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Anyone use food hoppers?

1264 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  artgecko
Hi guys!
I was wondering if anyone here has ever used a food hopper, and if so, did you make it yourself or buy it?

I'm having some issues with food wastage, especially in my adult girls' cage. I can put food in their bowl and within 30 minutes, they have taken it and "stashed" it in their bedding. My 2 issues with this are that 1. it makes it hard for me to control how much food they eat and know when they need fresh food (all 3 have gained excessive weight since this started). and 2. Because they pee in their bedding, I have found pee-soaked bedding and poo right next to their "stash", which makes me think it is unsafe for them to eat soiled food... I check and clean their cages regularly, but I hate to have to throw away an entire days' worth of food when this happens, only to have them immediately repeat the behavior.

I'd love to use some kind of hopper to hold their blocks to prevent this (so they can eat, but not take and stash). I could still give them some pieces and treats to stash, but would love to be able to limit food wastage on their daily block ration.

If you guys have any input or solutions you've used in the past, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks for your time and help!
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This Is Interesting to me too as my girls (still babies) are stashing food too
Watch where they put it, then check there before you feed more food. Also what food are you feeding them? They shouldn't really get big unless they get a fattier food. I free feed Oxbow Regal Rat, only 2 of my rats have a problem with weight, both of which are genetic issues (a feeder rat, accidentally bred dumbo) and they have both lost weight with free fed oxbow. I put in a large handful morning and night. One girl stashes and I don't skip a feeding unless there's a lot of food left or I'm changing the cage and don't want to waste any. I love it when my girl stashes and since her stash is on a second level, food on first so I'll steal food from the stash and put it back on the floor, sorta recycle it. I don't want to take away how much she enjoys stashing and it's a very natural behavior, personally I would never take that away
They are getting Native Earth (Harlan 2018). it is higher protein, but I get this formula because I can get it in bulk and otherwise, they do great on it... They didn't start gaining until the stashing increased... They had always stashed a little, but now they stash ALL the food from their bowl. I don't want to necessarily end all stashing (hence saying that I will still provide them with some loose food / treats to do so with) but I don't want them eating food that has been laying in soiled bedding either. :/
If you can find a suet feeder with 1/2" x 1" spacing on all six sides, it makes a great hopper for Native Earth lab blocks. I used this type hopper for my rats for the very issues you are having. You can hang it in the cage by the attached chain. Unfortunately, many suet feeders have 1" x 1" spacing on two sides so they won't work. It has been several years since I found mine, so I can't give you brand names or anything. You could make your own with 1/2" x 1" wire.
Thanks for the tip! I'll have to check out the wild bird section the next time we go to the petstore / home depot, etc.
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