New owner confused on how much to feed?

Topics on mixes, tailored diets, foods, supplements, methods, and problem eaters
Post Reply
sarah0712
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:03 pm

New owner confused on how much to feed?

Post by sarah0712 » Sun May 01, 2016 10:11 pm

I've been looking through the 'fresh foods my rats ate today' thread and it seems like most people feed lots of fresh food. I read that rats should have around 20-25g of food daily. How do you fit so much fresh food and their dry food in in one day?!? Mine aren't eating much fresh food at the moment as they aren't used to it, and I'm finding it hard to find things they like. They seem to much prefer their dry food. Any help would be great :)

User avatar
squeakrat
Posts: 822
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:59 pm
Location: Newcastle

Re: New owner confused on how much to feed?

Post by squeakrat » Mon May 02, 2016 7:12 pm

First of all, you could try feeding fresh food at a different time of day to the dry, and the rats might be more likely to try it. They're naturally wary of new foods, so it'll take a while before they'll get used to different things. They might prefer different things as well - my first group refused to eat carrots, but the groups I've had since then have liked them!

More importantly than feeding a lot of fresh food is to give them as much variety as possible. I only feed fresh veg 3-4 times a week, plus they might get bits and pieces of something that I've cooked for myself (1-2 times a week) - for example I've made veggie curry today, so they'll probably get a bit of that tonight. I reduce the amount of dry food they get when I feed fresh. Plus if they're getting something cooked that has grains in, I might skip their dry mix altogether.
Jenny x
:girly: Dory, Silvermist, Pocket :dumbogirly: Belle
:rattyrainbow: Poppy, Tarka, Jasmine, Flora, Penny, Lyra, Cassandra, Luna, Wren, Merryweather, Harper, Izzy, Tigger, Squeak, Bandit, Vandal :rattyrainbow:

sarah0712
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:03 pm

Re: New owner confused on how much to feed?

Post by sarah0712 » Mon May 02, 2016 8:55 pm

squeakrat wrote:First of all, you could try feeding fresh food at a different time of day to the dry, and the rats might be more likely to try it. They're naturally wary of new foods, so it'll take a while before they'll get used to different things. They might prefer different things as well - my first group refused to eat carrots, but the groups I've had since then have liked them!

More importantly than feeding a lot of fresh food is to give them as much variety as possible. I only feed fresh veg 3-4 times a week, plus they might get bits and pieces of something that I've cooked for myself (1-2 times a week) - for example I've made veggie curry today, so they'll probably get a bit of that tonight. I reduce the amount of dry food they get when I feed fresh. Plus if they're getting something cooked that has grains in, I might skip their dry mix altogether.
Thanks. Yes they get their dry food in the morning and their fresh in the evening. But they seem to prefer to nibble at the fresh and spend most of their time digging around for the bits of dry food that are left. Maybe I will cut down on their fresh food then

User avatar
[cub]
Posts: 629
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:04 pm

Re: New owner confused on how much to feed?

Post by [cub] » Tue May 03, 2016 5:48 pm

sarah0712 wrote:I've been looking through the 'fresh foods my rats ate today' thread and it seems like most people feed lots of fresh food. I read that rats should have around 20-25g of food daily.
20-25g of food daily (either dry or fresh) sounds like an awful lot to me if that's per rat! Different rats have different needs, of course: physical size, activity level, ambient temperature, hormones, and genetics all affect how much a rat needs to eat. And of course the quality of the food also affects how much is needed: if the food has a lot of nutritionally poor filler (commercial rodent mixes are particularly prone to this) then a rat will need to eat more of it to get the nutrition it needs, whereas a rat will need to eat less of a more nutritious food.

To give you a vague ballpark idea, I have 4 adult female rats (2 aged 25 months and spayed, 2 aged 7 months and entire, weights ranging from 275-375g) and at the moment, they get 40g of dry mix and 40g of fresh food in total per day: that's 10g of dry and 10g fresh per rat per day. (In the winter they were getting 50g of dry and 50g of fresh, but they need less now that it's warmer.) I've been told I probably give more fresh to my rats than most people, though I don't know how true that is. In any case, if they were getting 20-25g of dry food per day they'd be spherical, and if they were getting 20-25g of fresh food per day I'd have even more of a smeary poo problem! (It's really not much of a problem now that everyone's accustomed to the diet and knows where the litter trays are, but there's still the occasional smear in an unexpected place, particularly after special occasions when they get contraband foodstuffs like birthday cake. ;) )

Their fresh meals aren't all that spectacular most of the time. Broccoli stem is a firm favourite: we have broccoli often ourselves, and the stems usually end up needing a home, which the rats are all too happy to provide. They much prefer their veg cooked, so I slice it up and microwave it briefly for them – you could try that if your rats aren't keen on uncooked fresh veg. I also get different frozen vegetable mixes and microwave those for them to bring in some variety. (I wait for any microwaved veg to cool down a bit before giving it to them, as they have no self-control and will just guzzle hot food. :roll: ) Once a week they get spinach with their vitamin supplement mixed in, and once a week they get either egg or fish, also with their vitamin supplement mixed in. Every so often they get a bit of something different if we've got something else suitable lying around (green bean trimmings, a piece of banana from my breakfast, a mushroom that didn't make it as far as our pasta sauce, etc.), but most of the time it's a rotation of fairly pedestrian but still much appreciated vegetables.

The "fresh foods my rats ate today" thread is self-selecting; people are much more likely to post about especially exciting fresh meals, and a lot less likely to post about more humdrum fresh meals, so the thread is not going to be representative of the average rat's fresh diet. I suspect most rats eat like most people: we eat from the same fairly small selection of meals most of the time, with the occasional experimental recipe or special treat.
Poo-shoveller to: Lia and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit (NLA28), Falere the contrary (NLA36), Mirala the best and finest (NLA36), Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
Avatar by Ursula Vernon.

User avatar
squeakrat
Posts: 822
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:59 pm
Location: Newcastle

Re: New owner confused on how much to feed?

Post by squeakrat » Tue May 03, 2016 9:14 pm

[cub] wrote:20-25g of food daily (either dry or fresh) sounds like an awful lot to me if that's per rat!
But you're feeding 20g per rat daily, and 25g in the winter, so that would imply 20-25g is about the right amount? Presumably depends on the mix between dry and fresh though. I never weigh anything, so I don't have any idea how much I feed - probably too much :lol:
Jenny x
:girly: Dory, Silvermist, Pocket :dumbogirly: Belle
:rattyrainbow: Poppy, Tarka, Jasmine, Flora, Penny, Lyra, Cassandra, Luna, Wren, Merryweather, Harper, Izzy, Tigger, Squeak, Bandit, Vandal :rattyrainbow:

User avatar
squeakrat
Posts: 822
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:59 pm
Location: Newcastle

Re: New owner confused on how much to feed?

Post by squeakrat » Tue May 03, 2016 9:55 pm

Out of interest, I weighed my dry mix for tonight, and I reckon I normally feed about 50g per day. That's between 5 does, so roughly 10g per rat daily. Not bad from my total guess work!
Jenny x
:girly: Dory, Silvermist, Pocket :dumbogirly: Belle
:rattyrainbow: Poppy, Tarka, Jasmine, Flora, Penny, Lyra, Cassandra, Luna, Wren, Merryweather, Harper, Izzy, Tigger, Squeak, Bandit, Vandal :rattyrainbow:

User avatar
[cub]
Posts: 629
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:04 pm

Re: New owner confused on how much to feed?

Post by [cub] » Tue May 03, 2016 10:46 pm

squeakrat wrote:But you're feeding 20g per rat daily, and 25g in the winter, so that would imply 20-25g is about the right amount? Presumably depends on the mix between dry and fresh though.
Oh yes, you're right! I genuinely hadn't thought about it that way. :oops: But you're also right that the dry:fresh ratio then becomes of immense importance. Dry food is around 5-15% moisture (i.e. water), whereas fresh food is about 75-95% moisture. So on average, 10g of dry mix contains 9g of actual food, and the other 1g is water. 10g of fresh food, however, contains on average only 1.5g of actual food, and the other 8.5g is water. So feeding e.g. 5g of dry mix and 15g of fresh food is very very different to feeding 15g of dry mix and 5g of fresh food, even though they both add up to 20g in total. My rats would literally starve on the former, but they would turn spherical on the latter!

To the OP, another possible reason why your rats might not be so keen on fresh food (other than being picky sods, which is also a possibility!) is that they might be getting too much dry mix. As noted above, dry food contains a lot less water and is therefore a lot more calorie-dense than fresh food, so it's reasonable for a rat to prefer it in general to fresh food, unless the fresh food is especially nutritionally high-value (i.e. deliciously fatty, salty, or sugary :D ). If there's still dry mix around the cage when they get their fresh, they might turn their noses up at it just because there's more nutritionally valuable dry food readily available.
Poo-shoveller to: Lia and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit (NLA28), Falere the contrary (NLA36), Mirala the best and finest (NLA36), Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
Avatar by Ursula Vernon.

sarah0712
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:03 pm

Re: New owner confused on how much to feed?

Post by sarah0712 » Wed May 04, 2016 8:57 pm

Yes they have around 10g per rat per day. Now I'm even more confused about how much food to feed :lol: this morning I had to pick out a large amount of the fresh food they were fed 24 hours ago. Is it worth cutting a fair bit on their dry food to see if they'll try more fresh?

User avatar
squeakrat
Posts: 822
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:59 pm
Location: Newcastle

Re: New owner confused on how much to feed?

Post by squeakrat » Wed May 04, 2016 9:03 pm

10g of dry? If you cut down on the amount of dry they get every so often, it's not going to do them any harm, and will encourage them to hoover up any dry mix left over, plus hopefully encourage them to eat the fresh food! Like Cub said, you could try part cooking veg as well to see if that will encourage them to eat it. Have you tried giving them peas? I've never known a rat who refused to eat peas!
Jenny x
:girly: Dory, Silvermist, Pocket :dumbogirly: Belle
:rattyrainbow: Poppy, Tarka, Jasmine, Flora, Penny, Lyra, Cassandra, Luna, Wren, Merryweather, Harper, Izzy, Tigger, Squeak, Bandit, Vandal :rattyrainbow:

sarah0712
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:03 pm

Re: New owner confused on how much to feed?

Post by sarah0712 » Wed May 04, 2016 9:28 pm

squeakrat wrote:10g of dry? If you cut down on the amount of dry they get every so often, it's not going to do them any harm, and will encourage them to hoover up any dry mix left over, plus hopefully encourage them to eat the fresh food! Like Cub said, you could try part cooking veg as well to see if that will encourage them to eat it. Have you tried giving them peas? I've never known a rat who refused to eat peas!
Yes if they're having fresh too. If not they have 20g each. They have had peas. One enjoyed them, one not so much. I definitely have one who is more fussy than the other

User avatar
cyber ratty
Fancy Rats Team
Posts: 5831
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:47 am
Location: South Cambridgeshire
Contact:

Re: New owner confused on how much to feed?

Post by cyber ratty » Thu May 05, 2016 8:19 am

I wouldn't increase the dry mix to 20g on days they aren't getting the fresh, that's quite a lot - as cub pointed out, 10g of dry is a lot more than 10g of fresh.

I feed about 10 - 12g (does) or 12 -15g (bucks) dry mix (rat rations or shunamite based on Harrisons banana brunch) per rat per day regardless of what fresh they are getting unless the 'fresh' is bulky like bread. Usually the fresh is a handful of veg several times a week.

sarah0712
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:03 pm

Re: New owner confused on how much to feed?

Post by sarah0712 » Thu May 05, 2016 4:22 pm

Thanks. I was advised by Rat Rations to feed 20g of food per rat and that should include any food, so dry and fresh

User avatar
cyber ratty
Fancy Rats Team
Posts: 5831
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:47 am
Location: South Cambridgeshire
Contact:

Re: New owner confused on how much to feed?

Post by cyber ratty » Thu May 05, 2016 5:39 pm

Oh - I shall have a chat with them ;)

Post Reply

Return to “Feeding”