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Diet For Feeder Rodents

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9 replies to this topic

#1
Bogart

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I finally got my first breeding group of african soft-fur rats, and I'm really excited about it. Thing is, I'm not sure what to actually feed them.

 

First off, I do not have access to lab blocks right now, so that is not an option, and this is the most common suggestion I see when I try to find info about rat/mouse diets.

 

Right now I simply made a dry mix of wild bird seeds (mostly grains, some sunflower seeds), oats, and dog kibble. The kibble I use is low quality stuff, but I added it just to have an easy source of animal protein. The high grain content shouldn't be that much of an issue for rats, right? I also feed them fresh vegetables almost every day.

 

Of course, I'm not that comfortable with feeding processed foods, and besides, the rats do not seem very interested in the kibble. I've been thinking about perhaps using insects instead, but I'm not interested in breeding feeder insects to feed my feeders, haha. Freeze-dried insects could be an option. Thing is though, keeping costs down is pretty important, since I do not want this to be a too expensive project.

 

I also want to make sure that the rats have a decent amount of omega 3 in them, that way I might not have to supplement my cats with fish oil. How do I do this? My first idea was flaxseeds, but it seems like those are toxic if fed too much. Just feeding the oil would be messy...

 

Any ideas, suggestions and experiences are appreciated.


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#2
lauren43

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Fresh is always better especially for the protein. I would cut out the seeds, rats love them but don't really need them. The veggies are great!!

Is there a reason you picked the soft furr rats? They are much smaller than your average rat.

#3
Bogart

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The seeds are in there because that was the easiest way for me to buy a grain mix without having to buy them in 50lb bags for each type of grain, lol. I picked a seed/grain mix for wild birds with just a small amount of sunflower seeds.

 

My cats are used to eating regular mice (I sometimes buy them frozen), and I did not want to breed those because of the terrible smell from the males. The ASFs are not as smelly. Regular rats are a bit too big in my opinion.



#4
GoingPostal

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http://www.naturalro...1#ixzz2JKNsU6Zr

 

I don't know if it's ok to link but it seemed worse to copy paste it all.  This is one I've seen passed around a lot, the other homemade mouse diets I've seen are full of sugary cereals and crap that doesn't seem very healthy.  I tried to follow this one somewhat but had a hard time finding some of the grains and nothing in bulk where I live.  I feed mostly lab blocks with a handful of this recipe 2x a week and veggies when I think about it or have extras.  Bread scraps  usually weekly.  A lot of people feed them lower quality dog food, I sometimes throw in a little sample bag of kibble in my mix but same as you my feeders are not too interested in it.  I'm not sure where asf's fall on diet but that forum has a rat and hamster diet as well.  I have mice so just linked to that. 

 



#5
Bogart

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Thanks for the link, some good information there. I have some of those things in my mix even though I didn't mention it in the original post, like buckwheat. Too bad that many of the things mentioned are, in my opinion, too expensive. I can understand buying more expensive things for pets, but I'm not planning on getting the expensive stuff for my feeders. I'll keep looking for some of those things at a reasonable price though.



#6
blacksheep

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Remember why we don't kibble our dogs!  Feeding your rats the three D's will result in unhealthy rats which means they won't be nearly as nutritious.  

 

When you can, buy Harlan.  I used to buy mine from here

http://www.theratsho...dex.php?cPath=1

 

Happy animals make happy feeders.  Keep that in mind as well.  

As an ex rat breeder, I do encourage you to keep an eye on your feeders.  In all honesty, the most unique rats often come from feeders.  I was part of a large group when Myspace was popular and there was a feeder breeder that just wanted to keep his rats healthy.  He ended up breeding one of the most unique looking does we had ever seen!  He sold her to another person in the group.  She ended up producing some mighty fine kits.  In other words, you could end up creating something very unique (or something rat breeders have been trying to get for years) and get a hefty paycheck from it.  I got one of my sires from a feeder breeder who thought he was unique looking.  Turns out he was a russian blue and, while its somewhat taboo to breed non-show rats, he produced some very handsome kits.



#7
Bogart

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The "three D's" is not why I don't feed kibble to my dog (and cats). I do so because it is very inappropriate for a carnivore to feed a dry nugget. I honestly never truely believed the three/four (I've heard both) D's stuff anyway, partly because I'm in Europe and all the talk about the D's has been about the US.

 

With omnivorous rodents, it's not as black and white. I do not see how lab blocks are any better than kibble to be honest. Yes, kibble is not made for rodents, but besides that, they are both just as processed.

 

I said before that I do not have access to lab blocks. I have asked at the feed store, and they used to be able to order it, but can't anymore. The staff at pet stores just stare back and wonder what the heck I'm talking about. I also can't find any online store that sells big bags of lab blocks in my country. The best option so far is to import from a German seller through German eBay.

 

 

Some other news; I got my first ASF litter a couple of days ago, and another one of my females is huge an is ready to pop any day now! They were probably pregnant already when I got them. It will be fun to see them grow up!



#8
Amanda

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I found this on a ferret forum. This person raises feeder mice for their ferrets, and this is what they feed.

 

High carb diets for rodents do the same thing for them as they do in people and ferrets- feed TUMORS! You'll see more tumors in high carb diets so stay away from carbs. Also when you feed a high protein diet you'll get larger healthier litters and zero to no cannibalizing. Mice will quickly eat each other young or adults if their diet falls short on protein. For that reason I'd stay completely away from high carb diets and a low protein diet. 

 

I'll stick with offering my mice natural foods and insects. I've had over 40 mice born in the last ten days and if Crystal hadn't gotten to three of my very pregnant Does I'd have had over 70 mice born!

 

 I mix one pound of split peas, 1 cup of alfalfa pellets, 2 cups of sunflower seeds, 2 cups of oats and 2 cups of cat food. then each bin gets a chicken bone of some sort to gnaw on. On sundays I add a new bone. Bones are very high in protein and great for the mice teeth. They'll also get a small chunk of carrot or apple during the week.

1 C. of sunflower seeds offer 74% fat, 12% Protein and 14% carbs as well as hulls to keep them busy. These are a good source of Thiamin, B6, MAgnesium, Phosphorous, Copper, Manganese, Selenium and is high in Vitamin E. ( another essential Vitamin for a healthy pregnancy)

1 C. of Split peas offer 3% fat, 25% protein and 72% carbs they are high in amino acids, thiamine, Folate( an essential nutrient for pregnancy), Phoshorous, Copper and manganese and a decent source of iron!

1 C. of oats offer 15% fat, 15% protein and 70% carbs again these are a good source of Thiamin, Magnesium,, Manganese, and Phosphorous and are high in iron.

1 C. of alfalfa pellets offers 1.2% fat, 15% protein carbs aren't listed, but fiber is and that is listed at 17% alfalfa is high in calcium While I don't feed alfalfa sprouts(but I might start) the nutrient info on them shows them to be 25% Fat, 42% protein and 33% carbs. Alfalfa is a good source of Protein, Vitamin A,Niacin, Calcium, Vit. C, Vit. K, THiamin, Riboflavin,Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.

 

My litter counts have been pretty decent usually at least ten except for first time does, those have ranged from as few as three up to seven pups. My highest count was 17! But to make it easy on the doe I culled the males at 9 days. I'm not saying my mouse diet is the best, but it seems to be working well for me!



#9
GoingPostal

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I know a lot offer their mice meat but mine never seem to touch it, used to throw them the ferret and cat scraps all the time.  They love veggies and greens and scrambled eggs though. 



#10
LeonilKyle

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I feed my rats a mixed food I would make ahead of time as staple, then other things thrown in. The mix was cooked whole wheat pasta, with a variety of veggies tossed in. I would make a huge batch and freeze it, tossing it in the middle to make sure I could scoop it while still frozen. Then they would get a tiny bit of fruit for breakfast and something else as snacks.






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