Phone: (269) 353-3332Oak Ridge Feed on FacebookOak Ridge Feed on TwitterSubscribe To Our Nesletter
Signup For Newsletter
Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web

Oak Ridge Feed News

Hay For Rabbits : Timothy vs Alfalfa?

Have you wondered what the difference is between timothy and alfalfa hay for your rabbits?  This is a question that we hear quite often.  While they are both roughage, there are differences in the nutritional quality of the two types.  Here is a great article from Brittany Vester Boler, Ph.D of Purina Animal Nutrition on the right roughage for your rabbit.

Currently, there is some confusion and misinformation surrounding the use of alfalfa hay and timothy hay for rabbits and even guinea pigs. Both hay sources are excellent forages to provide to your herbivores, but there are some differences between them nutritionally. To understand how those differences impact your animals, some background information is needed.
Complete diets for rabbits and other small pets 
Most diets manufactured for small pets are sold as complete diets. In other words, this diet is formulated in such a way that it can be the sole source of nutrition for your animal and no supplemental hay, veggies or other treats are needed. Providing treats in small amounts can help you bond with your pet, but overfeeding them may cause nutritional imbalances or lead to obesity. In order to manufacture a complete diet, nutritionists take into account the nutrient requirements of that species. Various ingredients are mixed together so that a diet contains the correct amount of protein, fat, fiber, vitamins and minerals required for optimal health.
Alfalfa hay and timothy hay are different nutritionally
Alfalfa hay and timothy hay are both forage sources commonly used in rabbit and guinea pig diets.  Nutritionally speaking, however, they are very different. Alfalfa contains higher concentrations of protein and calcium compared to timothy hay (Table 1). When alfalfa or timothy is used in a complete rabbit feed, the nutrients of the hay source used is taken into account and mixed with other appropriate ingredients to obtain a final diet formula that meets the needs of rabbits or guinea pigs. For example, while calcium is much higher in alfalfa than in timothy, in a complete feed, the amount of additional calcium sources (such as calcium carbonate) would be lower in an alfalfa-based diet compared to a timothy-based formula.
Rabbits and calcium
Calcium metabolism in rabbits is unique compared to other species. Rabbits are efficient calcium absorbers and excrete excess calcium in their urine. For this reason, rabbit urine may leave a white, chalky residue. Because of this unique metabolic system, rabbits are prone to urinary stones if fed too much calcium. Therefore, when feeding an adult rabbit supplemental hay in addition to a complete diet, it is preferable to provide timothy hay to minimize excess calcium. 
Table 1. Nutrient composition of alfalfa and timothy hay, dry matter basis*

Wednesday, January 15, 2014/Author: Kristin O'Leary/Number of views (101525)/Comments (0)/
Categories: Rabbit

Preparing for A New Puppy

If you are one of the lucky folks to welcome a new puppy into your home recently - or you plan to soon! - here is a great article from the ASPCA on preparing to bring your new puppy home.  This is a great time to establish a success plan for your pup's care.  We are here to help!  With a wide range of options - and tons of free samples - we can help you find the perfect products for your pup.  Stop in with your new little one! 

"Bringing home a new puppy is truly one of life's joys. Thoughtful pre-puppy preparations and a well-planned first 24 hours can give your fuzzy bundle of promise a head start and make your dreams of the perfect family dog come true.

Before the Big Day Once household discussions have established that everyone wants a dog of a certain age and breed, where to get the pup—from a shelter or reputable breeder—is more or less determined. Now, family meetings should cover scheduling:


- Who will take the pup to the papers or backyard and when?
- Who will be in charge of feedings three to four times a day?
- Who will make veterinary appointments for vaccinations and deworming?


Also, take time to create a vocabulary list everyone will use. If Mom says "down" when Puppers climbs on the couch, Dad says "down" when he wants him to lie down, and Junior utters "sit down" when he expects the pup's rear to hit the floor, the result will be one confused dog! Putting the schedule and vocabulary list in writing prevents confusion and will help dog walkers, nannies, and others involved in raising Puppers.

Next, draft a shopping list and purchase supplies: food and water bowls, chew toys, grooming supplies, bedding, collar and leash, identification tag, crate, gate, and odor neutralizer. Pre-puppy shopping allows you to order from wholesale catalogs or visit the pet superstore in the next county without the pressure of Puppers needing it right now.

You'll need to

Saturday, January 4, 2014/Author: Kristin O'Leary/Number of views (11373)/Comments (0)/
Categories: Dog

Cold Weather Care for Your Horse

With winter arriving horse owners are facing different challenges in caring for their horses.  From feeding to water and shelter to exercise, our horses require special care to keep them healthy and maintain the level of conditioning we've worked to achieve throughout the year.  A recent article from  Dr. Young, a Equine Nutritionist from Purina Mills, shared some great tips to help us keep our horses healthy and happy this winter.


Many horse owners believe that when the weather is cold, horses need to be fed rations containing more corn, 
because they think of corn as a heating feed. However, corn and other cereal grains do not cause the horse to 
become warmer, they simply provide more energy (calories) to the horse. Hay, which contains more fiber than 
grain, provides more of a warming effect internally, as more heat is released during the digestion of fiber than of 
starch from grain. Therefore, horses are more able to maintain body heat if adequate hay is provided in the diet. 
Further, good quality hay is important during cool weather and winter months when pasture grasses are short or are 
not growing. Horses need at least 1% of their body weight per day in roughages to maintain a healthy GI tract, but 
2% or even more may be appropriate during cold weather, especially when the horse lives outdoors. 
Although grain does not provide as much of an internal warming effect as hay, it is often necessary to supplement a 
horse's winter ration with additional grain to boost calorie supplies. Cold temperatures increase the amount of 
calories a horse needs to maintain body weight, as well as support activity or production. Because a horse may 
digest feed less efficiently as the temperature drops below the horse's comfort zone, additional feed may be 
required to maintain body weight and condition. It is important to maintain the horse in a body condition score of 5-6 
(moderate to moderately fleshy) because a layer of fat under the skin provides insulation against the cold. Further, 
horses in moderately fleshy condition require less dietary energy for maintenance in cold weather than thin horses. 
In general, feeding an additional 1/4 lb of grain per 100 lb body weight to nonworking horses will provide adequate 
calories during cold, windy and wet weather. Working horses may require up to an additional 1/2 lb per 100 lb body 
weight, depending on workload, to maintain body weight during cold weather. Feeds such as Purina Ultium, 
Strategy, Race Ready or Omolene 200 may be especially helpful in these situations, since the added fat provides 
more calories than grain alone. 
Senior horses, which are unable to chew hay completely due to poor teeth and suffer from less efficient digestion 
and absorption of nutrients in the GI tract, need a feed specifically designed for them such as Equine Senior 
especially during winter months. Equine Senior contains enough roughage and added fat to ensure that the older 
horse can meet its fiber and calorie requirements without depending on long-stemmed hay or grass. 


Water should always be readily available t
Saturday, December 21, 2013/Author: Kristin O'Leary/Number of views (87372)/Comments (0)/
Categories: Horse

Introducing Earthborn Holistic Pet Food!

We are excited to now carry Earthborn Holistic Pet Food!

Earthborn dog and cat food are a great addition to our natural and holistic pet food offerings.  These grain-free, gluten free diets are a great, healthy alternative and perfect for pets with allergies to grains.  This is 4.5 star rated food from and approved by Whole Dog Journal!

  • Family owned since 1926
  • Owns their own manufacturing facilities in the USA - Earthborn Holistic is made in Evansville, IN.
  • Made with US ingredients (Lamb and Flax Seed are from New Zealand)
  • No recalls
  • No by-products
  • Fruits and vegetables for natural sources of vitamins and minerals
  • Probiotics for good digestion
  • Very palatable 
  • Environmental awareness programs - Save your UPCs to participate in the UPCs For Trees Program!  Earthborn will plant trees for UPCs sent to them.
  • Uses soy inks, recycled materials

Saturday, December 21, 2013/Author: Kristin O'Leary/Number of views (3534)/Comments (0)/
Categories: Uncategorized

Join Us

7035 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009 • 269-353-3332 | Monday - Friday 9am - 6pm • Wednesdays 9am - 8pm • Saturday 9am - 5pm • Closed Sundays