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My name is Andrew. My fiance and I have two fancy rats, Sam and Oreo. I've had other rats in my past but these rats have been a bit more complicated. There's been some problems specifically concerning their health and behavior lately which I why I am joining this forum. Since I cannot post in those forums yet, I'll just give the rundown of the issues on here.

1. Not long after we first got our rats around six months ago, they wouldn't eat the oxbow adult food (after switching from oxbow young rat food). Because of that we had to feed them the worse stuff with all the seeds and stuff in it, not sure what brand. When going to buy new food I saw that oxbow was on sale and they changed it to be better tasting so I gave it a shot. They love it now. The problem is, their poops are now very soft and sometimes diarrhea-like. Their bellies seem a bit bloaty as well. I assume the change of food is causing this. I didn't even think to slowly mix it in when switched like you would dog food, I just started putting it in their bowl. My question is, is the food itself causing the loose poops, or is it because I didn't transition them into eating the new food?

2. Like I said, I've had rats before. The rats I had before were from a good local pet store, they were properly handled and not skittish. That pet store closed down, and I got these rats from petsmart, which was the dumbest decision I've ever made. They hadn't been handled much and certainly not very well. The worker even picked them up by their tails! It was hard getting them to adjust to me and they are a bit less skittish now, but they still are not like my other rats have been. They chewed through their old cage, escaped and chewed up our carpet. We got a new cage with a metal bottom they are happier in and can't chew through but they still like to try and escape at any chance they get. They aren't fond of being held, they won't bite me anymore but they do occasionally nip at my fiance. I've never had rats so troublesome before. I try to handle them as much as I can but them constantly trying to escape that makes things difficult. I love them to pieces but I just don't know what to do to make them more comfortable being handled and more calm.
 

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The poop issue just might be from stress - I don't feed my rats oxbow I feed them harlan teklad, so I don't know much there. As for socializing them - just let them explore in a closed area while you sit and do something else, they will get comfortable with your presence and soon turn curious and start to check you out. They'll come around with time and patience. You could also try to get a bonding pouch or scarf.
 

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Im also new here with two beautiful female rats called Peanut and Raisin.If your two are both males and are agressive and that doesn't fix within a month or two,I would consider getting them castrated.This will calm them down a lot and they will become less agressive no doubt.
 

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I got my boys from a pet store (one that actually takes decent care of their rats!) I also use oxbow, but forgot to ask for a sample of the food the petstore used so that I could transition the rats over to my food. I had to just give them oxbow from the start and it did cause some diarrhea. I think it lasted a week or two.
 

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Hello, I am also new here but work at Petsmart (one that socializes our rats) so was outraged to hear of your poor experience particularly as our store really tries to emphasize small pet socialization as defense against people buying them as feeders (which we don't allow).

For socializing you can also try lots of treats by hand. Soft treats like baby food or apple sauce or canned dog food if they are young on a spoon works great for rats that tend to grab treats then run. Once they are more trustworthy, you let them lick their treat off your fingers. Hope. This helps and sorry for the Petsmart rant...
 

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You don't need to transistion rats like you do some other species (e.g. rabbits and cats), however if the nutritional values differ a bit it can cause a little bit of upset for a few days. The main issues tend to be caused when introducing something like veg for the first time, especially if you feed a lot in one go. THis is because of the very different fiber content, feeding a lot of extra protein can also do this.

The other thing that does sometimes come up is them eating something dyed a certain colour, pencil crayons, brightly coloured wooden chew toys etc, can all have a lovely rainbow effect on poo.
 

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Hello!

I'm new too, but I can say my rats have done pretty well with a sudden switch to oxbow. I would suggest it is veggies, or something they got into when on the run?
 

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I also got some petsmart rats, after exhausting all other options. I'm already in love with them, so I can't say I regret the decision, but we have a long way to go on the socialization front. I've only had mine a few weeks though.
 
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