address named above
and may contain information that is confidential, privileged or unsuitable for overly
sensitive persons with low self-esteem, no sense of humour or irrational religious

If you are not the intended recipient, any dissemination, distribution or
copying of this email is not authorized and constitutes an irritating
social faux pas.

Linda was O.K.

User avatar
I dissent.

Post   » Thu Feb 10, 2022 6:53 am

Oh how funny. Linda was indeed good people.

User avatar
Supporter in 2022

Post   » Thu Feb 10, 2022 4:47 pm

I love that disclaimer!

Post Reply
15 posts • Page 1 of 1