Food for Pet Rats
Information on the dog food I use in my diet blends:
The dog food I use as my main grain source to feed my pet ratties is equivalent in nutritional content and value of Harlan Teklad's 7013 NIH31 Open Formula Mouse/Rat Sterlizable Diet.
Harlan's has 18.6% Crude Protein, 6.2% Crude Fat and 4.5% Crude Fiber. My grain source has: 18% Crude Protein, 6% Crude Fat and 6% Crude Fiber.
My blend has all the same vitamins and minerals that Harlan lists on their data sheet, and the same kind of ingredients, the one main difference in ingredients is, mine does list meat and animal fats as part of the ingredients, but ratties are omnivores, ("an animal adapted to eat a wide variety of foods, both animal and vegetable"...definition directly quoted from Webster's Dictionary.)
Harlans products though nutritionally sound don't cater to a pet rats natural behavioral instincts. In the wild, rats will eat a variety of foods which keeps their live's interesting and removes boredom from eating the same thing everyday.
Rats by nature will eat meats, they are not vegetarians. Harlan's products are basically vegetarian based products.
The dog food I'm using is made my the Mars Corporation, Mars Petcare. This is the same company that makes Pedigree Dog food, one of the best on the market. Mars Petcare is rated the number one dog food company in the world by Pet Food Industry . Though the dog food I'm using is not their Pedigree brand I needed something sold in bulk sizes because of the amount of mouths I have to feed. Their Doggy Bag brand comes in 40 pound bags and I buy eight bags a month. By buying in bulk I'm able to save money. The money I save allows me other options such as having extra for other important things like medicines or medical care for my pets.
(Running a rattery is EXPENSIVE!)
I have studied the use of this dog food within my colonies for many years now before I started offering it to the general public as a good alternative to lab blocks. I would not offer this as a food source if I didn't feel it was a good quality grain source.
Lab blocks were created for use in laboratories where the lab techs want as little to do with the animals as possible. They can't get attached to the animals or it would make it hard to hurt them when doing experiments, so they just give them lab blocks so they'll have what they need to survive but not concerned about their psychological well being (ha, if they were they wouldn't be doing experiments on them to begin with.) Many rats kept in laboratories are kept in small areas where they aren't even able to stand on their hind legs, another natural instinct and need. When it comes to rats in laboratories it's all about what the people running the lab need in caring for the rats and not what the rats need to stay psychologically healthy.
I would rather buy and use a product that does need me to offer supplements by using a hands on approach of adding fresh fruits, veggies and meats as these items add interest to the pet rats daily life. And taking the time to offer these extra goodies helps develop the bonding between human and fur friend.
Please Note: I'm not knocking Harlan's products or the use of them. I'm just letting people know that there are other options that work just as well that are more readily available and for a reasonable cost.
Pet rats taste buds are as developed as our own. Therefore, they can taste all the same flavors we can and prefer our foods because of this. Ratties of course need good nutrition just like we do, but they also need a variety in their diets for their psychological well being too. Just as we plan different menus for ourselves and rarely eat the same thing over and over again day after day, this is what your little furs friends enjoy too. Therefore, they love your left over people foods, as long as they are healthy. I've written several articles about what and what not to feed them and you can find those under my Topics of Interest link.
Our Special Blend of Grains and Treats - Trial Size Item Description:
I moved away from giving ratties lab blocks (you can read more about this later on this page under the dog food item description) and only give them dog food mixed with fresh fruits and vegetables and this grain and treat mixture. I'm now offering this mixture to my customers after using it for several years and documenting food preferences along with watching their health and weigh while on this mixture. I've concluded that they seem to love this mixture and have remained healthy and robust, and a normal weight when they get proper exercise on their wheels.
The trial size are packed in quart sized reclosable bags that weigh approximately one pound. There is a variety of yummy treats from all the food groups included in each batch. (We make up these mixtures by hand! Very time consuming, but worth the results.)
Our mix does not have any peanuts or cracked corn in the blend as they are finding out these items are not healthy for your pets. (Some ratties have been found to have allergic reactions to peanuts just like some people do!) Our mix has sunflower hearts, pumpkin seeds, pecans, walnuts, cashews and almonds, along with dried banana chips, made without added sugars. (Bought from a health food store.) Try a container and see for yourself how much your ratties enjoy it.
$4.50 per 1# bag if purchased directly from me
$10.00 shipped to anywhere in the US. (They are heavy)
How many in stock? 2
Please look at item 021A for a full description of this item. This food item comes in one gallon containers, which is approximately three pounds of food mixture. Buying it in the larger sizes is more cost effective.
Our Special Blend of Grains and Treats - Main Staple DietItem Description:
$10 per 3# bag if purchased directly from me
$19.50 shipped to anywhere in the US. (They are very heavy, weighing over three pounds when packed.)
How many in stock? 8
These are quart size bags of the dog food we use for our pet rats. They weigh approximately one pound. It has a lower protein count than many other dog foods on the market.
Our Choice of Dog Food - A Balanced Nutrient Grain SourceItem Description:
Specializing in pet rat behaviors, over the last eleven years I've learned some interesting things that I'll share with you. Pet rats taste buds are as developed as are own, therefore they can taste all the same flavors we can and if given opportunities to try a variety of foods they will love you for it.
I started out giving all my pet rats the "politically" correct lab blocks until one day the store I got them from was out of them, forcing me to try something else. I decided to start adding some dog food in with the lab blocks to stretch them out until more came back in stock. Much to my surprise the next day my ratties had picked all the lab blocks out of the dish and stashed them in the corner of the cage. They had eaten up all the dog food but not the lab blocks.
Being these lab blocks were supposed to be so good for them it got me wondering why they didn't want to eat them if given other options, so I tasted one of the lab blocks and then tasted one of the dog food. The lab blocks didn't have any flavor at all. I wondered why laboratories would have developed something so bland for an animal with highly developed tasting mechanisms. The dog food had a bit of flavor to them, so that explained why they were preferring those over their lab blocks. They could actually "taste" the difference between the two.
I went one step further with my research. I started adding people foods in with the lab blocks and the dog food. Things like, cheerios, multi-grain crackers, chex mix and other grain sources. The next day all the lab blocks and the dog food were stashed in the corner and all the other people foods were eaten. :>)
Conclusion: Ratties love our people food and if fed a healthy diet such as what is recommended for our own health they thrive psychologically. All the new flavors gives them something to look forward to and keeps their interest in living. I had a friend who ran another rattery and all she did was feed her pets people leftovers and her ratties were living almost a year longer than ours were!
I've written articles that can be found on my Topics of Interest page pertaining to healthy food choices and general pet rat care, check it out for more information regarding this.
This particular dog food as their main grain source is a good option to the lab blocks as its nutritional value is similar and also the protein level is extremely low, only 18%. Most of the lab blocks protein levels are between 16-18%. The older your pet rat gets the lower the level of protein you should be feeding them. Look for grains sources that don't exceed 20% protein if you have an adult rat. Too much protein can cause skin itching problems as the skin gets coated in a orangeish oil residue and high levels of protein have been known to cause urinary tract problems in male rats, similar to what male cats experience.
Warning: If you have young rats under the age of four months old do not buy or use Regal Rat brand rat mix made by Oxbrow. The protein count on the Oxbrow products are very low, only 14% and they are not suitable for young growing rats whose bones and muscles are still developing and not suitable for pregnant or nursing Mothers who need a higher protein count for their developing young babies. Oxbrow actually states on the package that it is not to be used for rats under four months of age. Do not waste your money on it!
I've found using a product with a protein content of 18% is a good all around choice for all stages of a rats development, when supplemented daily with quality people foods, (extra proteins for babies and pregnant Moms) and fresh fruits and vegetables.
$2 per bag if purchased directly from me
$7.50 shipped to anywhere in the US. (They are heavy)
How many in stock? 10
A thank you note to my customers: I'm not able to purchase my products at wholesale prices. I buy at retail just like you, therefore it may cost more to buy these from me than you could get somewhere else. I'm just offering these as a convenience to my customers. When products are purchased it helps to support my efforts of running a quality rattery and supplying quality pets. I greatly appreciate my customers support of my efforts, thank you so much!
Questions? Contact Me
Inventory Last Updated On: 02/04/15
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