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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I feel rather silly; I've had rats for nearly two years, and when I had just aris she ate her proper amount; when I learned rats need friends and got penny; the two of them ate enough and exercised enough to stay well fed but trim: all I had to do was keep the bowl full.....then I went a bit crazy....I got a bigger cage I realized the eminent demise of one or both of my girls (sadly penny is no longer with me) so I got serenity then I went back for "just one more" and got river and lilith, after penny passed my mom got me vicky; vicky got me 15 babies....in short: my house is full of rats...the issue is in the main cage: I CANT keep the bowl full...I fed them earlier, then showered.....and the bowl was entirely empty...now I'm 100% sure at least some of the food is stashed (one of Aris' s bad habits) but my concern is that they just eat all the time! Now river lilith and serenity are all young and growing still but river was a "medium" rat when I got her so she's a decent size already and aris and river have gotten rather plump...so I'm curious if there's some sort of rule of thumb on how much they actually SHOULD be eating as I didn't have to worry about it before...but now my fuzzies are getting squishy
 

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This is where my answer isnt going to immediatly help lol. The right amount of food is the amount of food they need to keep slim and roughly the right shape. Its tough in a multi rat group and is very much a case of trial and error to find both the right amount and the way of feeding it which keeps everyone as close to right as possible. Ideally the rats should have a period of time with no food avaiable too, as this has been proven to help extend lifespan.

How i go about this in my mixed aged group with one rat with significantly higher requirements than the others (my oap). I feed twice a day, my guys get roughly 15g per rat per day in total and i feed about 2/3s of this in the morning and 1/3 at night. This amount is about right for my rats to keep them slim, but its taken a while to get to that and it varies by type of food, ag/sex of rat, and individuals in the group, not to mention temperature plays a part so i also vary it a little depending on how the rats feel. This food is scatter fed, this means no bowls, instead they hunt through there substrate for it, if you dont use substrate try getting a cat litter tray and filling full of something loose and diggable, say cat litter, aspen, shredded paper etc and scattering in there. The very act of scatter feeding helps even the amount the group eats a fair bit and also reduces stashing so makes it easier to get your amounts right (plus is much fun for the rats). Over the course of a few weeks i get a good feel of the rats and if they start feeling skinny i increase it and if they start getting chubby i decrease it. Monitoring any left overs at clean out time so again if i see much they get the amounts reduced. Eventually you will get to a point where you have roughly the right amount for them and they are eating most of it in the first few hours then grazing the left overs for a while later.

If you feed any extra wet meals i replace one of the dry meals with this, that helps a lot in keeping weights good too.

If you've got one or two rats who are getting skinny whilst the others arent then try giving them an extra wet meal or time in a carrier with a food bowl once a day, more or less often as required (my old man gets some senior dog food or similar every evening for an hour or so).

If you have a couple of chubbies then take them out for the first 15 mins or so when food goes in and reduce the amounts a bit. Whilst they are out get them exercising say run op some stairs or climb the front of the cage etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The idea of getting aris to run around outside of the cage is amusing :p she's really quite the home-body.....no matter how much I work with her she'd just rather be in the cage (when I had my smaller cage on the floor I left it open an entire day and let penny roam but aris...peeked out and decided there couldn't POSSIBLY be anything interesting out there)...she's a champion of the wheel though so that's good at any rate...I think they're getting roughly the same amount it's just that serenity ' s portion goes toward getting adult rat sized and aris' s portion goes toward getting squishy sized...rivers goes toward getting bossy sized and lilith.....is a strange rat...

Yes they definitely stashed it...not a crumb in sight when I went to bed...but I definitely hear both wood chewing and food eating and "hey that's mine" squeaks....
I'll definitely try hiding they're food though...I have a plastic box I cut a hole in and some paper litter I can hide it in...im also going to rearrange tomorrow so they have to do something to arrange their home..get that exercise in
 
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