RAT CARE 101

Getting your first pair of rats? Or are you just looking to update your husbandry? 

 Let me help! As Blue Heart Rattery I have 13 years of experience taking care of and breeding pet rats! So, I can show you what to do, and not have to suffer from the same mistakes I've made over the years. :) Like buying a nice huge cage, to only have the bar spacing be too wide, so all the rats escape! Haha. Then there's a million different foods, bedding, cleaners etc..!

There's just a lot of information out there, and I'm hoping this article clears up a lot of your questions about rat care!

Rat Food Mix

Rat Block and Pellets

 

 

There's a lot of "foods" out there marketed towards pet rats, but most of it is NOT good for your pet. Most food geared towards "Hamsters and Rats" will not give your rat the nutrition they need. You need a good block, pellet, or dog food to be the base of your rats food! Once you get a good base food, I also recommend a home made grain blend with veggies to be supplemented. Below are the main diets I recommend:

  • Mazuri Rodent- 

Mazuri is a good block for those who have more than a few rats. Haha. It comes in 2 lbs, 25lbs and 50lbs bags and is a great food for a main diet! Nearly all Zoo's and Wildlife Sanctuaries' use this food to feed their rats.

Amazon Affiliate Link (please click the pound amount):

[2lbs of Mazuri] [25lbs of Mazuri]

  • Oxbow Rat Essentials-

Oxbow is another amazing rat food! This is in pellet form and is recommended by Veterinarians! It's probably THE BEST staple you can feed to your rats. I 100% recommend it.

Amazon Affiliate Link (please click the pound amount):

[6lbs of Oxbow] [20lbs of Oxbow]

  • Science Selective Rat Food-

Science Selective is a new rat food that has popped up recently. From what we can see, it would also make a good staple diet for your ratties!

Amazon Affiliate Link (please click the pound amount):

[4lbs of Science Selective]

Dog Kibble

Did you know that dog kibble can also be an excellent staple to your rats diet? Below are a few kibbles that I recommend that are in the protein range that rats should have! We have included meat based kibbles and vegan kibble. Our rattery personally only feeds a plant based diet, but diets with meat in them can be healthy as well- I'm just providing options!

  • Hill's Science Diet for Seniors-

This food has a protein percentage of 15%! Which makes it right in the protein range that rats need! Adult rats need roughly 14% protein while babies (up to 6 months of age) need 16%.

Amazon Affiliate Link (please click the pound amount):

[33lbs Science Diet]

  • DIAMOND Naturals Light Formula-

Diamond is great for younger and growing rats. The protein is at 18%, so momma rats, babies, and rats younger than 6 months old would do great on this was a staple to their diet.

Amazon Affiliate Link (please click the pound amount):

[33lbs Diamond]

  • Natural Balance Vegetarian-

This is the food I feed my whole rattery! Protein is at 18% so young rats get all they can eat of this food, while my adults have a grain based and this food provided as their protein source. 

Amazon Affiliate Link (please click the pound amount):

[28lbs Natural Balance]

Grains and Veggies

Along with a staple block, pellet or kibble, you should also feed your rats a mix of grains. I personally use Camarattery's grain based mix (click here to see the mix) to meet the rest of my rats needs. You can also add in cooked/raw. or dehydrated veggies to supplement the mix as well!

How much should you feed?

You will want to make sure that as soon as the rats bowl goes empty, that you fill it up with fresh food! You always want to make sure that your rats eat ALL of their food in your mix, and only fill it back up when they eat all of it! You also do not want them to ever be without food.

As for water, you'll want a glass water bottle and to keep it filled with water at all time!

Amazon Affiliate Links:

[Food Bowl]  [Glass Water Bottle]

Caging 

What your rat is going to live in for the rest of it's life is super important. Most people buy large barred cages, or make bin cages like I do. Below I'll link a few cages that are suitable for all rats, from babies to adults

30" Large 3-Levels Ferret Chinchilla Sugar Glider Rats Mice Mouse Rodent Hamster Gerbil Hedgehog Small Animal Critter Cage

Good for 2 rats! You will need to cover the bottom and shelves with placemats or fabric and litter train.

[LINK]

Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation

This cage comes as a single (as pictured) and a double unit! It can hold 5 rats in the single and up to 9 in the double! 

[LINK]

Prevue Rat and Chinchilla Cage 495 Earthtone Dusted Rose, 31 x 20.5 x 40 IN

Great for 3-4 rats!

[LINK]

YAHEETECH 69-Inch Extra Large Wrought Iron 3 Levels Ferret Chinchilla Sugar Glider Squirrel Small Animal Cage with Cross Shelves and Ladders

Great for up to 9-10 rats!

[LINK]

Bedding

We support Aspen, Paper Pellets, Paper Shaving, and Fleece as bedding here at the Rattery. Another reasonable bedding is Kiln Dried Pine. Bedding is completely up to the adopter! I use a mix of Fleece and litter boxes with paper pellets in it. You can even modify your cage and make it bioactive! 

Kaytee Clean & Cozy White Small Animal Bedding

[Link]

Purina Yesterday's News Non Clumping Paper Cat Litter, Softer Texture Unscented Cat Litter - 26.4 lb. Bag

[LINK]

Aspen Soft Pet Bedding for Small Animals

[LINK]

Enrichment

Having things for your rats to sleep on, or play with, or destroy is necessary to having happy rats! All my rats are given a wheel, baskets placed around the cage, hides, hammocks to sleep in, lava ledges for nails, wood/paper chews to gnaw on, and dig boxes! 

You rats should always have a place to sleep (like a basket of hammock) things to play with, a dig box (which is just a clear storage bin with coco fiber in it, and if you have females, a wheel!

Other Supplies

Here are some other supplies that we use at the rattery that made a WORLD of difference! Most of the supplies below is what I use to combat the smell of 30+ rodents at a time! and believe me when I say it all keeps my rats smelling FRESH and clean!

Sweet PDZ is one of my favorite things to add to my rats (and cats!) litter box. I just put a think layer at the bottom then add litter! It completely takes care of any ammonia from urine and keeps everything smelling great!

[LINK]

Other than the Sweet PDZ, this is my second most favorite product that helped erase ANY ratty smells. If you are like me, and cannot deal with the smells of any kind, this air purifier made a WORLD of difference! I own this exact model and my rats approve of it as well!

[LINK]

Nature's Miracle is probably my favorite cleaning spray ever. It MELTS poop and pee off of the rats cage, and leaves it smelling fresh and clean!

[LINK]

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