What to feed your rats

Rats are omnivores, so they need both meat and vegetables in their diet. A good quality, complete dry mixture that provides essential nutrients should form the basis of your rat’s diet.

There are many rat complete mixes available to purchase. However, finding one that meets their exact requirements is tricky. You may wish to make your own rat food to make sure they have a well-balanced, healthy diet that will meet their needs throughout their lives.

It’s important your rats have access to daily, fresh, clean water. Ideally, provide this in two bottles at each end of the cage in case one breaks.

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Help your rats forage for food

Rats are foragers and enjoy searching their cage looking for food. Consider scattering some of their food around the enclosure rather than feeding in a bowl. Also split their daily feed allowance between early morning and early evening, this is when they are most active and foraging.

Your rats will also enjoy a few tasty treats a few times a week. These can be hidden in their cage or used for hand feeding time.

Healthy treats for mice include:

  • Small amounts of fresh chopped fruit and vegetables such as strawberries, banana, carrot, celery, peas, kale, pear and melon
  • Boiled chicken on the bone – offer them a leg bone with some meat on, this is great for their teeth
  • Cooked rice or pasta
  • Boiled eggs and dry bread

Homemade rat food recipe

If you would like to have a go at making a healthy mix for your pet rats, below is a basic recipe that will suit rats of all ages. Once you’ve made your mix, store it in a suitable container with an airtight lid. Note down the date you made the mix, and aim to use it within three months.

You will need:

6 scoops rabbit/rat muesli
1⁄2 scoop dog kibble or rat nuggets
Handful of healthy treats e.g., seeds/nuts, dried fruit, banana chips, dog biscuits, dried noodles
3 scoops healthy, low salt/sugar breakfast cereal or other grains
1⁄2 scoop uncooked wholemeal pasta

Suitable cereals – must be low sugar and salt:

  • Cornflakes
  • Weetabix
  • Special K
  • Bran flakes
  • Oats
  • Fruit and Fibre
  • Rice Krispies
  • Shredded wheat

Suitable rabbit or rat muesli:

  • Burgess Supa Fruiti
  • Burgess Supa Natural
  • Mr Johnson’s Clover Country Crunch
  • Harrison’s Banana Rabbit Brunch
  • Supreme Reggie Rat
  • Rupert Rat
  • Xtra Vital Rat
  • GJW Titmuss own brand rabbit muesli
  • Dodson and Horrell Pasture mix – for horse

Suitable brands of dog kibble and rat nuggets:

  • James Wellbeloved – senior and light dog kibble
  • Burns – adult, senior and organic dog kibble
  • Skinners Field and Trial dog kibble
  • Wainwrights dog kibble
  • Burgess rat nuggets
  • Pets at Home rat nuggets
  • Small holder range – Pig Starter Pellets
  • Autarky natural lite dog kibble

Suitable extra ingredients:

  • Rice cakes, unsalted
  • Ryvita
  • Shredded wheat
  • Dried fruits – raisins, apple, cranberry, dates & bananas
  • Dried rabbit and guinea pig herbs such as dandelion, plantain or any general meadow mix
  • Dried noodles – rice or egg
  • Dog biscuits – gravy bones, milk bones
  • Any grains such as quinoa, millet, dari seed, rice, wheat & spelt