Health vs Happiness - The food rats eat and enjoy.
Rats have a thing for junk food just like we have a thing for junk food. The good news is, they like their lab blocks
better! In theory these are better for them, will help lengthen their already too-short lives, and help maintain the strength
of their immune system. It also keeps them "regular" and lets them keep their teeth the right length, etc. That doesn't mean
they won't willingly take any leftovers you have for them (unless it's spicy, that is) but you don't need to gain their love
and unconditional adoration through the use of chocolate, chips, and ice cream! Sure, they may eat the ice cream right away,
but they also have to feed their pack-ratting (see "How to entertain
yourself and your pack-ratting vermin.") behaviors as well and they'll always get around to eating those lab blocks.
Update: I am so tired of
1) Seeing the letters "BHA" and wondering why I'm feeding the rats something that isn't even fit for human consumption because it is a potential
After all, we're not breeding so there's really no particularly good use for a rodent chow formulated for breeding rodents. And they really don't
have a lifestyle so active that they need that much preserved (with BHA!) fat in their diets. And, most importantly, because I am not a mass
breeder, our rats' diets actually include things we eat and "rat chow" is just a freely-available staple part of their diet...but it's not their
2) Making all the rats fat only to scramble in their old age to reduce the protein content of their (the bucks) diets in order to decrease the
risk/severity of kidney problems.
So, I set myself to the task of, again, finding that "ideal" rat chow. Here's what I found:
- If you only have a couple of rats (not 30 like we currently do), Oxbow has a great diet
(Regal Rat) with
protein, 4% fat, and 7.5% fiber whose first ingredient, surprisingly enough, is not "corn." (Corn makes rats fat and should be saved as a treat).
- If you only have a couple of rats (not 30 like we currently do) and you're not too sensitive when it comes to the smell of your rat's
raisins, ReggieRat is also a great diet. They also like it because of the variety (but
some rats take advantage of this by being selective eaters
which isn't always a good thing as they're usually selecting the corn!)
- And my personal favorite: Zupreem brand AvianMaintenance diet. The "Large Parrot"
variety is perfect
pellet-size-wise and it comes in 2
flavors (FruitBlend and Natural). The fiber is a bit low but the protein and fat are the same as the Oxbow and I can find this stuff at any pet
store. The fruit flavor is great for the elderly who start eating a bit less as time goes by. They can't get enough of their Fruit-Loops (the
fruity flavor smells like Fruit Loops)! And I don't feel like I'm killing kidneys or causing cancer as Vit. E is a nice (it's used in our foods
tip: When navigating through the RatTails,
clicking on the image that looks like the image above
will take you back to this table of contents!
Disclaimer: There are many non-sarcastic accounts and tips on the web regarding rat care. This is not
one of them. These are merely accounts of our experiences with rats, our perceptions of these experiences, where we've failed
and where we've succeeded. These accounts are here for two purposes:
2) To help avoid repetition of mistakes
Remember! Your rat is not a science project, he is your friend!