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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all!

My girlfriend and I adopted a couple of about 3 month old babies, Peanut Butter and Jelly, a little over a week ago and we're running into some obstacles as well as general questions surrounding feeding a healthy diet to some very picky eaters! We adopted them from PetSmart (before we found out it was frowned upon to adopt from pet stores), and we aren't sure whether they were meant to be pets or feeders, but we're fairly certain that they were never introduced to any fresh fruits or veggies and have only been fed a diet of pellets up until now.

The pellets we currently feed the girls is Oxbow, and we have been feeding according to the SPCA rat feeding guide which I attached to this post, but overall the ratio we follow is: 1/8 cup Oxbow adult rat pellets and 1/2 cup mixed greens and veggies. This leads me to my first question: Is this the serving size for one or two rats? I noticed yesterday that the girls were chomping my finger, so I gave them another serving of pellets to see if they were hungry and they seemed absolutely STARVED. Am I feeding the wrong serving size of pellets? Or are they hungry because they won't eat the fresh produce I put out?

Secondly, as I mentioned above, I don't think they've ever had fresh produce, and everything I've tried to give them so far they have refused except for a small single nectarine slice. So far here's what we've tried with the results:

Broccoli - girls dug through the bowl to find the pellets at the bottom and threw around the broccoli onto the cage floor
Asparagus - carefully picked out pellets and completely ignored the veg
Banana slices - tried to give a couple of slices as treats (did not leave in their bowl), the girls completely ignored them until I removed the browned slices
Nectarine - again, gave a couple of slices as treats not in their bowl, noticed that one small slice was eaten and peel was left
Mixed Shredded Cabbage and Carrots - carefully picked out pellets and completely ignored the veg
Sugar Snap Peas - carefully picked out pellets and completely ignored the veg

I've also noticed that they will only eat very specific seeds when we offer treats, which are mostly just pumpkin seeds.

Obviously we've only had them for a short time and there are lots more options to try, but I do want to ensure they are eating enough, and that it's a balanced diet. I've heard that fresh or frozen peas are a rat favorite and plan to try that next, but I've read that there's some veggies they can/should have daily, and some they can only have in moderation, so I'm hoping to find a healthy everyday veg that they will eat. I also attached the veggie feeding guide I referenced if it helps answer my questions (or if anyoneelse might want it).

Any tips or recommendations for these picky girls?

I found a reddit thread that said since babies are far less likely to become obese so young that Oxbow should be fed ad libitum (maintaining a constant supply and letting rats self-regulate their intake). This is going to be my new plan for now unless someone has contrasting feedback.

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/RATS/comments/g7jy6n


322 Posts
Feeding the Oxbow kibble free choice for young rats is a good idea. Then you don't have to wonder if they are getting enough. I free feed my adult rats too and out of 4 only one is chubby, but it's not an issue. She actually seems to be the healthiest of all them, with lots of energy and she's almost 2 years old.
As for the veggies, rats can be wary of new foods. Sometimes they will nibble very tiny amounts of something new and wait to see how it makes them feel before consuming more. Since your rats are already a few months old it might take them a bit to get used to veggies but just keep offering them, I'm sure they will figure out in time how yummy they are!
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