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Too many cherios???

Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:10 pm
by emmakc
Hi everyone, we got three rats a couple of weeks ago (they are now around 8 weeks old). They were from a breeder and are all males.

I purchased rat food (Excel Burgess Rat Nuggets) from Amazon and I'm filling up their three bowls each day. The bowls are tiny and came with the cage. They pretty much eat all of the food at night and I fill it up the next morning. I'm not really sure how much I should feed them as the instructions go on the weight of the rat and I've no clue how much they weigh! If they are eating it all, do you think I'm over feeding them?

My main question is about cheerios. My daughter and I give them cheerios when they are having free time and also sometimes when they come up to the bars to say hello. They are still quite nervous but getting more and more friendly and absolultely love cheerios. I'm just not sure if we are giving them too many!!

Any other tips for treats for the rats?

Thank you

Re: Too many cherios???

Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:36 am
by cyber ratty
Hi, welcome to the forum and to rat keeping. :)

I'm sorry to say you've been badly advised...
1) rats should be given a good quality mixed diet full of varied tastes and textures, so nuggets are not only unsuitable because they are homogenous, but the burgess ones (also the PAH ones because they are the same) have been linked to an increased chance of tumour growth. Have a look on the Rat Rations at their complete mixes which are fab.
2) don't use a bowl for feeding, scatter the right amount of food (approx 15g per rat per day for a RR mix) over the floor so it mixes in with their loose substrate, and then the rats will enjoy foraging for it. It's a very natural, healthy, and enriching way for them to eat.
3) cheerios are high in sugar, so for treats, use something healthy like a pea, a bit of bread, or occasionally a seed. Most rats will be happy to be given a piece of food from their RR mix.

We're very happy to help you do well for your rats, so please have a browse through our articles and discussion threads, and ask us anything you like. :luck:

Re: Too many cherios???

Posted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:17 pm
by emmakc
Hi Mary

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I will bin all of the Burgess rat nuggest when I get home tonight!!! Funily enough, instincitvely, I didn't like the look of it - I thought it looked boring so ordered some Beaphar Care+ for Rats from ratRations, which came yesterday. I was going to finish the three bags I ordered of Burgess and change but will throw it away now.

I was really confused about buying the complete mixes as I read somewhere that you have to add vitamins so went for one where it was all just in one packet. I will give them a call now and see exactly what I need to buy. I'll also stop with the cheerios. There's so many videos on YouTube where they give the rats cheerios for training that I thought it would be ok!!

I really apprecate your response - I love those little boys so much already and I've only had them two weeks! This website has been brilliant, I read about using a dressing gown to bond and OMG it works so well. They are starting to come out whenever they hear us now rather than hiding and they are getting so much braver and really all three have different personalities.

It's all a learning curve, we bought the The Plaza Tall Rat cage from Little Pet Warehouse as it looked great but I've now realised that it's really hard to get them out (tiny openings) without pulling the whole thing apart and a nightmare to clean. So I've ordered the Savic Royal Suit for my daughter for Christmas as the whole front opens up, which I think will be better. Hope so or it's an expensive mistake.

Thanks again. Emma

Re: Too many cherios???

Posted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:27 pm
by emmakc
Sorry, one last question about scatter feeding.

We are using Finacard in the bottom of the cage. We then have one big shelf and one small shelf in the cage, which I've been putting fleece on (one is plastic and one is wood). Then we have a couple of hammock things, a wooden house and food bowls/water bottles in there and a tube. We also have a big litter box in the bottom tray.

I've been reading up and some people say change the Finacard every few days to stop the smell, but other people say do it at most once a week or they will pee more to scent mark. I've been spot cleaning to take out bits of poop but inevitabely I'm going to miss some.

Does scatter feed mean just scatter the food on the bottom shelf where the Finacard is and does it matter if I've missed some poo?

I'm sorry if this is a silly question - I just can't get my head around them eating where they might poo!

Thank you

Re: Too many cherios???

Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:36 pm
by cyber ratty
Yes, scatter it over the finacard, and change it after a week, or once they are in the SRS (great choice! :D ) you may find it lasts more like a fortnight.

Rats adore eating where they poo, lol! There's nothing to worry about, in fact they re-ingest some poos anyway to a, it's known as coprophagy. ;)

Incidentally, you've not mentioned ropes... you can never have too many ropes in a cage! Criss cross them around, level and at angles, taut and slack, thin and thick - they are a great enrichment item for the rats to climb, balance, and navigate. You can buy queue barrier ropes from ebay for a fiver, large dog ropes from Wilko or B&M, horse lead ropes, or just plait your own using old clothes or multiple strands of rope washing line. :luck:

Re: Too many cherios???

Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:04 pm
by emmakc
Haha that’s gross!! I’ll get some ropes as we’ve none of those. I can’t believe how quickly they are coming along, we got them out today in the playpen and they were running up my arms and onto my lap which is a first.

I know it sounds crazy but I’m already worrying that 3 years is just not enough time - we love them so much already.

We bought a great playpen of amazon which means no more hanging out in the bathroom lol

Re: Too many cherios???

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:54 am
by cyber ratty
I'm afraid the average life expectancy is actually only 2, getting to 3 is uncommon, and they often look pretty decrepit by then.

It is hard that their lives are so short, but they pack a lot in, and if you can focus on how special it was to have had them, rather than on how sad their loss is, then you'll get by. Don't forget to plan to add a couple of babies to the group after a while, to keep the group rolling on, so you'll have other rats to comfort you (and each other) when the time comes.