Changing food and moving to scatter feeding

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Changing food and moving to scatter feeding

Post by Raggedtoothguppie » Sun May 22, 2016 7:27 pm

I posted an introduction a few months ago, but basically I owned many rats while living in South Africa, moved to the UK, and have been desperate to have rats again. I'm finally moving to a pet-friendly flat next week and am in the process of adopting a colony of seven rats that need to be rehomed. Zero to seven is a big leap after my long break, but I regularly had 20 or so rats when I ran a rescue back home so I feel confident I'll manage.

Onto my question, it seems the group of rats are currently being fed Pets at Home rat nuggets, cereal and hamster muesli. Four of them are under a year old and the others are elderly/age unknown. My plan was to scatter feed Rat Rations number 11 (unless someone has a better suggestion?) but I'm not sure if I should jump straight to that. Should I slowly mix the RR with the food they're currently on so they get used to the change? I'm also wondering if I should leave them eating from a bowl while I figure out how much they eat and so that they don't have too many life changes in one go.

Opinions on whether I should change things slowly or just start how I mean to go on?
Mummy to Meg, Luna, Mulan, Claidheamh mor, Sgian dubh, Firedrake, Norbert and Smaug.

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Re: Changing food and moving to scatter feeding

Post by acapae_wolf » Sun May 22, 2016 8:19 pm

Ooh, you must be feeling excited!

From a digestive pov with rats there's no need to slowly change their food over. They're opportunistic scavengers (for the most part) so very much designed to eat what there is evolutionally, which is nice and easy. If their diet has been very monotonous though, psychologically they may take a little bit of time if they're particularly wary of new foods. I would plan to change them over straight away, but you could feed 50/50 for a short while if there are problems. Even a rat who is wary of new foods won't let themselves starve though, so I wouldn't particularly worry.

Bowl feeding them for a little bit while they settle in and you assess them, their condition, and how much they're eating sounds like a good plan. I mean you could switch to scatter feeding straight away, but if they're used to nuggets also and you're changing them onto RR (good move!) then you may end up with a lot of wastage/ unbalanced diet to start with as they won't be used to the small piece size etc. So overall I think your plan sounds like a good one :)
Beri with all at Dandelion Soup
1 cat, 50-70 mice, 2x guinea pigs, 2x gerbils, 2x Syrian hamsters, 2x Russian hybrids looking for new homes ;)

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