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Is my rats wholefood diet well rounded?

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:17 am
by tiddlywink
Hello, I am new to this forum. I have two adopted sista rats who are about five, six months old. I just wanted to get some opinions on what I give them to eat :girly: I feed them all whole plant foods and they absolutely LOVE it all ~

a typical day for them varies but always includes vegetables, fruits, a cooked starch (sweet potato, rice, grains, beans, chickpeas) a plant fat (avocado, flax, pumpkin or sunflower seed) and a green herb from the garden.

So a day for them might be ~ cucumber, papaya, carrots, coriander, dry oats, flax seed, boiled rice and beans with a little mashed avocado. Another day could be ~ melon, cucumber, little bit sunflower seeds, banana, pear, steamed sweet potato and pumpkin. Umm..right now in their dish beside me they are nibbling cooked rice and split peas mixed with a little bit of avocado and carrot. I ensure to offer them a wide variety even though they are such sweet girls and it seems would be happy even just munching cucumbers all day long...

I make my own dry mix for them out of whole oats, puffed rice, dried garden herbs, dried fruits and sunflower seeds...however they much prefer sticking to their fresh food. I just sprinkle their dry mix on top of their food every now and again. Or if I am somewhere else for the night I offer them a bowl of dry mix just incase their fresh food goes bad overnight.

My question is just to ask any other rat carers who feed their rats in a similar way, if there is anything that my girls would be missing out on? And if you have any suggestions about foods that your rat companions love?

they are such beautiful sistas and have a lot of love for everyone and I want to care for them as best as I can :hearts:

thank you so much x~~~ :dumborainbow:

Re: Is my rats wholefood diet well rounded?

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:46 am
by Squirrel
We give our rats a little dairy like low fat yogurt or cereal and milk, which they love. Are you vegan? We aren't so I'm not sure but as rats are omnivores like humans, and humans can be vegans, it should be OK. The diet you give the girls does sound very good and varied and just the kind of things rats like, seeds, pulses, grains etc are their staple/preferred food in the wild. And the fruit and veg is good.

The last few batches of rats we have had, we have given them salmon Sheba cat food. Even though I am a vegetarian and my husband eats fish sometimes but not meat. They do absolutely love it.

We give our rats a dry mix like Banana Brunch from Rat Rations. We give that and mix our own other bits in with it like spelt puffs (think Sugar Puffs without sugar) and dried pasta, a few nuts etc. Crunchy corn (like toasted sweetcorn) that we get from Holland & Barrett they adore. And banana chips.

Their favourite treat is white choc chips like you buy to put on muffins and cakes.

Re: Is my rats wholefood diet well rounded?

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:52 am
by cyber ratty
I'm not certain about it as I don't know much about a primarily fresh diet, but to me it seems like there is a distinct lack of grains. A natural diet for rats would be largely made up of straight grains, and you don't seem to have any of those.

Re: Is my rats wholefood diet well rounded?

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:27 am
by tiddlywink
Thank you Squirrel I hope this is how I am supposed to reply to you on here~ Yes I am vegan...I had the same thought process as you before adopting and did a lot of research to ensure it was okay. Oh man yoghurt is a great idea...i could make my own from coconut milk and see if they like that. You've given a great suggestion with crunchy corn ! I have been trying to give them dried corn pasta for something hard to chew on, but they only like it cooked at the moment...but since they do love corn maybe I could find some dried corn for them to nibble ~ how lucky are your ratties getting chocolate! thank you for your suggestions sweet heart

Thank you Cyber Ratty for your thoughts too, do you have any more suggestions on some more grains I can offer them? The ones that they do love already are whole rolled oats, buckwheat, rices and corn.

Re: Is my rats wholefood diet well rounded?

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:25 pm
by cyber ratty
Buckwheat is good in the dry mix, but in addition to processed (e.g. puffed) and or cooked grains, see if you can find:
paddy rice
whole and flaked barley
whole or chips, and flaked maize
dari (milo)
brown basmati rice
and since they are young, and female, you could also safely include wheat, oat, and rye grains (which might cause issues for older bucks who are prone to kidney disease).

You don't mention quantities in your dry mix, I would aim for the straight grains listed above to account for around 50%.
Sunflower seeds are very high in fats, so while a few in the mix might be fine, too many would be a problem.

Re: Is my rats wholefood diet well rounded?

Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:18 am
by tiddlywink
thank you so much sweet bean ! I will take all of these suggestions on board <3
I'm sure flaked barely and millet will be easy to find ~ thank you !
I give buckwheat to them raw... but with these grains you have mentioned are they okay raw aswell?
How do you give them to your ratties?

Ooh yes ~ in their dry mix it is all mostly grains of oats and rice, probably 80%. The pumpkin and sunflower seeds, herb and dried fruit are just a small amount :girly: :hearts:

Re: Is my rats wholefood diet well rounded?

Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:15 am
by cyber ratty
They are all raw - that's how rats would naturally eat them. ;)
tiddlywink wrote:Ooh yes ~ in their dry mix it is all mostly grains of oats and rice, probably 80%.
But you only mentioned rolled oats and puffed rice, that's fine as part of the mix, but I think most of the mix should really be unprocessed, i.e. the natural whole grain exactly as it came off the plant.

Re: Is my rats wholefood diet well rounded?

Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:38 pm
by [cub]
It also sounds to me like there's not an awful lot of protein in the diet? Even though rats don't need loads they do need some: about 10-15% of their diet by weight should be protein-y things if it's legumes.

Rats can eat grains raw so you don't need to cook them, but you will need to cook most legumes obviously. As your girls age (certainly by 18 months) I'd reduce the amount of oats in the diet and switch the grains to be mostly rice, barley, maize, millet, buckwheat, and sorghum (aka dari, aka milo). I personally like to have a mix of both processed and unprocessed grains (to be honest, pretty much all the grains we buy are processed to some degree, so I just chuck in items from as much of the spectrum as I can) so the rats get the benefits of both: processing (especially heat processing) can reduce antinutrients but can also remove nutrients, so I figure if I have some of everything it'll all balance out. :P

Re: Is my rats wholefood diet well rounded?

Posted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:45 am
by tiddlywink
thank you so much for your input cub <3
you are wonderful and appreciated and I will take on board your advice ~ see I didn't know before that I could give them all grains raw. I am making a list now of the raw grains you've all suggested so I can pick them up soon to add it to their mix. And I will start always having their dry mix on offer next to their fresh foods.
you've all been so helpful here, thanks again. so thank full

my girls do munch lots of cooked legumes...they often eat chickpeas, black beans, lentils, split peas, haricot bean and a few other kinds. they love them all ~ so sweet

thank you !

Re: Is my rats wholefood diet well rounded?

Posted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:15 am
by cyber ratty
Do be careful not to overfeed though - in general, a rat will only need about 15g of dry mix per day plus a handful of veg. If you are giving more veg then drop the amount of mix. In your case I'd guess you might want to start off by limiting their dry mix to 10g a day and see how they go. Scatter it over the floor of the cage so that it mixes with their loose substrate - they will then have good fun foraging for it, it's a great form of enrichment. :luck: