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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks!
In addition to my rats' staple diet of lab blocks (native earth / harlan 18%) I feed fresh veggies, oats, sunflower seeds, dried whole wheat / veggies pasta, and freeze dried meal worms. In addition to this, I'd like to use a seed mix to add some variety. The mix would be given every day, about 2 TBSPs per rat cage (so ~4 rats sharing that much a day).
I've used both of these mixes in the past, but would like your thoughts on their ingredients and which would be "better".

This one is supposedly a gerbil / hamster mix, but the rats seem to eat more of it than the other mix.
FM Brown's tropical carnival natural gerbil / hamster mix

Oat Groats, Stripe Sunflower Seeds, Wheat, Peanuts, Flaked Peas, Dried Banana, Pumpkin Seeds, Raisins, Wheat Flour, Ground Corn, Ground Oats, Corn Gluten Meal, Dehulled Soybean Meal, Rice Flour, Dehydrated Ground Raspberry, Dehydrated Ground Blueberry, Dehydrated Ground Strawberry, Dehydrated Ground Peach, Dehydrated Ground Apple, Dehydrated Ground Pineapple, Dehydrated Ground Banana, Dehydrated Ground Carrot, Dehydrated Ground Sweet Potato, Soy Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Brewers Dried Yeast, Calcium Carbonate, Algae Meal, Fructooligosaccharide, L-Lysine, Salt, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Choline Chloride, Manganese Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, DL-Methionine, Zinc Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium thermophilum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus niger Fermentation Product, Biotin, Folic Acid, Lecithin, Mixed Tocopherols (a preservative), Yucca schidigera Extract, Rosemary, Carotene.

Her's the actual rat / mouse mix. It contains many tiny sees that the rats don't appear to eat

Stripe Sunflower Seeds, Oat Groats, Peanuts, Brown Rice, Buckwheat, Wheat, Dried Lentils, Flaked Peas, Pumpkin Seeds, Flaked Corn, Dried Shrimp, Wheat Flour, Ground Corn, Ground Oats, Corn Gluten Meal, Dehulled Soybean Meal, Rice Flour, Dehydrated Ground Raspberry, Dehydrated Ground Blueberry, Dehydrated Ground Strawberry, Dehydrated Ground Peach, Dehydrated Ground Apple, Dehydrated Ground Pineapple, Dehydrated Ground Banana, Dehydrated Ground Carrot, Dehydrated Ground Sweet Potato, Soy Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Brewers Dried Yeast, Calcium Carbonate, Algae Meal, Fructooligosaccharide, L-Lysine, Salt, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Choline Chloride, Manganese Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, DL-Methionine, Zinc Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium thermophilum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus niger Fermentation Product, Biotin, Folic Acid, Lecithin, Mixed Tocopherols (a preservative), Yucca schidigera Extract, Rosemary, Carotene.

The hamster mix costs about $3 less per 2lb bag, so if you guys think they are pretty much similar, then I could go with that one.

Another option would be buying other grains / seeds to add to my mix now and just not buy a premade mix. If I were to do this option, I'd love your suggestions on what to add and where to buy seeds, nuts, and grains in bulk that are rat-safe. I already use oats, sunflower sees, and pasta.
 

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I make my own mix and buy them at the regular store/health food stores and on line. I tend to buy human organic grains. I keep seeds rather low-favoring pumpkin. I sometimes toss in a few of the big nuts in shell because they can work as both a food and a toy. It takes time to get into brazil or hazel nuts in shells. :)

Grains-Where to begin? I use brown and wild rice. hulled oats, barley, triticale and other wheat types. Quinoa is currently a popular "super food" so I can find that easily at most stores and add that as well. Lentils and split peas I use. The skies the limit basically when it comes to grains. That is their main foods. I like Bob's redmill 7 grain cereal as a treat as well. I keep that out of the mix and cook it and then put a little soy milk and cinnamon on it.

Dried herbs and veggies. If you don't want to make your own, you can use "just veggies" which makes one's with pea's, corn and tomatoes. You can also find freeze dried pea's a lot of places. Just make sure you don't get any with extra flavorings-salt being the biggest offender. Oregano, parsley, cilantro are all fave herbs.

Dried fruits-Like nuts, I keep this lower. Dried banana's being the easiest to find at a reasonable price. But berries and apples are nice as well.

Boxed breakfast cereals. This can have a lot of sugar, so read the ingredients carefully. But I like to add the 5 or more grain ones. The puffed grains are a fave among some of my rats. pasta everyone loves as well. I like the whole grain organic one's. I like to get the whole wheat and corn ones.

I use wellness dog food in my mix as well.

If you have a grocery outlet nearby, you can find a lot of organic cereals, grains, pasta's at really reasonable prices.

Daily I give out bowls of veggies-mine love leafy greens best. I go through a lot of those between the 16 rats, a parrot and a bunny. :) Not to mention we eat a lot of salads ourselves.

Things I cook for dinner I share as well-cooked sweet potato, pasta's, rice, bones, eggs ect. Mine don't really like regular potatos, don't know why.

We eat a lot of fruits and smoothies for desert that we share as well. Remember that things like melon and squash seeds are healthy, so instead of throwing them away they can eat them both raw and toasted in your oven. Think like cantaloupe and pumpkin seeds. As I type my husband is walking around sharing his banana with all the fur babies. I make smoothies with just berries, plain yogurt and nuts, I share that as well.

Well that was more than I planned on typing!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much for your response!
After reading your post and doing some additional reading, I think I'll stop buying the premade mix and just add more grains and freeze dried veggies to what I'm using now. They get a staple lab block, but I feel like it's healthier for them to have other things as well and as you said, the rats seem to enjoy them.

I think I'll start with adding in some rices, barley, and anything else I can find at the grocery store. Do you cook your quinoa or give it dry? One site said to cook it first, but if it can be given dry, that would be great.

Thanks again for your help and time!
 

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For digestion purposes, it's sprouted or cooked for humans to get the best nutrition from. the same goes for rice and most grains or seeds. However I give it dry to the rats. (though as a treat I do cook grains for them, and usually put a little soy milk or almond milk over it.)

the ones that you never want to give raw are things like beans-Kidney, black beans ect. Those are toxic when eaten raw. They won't kill you most likely but they can make you sick, cause a lot of digestion irritation and have anti-nutrients in them. They can eat beans, but you want to cook them the same as you do for us-soak for 4 plus hours and then cook according to instructions per bean type you get.

Another grain they LOVE I forgot about is millet. You can sometimes find it for humans, but you can easily find the whole sprays in the bird section of pet stores. I like to tie them to the tops of the cages. If you prefer it in the mix I just run my fingers down it and knock the little bundles of seed/grain into the mix. It's a low fat grain used in a lot of other countries like we use wheat.
 
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