Optimal Diet Tips

Jake S.

Apr 13, 2018
Oregon, USA
Hello all, I've read a lot about the do's and dont's of rat diets. What they can eat and what will make them sick. What I haven't been able to find is a solid weekly diet for rats, such as what and how much to give every day or throughout the week.
So far my four young girls are free fed Oxbow Young Rat and Mouse, and I usually cut up an apple and leave it in their bowl when I get home around five or so, and remove the leftovers the next morning. I feel like it's a pretty basic diet and that I could be doing more for variety and nutrition. Occasionally I'll give them a tomato in substitute for an apple, but they don't seem to excited about it. Other than that I use seeds (very sparingly) for socialization training, and I plan on switching to plain Cheerios once they're a bit more comfortable.

All I really want to know is what some of you veterans recommend for a daily/weekly feeding routine, bonus points for tips on keeping young rats growing healthy and strong. Thanks! :)


Senior Member - Vegan for the animals
Jul 21, 2007
central New Brunswick Canada
1. feed a good block (Oxbow or Harlan Teklad 2014 are recommended) ... most free feed the block

2. daily vegs - feed a variety of fresh or frozen/thawed
suggestions: baby kale, broccoli, cauliflower cooked & mashed, baked squash, mixed greens, cooked sweet potato, pieces of cucumber, organic corn (frozen/thawed or on the cob), cut up carrots (organic tastes better), peas (frozen/thawed or fresh), cooked turnip, a small amount of cooked (from dry or fresh) beans or chickpeas or lentils, etc ....... mine love homemade vegtable & bean/chickpea/lentil/barley soup (no added salt etc)
One experienced member suggests to remove any vegs uneaten within an hour

3. ground up flax seeds sprinkled on food

4. healthy treats such as:
- grains - cooked (real) oatmeal or 12 grain cereal, or buckwheat, cooked quinoa (with seed coat removed), etc
- berries - blueberries especially are very healthy .... organic is best as berries often have a lot of pesticides used on them
- a piece of fruit such as ripe banana, apple (not peel, not seeds), (boys can not have oranges), watermelon, cantaloupe, etc .... organic is best as fruit usually is grown with a lot of pesticides
- seeds such as organic pumpkin seeds, backed squash seeds etc
- organic cereal with no added sugar - such as kumut puffs

My rats enjoy cooked oatmeal or 12 grain cooked cereal with (frozen/thawed purchased from local farmers market in the summer) wild blueberries on top

* No foods with added salt, added sugar, added fat, added artificial sweetener
* Try not to feed processed or canned foods due to chemicals, GMO, etc
* Stay away from GMOs
* Clean off pesticides as much as possible

According to research, rats need low protein (less then 14% as high protein causes organ damage) and they do best on protein from plant sources

As for amounts ... depends on the rats .... as for what exactly to feed, it depends on what they like, and what is affordable - the important thing is to provide variety
We do not have a schedule of what to feed, how much and when because it changes, the same as what and how much you eat probably changes due to a number of factors. But I would suggest you start giving a variety of vegs every day and also a variety of healthy treats
btw cheerios are GMO and contain added sweeteners so you might want to try to find a substitute

Food dos and don't by Jorats https://www.ratshackforum.com/threads/food-dos-and-donts.22782/#post-343892

If you want to spend a lot of time on it, you can get a list of what rats need in their diets (vits. minerals etc - here is one but I am not sure if it is correct http://ratfanclub.org/nutreq.html ) .... and design a complete homemade real food diet that meets all of their nutritional needs and is healthy, using a tool like chronometer .....
However, to my knowledge no one has come up with one yet which is why we feed blocks

There is one diet that some say is good, But it has a few problems with it (Jorats can explain) and it is here http://www.ratfanclub.org/diet.html
Last edited:
Nov 5, 2020
Corvallis Oregon
I totally recommend watching emiology on YouTube she has a video about how she makes her rat food! I absolutely love the mix she makes if you live in the us like I do she says she uses the banana brunch mix but it is impossible to find in us so I use the tiny friends farm remmie the rat food as the base! I love mixes I use 1/8 cup per rat. I also follow with treats and veggies 3 times a week which consists of a base: spring mix, romaine, spinach. Fruits: banana, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, and veggies: tomato, bell pepper, cucumber and much more I also like to add pasta, eggs, oatmeal and other things! My rats are very healthy and are doing great on this diet! A lot of people are saying no one has found a rat mix that has everything your rats need but I disagree! The shunemite diet is amazing!

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