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Thread: Rat Diet Help

  1. #1
    Registered User Anns's Avatar
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    Wink Rat Diet Help

    I'm getting into rat breeding!
    This weekend the time comes for a big buy!
    I'll be getting a few cages and whatnot.
    I've done some research, but still got notes to take.


    One thing I'm going back and forth on is diet.
    I already know what not to feed, but I need something to stick to.
    I'm looking for suggestions on an everyday diet!
    Saturday I go and buy everything so I need to know by then!

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    I used to raise rats (for many years) & bought quality name-brand lab pellets for their basic diet. (Not all brands are available in all areas.) No junk food ever!

    I also supplemented with many other things: they enjoy small bits of raw fruits & veggies (focus on nutrient dense options like kale & carrots) & giving treats
    of seeds, nuts, peanut butter, hard cooked egg, popcorn & table scraps* will keep them healthy & friendly so you can handle them easily. *avoid spicy/hot/salty
    (if you consume peanut butter, your rats will do a GREAT job of licking it clean when you're done with the jar & they also love to gnaw on cooked bones- they're
    good for them- for minerals etc- and safe to give to rats, unlike dogs.)(they'll lick out a cottage cheese container too but don't leave it for long as they eat the
    plastic too)

    You don't have to give anything else besides fresh water & quality lab pellets (balanced for rats) but they enjoy SO many other things, if you're anything like me,
    a day never went by that I didn't have some extras that they benefited from.

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    Anns (01-10-2019)

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    Registered User Anns's Avatar
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    Re: Rat Diet Help

    Thanks! I'll keep it simple and go with rat blocks and extras throughout the day!

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    Registered User MR Snakes's Avatar
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    Are these going to be pets?

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    Re: Rat Diet Help

    Quote Originally Posted by MR Snakes View Post
    Are these going to be pets?
    OP said for breeding, but rats that aren't tame can bite when defending their babies etc...best to treat breeders as pets! They're actually smart & affectionate pets-
    I had pet rats for years before I ever got into snakes. When a rat is tame, you can smear something like gravy on your hand & they will grab & hold your fingers
    somewhat aggressively but then carefully & gently lick your hand/fingers clean without biting. Seriously...NOT stupid! But rats that are never handled will be on
    the wild & defensive side...even though "domestic" they can "take care of themselves". So respect them, treat them well & fairly...it just works much better.

  7. #6
    BPnet Senior Member artgecko's Avatar
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    Will you be breeding for feeders or pets?

    I had some pet rats a couple years ago and actually got into it wanting to breed fancies... I had all the proper things for them (giant DCN cages, toys, hammocks, treats, good lab blocks, etc.).
    I had had previous good experiences with rescued rats, so was very much into the posiblitly of showing and supplying pets to my local area.

    I was not prepared for health and temperament issues though. I had found a person that I thought had "good lines" meaning healthy animals that did not have poor temperament traits like agression or fear, etc. She was breeding them to show standards and I was able to get dumbos, rexes, and blues from her to start my breeding project with. The rats I got from her ended up having serious temperament issues (fear and maternal agression) and health issues (tumors at a young age and even megacolon). Due to the many issues the lines had even after working with them for a couple generations, I decided to end those lines and no longer breed. There were so many health issues that I eneded up making my own CO2 chamber to humanely euthanize them when necessary.

    If you are looking to purchase stock, for pets or for feeder breeding, I would suggest going to someone that has been breeding for feeders for a long time and culling any animals that show agression or early health issues. You will have better odds of getting very stable tempermented rats that way. If you are wanting to show, you will have to purchase from someone that is registered and has good lines... but as you see from my example above, that doesn't always work out. Many show breeders won't sell to you if you are planning on breeding or if you have reptiles.

    If you do plan to raise them for feeder production, you may want to consider large bin cages or racks just for the ease of cleaning. I used bin cages and also DCNs. The bins were much easier to maintain while still giving them plenty of room, ventilation, and light. The DCNs and other cages I used gave them a lot of space, but were close to impossible to get completely clean...Lots of nooks and crannies for urine to hide in a wire cage.

    For diet, pick a quality lab block that has at least 16% protein. 18% is best for breeding and growing babies. I used Harlan Teklad (Native Earth) but Mazuri is also popular and some have had success with "doggy bag" dogfood from tractor supply. I supplemented their blocks with a dry mix of oats, grains, sunflower seeds, and milet in addition to boiled eggs for females that were pregnant or nursing. They also got all kinds of veggies and the "whimzees" dog chews. Gerber toddler puffs (in banana) were a special treat. In general, you want to avoid dairy, meat (live insects are great though), or anything super oily, salty, or sweet.

    Rats can be great pets, but you have to be careful about where you get them from, socialize them, and also take a lot of time to maintain their cages in proper order. Rats have an odor, moreso the males, so be prepared for that. They scent mark the cage and sometimes will mark more if all scent is removed. You will want to keep them in a well ventilated area that you can keep at comfortable room temp and plan on doing cleaning every few days depending on how large the cage is and how many rats. I cleaned my cages weekly and I was housing ~4-6 rats per DCN. Bin cages with females and a litter were changed every 2-3 days with spot cleaning every day.
    Currently keeping:
    1.0 BCA 1.0 BCI
    1.0 CA BCI 1.1 BCLs
    0.1 BRB 1.2 KSBs
    1.0 Carpet 0.5 BPs
    0.2 cresteds 1.2 gargs
    0.0.1 BTS

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    Bogertophis (01-11-2019)

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