Harlan Tekled Blocks are supposed to be the best food you can buy for rats. They are blocks that are manufactured for lab rats/rodents but are very high quality. The Harlan company won't sell them to pet owners directly unless you order $300 or more (ha!) If you're in the US, Kim's Ark stocks and ships Harlan products. And one more good thing... Kim's Ark is a rat rescue and the profits from their sales goes towards keeping their rescue open. I've been told that rats LOVE them, I haven't tried them yet but am planning to as soon as I need to buy food again. Here's the website if you want it: http://www.kimsarkrescue.org/content/view/23/35/
I know the 8064 formula is sweetened with molasses so supposidly they taste better than petstore blocks.
Ive always used the lab blocks. I tried ordering from kims ark twice, and never hard a reply. The third time I did i got a reply, but I live here in Germany, so shipping would be horid! But now i have found a store that sells the lab blocks here in Germany.
Harlan Teklad can't be found in pet stores, unfortunately, but you can order it online from a couple different places, such as Kim's Ark Rat Rescue or The Crafty Rat. I would suggest getting the 2018 variety, since the 8604 is very high in protein. Personally, I feed 2016 and 2014, which have low protein levels (16% and 14%).
I have a question about the Harlan food...... the 8064 is pretty high in protein but it was called the best lab block by the rat and mouse club of america. Kim's Ark says the 2014 is NOT for healthy rats. They say it's for protein sensitive or overweight rats. SO.... which one should I get?!? I thought about ordering 5 lb of the 8064 and 5 lb of the 2018 and mixing them. any suggestions?
The text on the site is dated. I think the girls wrote the site a few years ago, before anyone really knew about the importance of low protein in a rat's diet. Although 2014 IS low in protein, as long as you supplement the diet in lots of fresh food, it's a great lab block. 8604 is very high in protein, but used to be considered the best before protein levels were researched more.
Mixing them is a great idea! It's what I do personally. I mix 2014, 2016, 8604 together. 2016 and 2018 are great medians.
I make my own mix. Something Special rodent mix (mixed small seeds, corn, pellets), fresh vegetables like broccoli, partially cooked carrot, bell peppers, kale, lettuce, some lean meat every now and again.
Corn is actually not recommended for small animals, at least not the dried variety. It's hard on their GI tract and isn't very digestible. Frozen corn is great, though, and ratties love it. A great alternative to terrible store-bought mixes that contain a lot of seeds and alfalfa pellets (both bad), is Suebee's Mix.