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Discussion Starter #1
A couple of weeks ago I got a kitten dumbo rat.
She is very sweet but Im not sure how to train her (tricks and general obedience)
She is not very interested in food, if I try to entice her into a stand with treat she will ignore me and carry on exploring and running about.
I also have a rat harness and was wondering if anyone had experience with that.
thx
 

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First off your little lady needs a ratty friend. Whilst humans can be fun, they don’t give them the company that they need. We can only be there so much of the day and ultimately don’t speak rat very well. A similar aged little girl (top eared or dumbo) would really make her life better.

In terms of training her, she sounds like a typical baby, full of energy and wanting to explore, I would give it a few more weeks of just spending time with her and building a bond before going fully into training. She is likely to have better concentration in a month or so. Then start simply, the first thing to teach is recall. My guys don’t have food in there cage all the time, instead they get fed twice a day. I play with them before the evening feed and to get them back in I train them to hear the rattle of the food tub and head back to the cage (mini stampede), you can do the same with a word, there names or similar, but it only really works well if you limit there food.

For further training you need to find something she really loves, this doesn’t have to be a food treat (though little bits of chicken or seed are high reward), some rats love a scritch, cuddle or just being praised.

In terms of rat harnesses, I would say there not much good in general. I’ve only found one design that actually is reasonably secure (kind of looped figure of 8 style) and even then it only fits big bucks well. Most rats can get out with no effort at all (just back out of it) and some rats get very stressed by it. If your planning on trying it I would leave it until she’s a good deal bigger (say 6 months old) then try putting it on her without attaching the lead, treat her once you have and let her wander around with it for a bit. If she gets distressed take it off, though washing is normal. After a few times she should be starting to get used to it so try attaching the lead. I’ll be honest even with the big bucks I’ve had that quite liked it its more a case of the rat leading you and if they really tried they could get out. You use them to let the rat wander somewhere that’s not 100% safe (say a none rat proofed room) and gentley guide them away from the areas that they aren’t allowed. If they get determined though you’ll need to pick them up and move them elsewhere as the lead wont stop a determined rat.

To be honest your better spending your time training them in recall and setting up a rat safe place for them to play, in the 30 ish years I’ve had rats I’ve had maybe 2-3 rats that would tolerate them well and seemed to enjoy the freedom whilst not getting frustrated when I wouldn’t let them go somewhere, and they were all bucks, does are much more stubborn lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have been considering getting another rat but I determined the sex myself and am not entirely sure of my capability and worried about ending up with an accidental litter....also is there a certain amount I should be feeding her? At the moment I am just refilling...
 

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I usually eyeball the food but I don't keep refilling it. Just stick the amout you give her and up it when she continues to grow. May I ask what food she is on? Also it is pretty obvious what sex they are at about 4 weeks for me since I suck at sexing rats. And you really should get her a friend because no one can spend 24/7 with a rat.My rats really don't like harnesses and can get out in about 5 sec. flat. They would be gone in a flash if I let them outside with it on.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
She is on a rodent mix...sunflower seeds, peanuts, raisins, dried banana etc and I do occasionally give her fruit and veg...this is the best picture I could get i
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Looks like a girl to me~! Boys over like 5 weeks are usually pretty obvious due to being well...well endowed in a manly sort a way.

Food-a good quality block food is usually considered a better way to go, supplemented with veggies, a little protein especially for babies. Fruits and nuts are best given as treats. Lots of seeds/nuts and fruit is not really a good diet for rats. Too much fat and sugar. They should be eating a lot of grains and veggies.

If you look at the board on diet you can see a lot of discussions on diet. Some of us feed a homemade food, many feed a pellet and some do a mix thereof. If you read through some of those you can get a good idea of what is considered healthy and what foods should be limited. The rodent mix you mentioned sounds more like a treat, than something they should eat regularly.
 

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Definitely agree about changing the diet. You don't want to end up with an obese rat, especially one that's so young. A really popular one is Oxbow Rat Food, and I think they also make some especially for babies under 6 months I believe). It's a bit pricey, but it's honestly the best commonly available rat food out there imo. And as for telling the sexes apart, it is VERY easy. Trust me, when you see a male, there's no mistaking him for a girl. xP Basically, if they're over 5-6 weeks and you're not sure if it's a girl or a boy, it's a girl.

DEFINITELY get her a friend. It'll really help keep her less stressed, which means that once she gets to a trainable age, she'll be much more relaxed and willing to focus. Just make sure that you properly introduce her to her new buddy. There's a really great thread on proper introductions here: How to Introduce a New Rat

As for training, I would wait until she's a bit older. Babies just want to run around and play, and she looks pretty young in that picture. :)
 

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She is definitely a girl, see the tiny dark hole just below her bits, that's her vaginal opening, bucks don't have that even when they suck in there balls. Nipples is also a sure fire way to spot things.

Where abouts in the world are you? Most generic rodent mixes are pretty rubbish and there are useually better options, but these vary by country as to whats available.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have done some research and no mixes in my country suit my expectations...today I fed my baby and my new one on a mix I made myself....rolled oats, corn flakes, crushed pasta, few sunflower seeds, few peanuts, few raisins, carrot
 

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I feed mine Oxbow from amazon.com or ebay.com and they love it, I can find it for under 10 bucks a bag and it lasts forever. I supplement it with brightly colored fresh veggies, oats, pasta, brown rice, that sort of thing, with occasional treats usually whatever I'm eating.
 

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I've got boys and I can assure you that yours is a girl ^-^ Even at a young age, it's hard to miss their giant goolies.

Oxbow is one of the best brands there is, but it does run on the pricy side. And even if the cost doesn't bother you, if you live in a small town, odds are they won't stock it.

In a rat pellet/lab block what you're looking for is one with 15-18% protein, depending on the age of your rats (young ones need more since they're growing).

I feed mine Vetafarm Rodent Origins, and my boys love it. It smells kinda like caramel to me, and I've been tempted to have a nibble (though I've resisted). The pellets are quite small, so it actually helps trick my chubby boy into thinkng he's eaten more than he has.

I really do recommend a friend for your little girl. When I got my first boy, due to my living situation he was by himself for two weeks. After I got him a friend, he got even more affectionate towards me.

Besides, who has the willpower to stop at just one? ;-)
 

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What are "soya chunks"? Sometimes I give mine cooked whole soya beans, sometimes sold as "edamame" or "mukimame." If you're talking about tofu, raw tofu isn't good for rats.
 

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Soya chunks are generally dehydrated soya protein used in india (or similar) cooking. Soya is quite high in protein so whilst soya chunks can be used as part of a balanced diet (I've used them in the past) they aren't any good on there own other than as a very occasional treat.

I feed a home made mix, have done for years, along shunamite lines. This goes down very well and gives my rats lots of interesting variety as well as a tailored diet to meet there needs.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Do you know if the soya chunks have the required amount of soya? Also I was wondering if the soya based vegetarian meat could be beneficial...idk if you know the brand fry's....also I'm a bit confused on what grains to feed them...on this forum I was informed that bran and wheat has a bad effect on their kidneys so I've just been giving them oats and cornflakes....any other suggestions?
 

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Rice and barley are the two best grains for rats kidneys, however that doesn't mean that you don't feed the ones that can be hard on them entirely, you just feed a lot less of them. Oats is another one that's not great. It does sound like your not quite there in temrs of feeding a balanced diet, what are you feeding them altogether and how much roughly of each?

In terms of the required amount of soya I'm not sure what you mean? Soya can be good in some cases (it reduces the risk of some types of tumours) and bad in others (it increases the risk of other types of tumours). As with everything its a case of balance, don't feed too much of any one item and try and give a good balance overall of nutrients. Too much of any one thing can be unhealthy.

If your really interested in doing this yourself I would get a copy of the scuttling gourmet 4th or 3rd edition (I think you may be able to get an e-book version now) and read through it, its very much based on facts and is the rat food bible in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Is puffed rice or boiled rice better? I haven't weighed but I'm thinking...oats and pasta (10 grams ) soya chunk (10 grams) alternating fruit and veg (10 grams) nuts and raisins (5 grams) cornflakes (5 grams)
 

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Dried rice, ideally paddy rice (rice in its husk) failing that brown rice is the best form for a rats diet.

That diet really isn't looking balanced, it will be very high in protein and easily digestible carbs, both will contribute to your rats getting chubby. If your making your own mix then you need to follow a good set of guidelines. I would recommend having a read of this link to get a bit more information on a fairly reliable recipe.
http://www.isamurats.co.uk/options-for-dry-mixes.html
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm having such difficulties with diet I've researched so much I don't know what to believe anymore
 
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