What do you feed your rats? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-16-2009, 01:23 PM
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Hi! I'm just curious as to what the other rat lovers on here feed their little ones... I used to give mine rat food from PetSmart for a bit, but now I'd really like to start making their food so it is healthier (and tastier!) for them... Anyone else feed their rats homemade food? Any tips/advice? I've looked at a few sites for general ideas, just looking for experience now as I want them to have the happiest/healthiest lives possible!



Thanks!
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#2 Old 07-17-2009, 01:11 PM
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Your best bet is to have a high quality lab block for the bulk of their diet, seed mixes sold in many pet stores are not nutritionally adequate. I really like Oxbow Regal Rat for adult rats. Harlan Teklad is also supposed to be a good quality block. I know the blocks seem a bit boring but they do ensure good health through proper nutrition.



I usually go with Regal Rat and a bit of Suebee's rat diet grain mix. It adds a bit of variety and I can get in some extra healthy "treats" like soy nuts and dried cranberries. Info on Suebee's:

http://www.ratsrule.com/diet.html



Fresh veggies and fruit daily is also a necessity. I quite often give small amounts of what I'm having for dinner if it's rat safe. Also, bell peppers, broccoli, carrot and some spring mixes are huge hits here. I don't think I've ever had a rat turn down any type of fruit. My current guy really likes it if I share some cereal and soymilk for breakfast.
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#3 Old 07-18-2009, 02:28 PM
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Thanks for the advice! I've been giving them the rat blocks for awhile, mixed with the seed mix we still had from when our hamsters passed away... And they do get lots of spinach, fruits, and some different nuts and dried fruits... I guess I was just wondering if there was anything that needed to be done to make them "homemade" food, but I guess if the blocks give them good nutrition, we'll just stick with that! They actually seem to really enjoy them, it's usually the first thing out of their bowl. :-)
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#4 Old 07-18-2009, 06:48 PM
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You're so lucky that yours enjoy them. In the past I've never had a problem with rats being picky, but my current guy is insanely so. Morpheus was getting a seed mix before I adopted him and he was very reluctant to switch. It's been over a year and he'll finally eat Regal Rat. Now, if I could just get him over his URI he might finally be mellowed enough to try having a friend again.
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#5 Old 07-18-2009, 07:16 PM
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You're question has already been answered but I just wanted to chime in that lab food blocks are generally the best option.
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#6 Old 07-19-2009, 03:10 AM
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I'll start by saying I don't own rats and I never have, but have done research in the past.



Have you ever heard of the Shunamite diet? I don't know if it's what is best for them, but it is recommend a lot on UK-based forums.



There is a page about it here http://www.fancy-rats.co.uk/informat...ject=shunamite I realise it is UK based, so you wont have a lot of these brands, etc, but maybe you could base something on it.
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#7 Old 07-19-2009, 07:23 AM
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Pay attention to what you are throwing away when you are cooking. I'm sure your ratties would love to munch on that thick base of the broccoli, potato peels, ends of carrots and cucumbers.



Iceberg Lettuce can be lethal to hampsters, rabbits and guinea pigs...so I wouldn't feed it to any kind of rodent. I vaguely remember reading that apple seeds are toxic to them...so pick out any seeds if you are giving them an apple core.

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#8 Old 07-19-2009, 09:09 AM
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Back when I had ratties (aww I miss them so much!) I fed them Harlan Teklad lab blocks and also Suebee's Mix. And then of course I gave them bits of my dinner and fresh fruits and vegetables.
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#9 Old 07-19-2009, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovelyPerv View Post

Pay attention to what you are throwing away when you are cooking. I'm sure your ratties would love to munch on that thick base of the broccoli, potato peels, ends of carrots and cucumbers.



Iceberg Lettuce can be lethal to hampsters, rabbits and guinea pigs...so I wouldn't feed it to any kind of rodent. I vaguely remember reading that apple seeds are toxic to them...so pick out any seeds if you are giving them an apple core.



Actually, I'm pretty sure potato skins are a no-no for rat's. I can't remeber why, but I'm pretty sure they're toxic... I wouldn't risk it. Iceberg is pretty much pure water, so even if it is safe for rats, I wouldn't suggest feeding as it has very little nutritional value.



What type of block are you feeding? Aside from Oxbow Regal Rat, there are no quality blocks sold in petstores. They all have poo for ingrediants, and use low quality ingrediants. Many rats won't eat Regal Rat for some reason, my four love it though, so you may want to order some Harlan Teklad(2014 formula). You can get it at www.mainelyratrescue.org. Oh, and do not feed your rats a hamster seed mix or any store bought seed mix for that matter. They're pretty much pure seeds, which are very fattening.



For a homemade mix, check out the link posted about Shunamite. I have a Shunamite based cereal/grain mix my little ones get a few times a week as a "treat". They think it's candy, when in reality it's pure whole grain goodness



For veggies, kale, bok choy, carrots, berries, tomato, brocolli, cooked red cabbage, cooked sweet potatoes&yams, apples(not seeds --they are toxic to most animals, including humans), bananas(not green) and red grapes(they have anti-cancer properties) should be included weekly in a rat's diet. They are nutrient rich, and many have anti-properties. Rat's are very, very prone to cancer and tumors, so these foods have many health benefits in the long run. There are many other vegetables that are safe for them that they'd enjoy. Google "Forbiden Rat Food List" to see what you should avoid
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#10 Old 07-19-2009, 10:34 PM
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Wow, thanks for the tips, I had no idea about the iceburg lettuce (don't usually eat it anyway, but still good to know!) or the potato skins... I'll definitely have to start giving them my cooking "scraps" as I usually just save them some of what I'm actually eating myself, now I'll do both. :-)



The rat blocks I give them are these: http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...&lmdn=Pet+Type The blocks, not the seed mix.



I have always had hamsters my whole adult life, but these are my first rats, and I definitely must add that they are cute little buggers!
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#11 Old 07-19-2009, 11:19 PM
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I highly suggest you switch to either Regal Rat or HT. Kaytee products are very low quality, and that diet is far to high in protien for rats. Like humans, rats need low protien/fat and high levels of carbs in their diets. Young rats(under 4-6 months of age) only need 18% of protien in their diet to aid in growth and development. As adults(over 4-6 months of age[note: some people believe rats are adults at 6 months, others at 4, which is why I'm using a range]), they only need 14% of protien in their diet. That diet has 21% protien. Too high of protien in their diet can cause several things, the most severe of which is kidney failure later in life :/



HT is very affordable($5/5 pounds or $35ish/30 pounds on the website I posted earlier), and I've never heard of a rat thar won't eat it. Regal Rat is better quality, but many rats refuse to eat it. If your rats are like mine and do like it, it can be ordered in bulk online for around $50/40 pounds.



Haha, yes they are! They're so silly and fun. During play time tonight, all four of mine decided to give me a bath. Juno even tried to nibble groom me. OUCH is all I have to say
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#12 Old 07-19-2009, 11:53 PM
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I had no idea that much protein would be harmful for them, I knew they needed blocks, and Kaytee was the only one at Petsmart... I will definitely be switching them!



Also, I remember reading somewhere that dog or cat food can be a good substitute, is that true? I'd imagine it'd have WAYYY too much protein...



My little guys are about 5 months old but still look smaller than full grown. They started giving us nibbles too, where they just put their teeth on my fingers but don't bite down very hard at all, it's pretty adorable. Also if I walk from one side of their cage to the other, they follow me all the way 'round, where ever I go!
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#13 Old 07-20-2009, 10:26 AM
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Low protein dog food can, theoretically, be used as part of a mix like Suebee's. You can't use just dog food on its own though as it's not even close to nutritionally complete for rats. If you can get your rats to eat lab blocks it is so much better for them. I buy my Oxbow through my exotics vet but I know you can also order it online.
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#14 Old 07-20-2009, 10:33 AM
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Rats can enjoy the occasionally dog or cat food as a TREAT, but it should not be offered as food daily, even mixed in with other stuff.
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#15 Old 07-20-2009, 10:36 AM
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Mine LOVELOVELOVE dog biscuits. It's a good treat in moderation, and they're good for them to gnaw on.

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#16 Old 07-20-2009, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovelyPerv View Post

Pay attention to what you are throwing away when you are cooking. I'm sure your ratties would love to munch on that thick base of the broccoli, potato peels, ends of carrots and cucumbers.



Iceberg Lettuce can be lethal to hampsters, rabbits and guinea pigs...so I wouldn't feed it to any kind of rodent. I vaguely remember reading that apple seeds are toxic to them...so pick out any seeds if you are giving them an apple core.



Please don't feed rats potato skins, I've read many times they aren't safe. I just did a quick good search for a source:





http://www.lilratscal.com/About%20Rats.htm

Quote:
What NOT to feed:



· too much cheese (use a tiny bit as a treat)

· Too much peanut butter can cause a rat to choke and they cannot vomit. They lack the necessary muscles that would allow them to do so.

· dried corn (can cause liver cancer)

· Iceberg lettuce (full of water and has no nutritional value)

· orange juice or orange peel, (this causes cancer in male rats, although it protects against mammary tumors in does.)

· blue cheese dressing (toxic!)

· Licorice

· Rhubarb

· red cabbage (causes gas)

· artichokes (causes gas)

· raw banana, potato skins, green or starchy potatoes (not ripe all the way)

· poppy seeds can cause neurological damage and sometimes death

. Junk foods (chips, and fast food products and beware of buffet foods with preservatives in them)

· Excessive candy and/or chocolate

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#17 Old 07-20-2009, 10:41 AM
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Mine LOVELOVELOVE dog biscuits. It's a good treat in moderation, and they're good for them to gnaw on.




I give my girls dog treats sometimes, too.
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#18 Old 07-20-2009, 05:49 PM
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Yeah, Kaytee is not a very good rat diet. I don't think any of the commercial rat diets are very good for rats. Lots of nasty stuff like:



~Corn: Not great for rats, they can't digest it well.



~GMO soybeans: Genetically modified stuff is pretty nasty, all told.



~Wheat middlings: Quite literally the floor sweepings from grain factories. Other nasty



~Corn gluten meal: Rubbish byproduct. No nutritional value. Even less easily digested than regular corn.



~Alfalfa: Aka hay. Rats can't digest it anymore than we could, it goes right through.



~Calcium carbonate: aka chalk. Do you want to eat chalk?



~Beet pulp: Implicated as a cause of anal disease in dogs.



I'd recommend a homemade diet like the Shunamite diet that has been mentioned earlier, the Suebee's Diet, (http://www.ratsrule.com/diet.html) or what I feed my rats, the Debbie Ducommun diet.



http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=21057.0



It looks like a lot of work, but I usually make enough to last two months and package it up in ziplock bags, and it only takes about an hour and a half every two months to make it all up.
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#19 Old 07-20-2009, 08:26 PM
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Regal Rat is actually a very high quality rat diet, I don't have the ingrediants list at the moment, but compared to most, it's actually very good. HT has no corn or animal bi-products in it, but still is mostly made of fillers.



What you could do is make a homemade diet based off of Shunamite, using Regal Rat(if they'll eat it) or HT as the base, a very low protien quality dog food(Pet Guard Vegetarian is great) and a mixture of whole grain cereals. Most of the cereals mentioned on Fancy Rats(UK rat forum) are not available in the US, but I've found US equivalints of most that I use if you want the list. Minus the dog food, my little ones have a Shunamite diet they get a few times a week. I keep my RR and the mix seperate, because otherwise they was a lot of settling and they wouldn't get enough of the mix or blocks.



The Debbie Duccom diet mentioned above is an okay diet as well. Some rat lovers think she is too "hollier than thou" which I agree with for several reasons, but her diet is okay. I'd supplement with RR or HT too though, so they can have something crunchy to munch on. Maybe feed it in the morning, and have blocks available to them at night?



Suebees is kind of high in fat and sugar, and many people have had problems with obesity while using it, which is why I use Shunamite. Shunamite is actually the UK version, and I think it's better :P



Aww! That's so cute! Mine follow me around too! If I'm near their cage and am busy cleaning or with homeworl and don't give them attention, they'll all climb onto the bars and look at me with these sad faces until they get a cuddle



You're lucky they don't bite hard. Juno is a poo and thinks I'm a giant treat. She'll sneak up and bite my toes (HARD) and run away. Then the cheeky little girl will due it again! Gah, she's lucky I love her



Rat's aren't done growing to eightish months, but are still need less protien after 4-6.
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#20 Old 07-22-2009, 12:31 PM
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I have had rats that keep growing until ten months of age.
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#21 Old 07-22-2009, 02:18 PM
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Our boys get a combination of blocks and mixed seed. After reading this, I'm definitely switching to Regal Rat. Hopefully they will eat it, neither one of them minds blocks right now. I'll definitely try this out! I know Lewis will eat anything and hopefully Clark wont be too picky for it.
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#22 Old 07-25-2009, 10:58 PM
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Had to chime in and say that my gals get Harlan Teklad blocks, supplemented by fresh veggies and some fresh fruit. Twice a week, I give them "Rat Pudding." What is Rat Pudding, you ask? Well, I mix up a portion of a whole-grain organic baby cereal with some mashed bananas (or other fresh fruit, depends on what I have around), some nutritional yeast, a tiny bit of olive oil (great for their coats!) and some fresh oats. My girls LOVE it, and it's fun to watch them grab tiny handfuls of it and shove their faces.



In the summer, when it's hot, we also do "Fishing for Peas," where I put a shallow pan of cool (not cold) out for them and put frozen peas in the water. They wade in and "fish" out the peas, and it cools them down in the process. One of my gals, Zoe, just dunks her face in like she's bobbing for apples! It's tons of fun to watch:









(In these pics we were just using a bowl - don't seem to have pics of them "wading!")



And for good measure, Nova and Maia enjoying a little portion of rat pudding!

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#23 Old 07-26-2009, 08:52 AM
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Yay! There are some rat lovers on here! I also LOVE rats and have several as I am a member of the South African Rat Rescue called RASCALS. I also believe a good rat lab mix is a good idea especially if you aren't an expert on which cooked and raw foods are good for optimum nutrition. I like cooking for my rats and give them one of the healthy, safe porriages or cereals for breakfast, good quality rat lab blocks or the Ratanooga home mix for lunch and a cooked or raw veg dinner, which I cook for me and the rats.



I also give them fresh fruit every day and the diving for peas thing I love! It is very entertaining to watch!



And RedLotus, you have very pretty rats and that rat pudding is a great idea! I'm gonna try it : )
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#24 Old 07-26-2009, 10:35 PM
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And RedLotus, you have very pretty rats and that rat pudding is a great idea! I'm gonna try it : )



Thanks! Your compliment has been passed on to the ratties. The great thing about rat Pudding is that it's sort of a blank canvas - you can add all sorts of stuff and make a whole variety of "flavors".
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#25 Old 07-29-2009, 01:55 PM
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RedLotus your girls are sooo cute! I feel so bad for our boys, they are always grooming themselves and looking so handsome but they have no girls to look good for lol.
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#26 Old 07-29-2009, 02:44 PM
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RedLotus your girls are sooo cute! I feel so bad for our boys, they are always grooming themselves and looking so handsome but they have no girls to look good for lol.



LOL thanks! My girls seem to have solved the issue of no boys by just randomly humping each other! (I'm pretty sure it's a dominance thing, but amusing all the same!)



ETA: Feel free to print out pics of my gals and your boys can use them as pin-ups in their "barracks."



Maia has a very good pin-up pose - can you see the resemblance?

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#27 Old 08-27-2009, 07:27 PM
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Maia has a very good pin-up pose - can you see the resemblance?




Hahaha! Excellent
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#28 Old 08-28-2009, 09:08 AM
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Without looking at the bag itself (they're all sleeping and moving the bag would wake them up and get the excited and it's not time to put more food in the dish), some kind of large pellets/blocks and a small amount seed mix. Plus whatever scrap I have, and a yogie once a day. Most common scraps are the last bits of ramen, crust off bread (usually with a little peanut butter and preserve left on the edge), leftover rice or the rice milk at the bottom of the cereal bowl.
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