Nutritional Contribution of Alfalfa in Iguana Salad
©2001 Melissa Kaplan
When I first wrote my Iguana Care, Feeding & Socialization article, the only form of alfalfa easily available was alfalfa pellets manufactured for rodent feed and bedding. These were sold at pet stores and feed and grain/ranch and farm supply stores. Small bales or packages of alfalfa hay were also available, sold as small mammal bedding.
In recent years, alfalfa has become a staple in the health food stores, sold as a nutritional supplement for humans. There it is found in a couple of forms: as a powder, in capsules and tablets, and the dried leaves sold as tea. When used in the iguana vegetable/fruit salad, the capsules can be opened up, while tablets can be crushed using a pill crusher or mortar and pestle.
One of the benefits of using an alfalfa product made for humans is that it is going to be a cleaner product than products made for animals. Human products also have less in the way of sticks of hay included in the product, especially the alfalfa tea. Because there is more alfalfa leaf than stick, less may be used than if using pellets. Since human alfalfa products differ in composition, filler, etc., you can determine how much of the human product you purchased to use in the salad by using the nutritional information included on the product's label or obtained from the manufacturer's or seller's website or information materials, compared to the average pelleted product:
From the Canadian Dehydrated Alfalfa Products site:
Nutrition values for animal feeds are typically expressed in percentages, not in mg/gm per unit of measure. However, the mg/gm can be calculated. The data above states that alfalfa pellets contain 17-18.9% protein, 1.5% calcium and 0.22% phosphorus. How much that would be in grams, or pounds, or any other volume measurement is then just a matter of doing some math:
Protein, Calcium and Phosphorus, in grams (g)
Protein, Calcium and Phosphorus, in milligrams (mg)
* When making the salad at home, those of us in the U.S. use measuring cups that measure avoirdupois (av) ounces. Four (4) av. ounces equals 83.5 grams by weight (mass). This column reflects what would be in the iguana salad itself.
Generally speaking, you should be able to use half as much human alfalfa product as you would alfalfa pellets. The 1/2 cup (83.5 gm) of pellets used in the salad recipe contribute 15.78 gm of protein. Look at the nutrition data on the bottle or jar of human alfalfa product and use that information to figure out how much powdered (or crushed tablet) product you will need to use to add 15-16 gm of protein to the salad.
One of the nice things about the powdered forms is that they can be put into a salt or grated cheese shaker and shaken onto a serving of salad, then mixed in. If you are using alfalfa leaf tea, you should also mix it in so that the leaves, like the powder, are moistened by the natural juices in the vegetable/fruit salad.
If you cannot find a health food store in your area that sells alfalfa supplements or tea, many online vitamin sellers do, such as WebVitamins.com, or through focused search engines such as Yahoo's Vitamin & Supplement focused search.
Need to update a veterinary or herp society/rescue listing?
Can't find a vet on my site? Check out these other sites.
|Clean/Disinfect||Green Iguanas & Cyclura||Kids||Prey||Veterinarians|
|Home||About Melissa Kaplan||CND||Lyme Disease||Zoonoses|
|Help Support This Site||Emergency Preparedness|
© 1994-2014 Melissa Kaplan or as otherwise noted by other authors of articles on this site