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Thread: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

  1. #41
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    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    Will do it now...hang on.
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    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    Hi all, for some reason I can't download the files in the original post. I do have an older copy, but it doesn't contain a listing for mung bean sprouts. We got some for our little plantain today and he adores them. He's been nibbling non-stop all day.

    I know they are high in calcium, but not sure about phosphorus.

    Any other reason why I shouldn't let him eat as many as he wants?

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    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    Use as a treat - I did some research and they are actually almost perfectly upside-down - about 1 : 2.5 - 1 part calcium to 2.5 parts phosphorus (if you could flip those they would be perfect!)

    They are not TERRIBLE - there are lots that are much, much worse, but I wouldn't use them as a staple food.

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    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    Thanks Crittermom, good to know. I'll just give as a treat then. At the moment I'm using papaya as a staple because he's happy to eat a ton of it and it's 4.8:1

    It's also abundant, cheap and keeps well in the fridge. Phew.

    I've been crushing calcium tablets this week and rolling his treats in it and I must say he started looking better immediately - his fur thickened up and got glossier. If possible he's even lovelier to cuddle!!

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    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    Just in case this is ever useful for anyone:

    I created this visual shopping list for my husband and pembantu (housekeeper, she can't read). It's too big to attach, but here is the link:

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9Nf...p=docslist_api

    It shows high calcium / low phosphorous fruit and veg that are cheap and easy to find in Asia, with British English and Indonesian names.

    It could be useful for anyone living in Asia who needs to feed squirrels.

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    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    Thank you harimau, this is excellent information! Not sure if everyone can access it via Google, however..... ?
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    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    Sorry! I forgot to set it to public. Everyone should be able to see it now

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    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    That is s nice guide.

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    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    Y'all forgive my ignorance on squirrel nutrition, but the higher the calcium and lower the phosphorus is better in food choices, correct?

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    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    Quote Originally Posted by AprilC View Post
    Y'all forgive my ignorance on squirrel nutrition, but the higher the calcium and lower the phosphorus is better in food choices, correct?
    Pretty much -- the ideal ratio is 2:1 -- twice as much calcium as there is phosphorous, in other words. The problem is that so many things squirrels love are full of phosphorous (peanuts, sunflower seeds, corn) it becomes a challenge to get them on a healthy diet that does not include those things.
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  11. #51
    Kristi S Guest

    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    There were a couple questions about spinach. The potential problem with it is that is contains oxalates, which in large enough quantities interfere with the uptake of Ca. However, my understanding is that rodent digestion can handle such secondary plant compounds as oxalates, tannins (found in acorns), and a variety of other compounds that would be toxic to other animals.

    Where did the 2:1 recommended ratio of Ca to P come from? Anyone know?

    I was thinking yesterday about the ratios so commonly used to decide what to feed, and it occurred to me that a ratio might not give the whole picture. Take for example a comparison of 4 nuts. The ratio of Ca:P is

    Almonds 1:1.8
    Acorns 1:1.9
    Walnuts 1:8.4
    Hazelnuts 1:5.4

    Then look at the ratios of actual mg in 125 g of each

    Almonds 330:607
    Acorns 51:102
    Walnuts 76:641
    Hazelnuts 142:366

    If, for the sake of simplicity, we assume that the ratio needed by the body is 1:1, we can look at it in terms of a subtraction problem. For instance, eating 125 g of almonds leads to 607-330= 277 mg "excess" P. Likewise, acorns have 51 mg "extra" P, walnuts 565 mg, and hazelnuts 224 mg. If you look at it this way, acorns are by far preferable to walnuts, and even preferable to almonds, which have almost the same ratio of Ca:P (all other things being equal, and with the idea of minimizing excess P). Of course, the actual ratio of Ca:P needed by a growing squirrel is not going to be 1:1 - that's only for demonstration, but the outcome would only be more obvious if a ratio of 2:1 were used.

    Does that make sense, given the assumptions?

    Just to make things more complicated, apparently some of the phosphorus in foods such as nuts, legumes and grains is stored in a form called phytic acid, and it unavailable to digestion by animals with certain types of digestive systems, including rodents.

    In reality the metabolism of Ca and P is very complex and dependent on many factors, and animals vary in their needs through their life. As I understand it, some excess P is fine as long as there is plenty of Ca; excess gets excreted. So if a food having 100 mg of Ca and 150 mg of P might actually be a better option than a food with 5 mg of Ca and 3 mg of P. Bodies need P just as they do Ca; the difference is that P is found in more foods.

    I'm kind of just throwing this out as something to spur discussion and see what others think. Comments?



    (Hard to know whether this is applicable to squirrels, but according to this article http://www.phosphatesfacts.org/pdfs/...sEssential.pdf, the idea that excess P interferes with Ca metabolism in humans was theoretical, and has been disproved. And this article http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK109813/ suggests that, also for humans:
    In the past, considerable emphasis was placed on the Ca:P ratio of the diet (for example, Chinn, 1981), particularly in infant nutrition (for example, Fomon and Nelson, 1993). The concept has some utility under conditions of rapid growth (in which a large share of the ingested nutrients is converted into tissue mass), but it has no demonstrable relevance in adults. An optimal ratio ensures that, if intake of one nutrient is adequate for growth, the intake of the associated nutrient will also be adequate without a wasteful surplus of one or the other. However, the ratio by itself is of severely limited value, in that there is little merit to having the ratio “correct” if the absolute quantities of both nutrients are insufficient to support optimal growth. )

  12. #52
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    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi S View Post
    There were a couple questions about spinach. The potential problem with it is that is contains oxalates, which in large enough quantities interfere with the uptake of Ca. However, my understanding is that rodent digestion can handle such secondary plant compounds as oxalates, tannins (found in acorns), and a variety of other compounds that would be toxic to other animals.

    Where did the 2:1 recommended ratio of Ca to P come from? Anyone know?

    I was thinking yesterday about the ratios so commonly used to decide what to feed, and it occurred to me that a ratio might not give the whole picture. Take for example a comparison of 4 nuts. The ratio of Ca:P is

    Almonds 1:1.8
    Acorns 1:1.9
    Walnuts 1:8.4
    Hazelnuts 1:5.4

    Then look at the ratios of actual mg in 125 g of each

    Almonds 330:607
    Acorns 51:102
    Walnuts 76:641
    Hazelnuts 142:366

    If, for the sake of simplicity, we assume that the ratio needed by the body is 1:1, we can look at it in terms of a subtraction problem. For instance, eating 125 g of almonds leads to 607-330= 277 mg "excess" P. Likewise, acorns have 51 mg "extra" P, walnuts 565 mg, and hazelnuts 224 mg. If you look at it this way, acorns are by far preferable to walnuts, and even preferable to almonds, which have almost the same ratio of Ca:P (all other things being equal, and with the idea of minimizing excess P). Of course, the actual ratio of Ca:P needed by a growing squirrel is not going to be 1:1 - that's only for demonstration, but the outcome would only be more obvious if a ratio of 2:1 were used.

    Does that make sense, given the assumptions?

    Just to make things more complicated, apparently some of the phosphorus in foods such as nuts, legumes and grains is stored in a form called phytic acid, and it unavailable to digestion by animals with certain types of digestive systems, including rodents.

    In reality the metabolism of Ca and P is very complex and dependent on many factors, and animals vary in their needs through their life. As I understand it, some excess P is fine as long as there is plenty of Ca; excess gets excreted. So if a food having 100 mg of Ca and 150 mg of P might actually be a better option than a food with 5 mg of Ca and 3 mg of P. Bodies need P just as they do Ca; the difference is that P is found in more foods.

    I'm kind of just throwing this out as something to spur discussion and see what others think. Comments?



    (Hard to know whether this is applicable to squirrels, but according to this article http://www.phosphatesfacts.org/pdfs/...sEssential.pdf, the idea that excess P interferes with Ca metabolism in humans was theoretical, and has been disproved. And this article http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK109813/ suggests that, also for humans:
    In the past, considerable emphasis was placed on the Ca:P ratio of the diet (for example, Chinn, 1981), particularly in infant nutrition (for example, Fomon and Nelson, 1993). The concept has some utility under conditions of rapid growth (in which a large share of the ingested nutrients is converted into tissue mass), but it has no demonstrable relevance in adults. An optimal ratio ensures that, if intake of one nutrient is adequate for growth, the intake of the associated nutrient will also be adequate without a wasteful surplus of one or the other. However, the ratio by itself is of severely limited value, in that there is little merit to having the ratio “correct” if the absolute quantities of both nutrients are insufficient to support optimal growth. )

    May I suggest that you go to this site and ask the site's owner these questions over there.
    He is the author of this thread, so perhaps he can better answer you.
    www.squirrelrehabilitation.com

    You have already posted a link to some of his opinions in another thread here, so I assume
    you know him well enough to ask him.
    Last edited by Nancy in New York; 03-04-2015 at 09:09 PM.

  13. #53
    Kristi S Guest

    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    Thanks, Nancy! I'll do that.

  14. #54
    Kristi S Guest

    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    I just found an interesting research paper suggesting that squirrels avoid foods with high added oxalates. Which suggests they aren't good for them. So, I withdraw the comment about spinach being OK. Sorry!

  15. #55
    Kristi S Guest

    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    You have already posted a link to some of his opinions in another thread here, so I assume
    you know him well enough to ask him.
    Last edited by Nancy in New York; 03-04-2015 at 09:09 PM.
    Actually, I don't know him at all. I wrote, but never heard back from him. In the absence of his comments, maybe people here have something to say. Does what I wrote make sense? It could be applied to fruits and veggies, too, of course.

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    Default Re: Food Date Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    Quote Originally Posted by geocat52 View Post
    A chayote is a really ugly green, wrinkled, pear-shaped member of the squash/gourd family. They are known by several different names, including vegetable pear. You have to wonder who first decided it was something edible!
    They look similar to bitter melon and coming from an Asian family it's hard to tell some of the Asian variety Veggies and western grown ones apart. There are certain ones that have only Asian names. I wonder how the Chayote taste? Bitter Melon, or Fu Gua is used in stir fry and bitter!

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    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    Hi everybody!

    We found an orphan grey three weeks ago, he walked with a hunched back, and so weak that he could not climb a tree. He was literally skin and bones, he was around 8 weeks old...

    The temperature here was close to freezing that evening, so we were doubtful he would have survived the night. Anyhow we took him home, and gave him the best care we could, and he has flourished since, though still not having the "padding" all the other squirrels nearby have - I have been a keen, daily, "squirrel stalker" for a couple of years now - so I do know the squirrels in the neighborhood well, and there were/are no nursing mom, or baby his age. How he appeared that day in the condition he was in remains a complete mystery. We bought him a sizeable cage like the one they sell at Henry's, and plan to keep him at least until late spring.

    I would be very interested in any considered opinion on the earlier questions asked by others in this thread and attached below, because I have noticed the same contradictions - baby cakes is a wonderful little boy, and particularly loves black kale, mushroom and zucchini, and thankfully he is also happy with rodent food (which I have picked carefully based on the advice here and elsewhere). Naturally I am concerned about so many vegs being both "good" and "bad", entirely depending on whether they are in this sticky, or the other sticky at https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...-Pet-Squirrels

    Thanks in advance!

    Quote Originally Posted by ljhpsauce View Post
    This confuses me now...are you saying mushrooms are not good for squirrels???? as they are on the healthy food for squirrels chart & i give my squirrel button mushrooms as in the wild they would eat wild fungi/mushrooms.
    Quote Originally Posted by Foamy the squirrel View Post
    some of the stuff on here says its ok to give to the squirrels but on the healthy diet chart the things on this chat are not ok... and visa virsa can some one explane to me about this ... is confusing me
    Quote Originally Posted by newsquirrelmommy View Post
    I was wondering the same thing Foamy. Like collard greens and spinach are good on the nutrition chart but on the diet chart it says to avoid. Can someone please explain. I dont want to feed my Squirt something that he should not eat. thanks
    Name:  BabyCakes.jpg
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    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    I think the key is "everything in moderation".

    Well, there are exceptions... like "commercial" squirrel / rodent block (give tons of that). But that does not apply to Henry's Healthy Block since that is a "supplement" and 2 - 3 per day is the right balance.

    See?!?!? EVERYTHING can be confusing!

    I don't think mushrooms are on the "bad list", but WILD mushrooms are on the bad list... and I think it is simply because there are so many poisonous wild varieties that the idea is to encourage feeding store bought mushrooms as a precaution to anyone mistakenly feeding a poisonous wild variety. Same with acorns... fresh, healthy acorns are obviously not poisonous but they can be too easily contaminated with a fungus that IS deadly. We have seen this happen with frozen acorns or ones picked up off the ground... but we'll never know if they were bad before they were frozen or if somehow freezing them had an ill affect? So we tell people not to feed acorns out of an abundance of caution... these little captive ones tend to eat what we provide them, so we have to be diligent in what we give them!

    Ditto things like bell peppers, which are a part of the nightshade family. Some highly respected squirrel experts include bell peppers in their squirrel diets, but in moderation! Spinach is the same way... in moderation, it's fine but too much can become harmful .

    Keep in mind that there are very few "year round" food supplies available to wild squirrels. Their diets constantly change as mother nature changes what is available with each new season, which seems to be a big key to wilds staying healthy and not suffering from things like MBD. So we should do our best to provide a wide variety and change things up regularly and avoid falling into a routine where we provide the same food every day... except for the block!

    Your little one is adorable!


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    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios


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    Default Re: Food Data Chart Update: Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios

    The "BAD" and "GOOD" designation on these food charts relate to the calcium to phosphorus levels ONLY. If they are at or close to the 2 : 1 ratio, they are designated as "good" and if the phosphorus is way off the charts and the calcium is low, they are designated "bad."

    Lots of foods have great benefits but have terrible calcium to phosphorus levels that you need to be aware of. Flax seed has many health benefits but is also the highest natural sours of phosphorus you can eat. Mushrooms have Vitamin D but are also high in phosphorus. The insects like meal and wax worms that flyer people give are very high in phosphorus - and is why people dust them in calcium powder.

    So when you read the charts, remember they are looking ONLY at the ca : ph levels, nothing else.

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