Homemade Rat Food
Homemade Rat Food
I have been doing a lot of research online about rats and their nutritional needs. One I wanted to reduce the cost of the food, I wanted to give them to have a well balanced diet, as well as have more food on hand than you get just giving lab blocks.
I found some great information online about rats diet and their nutritional requirements. If you wanted to look into some great nutritional information you can find it at http://ratguide.com/care/nutrition/diet.php and at http://ratfanclub.org/diet.html. This is how I found a lot of the information to be able to make my homemade rat food. I am currently using subees homemade rat diet. My rats love it and you get a lot of food for your money.
With the lab blocks I was using I was paying outrageous amounts for shipping and was only getting 5 to ten pounds at a time. So I have decided to go with a low protein dog food. Usually for seniors. The dog food needs to be no more than 18% protein, but 14 % protein would be better. Then add raw noodles( I get the spiral multi-colored ones), Dried bananas, dried cranberries, Quaker oatmeal, Nuts(soy), cereal( cheerios, total, corn flakes, or even Kashi. Also add sunflower seeds(unsalted) and some plain popcorn. I buy the popcorn seeds and pop it on the stove. You can also add some pumpkin seeds, supplements, or even rat blocks if you want to. that is all for the dry portion of the food. Just be creative, you know what your rats like. as long as it is healthy and dry it will work. I know it looks like it will be more expensive but mixing all this together makes a lot of food for your rats and last a lot longer than 13.00 for 5-10 pounds or less of rat blocks, and hen plus shipping at 20.00 for maybe a month of food. Besides a lot of Rat food does not contain the right nutrition anyway.
For this portion you need another bowl, and maybe a mini fridge (ha-ha). This is the wet food i call it. For this you can mix up tons of different things for your rats. Here are some good healthy things to feed them with the dry diet.
Frozen veggies like carrots, corn, peas etc.
Fresh veggies like the ones listed below (there are a lot)
Dark green leafy vegetables
This includes Cabbage, Kale, Spinach, Spring Greens, broccoli etc. All of these veggies are great additions to your rats diet,they are rich in vitamins and minerals and antioxidants. Broccoli also has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer. Everyone knows that is a great thing for rats! Kale is the highest in vitamins, but broccoli is a close second.
This includes Carrots, Potatoes, and other roots. Carrots are the best and full of the most yummy goodness, however this is quite easy to give too much and give your rats runny stools. Also to many carrots have been known to cause the stools to smell stronger. So feed in moderation.
Warning – green potatoes should not be fed; some people are wary about feeding any raw potato and prefer to feed it cooked.
These include cucumber, lettuce, celery and similar vegetables. I feed more watery veggies when it is hot because of their water content and I want to make sure they stay fully hydrated. The best of these is cucumber. Lettuce to frequently can cause loose stools so again moderation is key. Warning Celery has been know to cause cancer! So i never really give that to my rats just to be safe.
Other useful vegetables
This includes peas, sweetcorn, corn on the cob, mushrooms etc. Peas are a great for your rats and can also be given frozen. It is also so fun to see them do pea fishing! Just get a bowl with water and drop the peas in, they literally will dive in for this tasty treat! You can even add some Sweetcorn to the water rats love it just as much. If you are wanting your rats to work for their food a great solution is Corn on the cob still in the husk. this will challenge your rats and allow them to use their brains to find the yummy goodness inside (variety is the key). Mushrooms contain high levels of copper, a lot of rats diets do not have this so the rats will become deficient in this, especially in homemade diets.
Ok that is all for the veggies, if your not sure if a veggie is ok for rats you can always look it up or go to a great rat forum and ask they are very very informational. I recommend goosemoose rat forum!
Now for Fruits
These include strawberries, blue berries, grapes (red are the best), black berries, raspberries and pomegranate. Many fruits contain high levels of Antioxidants. . Antioxidants can reduce the risk of cancer and better the immune system. Also when you feed berries take note of that! I remember feeding them that and the next morning everyone was stained red, I thought one was missing a leg of something...then I remembered I fed them berries Ha-ha.
These include oranges, lemon, lime, mango, papaya, grapefruit etc. This groups of fruits are fine to be fed to female, but I would not feed them to your male rats, they have been linked to testicular cancer. So again I stay away from these for my males.
These include; Apple, pear, grapes, melon, berries and similar fruit with high water content. These I also feed to them more in the hotter months! Not to mention the rats think they taste better than veggies, but who doesn't. They always have the additional sugar that will give them a little more sugar in the hotter months. Also one thing you do not want to forget about is the seeds in these fruits, all of them can be sat out and left to dry, so make sure you don't that yummy part go to waste. They love them just as much if not more than the dried pumpkin seeds. Plus it saves you money, and gives your rats more yummy goodness.
High Calorie Fruits
These include Banana and Avocado. These are good in moderation, or if you have a sick rat than needs softer foods. I have also used them for very skinny rescues to fatten them up a little faster. I am not sure if this works or not, but it seemed to do the trick for all my skinny ratties i have taken in. Of course I feed them all the regular diet, but I added bananas to their daily diet for about a week, with lots of other higher in fat foods!
Other Yummy goodness includes
homemade rat treats
I have also started growing a mini herb garden in my rat room for my rats. I have basil, mint, sage, and parsley in mine. They love to play in it and eat it when they are free roaming. I also thinks it has made my boys smell better. I don't know if it cause they run through it and play, or if it's because they eat it. Either way if you have smelly rats give it a try, and see if it works for you.
There are tons of wild plants your rats can eat that grow in your own back yard. The love dandelions, and clovers. You may also see them catch a cricket, dig up a worm, catch a fly or eat meal worms. Make sure your lawn is pesticide free!!
Basically you can have fun with your rats diets. They can have almost anything healthy for humans. They love a variety and love to eat, so really its a win win for everyone. I feed my rats all kinds of things and have been known to even slip them not so good foods, but they love them in tiny amounts. Of course never forget to make sure they have fresh water everyday!
Other very helpful links for rat fruits and veggies are http://www.rattypaedia.org
Be sure to follow and check out my other hubs about rats and rat care, and even making hammocks, and teaching tricks!
Another good tip is to grow a garden full of the things you plan to feed your rats, you can save a ton of money that way and its also fun. You get to be satisfied with a pretty garden both you and your rats can use. Just be sure not to use and pesticides!