Can you make a post with helpful tips on caring for rats? I have 2 females and i want to make sure im doing my best to give them a happy life. I did read your post on picking them up! What foods should/shouldnt i feed them aside from regular rat food? Toys and chewables to avoid (brands that are known to be toxic?)
Yes! Omg thank you I love this ask, rat care is something I am very familiar with!
I think I am just going to limit this post to food and then make more about other stuff as just the food is pretty long.
The best food choice is lab blocks. They are designed to perfectly meet a rat’s nutritional needs. If you just give them a small bowl of these they will graze on them constantly. As a rule the food bowl should always have food in it.
Lab blocks should comprise about 70 - 80% of their diet.
Some rat foods are a mix of seeds, grains, nuts, and other stuff. This stuff is junk food. The rats will usually just pick out the fattiest foods and leave the rest.
The sooner you get your rats onto lab blocks the better!
Here’s a list of foods to avoid:
- Blue cheese (any cheese is pretty bad for them as it is too high in fat, but blue cheese is actually poisonous)
- Raw tofu that didn’t come from a package
- Carbonated drinks
- Dried corn
- Green bananas
- Potato skins and eyes
- Orange peel (it causes cancer in males only so it’s ok for females to eat)
- Raw dry beans and peanuts
- Raw red cabbage and brussels sprouts
- Raw sweet potato
- Raw artichokes
- Random bugs they found on the floor
- Peanut butter (a little bit is fine but it can get stuck in their throats if they have too much)
- Anything deep fried or fatty
- Bread in large quantities (fine as a treat)
Fresh fruit and vegetables are an important part of their diet and they need some every day. Pretty much anything is fine. My guys get lots of veggie scraps when I’m cooking. Here’s a list of foods that my rats get regularly:
- Capsicum (they especially love the seeds)
- Apple (whenever you have an apple, take out the seeds and give them the core! They love it)
- Green beans
- Peas and corn (they like it frozen on hot days)
- Pumpkin guts (when I cook with a pumpkin I give them some of that mess of seeds and orange stringy stuff from the middle)
- Rockmelon guts
Basically give them a try of whatever you fruit and veg you have in the house. Don’t leave fruit and veg in the cage for more than a day as it will go bad.
As treats my guys get:
- Breakfast cereal
- Sunflower seeds
- Soy milk
- Rice cakes (the ones that are 100% rice are actually pretty healthy for them)
- Nuts (very occasionally)
Don’t forget to supply your rats with fresh water at all times. My personal rule is one water sipper per rat plus one water bowl. This way they have the most choice of how to drink and it’s easily accessible if there’s water all over the cage.
You need to wash out the water bowl and sippers once a week.
I’m cutting off this answer here but more stuff about rats will follow!