Soaking rat blocks? (+massive picky eaters)

Discussion in 'Diet' started by Olympia✨, Oct 28, 2018.

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  1. Oct 28, 2018 #1

    Olympia✨

    Olympia✨

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    My two 8 m/o rats have always hated their rat blocks, at this point I’ve must have tried at least 6 or so brands. I’ve realised that if I soak the blocks (I’m currently using Burgess, but I actually just ordered some Beaphar+ ones which I haven’t tried) they tend to pick at it and eat bits of it, which is a massive improvement (I’m also in the U.K. so we don’t have Harlan or Oxbow here.)

    I feed them fresh foods every day, I’ve tried making a DIY dry mix but even then they’ll only pick out the good bits. I usually feed them veggies, fruits, egg, soya milk/yoghurt, tuna, barley, pea flakes, flax seeds, oats/cereal/grains, dried banana, kale, leafy salads, red/white quinoa, wholewheat pasta and long grain rice to give you a basic overview. But I want them to have a main food source as well. They’re at a healthy weight and I’ve never had any health issues regarding their diet.

    I’ve tried taking away nearly all their food and just leaving their blocks, but even after 4 days they didn’t touch them.

    So my main question is can I soak the blocks before I give it to them? And how long can I leave them in their cage for? If they still don’t want to eat lab blocks, can I just carry on feeding what I am now? Or should I buy some sort of supplement powder like the ones from RatRations?

    Any help is appreciated, thanks in advance xox
     
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  2. Oct 28, 2018 #2

    BoBa

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    So sorry I'm not sure about soaking the rat blocks but it is probably ok.
    I'm in the U.K. and I feed my rats mainly pets at home rat nuggets. Maybe check out HappyTails on YouTube who I find has good information on pets and she has a video on what she feeds her rats-she does not feed commercial foods to them.
     
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  3. Oct 28, 2018 #3

    Olympia✨

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    I’ll definitely check her out thank you!!

    And I tried the pets at homes ones as well, but they didn’t eat those either:(
     
  4. Oct 29, 2018 #4

    BoBa

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    You're welcome
    Maybe you could try breaking the blocks into smaller pieces? They might find them easier to eat.
    Hope all goes well;)
     
  5. Oct 29, 2018 #5

    DanielZielwolf

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    I've had success soaking blocks in soy milk. In my opinion your fresh food diet is much too delicious and nutritious for them to bother with lab blocks :) I had a similar "problem". Then I started thinking about it, how good can blocks be anyway really if you can provide a nutritious fresh diet alongside? The premium "completely balanced diet" here, Rodent Origins, is basically corn, wheat, soybean, vegetable oils, chicory root and added vitamins and minerals. (Which may or may not survive storage, transport, exposure to air etc) So kinda like fortified human breakfast cereal, served dry. Imagine having to live off that. No thanks. Rats are much like humans when it comes to diet. Importantly, taste is essential to them. If you really want your rats to eat just blocks you have to stop feeding fresh. (Eventually they will switch to blocks, they won't starve themselves to death.) After all that's what blocks were designed to do: Provide a complete diet to lab rats with very little or zero access to fresh food. But that's rarely the situation for pet rats. I feed fresh and supplement with blocks. They nibble at them and that's fine. Never had a case of malnutrition. Far from it. Like us, rats don't get malnourished easily as long as they get a wide variety of fresh, healthy food. I guess the important thing is to make sure they get around at least 17% protein and 5% fat in their diet. Something to keep track of.
     
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  6. Oct 29, 2018 #6

    Olympia✨

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    Thank you for the detailed reply Daniel! :)

    I tried to soak in soya and got the same result as when I soaked with water. If I carry on feeding fresh as I’m currently doing, do you think that would be enough to keep them healthy or should I carry on trying to give them lab blocks?
     
  7. Oct 29, 2018 #7

    DanielZielwolf

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    No worries :) I think you should be fine going by the description of the fresh diet you're providing. By the way durum wheat semolina pasta (preferably wholemeal) is an excellent natural source of protein. It's got around 13-14%, almost exactly what they should be getting. It's good for their teeth too to serve dry, or cooked if they turn up their nose at dry pasta. Mine love it. If you continue to have rat cereal/blocks available alongside whatever fresh food you give then I can't see how they'd ever become malnourished. Everything in moderation as the saying goes.
     
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  8. Oct 30, 2018 #8

    Noel

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    Olympia, I'm sorry about your problem. I'm having the exact same problem & have tried all these suggestions. No success yet but I keep putting the blocks in with their fresh food. They nibble very little of it, but, at least, it's something. Daniel, thank you also. I found this thread very helpful.
    Noel
     
  9. Oct 30, 2018 #9

    Olympia✨

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    Thanks for the reply,

    At this point I think I’ve accepted that my guys are just not going to start eating lab blocks. So I’m going to do my best to give them a balanced and nutritious diet through fresh food. Today for their dinner I gave them a mix of red and white quinoa, flax seeds, chia seeds, peas and sweet corn, tuna, baby cucumber, low fat soya yoghurt, a mix of leafy greens and barley flakes. I think as long as I make sure they’re getting all their nutrients we should be alright, it is so frustrating though!!!

    Have you tried soaking the blocks in soya milk? I heard that helps some people. But all in all rats are like us, and I believe as long as you feed them the right fresh foods they will be healthy.

    Hope everything works out for you and your ratties xox
     
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  10. Oct 30, 2018 #10

    Noel

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    Thanks! Yes, I tried soaking, changing brands & cutting to smaller pieces. No luck. They are stubborn little suckers aren't they...lol. Well nice meeting you Olympia!
     
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  11. Oct 31, 2018 #11

    DanielZielwolf

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    I'm pretty sure my rats know how to manipulate me via food. Every day at around 5pm, they come out and start dancing around with excitement. I'm pretty sure I'd hear them shouting "Dinner time! Dinner time! We love you when it's dinner time! Are we getting dessert today? Pleeeease?" if I could hear supersonic frequencies.
     
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  12. Oct 31, 2018 #12

    Noel

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    Lol, I agree! They are manipulating fur babies.
     
  13. Nov 8, 2018 #13

    Madhouse Rodentry

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    I agree, fresh real foods are best to feed to rats anyway. I dont bother with commecial foods,my guys all eat real food and i supplement with cat or dog food for protein. Sounds like the foods ur feeding now is great!
     
  14. Nov 9, 2018 #14

    SQ

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    Dog and cat food are much too high in protein for rats who require much less then 14% protein in their diet. They also do not meet the nutritional requirements of rats.
    Rats need a low protein diet and research shows that it is best if the protein comes from plant sources.

    Since no one has been able to come up with a nutritionally complete homemade diet for rats, the recommended diet is a good quality low protein block (Oxbow or Harlan 2014) and a variety of real foods
    - a variety of daily vegs, cooked whole grains, berries, a piece of ripe fruit, occasional seeds such as organic pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, etc
    No highly processed foods and nothing with added sugar (or sweeteners) no added salt, no added fat.
    Please see

    Olympia, you might try putting the blocks, or soaked blocks in the cage for those times when they do not have other foods available ..... such as over night
    It is great that you are getting advice from other people in the UK as you have different resources then we do here in North America
     
  15. Nov 9, 2018 #15

    Madhouse Rodentry

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    Thats why i said i supplement with cat or dog food,it isnt their main diet. Also rats are omnivores and should have meat in their diet..funny how ur finding every post ive commented on and ur trying to prove me wrong on every one of them .
     
  16. Nov 9, 2018 #16

    SQ

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    Rats should never be given dog food or cat for the reasons previously stated. Their diets should not be supplemented with dog or cat food.

    Rats receive more then enough protein in the good quality rat block they are given.
    Anyone not feeding a high quality rat block - which is designed to meet all of their nutritional needs, should refer to the nutritional needs of rats https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK231925/
    and also use a tool such as chronometer to try to design a diet that meets all of their nutritional needs.
    Since its creation, this forum has a history of promoting high standards of care.

    Oxbow does include animal protein in their essentials line of rat blocks. However, research has found that animal protein causes health issues in rats, and plant protein is best.
    As for being omnivores, wild rats will eat anything then can in order to survive. Information I have read also states that rats in the wild only live about a year (for various reasons).
     
  17. Nov 10, 2018 #17

    jorats

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    I do want to stress that dog food and cat food is not good for rats. Both are way too high in protein and we definitely can't promote that, not even as a supplement.
     
  18. Nov 11, 2018 #18

    DanielZielwolf

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    Are you sure about the percentages? Here in Australia the approved rat cereal food, Rodent Origins, has 15% protein, from plant sources, and the RSPCA recommends around 15% protein too. I don't feed cat or dog pellets because I have a cat and his food has 34% protein which is too much for rats. I might feed it as an occassional treat if they were crazy about the stuff but they're not actually interested. It's mainly corn, peas, blueberries, salad leaf mix, apple, banana, boiled egg yolk, soy milk and Rodent Origins for my rats because that's what keeps them interested. For treats they get roasted almonds, yoghurt sultana drops and Cheerios.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
  19. Nov 11, 2018 #19

    Petunia

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    one of the labs that makes rat food, used to be called Harlan Teklad, but they've changed hands/names, put out a statement that rats actually do better on lower protein than was in their lowest protein food, around 9% instead of 14%
    They did extensive research on the dietary needs of rats as they were providing food for lab rats.
    Too much protein can cause kidney disease. Drs are finding this is true for humans as well- there's been an increase in kidney disease as more ppl try out those high protein diets.
    Protein was the first macronutrient discovered and for some reason, perhaps because of being "first", it's popularly been confused with being "best" or most important. It's not, what is important is not getting too much of a macronutrient that your body needs, getting the proper balance of macro and micro nutrients that each species needs.

    You can reduce the percentage of protein in commercial foods somewhat by adding fresh foods to your rats diets, and adding some whole grains too.
     
  20. Nov 11, 2018 #20

    jorats

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    16% to 14% is a good start for rat blocks, especially considering how easily digestible or how good a source is their protein. In the China Study, it is proven that rats require 10% protein from excellent sources. But with a high quality block and vegetable/grain supplements, you'll be all set.
     
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