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My lovely "special" Rattie, can you help me with a food choice for her?

2249 Views 19 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Dallas1pd
I have never owned a rat, but I have owned multiple mice. I know that rats and mice are very different but I could not pass up this lovely little baby rat. I figured if I can't figure things out on my own I always have you guys for support.

I recently went to the local Petco to see if they had any mice for sale, i know they usually only carry "feeder" mice but thats why I go there, so i can try to save some of the babies. While buying my 4 mice (ended up with one orange/cream colored and 4 white), the girl had mentioned a baby rat who was on discount, I told her I have never owned a rat but Ill take a look at her.

She was discounted because she is missing her right eye. And knowing that she would end up easy food for someones pet snake I couldnt just leave her there. Im way too much of an animal person. I took one look at her and fell in love. she is simply gorgeous, and is so loving.

Granted she is still scared of being picked up since she is not used to being handled she loves to be pet and does come to me to get the loving she wants. I just got her on wednesday, and obviously I took her to the vet to make sure everything was okay with her. The vet said she looks to be in perfect health other than the obvious lack of a right eye. I'm not sure how old she is but she is pretty small, but bigger than a mouse obviously.

I will post some pictures once she is more trusting of me so you guys can see how lovely this lady is. She is only white in color, but shes so adorable.

now to get to the point, I am trying to find a food that will be healthier for her, since they say the mouse food does not have all the nutrients she needs. What kind of food do you guys use and where can I find it.

My vet had mentioned the brand Oxbow, I think I may try to order a 3 pound bag and see if she likes it. Right now I am feeding her the mix I have for my mice, alond with "lab blocks" and the occasional treat. She loves cantaloupe, which I give her a very small sliver of a day and today was eating a Ritz cracker and she decided to steal one when I wasnt looking so I am assuming she likes them also. Is it okay for her to have them? obviously I would not give her a whole cracker, but is a small piece okay for her or is the saltiness bad?

Thank you so much for your time.

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Also I know you should always buy mice and rats in pairs or more, since I know Isabel is healthy, should I go and get her a cage mate now or do you think she would feel more comfortable alone? I'm not sure if her old cage mages cause her to lose her eye..or is when she shipped her to the store something happened, or maybe she was just born with out it. I just want her to be as happy as possible.
Hello! Congrats on your new rattie! Some rats will eat blocks...and if your rat will...I would feed Mazuri. Now if your rat will not I would look into Suebees rat diet.

Check it out here:
This is my diet:

My mix is basically this:

[FONT=verdana,geneva,arial][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Muesli

Dried Bananas

Total cereal


Dry tri-colored pasta

Dry rolled oats

Blue Buffalo Lite (dog kibble)

Unsalted sunflowed seeds

Seed mix

Mazuri Lab blocks (I switch off between lab blocks and the rest of the mix)

Kaytee rat food (used very sparingly)
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Thank you so much for the information, I did order a 3 pound bag of the oxbow brand of rat kibble. Its supposed to arrive in 2 to 3 days. If she dislikes the food I will then try the mix you are giving your rats.

I'm really debating on getting her a friend. I'm scared if I get another rat they may try to kill her. I'm not sure if they will view her as week due to her missing her right eye. any thoughts on this issue? I would really love to get her another female friend, I dont want her to be lonely :(
Re: Rat Companion Question Plus What to Feed?

Your new rat girl sounds just precious..I am sure you are already in love with her and as you sound like a very patient, loving and caring rat and mouse mommy, I am sure your new girl rat will become very attached to you and love you right back! I would have had a hard time not wanting to save this poor girl from a possible bad fate, with the discount thing you mentioned and the lack of an eye. Poor baby. She was VERY lucky that you adopted her and I am sure she is grateful to you. I am so glad she has a safe home with you now.

(I also know how you husband and I just adopted two baby boy rats from a local shelter a month ago...they just turned 9 weeks old and we love them from head to toe!)

Yes, I would definitely advise getting her a female roommate. Rats are SO social and they really need the companionship. I know there are some instances where a rat just cannot get along with other rats, but this is a very rare exception. It is usually for rats with behavorial/territorial issues with other rats.

Since we don't know how she lost her eye, it could have been a variety of different things, and not just neccessarily a cagemate. From what I have been told on the forum, when introducing a new ratty to your girl, you can adopt a young female who is perhaps even younger than your new girl, as I am told rats have easier intros with a new friend who is a tad younger. If I have my information wrong, someone on the forum can correct me and help get my facts straight, ha ha! :D

Of course, this does not mean that you cannot get her a roommate who is her age! Just a general comment I have heard before on the forum. Since she is still young, I think you would do just fine with introductions with a new rat girl to keep her company.

I really think your new girl would feel more comfortable, safe, and very happy having another girl to cuddle with, feel secure with, and for all the things that rats love...grooming, sleeping and playing. And of course, two rats are just as easy to care for as one.

Oxbow lab blocks are great! I have heard that some rats do not like the taste but if your girl likes them, then that would be super. It is an excellent lab block. My other choice would of course be Harlan Teklad lab blocks that you can order online from various websites that sell lab blocks for rats. Mazuri lab blocks are okay if you need lab blocks right away, as they are sold in pet store chains but that would be a definite third choice. Just stay away from those rat seed mixes sold at pet stores. Not enough nutrition for a ratty and too much fattening filler junk in them.

As far as saltine crackers go...I have never fed my rats those so I am not sure if the salt is too much or if saltine pieces are okay? I usually tend to stick closer to whole grain type things and stay away from white flour type products so my rats can try to stick closer to healthy snacks. They LOVE plain excellent treat, and small, so you can give them more of them. :D
Lil furries don't care how big or small the treat is...they just love getting a yummy treat from mom, so the smaller I keep the treat, the less guilty I feel if I give them some extras!

We also treat our boys with things like, small bits of whole wheat bread, uncooked spiral or macaroni pasta (keeps their teeth whittled down) plain rolled oats, either dry or with a bit of warm water to make it into a soft oatmeal mush, BABY FOOD is always a hit (our boys love Gerber Sweet Potato baby food and peas), Gerber baby Rice cereal, plain puffed rice, kashi, bits of whole wheat tortilla torn in little pieces, things like that.

And of course fresh fruit and veggies in small quantities (too many veggies and they can get the runny poop!) so we feed them little bits of things that they like, for instance, broccoli, bok choy, peas, a bit of banana, etc. You can find out what your girl likes or does not like by experimenting. I thought my boys would LOVE some carrot and apple and they said, "Nope, we don't like it!" So there ya go. You will find out what your girl loves.

Well, my fingers hurt from typing, so I will sign off for now! Hope this helped a bit? Can't wait to see pictures of your new sweetie pie!!
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new friend for Isabel

We got Isabel a friend today, they seem to like each other. We named her Ava, she is around the same age as Isabel, and is black/gray in color. Simply adorable :) my main question is how do I know when they are just playing or actually fighting? I have heard any seeking or anything but the are running aroung their cage jumping on one another right now. They seem to be having fun. Just prior to this they napped cuddled together for about 2 hours.
Oh that is wonderful!! I am so glad Isabel has a buddy now! And Ava is such a beautiful name for a girl ratty. Yay! Isabel and Ava...those two names sound so pretty together. I bet your girls are just as cute as can be. :dream:

As for the tussling, from what you mentioned, I honestly don't think you have a thing to worry about. Did you take some time to do slow introductions and get them used to each other's smells and so forth with some common area play dates?

Ratties WILL tussle, box, jump on each other, power groom each other, and roll around like they are "fighting" but this is a normal thing that rats do to establish dominance/alpha roles and so forth. Believe me, my two boy rats, who are just turning 10 weeks old, scared me so many times when they were realllly seeming to go at it and "fight" with squeaks and the whole bit. Everyone on the forum reminded me of the old saying, "No blood, no foul" when it comes to play fighting. Play fighting and tussling are normal and you should only be concerned if it goes to a point where one of the girls is injured, i.e. an actual wound or blood, etc.

Sounds like they were snuggling together just fine, right?
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I did slowly introduce them, at first Isabel was a little upset, picking at Ava a bit. But Ava gave it right back, then two seconds later Ava was loving on Isabel cuddling up next to eachother. Isabel even offered Ava a chew toy, it was so precious. I'm sure they will fight until they feel more comfortable, but overall I think they are doing really well. I'm going to try to get some pictures, but with them both being new to the house and never handled before it may take a while before I can post any. Thanks so much Vladina and pseudorocknroll for all the info <3
You are very welcome!

Awww, that is so sweet about Isabel offering one of her chew toys to precious! I can just hear her, in a little voice saying, "Ava, you can play with one of my toys if you want?" :)

Ratties have such big hearts, you know? Sounds like your girls are on their way to becoming the best of friends, that is great!

I agree that it takes time for them to get comfy, settle in and not to rush taking pictures too soon when you want them to take their time getting more adjusted to everything. Sooner or later you will be able to get some nice photos to show your girls off to the rest of us forum rat parents! Looking forward to it! :D
They sound lovely!!

Diet - there is a new flavour of Oxbow out there that rats really do like now and REgal Rat is an awesome very nutritious and balanced food. Stick with that as your staple :)

for supplements, there's a large variety of veggies and fruit you can give...just remember that a good diet overall is low fat, low protein and low sugar...I am not saying be fanatical about it just aware. Stay away from yogies (they are like little chocolate bars and not healthy for rats) and stick to something like gerber baby puffs, cheerios for treats :)

Isabel's eye - she could've been born that way (no eye or micro-eye), her eye might have been injured as a wee pup. Isabel won't know she's "disabled" but if she's nervous make sure she knows you are coming towards her blind side so you don't startle her into a nip or bite. Talk to her, blow on her side, pat the ground (she'll feel the vibration) or just always go towards the good side until she trusts you more.

Babies play, and they play hard and rough...they often squeak like they are trying to kill each other. I have a pictoral play sequence that should make you understand...

Baby rats are loud, obnoxious and playful, they are rarely aggressive to each other no matter how bad it sounds. Playing is a way to learn agility, strengthen their bodies and also start learning where they are going to end up in the pecking order. Some owners are concerned as their babies screech and play rough, but this is very normal. :mrgreen:

Here are 2 five week old girls have a great time, shrieking and playing hard. :lol2:

The mini ratball

The kick and run

The back attack

The pin

"Fine, you got me...can you get off now?"
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lilspaz those are some cute pictures hehe made my dad lol
Ha ha, great photos Lilspaz! Adorable lil girlies too!

I could tell just by the titles of each photo what the actual picture would look like as my new baby boys do that about 20 times a day, every day. :D
sorry I have not posted in a while, between work, school, and caring for my lovely pets I have not been online in a while.

Isabel and Ava are doing wonderful, they absolutely love one another. I still sometimes have to put drops (the vet gave me) into...well more like on the outside of Isabel's right eyelid when she gets the occasional discharge out of it to help keep it clean and sanitary and free of infection. But other than that she is doing amazing. Happy as can be :) . Although Ava is still a little timid at times, I honestly think she is just a tad bit shy, both of my little ladies know that every night before bed I visit them one last time and them come to give me a kiss. I love it. I just say "Ava, kiss?" or "Izzy, Kiss?" and they will give me a little peck on my lip. its too cute. I adore them so much, I wish I could have more of them but I know I already have enough stuff I have to do.

Although i do have one question: does anyone know where to get a good play cage rot my ratties? I got one I thought would work but Izzy is seriously a ninja and managed to jump out over the side. I want to be able to take them out and let them run around more often, but i don't want to risk losing them. I do let them out in our bedroom, but I do stress that i might lose one, and I don't know what i would do if that happened. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

Thanks for reading :)
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Hi Summerclara!

So nice to hear from you and it sounds like your girls Isabel and Ava are two lucky ladies to have you as their mommy. :yes:

I love how they give you goodnight kisses....sigh! How sweet does it get? They obviously love you very much! Aren't rats the most wonderful loving lil babies ever? I am glad to hear they are both doing fine, that is great! We would all love to see new photos one of these days!

As for a play pen set-up, there will probably be some great suggestions on this post from others, once people get a chance to read your new question. But in the meantime, I can at least tell you what my husband and I do for our two boys when they have their daily outside play time.

I have a chronic lower back problem so I am unable to tend to animals if they are down low (like a low ratty cage, for example) so my boys are in a ratty house that is at waist level and for their outside time, we use our dining room table with a big blanket on top of it that we made a play area out of with cardboard box "forts" and a big "dig box" full of scrap cloth/old socks,etc, that has a few exit and entrance holes cut out of the sides for the boys to go in and out of the dig box, and things like that for their "playground".

They never ever go over the side of the table or try to crawl down and they LOVE playing in their "village" as we call it (and even napping in it sometimes!) and we also give them lots of free play on top of our bed and under the covers. Things like that, that are not low to the ground. BUT, that is just how we do it.

Other people have some really neat playpen areas set up for their rats that I am sure you will get some advice on. Everyone is different and I am sure there are many different ways to set up a play area outside of the ratty house for your girls! Hope I helped a teensy bit or maybe gave you some ideas?
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In addition to what others have said:

I used our bathroom as a play area, after I ratproofed it. (Check under the lip of cabinets. Often there are holes into which rats can escape and be lost).

You can also cheaply build walls to your anti-jumping specs by bulldog clipping cardboard or more durable sheets of corrugated plastic. That's the kind used to make inexpensive signs. A brand name for that is coroplast. You can usually buy large sheets of the stuff and cut it to size with a utility knife.

Or you can do this:

I want one of these so badly.
I feed Harkland Lab Blocks, plus a mix of Oxbow Regal Rat, Cheerios, Puffed Rice, Coconut (natural), sunflower seeds, a tropical fruit mix, and sometimes other things. PetFood Direct sells 40 pound bags of the blocks for $21.00 - and sometimes free shipping. We're now owned by 13 rats plus other critters.
Have you ever tried the Critter Nations? As much as I liked my Martin's Cages - I like the Critter Nations much better. They are so easy to clean - and comparable in price. I just got my second one - this time the one level for less than I paid for my Martin cage.

I have to upload some pictures
Ya know for a play area for my rats. I have a white dresser that's about three feet off the ground, 2 feet wide and about 7 feet long. That's where their cage sits and their cage take up only about 3 feet of the dresser so I put some yaffa storage blocks up on the dresser and they have a ball climbing up and down the yaffa blocks and running back to their cage when I make a sudden movement, their so fun to watch, I might post pics later
I have a big bookcase loaded with toys for rat playtime - but without fail Yvonne Nova escapes and runs around the room. She's pretty fun and will always come when called.

The are so much fun
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