Lots of rat owners make up their own dry mix to feed their rats, instead of buying them. Making your own can work out cheaper, and gives you greater control over exactly what your rats eat. You can easily adjust a homemade mix to give your rats what they need. If you’d like to have a go yourself, here’s how to make your own rat food mix. Affiliate links in this post are marked with an asterisk.
Combining Ready Made Mixes
The simplest way to make your own mix is to combine a few different commercially available mixes. Rat, rabbit, guinea pig, and even some horse mixes can be great for rats. Combine a few to counteract the weaknesses of each individual mix.
If you go down this route make sure you’re choosing mixes with high-quality ingredients. Look for something which lists only one grain as the main ingredient and avoid anything too heavy in wheat. Double-check for ingredients that rats can’t eat, such as alfalfa, grass or straw.
Make Your Own Mix
If you’d like to get really creative, you can create your own complete mix, using the Shunamite Diet. The Shunamite Diet was created by Alison Campbell of Shunamite Rats, author of The Scuttling Gourmet. The basic principle is to create a nutritionally balanced mix, based on volume.
To create your own mix, you will need:
– 50 – 60% base mix. This is the basis of your mix. You can do this by mixing together a few different minimally processed grains, or by using a commercially available food mix.
– 20 – 25% processed grains. This should be a mixture of things like low-sugar cereals (supermarket own brands are usually lowest in sugar), pasta, egg noodles, rice flakes, rice crackers, etc. Aim for minimal wheat if you have older rats, as this will be easier for them to digest.
– 5 – 10% protein. Protein can be added with a good quality dog kibble, dried water creatures, dried insects, egg biscuit, or pulses. If you use a dog kibble, look for something low in protein, with quality ingredients. Fish kibble options are usually the easiest to add to a rat mix without too much worry about ingredients.
– 5 – 10% herbs and veg. You can buy ready dried vegetables and herbs, or you could dry your own. As long as it’s rat safe, you can change this part up regularly.
– 5% seeds. Seeds are a good source of healthy fats and Omega oils. Seed mixes for humans or birds are generally fine. Avoid any with a high amount of sunflower seeds, as these are very high in fat. Hemp, linseed and pumpkin seeds are great for rats.
– Supplements. If you’re using a straights based mix, you will need to offer a supplement to top up calcium and other minerals. The easiest way to do this is to add Daily Essentials* and Calcivet*to their water once a week.
The Rattie Ratbags Recipe
At Rattie Ratbags, we often tweak our mix, to give our mischief variety, and depending on availability of ingredients. We make ours up in a 10 cup batch (which fits well in a Tupperware tub designed for cereal storage), using a measuring cup.
Our current mix is:
– 5 cups Harrisons Banana Brunch*
– 2.5 cups of processed grains. We mix two or three low sugar cereals, some dry pasta and dry egg noodles.
– 1 cup James Wellbeloved Complete Dry Senior Dog Food Fish and Rice*.
– 1 cup dried vegetables* and herbs*.
– 0.5 cups seeds. We use a mix of hemp*, linseed*and pumpkin seeds*.
The finished mix looks like this.