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Discussion Starter #1
I was wondering if any of you make your own rat food for their diet cause I thought about doing it too. Since I heard its healthier and less expensive. Plus I don't trust those dried rat foods that come in bags at the pet store I feel like it has way too much protein and so much dried corn in it that I have to pick out cause I read somewhere that dried corn for rats can cause liver cancer? Plus my rat is a picky eater he will only eat certain things in the bag anyways (mostly eats the seeds and peanuts) and ignore the rest. So if you have any healthy recipes for homemade rat food that's not too expensive to make, please share! I would like to make it for my rat. :)Thanks!
 

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I would recommend rat blocks like Harlan? From what I know they are nutritionally balanced and has no dried corn or alfalfa which have no nutritional value to rats and can be dangerous.
If you want to make food at home you either have the choice of making dry mix or blocks. I roughly use Suebees rat diet ratio and change around some ingredients to make it easier for me to make in the area Im in.
Im in NZ and theres a rat rescue here that produces rat blocks and dry mix and they are very trustworthy, so I feed the rat blocks as staple for my rats.
I've made blocks at home once by mixing oats, ground oats, chia seeds, shredded coconut, cranberries, ground dog food, sunflower seeds and coconut milk. You blend all these together and mix it into a thick paste, spread it out on an oven pan and cook it in the oven while dehydrating it to harden it. My rats loved it and preferred it over the blocks :)
 

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Creating your own rat food is extremely difficult. You have to make sure it is well balanced nutritionally and that it covers all of their needs.

Far too many people IMO just mix some seeds, cereals, and dog food and call it a healthy diet. But the truth is that is really not very healthy and can cause them to get a not very balanced diet.

You are right that those seed mixes sold in stores are absolute crap. The often contain scary chemicals, food you should not feed your rat and foods they should only get in moderation.The other problem with these mixes is that rats can than pick and choose what they eat, leaving the rest behind. It can lead to wasting of food/money and also rats that are not getting a balanced diet at all.

That is why most of us prefer lab blocks. They are very healthy, contain all the balanced diet in kibble form. The three main brands are native earth, mazuri and oxbow. All are ok and a personal choice. I prefer oxbow myself as it is lower protein and does not contain corn.

Then giving them treats, snacks, and fresh veggies daily for variety.

I am really not a fan of mixes for all the reasons above but if you really want to do so I would check out http://www.ratsnacksnstuff.com/ which is run by a member of the forum and seems to be the best mix ive seen.
 

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I feed homemade and have done for about 10 years now, and I wouldn't go back. There are very few commercially available rat foods out there that I would rate or feed to my rats. About the only one I think is ok in the US is Oxbow, and to be honest I don't think pelleted diets fully meet a rats needs (for a start there nutritional needs vary a lot with age, genetics etc, and then theres the enrichment need!).

I do think that a well put together home made mix is hard to beat in terms of really giving the rats the best diet possible. However there are a lot out there that are essentially junk food. You either need to follow a good recipie (not Suebee's) or really know your nutrition. It also helps to have a good understanding of rat condition and how to "read it".

I've got some information on constructing a home made mix here http://www.isamurats.co.uk/options-for-dry-mixes.html it is UK focused (its a bit easier over here) but is adaptable to most countries (I've helped people in the US as well as other countries pull together a good mix). At some point I'll get my condition guide up on there two as I think it would be helpful.

My current diet is roughly this;
Food

Picture

My feeding regime is made up of five main parts, all of which are important to how my rats look and feel. The exact balance of how much of each and the overall balance is very much down to my judgement on how the rats are doing at that particular time. I believe that a rats requirements change a lot depending on there time of life, growth rate, age, metabolism and activity levels. One of the reasons I like having small groups of rats is that I can better flex there diet to suit them individually. To do that I use all 4 sections of their diet;

Dry mix – This is the staple of my rats food, offering a balance diet based on a majority of minimally processed grains, I used to mix my own from scratch however now I use a complete straights based mix as my base and add a more varied but still balanced mix to that myself. I generally don’t feed this when they have wet food, unless it’s a small helping then they get a small scatter around the cage, I play this off there weights really, up it if there a bit slimmer than they should, drop it if there putting on a little, it’s quite fluid.
•50% Harrisions Bannana brunch, sometimes with some other good complete mixes such as low wheat rabbit muesli's or allen and paige pigmy goat mix.
•50% Home made straights based mix
o 50% minimally processed grains; Marshams mixed flakes, versalage junior plus pigeon mix (or dark plus), paddy rice, millet, dari, buckwheat, whole barley, oat groats etc
o 15% processed grains; Barley rings, denes wholegrain mixer, Rat rations mixed puffed grains, rice crispies, cornflakes, bitesized shredded wheat, porridge oats
o 10% protein; fish for dogs small bite kibble (or another natural high quality kibble) dried sea bugs (including fish, shrimps, tubifex etc), soya flakes
o 10% veg and herbs; boredom breakers herb plus mix (or another nice looking mix), dried cabbage, carrot, beetroot, leek, peas, berries, pepper, tomato etc.
o 5% seeds; pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, linseed, fennel seed, mixed meadow seeds, pine nuts etc.

Veg – about twice a week. Now this is usually a mixture of veg, normally with a base of something dark green and leafy, it also usually includes a small amount of fruit. I manage it by getting a load of veg in and then chopping it up and mixing and storing in the freezer. To add variety I have about 3-4 different bags full that have a different combination of ingredients. They quite often get this still frozen too which goes down well. I also look out for mixed veg such as stir fry mixes regularly as this adds a bit of variety in too.

Wet meals – this happens between once every week to 10 days. This is normally something wet and higher than normal protein (e.g. dog food, sardines, egg, fish etc.), something carbohydrate based (soaking mix, cous cous, pasta, rice etc.) and there veg portion.

Supplements - As my rats are fed on partially un-enriched straights based food i need to add a few key vitamins and minerals. This means I give them Dr Squiggles Daily Essentials about 2 or 3 days a week, going up to 5 days a week for babies and nursing mums. They also get cooked bones or cuttle fish bones at least once a week.

I also add some of the following to there regular wet meals depending what they need at the time (1-2 oils and something full of vitamins as standard); salmon oil, vitamin a extracted cod liver oil, evening primrose oil, omega oil, linseed oil, daily 3, seaweed powder, calcivet, senior aid, glucosamine, some sort of crushed up vitamin tablet (I have copper, vitamin d, calcium and vitamin d, selenium, don’t do this that often really), vitamin C and pro-biotic, bone and meal powder. This then is mashed up and fed in a bowl.

Treats – generally a mix of higher protein higher fat every couple of days (fish for dogs small bite kibble, natural cat treats, melon seeds) and low fat low protein (currently curried chickpeas) on a more frequent basis. I up the amount of high protein treats for youngsters or those that look as though they need it. In later life or to support specific illnesses I will often pick treats that may help. To me treats are a useful way of tailoring a diet to the individual, as one rat can get something different to the others (as long as you’re fast dishing them out).

A typical mix looks like this
 

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The UK does favor mixes where the US is mostly on labblocks.

I think one key is that the UK seems to offer better high quality mixes then the US does. And from my experience those in the UK who do feed mixes do mix alot of other healthy stuff with it.

Sadly in the US when someone says they make their own food it often is a box of total, cheerios, sunflower seeds and dog food and they call it a day oO lol
 

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Yep the Suebee factor... That diet makes me shudder.

Most of the commercial mixes here are to be frank rubbish (only a bit better than your kaytee stuff in the US), we do have rat rations however that is essentially a home made straights mix so I don't really class it as a shop bought mix. To be fair we don't have a good lab block option here, oxbow isn't available and the rest is high wheat often with cheap poultry proteins as the main protien source and lots of cheap fillers (wheat feed is a fave, essentially what straw and chaff squished into a block). If I coul get oxbow cheaply I would add it to my mix, but I would still feed a mix. My rats would be bored silly on a lab block diet.

I think we are lucky in the uk in that a lot of people get rat nutrition, helped by Alison Campbell author of the scuttling gourmet which is a rat nutrition book. I think you can now get an e-book version of edition 4 so if anyone's keen to learn I'd really recommend it
 

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I mix my own as well. I used ismurats information and reread her web site every now and again. Mine changes from month to month, I believe a variety of grains, veg, herbs ect is important. I'm not fond of any of the store bought foods, unless you are using them as a treat. It's usually a very short list of foods and then mostly vitamins.

I can't really say it's cheaper to mix though. I spend a good chunk monthly making sure I have enough of everything to be certain they are getting what they need. I do tend to buy organic/human grade however so that does raise the prices.

We don't have rabbit muesli here in the states. I use either wellness or solid gold brand dog foods in mine to replace that, they have ones who have a mostly vegetarian base and then some animal source foods so it covers both ok. I also do a lot of fresh salads daily to mine. I have a bunny who needs tons of leafy greens and herbs, so I always have a lot of those and a parrot who needs a lot of veg and fruit so I have that as well always on hand.

My 19 year old dog has failing kidneys and has to be on a very careful diet, so I make his as well.

The nice thing in my household since I have such a variety of critters the rats benefit since they are closer to us in needing a very wide variety of foods in order to meet their requirements.

The only tough part is my husband who loves his junk food and will tend to share with the fur and feathered kids. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Honestly as of right now I was trying to follow Subee's diet but I'm guessing that is bad? Well I appreciate all the feedback but I dont really know anything about nutrition so it would be easier for me to follow a recipe. And Subee is the only real recipe I found.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Oh! Thanks for the Ismurats site I'm reading that now, maybe I will start doing that diet if I can find everything listed here in the US.
 

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Hi Nieve5552,

I know this was posted ages ago, but I'm a new rat mom and I'm hoping you can help me out. Can you possibly give a more specific recipe for the blocks you make, please? I would really love to hear about quantities (even approximate), baking temperature, and baking time, if possible. And did you grease the pan or use parchment paper or foil or nothing...? I'm not very good at winging things and having anything actually turn out, so any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Wendy

I've made blocks at home once by mixing oats, ground oats, chia seeds, shredded coconut, cranberries, ground dog food, sunflower seeds and coconut milk. You blend all these together and mix it into a thick paste, spread it out on an oven pan and cook it in the oven while dehydrating it to harden it. My rats loved it and preferred it over the blocks :)
 
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