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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have always free-fed my rats without issue. I've found that as long as I feed a quality food I don't really have problems with my rats turning into bowling balls ;D. I've only ever had pairs of rats, though, until recently. I got two rats with a critter nation, and then I got another rat... and the next thing you know I have six precious little girls. I swear I'm done adding rats (.... ok, ok. For now, anyway). I love taking care of them and playing with them and being constantly amazed by how cute they are, but dear lord do they eat a lot.

How much do rats generally eat? Just as a rough approximation. Everyone looks great so I'm not going to quit what I'm doing but somewhere along the lines I did not factor in how much my girls were going to cost to feed. I have four babies in my top unit and two girls in the bottom who are just old enough to be eating adult food. At $15 for a 3 pound bag of Regal Rat, I've got to come up with an alternate solution. I'm thinking about ordering 20 pound bags of either Regal Rat or Harlan Teklad 2014 (through crafty rat). I put a date on the last bag of food I opened and just based on what's left at this point I'm estimating 20 pounds will last me a little over 3 months. Does that sound right?

When it comes down between Regal Rat and Harlan Teklad, I think I can get them for about the same price once shipping is factored in. Do you have a real preference for one or the other? I've always fed Regal Rat, so I don't have much experience with the HT. With Harlan Teklad, has anyone ever ordered directly from the company? I just wondered if I could get it for a better price through them.
 

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When fully grown rats tend to eat something between 15 and 25g per rat, though it depends massively on the type of food offered. I dont feed lab block style foods (too boring for my guys, plus i can do a better job making my own mix up) so i cant tell you specifically for that kind of food. The best way though is to feed them enough keep them nice and slim and healthy looking without growing too fast and getting fat. I'd measure how much they eat over the next few days and then average that and use that to see what you'd get through in a 3 month period, food normally keeps for 3-6 months depending on the sell by dates so thats a good length of time. I'd add on an extra 30% as your girls are young and may eat more as they grow.

If i had to choose between those two i would always go oxbow, harlan teklad isnt nearly as good in terms of ingredients, not such a big deal with girls until they are a fair bit older but one i keep in mind.

Just a quick question, why not move all oyur girls in together? Your oldest sound young enough that this intro will be about as easy as you can get.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The goal is to move them all in together sooner or later, but one of my older girls doesn't play nice with others. I tried introductions before and ended up with large tufts of fur everywhere and one of the babies bleeding just a bit where fur had been pulled out. Since the DCN is so easy to partition off, I went ahead and just separated them and haven't had the time off to try introductions again. The young girls are all from different litters and I haven't had any issues at all with them getting along. Alaina and Adelaide, the older girls, are sisters (or were at least together from a very young age) and they get along fine for the most part. I think Alaina is just very much an Alpha rat - the food bowl is hers and the water bottle is hers and the hammocks are all hers and the toys are hers, and as long as everyone else can agree with that she's fine, haha.

Also, I generally freeze any food that won't be used up within a month or so, so that helps a little bit with expiration dates. I've never had an issue with that with rat food before but I do it with my hamsters. I think that I could probably use up a big bag of Regal Rat before it went bad even without freezing it, though. And for the price difference between the 3 pound bag and the 20 pound bag, I could honestly throw half the 20 pound bag away and still save money.
 
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