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 Post subject: Getting my first rats this week, am I overthinking the diet?
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 7:50 pm 
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Location: Nottingham, UK
Hi everyone!

As the title says, I'll be getting my new rats this week and I feel like I've worried myself into a corner about their diet. I will have 3 bucks, just over 8 weeks (need to double check with breeder) and I'd planned to give them about 15g each of Rat Rations #11 with some fresh food a few times a week (raw kale, broccoli, carrots, some fruit). I was also going to give them an egg once or twice a week to add protein.

Will this diet be generally ok for a while, if I taper off the amount of egg as they get older (and experiment with different fruit and veggies)? Do I need to add in some Banana Brunch as well?

I also have some Daily Essentials 1 for the water, and some Calcivet powder to sprinkle on the fresh food.

Thanks for any and all advice, I think I'm just getting panicky as I've never had rats before and don't want to mess anything up!

Lisa
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 Post subject: Re: Getting my first rats this week, am I overthinking the d
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 8:42 pm 
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Hiya, congrats on entering the wonderful world of rats! I'm not the most experienced so will need someone to confirm I am correct but 15g sounds like a perfect amount per day (it's what I feel my girls) however it may be easier on their tummies if you give them a small amount of fresh veg every day instead of larger amounts a few times a week as too much veg in one go can cause an upset tummy. I would also say that maybe limiting eggs is a good idea as I believe too much protein can be very bad for them and make them more likely to develop tumors. But the occasional egg or bit of cooked chicken makes the perfect treat!

Someone with more experience please correct me if I'm wrong!
Good luck and keep us updated!
- Lisa :) X

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 Post subject: Re: Getting my first rats this week, am I overthinking the d
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 8:44 pm 
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Also I believe that the ratio of fruit and veg for rats should be about 3/4 veg and 1/4 fruit as fruit contains a lot of sugar, so the amount should be limited :)

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 Post subject: Re: Getting my first rats this week, am I overthinking the d
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:56 pm 
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If you'll be supplementing their diet with Calcivet and Daily Essentials 1, then you needn't feed them Banana Brunch as well as Rat Rations #11. But if you want to, you can feed a mixture of both (as many people do), and since the Banana Brunch is supplemented, you'll be able to reduce the amount of Calcivet/Daily Essentials 1 you give. That's entirely up to you though; either works. :)

Your boys will almost certainly need the extra protein from the eggs (or any other high-protein food – fish, chicken, or high-quality wet dog/cat food are other common options) for the first 2-4 weeks after they move in with you. At 8 weeks old, they'll probably still be growing very quickly and therefore need the extra protein boost to support that growth. You're correct that you want to taper that off as they grow up, as excessively high protein diets are linked to a number of health problems as Lisaxjayne mentioned. How much egg (etc.) and how often, and when to taper off and how quickly, are all things that you should discuss with your breeder – some lines mature faster than others, so the exact timing varies.

15g of dry mix per buck per day sounds like it's in the right ballpark, but keep an eye on their weight and condition: they shouldn't be losing weight at their age, so if you do get a weight loss (that's more than the random day-to-day fluctuation) then they obviously need a little bit more. If they start looking a bit podgy, then they need a bit less.

As for fresh food, some people feed fresh food daily, some people feed a few times a week. It really depends on your preferences and your rats. Different rats seem to differ in how much fresh food they can tolerate before they get inconveniently smeary poos :lol: and additionally, I personally have found that rats can take several weeks to acclimatise to an increase in fresh food. (I apparently feed a lot of fresh compared to most people, but all my rats are used to it now and they'd organise a strike if I didn't give them their broccoli!) I've never heard the 3:1 ratio for veg:fruit thing before, but that seems reasonable – mine rarely get fruit anyway (because I'm mean) but I wouldn't want them to have it too often.

Don't stress too much, and enjoy your new rats! :luck:

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 Post subject: Re: Getting my first rats this week, am I overthinking the d
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 11:44 pm 
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[cub] wrote:
...Your boys will almost certainly need the extra protein from the eggs (or any other high-protein food – fish, chicken, or high-quality wet dog/cat food are other common options) for the first 2-4 weeks after they move in with you. At 8 weeks old, they'll probably still be growing very quickly and therefore need the extra protein boost to support that growth. You're correct that you want to taper that off as they grow up, as excessively high protein diets are linked to a number of health problems as Lisaxjayne mentioned. How much egg (etc.) and how often, and when to taper off and how quickly, are all things that you should discuss with your breeder – some lines mature faster than others, so the exact timing varies.

...I've never heard the 3:1 ratio for veg:fruit thing before, but that seems reasonable – mine rarely get fruit anyway (because I'm mean) but I wouldn't want them to have it too often.:



Definitely listen to this advice ^^ haha thanks for correcting me, just thought I'd try and help :) I do animal care at college, and when the rats get fruit they're always given 1/4 of the amount of veg so that's where I got that from lol! Not sure how accurate is though ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Getting my first rats this week, am I overthinking the d
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:54 am 
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I hope you don't think me rude jumping in Glitter_bug, it's just that we have just adopted two babies 7 and 8 weeks so this thread is proving useful for me :)
I just wanted to ask - when the babies have their wet (protein rich) meal, does that mean that their dry mix for that day gets halved? Hope I'm not confusing things :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: Getting my first rats this week, am I overthinking the d
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:50 pm 
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ElizabethW wrote:
I just wanted to ask - when the babies have their wet (protein rich) meal, does that mean that their dry mix for that day gets halved? Hope I'm not confusing things :oops:


It depends (I know, I hate that too :lol: ) on how much fresh extras they're getting, and what it consists of. I only gave my rats small amounts of high-protein fresh food (e.g. a teaspoon of wet dog food per rat) when they were young, so I didn't reduce their dry mix at all. But if you're making up a proper meal for them – a nice big bowl of protein-y goodness plus cooked carbs, say – then reduce their dry mix accordingly. I've done a bit of number crunching and I think for a carbs+protein meal: divide the weight of the fresh meal by 3, and reduce the dry you give by that amount. (So e.g. if you give them 10g of cooked pasta and 20g of roast chicken, that's 30g of fresh extras, so reduce their dry mix by 10g that day.)

ETA: Disclaimer: I don't actually know that much about feeding young rats, so I'm basing my advice on the advice I've been given/picked up myself, plus some data-munging. If you have any doubts, ask your breeder! (Rescue youngsters are harder, I spent the first several weeks fretting that I was doing it All Wrong™ but nobody died as a result, so... :? :lol: )

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Poo-shoveller to: Zephyr Delanynder, Lia, and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Falere the contrary NLA36, Mirala the best and finest NLA36, Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
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 Post subject: Re: Getting my first rats this week, am I overthinking the d
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:39 pm 
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Thank you so much, that's extremely helpful :D

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 Post subject: Re: Getting my first rats this week, am I overthinking the d
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 6:17 pm 
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Thanks everyone, all very helpful! I like the look of the Banana Brunch so will grab a bag when I do my next order.
I'm chatting to the breeder tonight so hopefully will get a bit more info- she said she doesn't like to bombard new owners with too much info at first, but she has lots of care sheets and details for me now!
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 Post subject: Re: Getting my first rats this week, am I overthinking the d
 Post Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:45 pm 
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Hi Glitter_bug and ElizabethW. I just wanted to say, congratulations on your new babies, and a big DON'T WORRY. :D Feeding rats isn't an exact science and really you'll soon tell how much is enough by watching how your little ones grow. Their bodies should be sleek and well covered but with no boney-ness or flabbiness. Trust our gut. The other good indicator of good nutrition in that rapid phase of growth, is tail development, and while at times the tail might look to have slightly square edges around where it attaches to the body (when a rat is growing quickly), the tail should definitely be round as it progresses away from the body. Rats love food, and feeding them should be a shared pleasure, not something fraught with worry. Just follow the principles of mainly grains, pulses, seeds and vegetables, with some extra protein, a bit of fruit and a few nuts now and then for a treat. If your using the Rat Rations mix (which is ace) don't forget you'll need to add the DailyRat3 supplement, or something else that will add some copper, Vit D and calcium.

All the best for to you and the little ones - and you're in great hands here for ongoing advice, if the worry gets the better of you! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Getting my first rats this week, am I overthinking the d
 Post Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:25 am 
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Thank you Tabirat for the reassurance :) I always worry about feeding babies - to me they always come perfect from the breeder and I get scared of 'breaking' them :roll: The info on square tail edges is good to know too as most of them have gone through a phase of having a square edge when they're growing. I want to start making up my own mixes eventually, so I definitely need to start learning to trust my gut on how they are looking and not worry so much!

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Fizz, Cuddles, Bubbles, Horace, Ollie, Humphrey, Fergus, Max, Monty - "All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle"


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