What can i feed a baby rat
the Rat Report
This article is from the Rat Health Care booklet. Order one today! Check out the info at Rat Books
by Debbie “The Rat Lady” Ducommun
Note about wild rats: Please see the info at the bottom of the page.
Baby rats are about 1 ½ inches (3.8 cm) long at birth (not counting the tail), and are pink and hairless. House mice are only about ½ to 1-inch (2.2-3.5 cm) long at birth. Deer mice, which is a common wild species found as orphans, are about 1 to 1 ¼-inch (2.5-2.3 cm), long at birth. All of these species start getting fur at about one week of age. At two weeks old their eyes open and they have a very short coat of fur. At three weeks of age their fur gets fluffy. At about four weeks old their fur flattens down again. From this point on, their appearance doesn’t change much, just their size. It is normal for infant rodents to be uncoordinated because their nervous system isn’t completely developed. At three weeks they start to be more and more coordinated.
It’s very difficult to hand raise a baby rat (or mouse) who is less than a week old (a pinkie who doesn’t have any hair yet). The best option is to find a nursing rat to serve as a foster mother. As long as the babies are about the same age as her own, mother rats are almost always willing to adopt orphans. The best way to locate a foster mother is to contact a pet shop that sells reptiles and breeds rats for snake food. Offer to buy a nursing mother. You can also try contacting local breeders or rat rescues, and you will find a list of both on this website.
The best way to introduce new babies to a foster mom is to take the mom out of the cage, then put the orphans in with her own babies, rubbing them all together to get the scent of her own babies on the orphans. If you get a mom who no longer has babies, ask for some of her dirty bedding to put in her new cage, and rub your babies in that. Putting them together in a small cage will help her accept them faster.
If a foster mother isn’t available, the only alternative to save an orphan is to raise him yourself. When attempting to raise an infant rat, there are three elements to consider: warmth, hygiene, and diet.
The best place to keep an orphaned rat before his eyes open is in a small cardboard box on a piece of crumpled felt or fleece (fabric with no threads that can get wrapped around the baby’s legs.) Infant rats can climb better than you might think. Be sure to use a box with a cover and weight it down so the baby can’t climb out.
Until their fur becomes fluffy (at about 3 weeks of age), baby rats can’t keep themselves warm and you must give them supplemental heat. You can supply warmth for the baby with a heating pad (the best option, but be sure it doesn’t have an automatic shut-off feature), a light bulb, or something like a hot water bottle or an product designed to be heated in the microwave. Of course, a hot water bottle or microwaved object will need to be reheated periodically. It’s best to keep a thermometer next to the baby so you know exactly what temperature he is experiencing. Use a small weather thermometer, not a medical thermometer, as the latter can’t record drops in temperature. Keep the temperature around 100-102 degrees F (37.78-38.89 C). This will feel warm to your hand, but not hot. Higher temperatures can be fatal. But if the baby gets too cold, that too can be fatal.
Use heating pads with extreme care as they can get very hot. Start on the low setting and gradually increase as needed until the inside of the box is the right temperature. Put crumpled cloth in the box so the baby can crawl up away from the heat if necessary. Only use cloth that can’t fray, such as fleece, felt or t-shirt material. At two weeks of age you can start gradually reducing the temperature. Light bulbs can also get very hot. Make sure the light bulb is not too close to the baby because it can actually cook him. You absolutely must use a thermometer if you use a light bulb for warmth.
Infant rats can’t go to the bathroom by themselves. They’re stimulated to go only when rubbed around the genitals and anus. This is so the mother can ingest the waste and keep the nest clean. You need to stimulate the baby to pee every time you feed him. He may not poop every time, but he should poop at least every third feeding. Use a piece of toilet paper or tissue and gently flick it across the genital area like the mother would lick him for at least 30 seconds after every meal to take care of this important hygiene matter. If you fail to do so, the rat will die of toxic poisoning from his own wastes. Baby poop is normally soft and yellow or brown until they start eating solid food.
You can clean the baby of spilled food after meals with a damp cotton ball or by dipping him in a warm bath up to his neck and rubbing away the food. Be sure to dry him well. Also give him a full massage after every meal just as his mother would lick him to stimulate his circulation and help him to grow.
It is not unusual for orphaned baby rats to lose their fur or develop peeling skin. Don’t worry about it. The skin will heal and the fur will eventually grow back, usually before wild rats are ready to be released. If by some chance it doesn’t, you must wait until it does grow in before releasing them.
If the baby starts making a clicking sound when breathing that means that he has developed pneumonia and will die without treatment with amoxicillin. Pneumonia can also cause the baby to become weak, cold, and inactive. Mix a 250 mg capsule in 7.5 ml of formula (stir well) and give the baby one tiny drop of the mixture 3 times on the first day (spread equally throughout the day and night) and then twice a day for the next 7-14 days, depending on how quickly the symptoms clear up. For more info on getting and using amoxicillin, see my article about Respiratory Disease.
If necessary, until you buy the correct formula, for the first day you can give the baby dilute sugar water, made with 1 cup hot water ¾ teaspoon sugar, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Stir until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Discard this solution after 8 hours because it can quickly grow bacteria.
I recommend using human infant formula. The nutritional requirements for rats are closer to that of humans than dogs or cats, and if you look at the information on the components of rat milk at the bottom of the page, you’ll see that the percentage of protein and fat in the human formula most closely matches that of rat milk. Be sure to buy the powdered formula, and most rats prefer the soy formula, not the milk-based formula. All human formula contains iron, and all babies need iron, so don’t worry when it says “Now with iron” on the label. Note: The Esbilac Small Animal Goat’s Milk formula is formulated just like puppy Esbilac and is much higher in protein and fat, so I do not recommend it.
Here is the schedule for mixing the formula to give their system a chance to get used to the new formula slowly (this is especially critical for pinkies):
1st feeding 4 parts water to 1 part powder (eg. 2 teaspoons water to ½ teaspoon powder)
2nd feeding 3.5 parts water to 1 part powder (eg. 1¾ teaspoons water to ½ teaspoon powder)
3rd feeding 3 parts water to 1 part powder (eg. 1½ teaspoons to ½ teaspoon powder)
4th feeding 2.5 parts water to 1 part powder (eg. 1¼ teaspoons water to ½ teaspoon powder)
5th feeding 2 parts water to 1 part powder (eg. 1 teaspoon water to ½ teaspoon powder) Then use this mixture from now on unless the baby has problems. See below.
If a baby gets diarrhea, gets bloated or becomes dehydrated, go back to the mixture for the 2nd feeding and progress on from there. To test for dehydration, pinch the skin on the back and see how long it takes for it to go back down. If it takes more than a full second, the baby is dehydrated.
If the baby is still bloated after going back to the more dilute formula, then you can give the baby a homeopathic remedy called Nux vomica, which is good for digestive problems. You can get it at any health food store. Do not touch the pellets with your hands. Tip out one pellet into a ultra-clean dish and dissolve it in a bit of water. Then suck this up into a clean syringe and squirt it into the baby’s mouth.
To mix the formula, first warm the water to about 105°F (which will feel hot). It will cool as you mix in the powder and you want it to end up being about 100°F (slightly warm). You can measure out the amount of water in a tiny container and heat it in a microwave for a few seconds, or you can heat a quantity of water in the microwave or on the stove and then measure out the correct amount of water. Then mix in the powder. If you need to feed several babies, you need to set the container of formula in another bowl of warm water to keep the formula warm. A mug warmer (cheap at Wal-mart) is a great tool to keep the bowl of water warm while feeding.
The amount to give at each feeding is 5% the body weight (in grams) as cc (a ml is the same as a cc). So you multiply the baby’s weight in grams by 0.05. So if a baby weighs 6 g, it should eat 0.3 ml at each meal. (6 X 0.05 = 0.3) A baby who weighs 18 g should eat 0.9 cc. This is critical for pinkies, so you must have a gram scale to keep track of their weights. You can buy an electronic postal scale that will weigh in grams at a stationery store.
Newborn rats normally nurse about every 3 hours. You’ll need to feed pinkies every 3-4 hours during the day and once in the middle of the night for the first week and every 4-5 hours the second week. Feeding too often will prevent proper digestion.
However, getting the formula in baby rats can be a challenge. No matter what method you use, it can take 24-36 hours to get the baby used to nursing on the new nipple and the new taste of the formula, so don’t worry if it seems like the baby doesn’t want to eat at first. Just keep trying. Hold the baby upright, grasping it firmly at the neck. He or she will be very wiggly so you need to hold on pretty tightly.
They tend to grow very slowly until they are old enough to eat out of a dish and then they usually grow very quickly.
Unlike some other animals, such as baby squirrels, the risk of a baby rat aspirating (inhaling) formula is very very low, which makes them pretty easy to raise. However, it is very common for baby rats to suck the formula up their nose. If this happens you will know because it will actually come out the nostrils. Keep an eye on the nose and stop feeding if you see a whisp of white at the nostrils. Use a tissue to wipe as much formula from the nose as possible. The baby will try to sneeze it out. It will take the baby a little bit of time to clear the formula from the nasal cavities, so be patient and continue to wipe off any formula that appears in the nostrils. After a few minutes the baby should be ready to nurse again.
One of the best methods of feeding baby rats is to get an IV catheter or small rubber feeding tube from your vet. These will fit onto the tip of a 1 cc syringe which will help you carefully monitor the amount a baby eats. You will have to cut the feeding tube shorter but it will still be about 4 inches long. The end of the catheter or tube is about the same size as mother’s nipple, but you will still need to slowly squirt the formula into the baby’s mouth. You can also use an eye dropper with a narrow tip. Be careful not to overfill the baby’s mouth which can cause them to get the formula up their nose. Don’t try to use a syringe larger than 1 ml because it will be too difficult to control the amount of formula you squeeze out.
Below is the set-up I use. The catheter is longer than I’d like, but that’s how long it is before it tapers down. Notice how I’m holding the syringe. You will have much better control of it in this position rather than trying to push the plunger with your thumb. Also see that I have the small container of formula sitting on an electric mug warmer (set on high), which keeps it a perfect temperature for feeding. The formula cools down quickly after you suck it into the syringe, so you don’t want to suck up too much at a time. I do about 0.2 ml at a time. This baby is a 2-week-old Norway rat.
This 13-day-old roof rat baby is licking/sucking the catheter.
Another method is to use a tiny piece of rag and form a nipple from one corner. Start by dipping the “nipple” in the formula and squeezing drops into the baby’s mouth. Once the baby starts sucking on the rag, you can drip formula little by little onto the rag with a dropper so you don’t have to remove the nipple from the baby’s mouth. You can also try using a small craft paint brush, or clean eye make-up sponge, the little one on a stick.
You must have the rag, sponge or eye dropper in the baby’s mouth when he sucks so the baby sucks on the “nipple.” DO NOT just drip the formula into his open mouth because he will swallow too much air. This can be fatal because rats cannot burp. Air bloating the stomach must be sucked out with a needle and syringe through the body and stomach wall.
Mixed formula can be refrigerated for 24 hours before you need to discard it. Warm only the amount of formula you need to feed. One way is to place it in a small container sitting in a cup of warm water. You can also microwave the formula if you are very very careful and only do it for 3-5 seconds at a time. Test the temperature of the formula on your wrist before feeding it. It should feel warm but not hot. When I’m feeding more than 1 or 2 babies at a time, I keep the formula warm on an electric mug warmer on high.
Once when I was hand raising a wild roof rat who was just under 2 weeks of age, I thought he hated the formula because he would lick a few drops and then open his mouth as if he was gagging. I finally realized he was opening his mouth to begin power sucking! Infants use their tongue and upper palate to create the suction. Once I got the eye dropper properly positioned up against the roof of his mouth he would suck down about 0.75-1 ml in about 5-10 seconds! All I had to do was lightly squeeze the eye dropper bulb.
This 13-day-old roof rat is power sucking!
Moving from the Nipple to a Dish
When the baby is a week old he will start to get hair. At two weeks of age his eyes will open and he will start to grow teeth. When his eyes have been open for 3 days he will be able to start eating formula out of a little dish. The best thing to use for a dish at first is a tiny lid from a bottle of molasses or mustard. You must place this on a flat magnet (upside-down) to keep the baby from tipping over the lid. The first time you put formula in the dish, do it just after feeding the baby so he can investigate it when he’s not really hungry. Otherwise, he will literally dive into the dish and get the formula up his nose. It will still take him a little while to learn to lick from the dish and you will need to give him a bath after almost every meal. After a few days, if you are feeding a group of babies, you can switch from the catsup lid to a larger baby food jar lid. Once he seems to know how to eat out of the dish, offer fresh formula in the dish at least 3-4 times a day. At this point, the baby should be able to urinate and defecate on his own, but it doesn’t hurt to continue to stimulate elimination before putting down fresh formula.
Once the baby is eating well out of the lid, you can stop the night and bottle feedings. You can also start offering foods such as rat blocks, dry oatmeal and other grains, and little pieces of fruit and veggies. (Soft food can be very messy for babies, and they can eat solid food fine at this point. ) From the age of 2 weeks the baby will gradually start pooping and then peeing on his own. Depending on the individual, you can stop stimulating him to go to the bathroom when he is 2 ½-3 weeks old.
Until their fur becomes fluffy (at about 3 weeks of age), baby rats can’t keep themselves warm and you must continue to give them supplemental heat. By 3 weeks of age the rat will be eating mostly solid food, although he wouldn’t be weaned yet, so you should still be offering some formula. At this age you need to move the baby from a box into an escape-proof cage with a water bottle. When a domestic rat baby is about 3-4 weeks old, it is a good idea to get him or her another rat companion of about the same age. Rats are very social and need to learn how to get along with other rats as a baby. At 4 weeks you can completely wean your baby and stop giving formula, and congratulate yourself on a job well done!
Special Notes for Orphaned Wild Rats
The risk of disease when raising an orphaned baby rat is low. Most diseases that can be transferred to humans would quickly kill a baby rat. However, I recommend you use good hygiene and be sure to thoroughly wash your hands after handling the baby.
For an orphaned wild rat, the best thing is to release it when it is old enough. This is especially true if you raise more than one together as they will be more bonded to each other and less tame. If you really, really want to keep a wild rat or mouse as a pet it will take a lot of extra work. The most common wild rat in California and the southern states is the roof rat which doesn’t make a good pet. Roof rats are very hyper and agile and even when tame tend to be very nervous and flighty. In the other states, the most common wild rat is the Norway rat, the ancestor of the domestic rat and they can make pretty good pets if they are handled and socialized enough, but you must always remember they are wild and might bite if frightened.
If you decide you want to keep a wild rat as a pet, then you need to handle it as much as possible. This is especially true if you hand raise a litter of wild rats. Because they have each other to bond to, they will not bond to you unless you spend a great deal of time handling them. In the case of more than one orphaned wild rat, it is best to plan to release them.
If you decide to keep a wild rat as a pet, it is a good idea to raise it with another rat as a companion. Introduce the baby wild rat to a 4-week-old domestic rat when the wild rat is about 3-4 weeks old. By the time a wild rat is about 6 weeks old, it will probably be too late for it to accept a domestic rat as a companion.
You can release wild rats when they are 6 weeks old. You do not need to separate males from females, even if you must keep them longer. Wild rats do not reach sexual maturity as young as domestic rats, in fact, probably not until 12 weeks. The best place to release a roof rat is an area near a permanent water source, such as a creek, pond, lake, or river, where there are a lot of trees. This is also a good place to release a wild Norway rat, but a Norway rat does not need trees, just a source of water, a place to hide, and a source of food. Some water sources will also be a source of food, supplying fish, frogs, snails, etc. When the babies are 4-6 weeks old, you need to get them used to eating foods they will find in the wild. Offer them live mealworms from a pet shop (in a jar lid to keep them from crawling away), nuts in the shell, and a variety of different fruits, veggies, and grains.
Here is how to release a wild rat. When the baby is about 3 weeks old, give him a little box about 6″ square in his cage for a nest box. Cut a small rat-sized door in it for him. This box should be small enough to easily fit through the door of the cage. This will be the rat’s safe place. You will notice that he will get more and more wild as he gets older and is no longer a little baby and when you approach the cage he will likely run and hide in his box. You can give him shredded paper and dried grass to build a nest in the box. When it’s time to release the rat, reach in the cage and remove the box, using your hand to block the exit. Have packing tape ready and put a piece over the opening to seal it. Also tape closed the lid of the box, and you may also need to tape over any other entrances the rat has chewed in the box. Place the nest box inside another closed box, just in case the rat gets out of the nest box. Drive to the release location and place the nest box in place hidden by bushes, under a fallen tree, etc. Slowly peel off the tape. Leave some rat blocks or seeds next to the box for a temporary food source while the rat learns his new environment.
The time of day for the release is not critical. Although rats are mostly nocturnal, there are more predators out at night too, so during the day is probably the safest time to release a wild rat.
This is the cage I raise wild rats in. It measures 14" X 20" X 24" tall. It’s not a good cage for domestic rats, because the upper floor is made of ½" X 1" mesh, which pets rats can catch their feet in. However, wild baby rats have much smaller feet. (It’s also too small for domestic rats to actually live in.) There is also a wire mesh bottom, which I cover with rabbit food as litter. This wire bottom makes the cage almost escape-proof. As you can see, I have equipped it with an exercise wheel, wood sticks to climb on and a nest box. This is the box I will release the babies in when it’s time.
Rat Milk Components
Range Throughout Lactation (%)
Day Lactose Fat Protein
0 2 - 2. 6 20 - 28.6 7 - 8.6
5 2.4 - 3 5.5 - 15 6.5 - 7.4
10 3 - 3.7 7 - 18 8 - 8.6
15 4 - 4.5 9 - 19 8.3 - 10
20 3.5 - 4.7 8 - 14 8 - 10
Rat Milk Summary
Protein range: 6.5 to 10%
Fat range: 7 to 28.6%
Comparison with commercial formulas:
Human Soy Baby Formula—best match
Esbilac (for puppies)—too high in protein and fat
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The Pittsburgh Rat Lovers Club & Rescue
By Lindsay Pulman with notes & photos by Lisa Dunsey
Call the pet stores to see if any of them have nursing moms with young pinkies, as rats will take in other rat babies very easily. That may be your best option - either buy the nursing Mom with the idea that you can return her with her own pups, or see if they will take in your pinkies and place them with the nursing Mom.
Or, you can hand raise them but it takes a lot of work.
MAYBE IF YOU HAND FEED TO KEEP THEM GOING, YOUR MOM WILL CHANGE HER BEHAVIOR AND START NURSING THEM.
Some females will not lay on the babies and nurse when there is anyone watching. we had one like that - she could hear us coming in the room and would, in a flash, be on top of the box guarding it. We thought she was never on the pups - but, on day three, we picked her up out of there with a towel she was not friendly) and checked each baby, and they all had little crescent milk bellies.
Are you sure there are no milk bellies? if not, get to the store asap and get human soy based infant formula or go to the pet store for kitten milk replacer, get the kind in the small can that is already liquid. All pet stores carry it. You can also buy the powder type & mix it yourself.
You will also need:
(1) A one-ml syringe or a small dropper (1 ml syringe preferred, the drops are smaller).
(2) A box lined with a towel, and a liter plastic pop bottle that you can fill with hot water - cover with a thin towel to allow heat through.
(3) Some Q-tips and a small bowl of warm tap water.
(4) Some Kleenex
Directions to Feed: Warm a small amount of kitten milk replacer or human soy-based infant formula in the microwave until JUST skin temperature. NO warmer than that.
Take a baby, and hold her in the palm of your hand, curled around her, and drop a single drop of milk into one of the creases, near her mouth - she must suckle the milk from your skin.
An alternate position is to hold the baby in your fist, upright, head up, with the mouth near the top of your curled index finger - and place one small drop of milk at a time on the flesh of your index finger, right by her mouth. Once they learn the milk is there they will eagerly suckle it from your skin. The excess can just run down the inside of your hand.
NEVER TRY TO PUT THE MILK DIRECTLY INTO THE BABIES MOUTH WITH THE SYRINGE OR DROPPER. They easily inhale milk if you try this, and once milk gets in the lungs, you will have a serious pneumonia, the baby will die.
Also be careful to not get milk over the nostrils, they don't know to sneeze out, and may suck it in - same result, pneumonia. Let the baby suckle it from your skin which is almost like them nursing on that tiny nipple on Mom's skin.
At the beginning each baby will hopefully eat between .1 and .2 ml, a very tiny amount. You will be doing well.
They must be fed every 2 hours or as close to that as possible. Or, set the alarm to allow 3 hours of sleep and then get up and feed again, for the first week. They will gradually increase the amount they are eating at each feeding.
After each feeding - this is a must - moisten a Q-tip in the warm water and gently roll and stroke that Q-tip over the genital area - both the urinary opening and the anal opening, to stimulate peeing and pooping. You will be able to tell instantly that you have succeeded, the Q-tip will turn yellow.
At the end of the feed, if you can see some milk in the belly you will be doing okay.
Keep them warm, very important. If they are cold, they will not even digest what they take in.
Take the whole litter out at one time, and nestle them under towels next to an object - along the water bottle, or a bowl set out for this purpose.
Keep track of who was fed and who needs it - place one bunch on one side of the object, and the other bunch on the other side.
Keep the cage very warm and dark. Gallon plastic jugs filled with HOT water, around the outside of the cage, then drape towels over the cage. Always put the babies back in the nest, together, after feeding.
Mom may very well turn into a good Mom if you can just keep them alive in the meanwhile. If not, with enough dedication and doing the procedures right, you will be able to hand raise all of them yourself. I have done it twice.
During the second week, you can back off the feedings a little - feed every 3 ot 4 hours all day long, and get up once during the night.
If you take them out for a feed, and they have visible mild milk bands before you start, Mom may be feeding them!
Don't give up. Give it a try, it is one of the most rewarding things to do ... save those little lives.
Additional notes from Lisa Dunsey:
The only thing I would add is when Lindsay actually visited my shelter demonstrating the exact technique she describes in this e-mail on how to feed the babies, Lindsay had a little one that after eating didn't make her waste on the Q-tip. So they don't necessary do it every time you try to get them to go to the bathroom.
Had I not seen Lindsay doing it and then the little one not wanting to go potty I would have thought I did something wrong. Since it was Lindsay and she even said something about the baby not wanting to potty I knew for future feedings of the babies that they may not go even with help from us with the Q-tip. So every feeding I would do the Q-tip after feeding but not necessarily would the babies make waste. In closing though you should always try to make them pass waste each time you are feeding them.
How to feed a rat at home
Usually, pet rat owners don't bother themselves with making menus for their pet. After all, everyone knows that in their natural environment, rats are absolutely omnivores. However, if you want your pet to be healthy and live happily ever after with you, the issue of feeding a domestic rat must be taken seriously.
Your pet's diet must first of all be balanced. About 60% of the total food should be carbohydrates, 25% protein and no more than 10% fat. Breeders believe that if a rat eats about 30-40 grams of food per day, this is quite enough for her for an active life. nine0003
The diet of a domestic rat
So, we have already agreed that your pet's menu should be varied. It should include meat and fish, fruits and vegetables, nuts and cereals, cereals and, of course, greens.
In addition, a domestic rat must be offered something hard, such as crackers or carrots. This is necessary for rodents to grind their teeth, since their teeth grow constantly throughout their lives.
When offering meat to your pet, pre-boil or steam it. By the way, decorative rats eat broths and soups with great pleasure. Treat your pets to liquid foods from time to time. nine0003
If you want to offer fruits or berries to your pet, be sure to remove the stones from them. Hydrocyanic acid, which in small quantities is not harmful to humans, is poisonous to rodents.
The diet of a domestic rat must include milk and dairy products. The main thing is that they are not very fatty and not sweet.
Useful foods for your rat's balanced diet include: bananas, onions, plums, garlic, eggplant, yeast, fish oil. nine0003
What not to feed rats
But what definitely should not be in your pet's diet is sweet, spicy and fatty foods, as well as salty foods and citrus fruits. The list of prohibited foods also includes: raw potatoes, beets, beans, Brussels sprouts and spinach.
Make sure your rat always has access to clean water. The water in the drinker must be changed daily.
It will be very useful to add vitamin and mineral supplements to your pet's food, which can be purchased at any Zoo Gallery store. nine0003
Pay close attention to how much food your animal eats. Rats can chew for days on end, which leads to obesity and negatively affects the health of the pet.
Everything that your pet has not eaten during the day must be removed from the cage in order to prevent the rat from being poisoned by spoiled foods.
For those who do not have enough time to prepare a balanced and varied diet for rats, there are ready-made industrial feeds. There have been quite a few of them on the shelves lately. Such foods can be used as the basis for feeding a domestic rat, but it will still be very useful for your pet to receive natural food along with ready-made food. nine0003
How should a domestic rat eat? The basis of good pet health is the correct conditions of detention and a complete diet.
Not everyone thinks about how to properly feed a rat. It is generally accepted that she is omnivorous and indestructible, she can safely eat even a piece of cardboard, even sawdust. In most situations, rat owners go two ways: either feed the rat like a hamster, or give the leftovers from the table. Both of these approaches are wrong. nine0003
Feeding a rat properly is actually quite simple. You need to choose only healthy foods and give her the right amount of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Composition of the diet
The basis of the diet of domestic rats is a grain mixture. It is best to choose a ready-made mixture than to create a menu yourself, adding the ingredients in the correct percentage. Food can be given without restrictions, a rare rat will eat more than 30 g.
In addition to the grain mixture, it is necessary to add succulent feed to the diet. These are vegetables, herbs, fruits, salads. Protein must also be present in the diet. This is especially true during active growth, pregnancy or breastfeeding. nine0003
In addition, you can give your pet treats. It can be seeds, nuts, dried fruits. There should be a limited amount of treats in the diet, it is best to use them as a reward.
The diet looks something like this: grains (60%), vegetables and herbs (20%), meat and eggs (10%). The rest of the diet is occupied by dairy products and treats.
The basis of the rat's diet is a grain mixture. You need to choose a proven manufacturer who maintains a balance when compiling feed. If you can’t find good ready-made food, it’s better to cook it yourself than to buy low-quality food, which consists of almost 80% oats. A complete diet should include oats, wheat, barley and rye. nine0003
It is better not to take food in a cardboard box, as it is stored in unsealed packaging, and if it is near chemicals, the rat can easily get poisoned. You only need to buy compounds in impenetrable packaging and it is better to do this not in an ordinary supermarket, but in a specialized veterinary store.
You can buy not only grain mixture, but also granular feed. This food is similar in composition to ordinary grain, it is bought in the case when the rat eats selectively, eating the most delicious and leaving the grain intact. nine0003
Vegetables and fruits for rats
Rat needs juicy food every day. It is better to give preference to lettuce and vegetables, they have few calories, but fruits and berries have a lot of sugar, it is better not to abuse them and use them more as a treat.
Juicy feeding should be limited. Exceeding the norm, feces can turn green, become fetid and too soft, sometimes this can lead to diarrhea.
When feeding with succulent food, preference is given to local and seasonal fruits, the peel must be removed from it, about 30 g per day should be given to an adult rat. New types of products are introduced gradually, it is important to monitor the reaction of the animal and its well-being. nine0003
Carrots, cucumber, zucchini, pumpkin can be given from vegetables, parsley, dill and basil are suitable for greens, salad leaves can be added to the diet: spinach, corn, arugula, chard.
For fruits, you can use apple, peach, banana, apricot. You can occasionally spoil the rat with berries. It can be strawberries, strawberries, currants, raspberries, cherries and blueberries.
Protein in the diet of the rat
The rat is not a rabbit or a guinea pig, it cannot do well on a vegetarian diet, it is important for it to get protein. An adult individual is given protein food twice a week, young individuals - twice as often. But moderation is important in this matter - an adult animal needs only 20 g at a time.
Rat can be given lean boiled meat, boiled eggs, fish, shrimp or squid. If you have several rats living in your house, then you need to give them protein supplements individually, since they are very fond of such food and can fight for it. As a result, someone will be oversaturated, and someone will not receive their norm.
If you give a rat an egg, then boil it soft-boiled so that the rat does not choke on the boiled yolk. A quail egg can be given along with the shell, the rat can clean it herself or eat it right. nine0003
The animal loves fish or seafood, but after eating it, the urine acquires an unpleasant odor.
Rat and milk
Many rats like sour milk. It is an excellent source of protein and calcium at the same time. But not all animals digest lactose due to a lack of lactase. In this case, the animal may have a stomach ache and begin to upset the stool.
Whole milk is contraindicated for rats, as well as fatty dairy products. With good tolerance, you can give the rat cottage cheese, yogurt, fermented baked milk and other products. It is important that their fat content is below 5%, they do not contain sugar and other additives harmful to the animal. It is necessary to introduce such food into the diet gradually from small portions and carefully monitor the health of the animal. Dairy products are not given on days when other protein foods are given. nine0003
Treats for rats
The rat is trainable and can be taught to follow a few simple commands. But during training, you need to encourage the animal, while not harming it. And even without training, sometimes you want to pamper your pet with a treat.
The main thing to remember is that treats should not be sweet. Use nuts or seeds, give out 1 piece per paw a couple of times a week. This is a fatty and high-calorie product that can damage in large quantities. It is impossible for nuts or seeds to be fried or salted. You can give seeds of watermelon, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame. nine0003
Other promotional items may be:
- unsweetened wheat or corn flakes;
- puffed rice or popcorn plain;
You can take a stick and dip it in yogurt, the rat loves to lick it.
Rat should not eat food that contains salt, sugar, any dyes and flavors, preservatives and spices. Human food is not for them. nine0003
This rodent has a rather weak liver, so it is important to exclude all fatty foods from the diet: cheese, sour cream, lard, butter.
It is important to exclude from the diet all vegetables that contain solanine, that is, all vegetables of the nightshade family. These are potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, sweet peppers.
The diet should not contain foods that increase gas formation in the intestines.