Species-Appropriate Nutrition for Rats

Rats have a very varied diet. Here you can find out what and how often you need to feed your rats to keep them healthy and fit.

Although pet rats are omnivores, they are mainly vegetarian. In addition, rodents have sensitive digestion. There are many foods that rats cannot tolerate. You can find out what your rats can eat and how often you should feed them here.

What do rats eat?

Your rats need the following types of food:

  • dried animal food
  • fresh feed
  • animal food
  • Drinking water

Only if you feed all of this to your rats will they be fed appropriately. You can get various feed mixtures in pet shops, which usually contain all the necessary vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. You have the choice between pellets (pressed feed) and mixed grains.

Also remember to provide your rats with fresh food, i.e. fruit and vegetables. Rats eat about 10 to 12 meals a day. So it makes sense to offer the food in several small portions every day.

Pellets or grain feed?

Pellets have a big advantage: The rats always take in all the important ingredients and can not only pick out the tasty but fatty ingredients.

Grain food is clearly preferred by rats. However, it has the disadvantage that the rats can pick out the tastier parts and may leave the rest. For this reason, you should only refill the bowl once the rats have eaten all of the dry food.

Grain feed usually contains the following ingredients:

  • wheat
  • barley
  • millet
  • oats
  • linseed
  • hemp
  • spelled
  • Corn
  • oatmeal

You can add small amounts of fatty treats like sunflower and pumpkin seeds if you want. If you buy dry food, you should also make sure that the proportion of crude protein is around 12 percent and the proportion of crude fat is around 5 percent.

How much food does a rat need a day?

A rat’s daily requirement for dry food is around 15 to 25 grams or 5 grams per 100 grams of body weight.

The amount of feed required also depends on age, health, and physical activity. Sluggish rats that eat too much become overweight and more prone to diseases, especially tumors. Therefore, do not feed too many fattening foods (nuts, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds), but feed your rats healthy and varied.

Protein for rats

Since rats are not pure vegetarians, they need animal protein about two to three times a week. Dairy products such as low-fat quark, yogurt, milk, low-fat cheese are well suited. From time to time you can offer your rats a hard-boiled egg (in shell). Cat treats (without taurine) and rarely (about once a month) cooked fish can also be given in small amounts.

You can also feed them a little cooked (unseasoned) pasta, rice, and potatoes about once or twice a week. Hard, dried bread is also popular, but should only be given occasionally to make you fat.

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