Couple of Food/Snack Questions

Chels

New Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2019
Messages
3
Location
Newfoundland, Canada
Hi guys, I'm currently in the process of figuring out the best diet options for my two boys. I have read the reference thread links as well as several other pages and just have a couple questions.

My guys are eating Oxbow adult rat food which I have read is a pretty good block I think! I have only had them a week and the food came with them from their previous owner. I have tried a couple of treats for them to see what they like, and its a win on carrots and sunflower seeds (which I'm planning to switch out for pumpkin seeds if I can find them), and ONE of them liked pear when I offered it. (Merry is picky... lol.)

I'm making a list of things to pick up, especially to give them as a daily veg offering which I've read is good to do.

I am wondering about the following things:
-Lettuce. I haven't really read much about lettuce. Good, bad? I haven't really seen it mentioned anywhere, and I know certain types are not good for other types of rodents. However it is the most readily available green where I live, so I figured I would check.
-Spinach. I have seen mixed reviews. I read one article that said it was quite bad, and then saw a lot of people that said they fed their rats spinach.
-Egg. I've seen people offer their rats hard-boiled eggs, or scrambled eggs. I assume that this would be a treat to give quite rarely? With two rats, how much would I be able to give them at once without it being too much? An egg seems so big compared to them. Lol.
-Cabbage. Another I haven't seen much about, and I know it gives the best of us gas.

*I would like to add that I live on a pretty isolated island, so sometimes certain fresh veggies are quite hard to get my hands on.

Thanks in advance guys!
 

Dena

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
340
Location
Texas
Some like Kale or baby kale, broccoli, cilantro (easy to grow indoors if you can get seeds), I give baby greens, grapes, baby carrots, fresh pumpkin, scrambled eggs (once in a while, and I only give about half an egg to each at most), raspberries (beware, too many can irritate tummies, and makes poops RED-ish), if I'm eating something that's not spicy, and seems safe, I'll sometimes give nibbles, cooked beans, dried cranberries, raisins, plain cheerios, wheat bix, I sometimes give plain corn flakes as well. Also, a BIG hit in our house is corn on the cob! Mine will steal it from each other, squeak, and roll around with the cob. It's quite entertaining! Sometimes I'll give cooked, and cooled, other times like in the hot months, I'll do frozen. Once in a while if I have chicken, I'll give them what's left on the bone. They love the bones, and they are able to digest them.

Sorry I can't give much input on lettuce, since I don't really feed it. Or at least not iceberg. I don't think I've fed cabbage either. But rats can, and do fart! Believe me, mine can clear a room! And it always takes me by surprise when I'm holding one on my shoulder, and they rip one in my face! :D

Also, keep in mind that rats will usually do a couple of "test" bites, to make sure it won't make them sick or kill them. Then, usually on the next time you try to feed that food, they will eat it if they liked it. So if you don't see them eating something when you introduce it, don't take it as them not liking it.
 

ViciousCurse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2019
Messages
79
Location
Minnesota, USA
Lettuce is very high in water. Romaine is better than iceberg since iceberg is very watery. My guys eat it with very little issue lol. I usually buy a salad mix (without any sort of dressing) and give it to them. More often than not, they eat everything including the cabbage.

I buy fruits and veggies in bulk and then I freeze them. I take what I need, put the rest back in the freezer, and then rinse and repeat. My boys don't seem to notice or care fresh versus frozen. If anything, the frozen stuff is better in the summer since it can also cool them down.

My boys get hard boiled eggs pretty infrequently. I give with the shell and then pick up any left behind pieces. Yolk is very fatty and I usually give it to my rats who are struggling to keep weight (i.e. old boys) when they've had too much watery foods such as baby food. Yolk has a lot of the nutrients in the egg. But, due to the high protein amount, we typically don't recommend feeding it frequently.

Spinach is a hit or miss with most rats based on personality. Some don't like the leafy texture, and some don't mind it. It's high in iron, although some of it can't be absorbed properly due to it being on-heme iron. Spinach contains a lot of Vitamin C, which contributes to iron absorption. I usually never give too much since my rats tend to get soft, stinky poos afterwards. Generally I give other leafy greens such as kale or collard greens instead. For some reason, more of my rats prefer kale over spinach.

Make sure any seeds you give them are unsalted and not seasoned.

At least where I live, pomegranates are out of season but they are a HIT with my rats. They love the seeds, but it tends to dye their faces and feet red, especially on my lighter colored rats. But, since it's a fruit, it can cause soft poos if given in high quantities. I just bought a pomegranate yesterday. I end up sharing that whole thing with my rats and bird (who is also in love with pomegranate seeds).
 

SQ

Senior Member - Vegan for the animals
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
17,199
Location
central New Brunswick Canada
Oxbow is one of the two recommended blocks for rats and stores may agree to order it in bulk - a large bag. Harlan 2014 can also be ordered in bulk from an online store in Ontario that also sells pet toys etc.
Yes, a variety of daily vegs is very important
Iceberg lettuce isn't that good ……. mixed greens are good and are often a variety of baby lettuces and other greens
Spinach is something to only feed in moderation if at all

Baby kale is extremely healthy, good, and they love it (you can buy organic baby kale seeds and grow your own)
Broccoli is another veg they love
Seeds are occasional treats because they are fattening ….. imo organic squash and pumpkin seeds are the best - I get squash seeds from baking a squash, and purchase organic pumpkin seeds at a health food store

Rats need low protein and it is best if it comes from plant sources …. animal products cause disease … thus mine do not get eggs etc

Rats can fart but not belch etc ….. everything I have read states to avoid foods that cause gas

Fresh or frozen/thawed vegs are best, organic whenever possible.
Cooked whole grains are good ….. mine like cooked organic whole grain oatmeal or 12 grain cereal with wild blueberries (I buy in season and freeze so the ratties have them all year round)
Processed foods are not good, plus they often contain additives, GMOs etc

Mine get the following depending on the season or availability: organic mixed greens, baby kale, broccoli, cooked sweet potato, cooked or raw organic carrots, frozen/thawed peas (be careful as they do not eat the outside skin which will dry and be hard and if left in the cage they may eat later and can choke on them - very dangerous)
cooked squash, cooked potato, a piece of cucumber, I have tried cauliflower before and some people report that their rats like it
cooked whole grains such as : organic oatmeal or 12 grain cereal, cooked quinoa, other cooked whole grains, homemade bean/lentil/barley/veg soup (no added salt etc), a few cooked beans or cooked chick peas
a piece of ripe banana, pieces of watermelon or cantaloupe, wild blueberries, a piece of skinless apple - no seeds as they contain cyanide
treats: organic kumut puffs (a breakfast cereal with no additives), organic pumpkin seeds, a few cooked chick peas, a couple of cooked kidney beans

What prov. are you in? You might want to include that in your profile as location can make a difference when people ask questions
 
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Chels

New Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2019
Messages
3
Location
Newfoundland, Canada
Thank you guys so much for the advice! I've got a few new things jotted down on my list to look for. Freezing veg is something I will definitely look into because that could make a huge difference financially.

I am located in rural Newfoundland! I will add that to my profile. Our veggie quality is not always the best and organic is almost unheard of in my neck of the woods. However I'm keeping my eyes out for goodies for the boys. I tried kale yesterday and today with them and it seems like they've been munching on it. I have noticed them playing the "test bite" game, bananas didn't seem like much of a hit but maybe they'll be more up for it next time I offer. As far as I'm aware these boys were not offered any veg or fruit whatsoever in their previous home. (Only those colourful pet store treats in bags.)
 

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