Homemade Rat Diet and Food

Updated on June 11, 2018

Rat Diet

Rat Nutrition

Nutrition is the basis for maintaining a healthy pet rat; it is based on a diet that contains essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, as well as a variety of fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

Because rats are omnivorous, they require both plant and animal food sources.

When feeding pet rats it is not recommended that you use a packaged mixed grain mix because they tend to contain very high corn and seed contents, which makes for an incomplete diet. Also, with the mix packages, rats will pick out their favorites, leaving everythign else behind; usually, the healthier items tend to go uneaten. If you want to use a packaged mix diet, stick with those that are higher in soy content than corn.

But, the best diet that you can feed your pet rat(s), is that composed primarily of lab blocks, as they are considered to be be the best staple diet. When feeding a diet composed primarily of lab blocks, you will, also, want to provide your rat(s) with other sources of nutrition, such as vegetables, fruits, certain nuts.

Harlan Teklad and Mazuri brands are the bestbrands of rat, lab blocks, that you can find on the market today. Try to avoid Forti-Diet Mouse & Rat lab blocks, as it is high in fat content.

Foods Rats Cannot Have

For the most part, if you would eat a food, you can give it to your rats, but there are exceptions.

  • Raw dry beans and peanuts- contain anti-nutrients that destroys vitamin A and enzymes needed to digest protein and starches, and they cause red blood cells to clump
  • Raw sweet potato- contains compounds that form cyanide in the stomach
  • Green bananas- inhibit starch digesting enzymes
  • Green potato skin and eyes- contains solanine, which is a toxin
  • Wild insects- carry internal parasites and diseases
  • Raw bulk tofu- contains bacteria, packaged raw tofu is safe
  • Orange juice- (forbidden for male rats only) can cause kidney damage and kidney cancer due to a protein that only male rats have in their kidneys.

Foods Safe For Rats

Oysters, liver, beans, sweet potato, broccoli, kale, and bok choy are items that are great for any rat's diet.

Other items can include:

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Berries
  • Bok Chou
  • Carrots
  • Cooked Beans
  • Cooked Corn
  • Cooked Sweet Potato
  • Dried Tomato
  • Grapes
  • Kale
  • Liver
  • Melon
  • Oyster
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Plums
  • Prunes
  • Raisins
  • Sprouts
  • Squash

Grain Mix

Foods to Feed with Caution

  • Carbonated beverages- rats can't burp but they can pass gas
  • Dried corn- can contain high levels of fungal contaminates which has been shown to cause liver cancer in rats. Corn contains high levels of both nitrates and amines, which can combine in the stomach to form nitrosamines which are carcinogenic.
  • Beets
  • Celery
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Collards
  • Turnip greens

Water

Avoid giving your rats water that is chlorinated or fluorinated.

Subee's Homemade Rat Diet

This is homemade diet, is formulated using regular items you can find at a grocery store. The measurements in the below recipe is approximated, and can be altered to fit your needs. The bellow measurements are for larger groups of rats.

Ingredients:

1/2 to 1 lb. dry rolled oats

1- 5.3 oz. box puffed wheat cereal - Malt-O-Meal, Quaker, or Kashi. Cheerios can be a viable alternative, but remember that there may be added sugar.

1- 6.4 oz. box puffed rice cereal - Quaker is the best brand as it contains no sugar. Rice Krispies are not recommended, because of their salt and sugar content.

1- 12 oz. box Total Cereal; Some people think Total has too many vitamins, but keep in mind that on average a rat will eat one or two flakes a day.

1/4 to 1/2 lb. roasted, unsalted soy nuts- High in protein, but contain valuable cancer-preventing agents, so they are a good addition to the mix. Roasted soybeans are, also, a good source of vitamin K.

1/2 lb dried fruits- Bananas and cranberries are great to add because bananas are a good source of potassium and cranberries are good for the urinary tract. (If you would rather use fresh fruits, that's fine. Just place them in a separate bowl so they will not mush the other dry content.)

1/2 lb dry pasta- The tri-colored elbow noodles with a spinach and tomato flavor work well and are crunchy which can help their teeth. Noodles are a good source of carbohydrates, which helps balance the protein in the soy nuts, as well.

1/4 lb sunflower seeds- Make sure they are unshelled, and not salted.

1/4 lb muesli- (optional)

Directions:

  • Mix everything together in a huge bowl
  • Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Because this mix makes a large amount, it will last a good while, if you only have a couple of rats. For an average of four 4 rats, this recipe can last up to two months.

Rattattats Homemade Diet

Every ingredient is healthy. Make sure not to include unwanted seeds, corn, or any ingredient that is too high in fat, sugar, or salt.

You can estimate the measurements as you will.

Ingredients :

  • Rolled oats - Iron and dietary fiber
  • Uncooked pasta - Great for teeth and carbohydrates
  • Puffed wheat
  • Puffed rice
  • Raw pumpkin seeds
  • Unsalted sunflower seeds
  • Dried bananas - Potassium
  • Dried cranberries - Great for the urinary tract
  • Vital 100 (or Total cereal) - 100% whole grain; fiber and 12 vitamins and minerals
  • Toasted Oats (or Cheerios) - Iron, vitamins A, C, D, B6, and B12, zinc, copper, folic acid, calcium, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus and magnesium
  • Unsalted, roasted soy nuts - calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium

Homemade Rat Food

I try to provide my pet rats with this homemade diet at least twice a week. On the other remaining days, they receive Mazuri rat blocks.

Ingredients:

  • Flax seeds
  • Raw sunflower seeds
  • Raw soy nuts
  • Uncooked egg noodles
  • Puffed Rice cereal
  • Total cereal
  • Dried tomatoes
  • Dried cranberries
  • Banana chips
  • Raisins

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Store in an air- tight, covered container.
  3. Measurements are up to you. I try to add a few handfuls of Total, Puffed rice, and uncooked egg noodles. I add the other ingredients as needed.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Amanda 

        4 months ago

        Hi im very new to this my old girl and I stay in South Africa she has been diagnosed with a pt she is on cabergoline medication and today she ended up in hospital im so worried hope she pulls through im looking for a dry mix diet that has low carbs, low sodium, low protein, low phorsphouse. I have managed to get a bag of burgees rat excel nuggets finally into the country and I give her veggies and the only fruit she gets is paypaya and blue berries I want to cut out sugar all together cause that just feeds cancer which she has.

      • profile image

        Ashley Nicole 

        12 months ago

        Where do you find Muesli, flax seed?

      • profile image

        rhona hopkins 

        4 years ago

        this page is really resourceful and I have found it useful as I got 2 approx 6 weeks old rats, I have tried them wirh small amounts of cooked chicken and beef mince, apple (they didnt eat) and cucumber again small amounts. I have been giving them pets at home rat nuggets for their main diet. is there any advice anyone could offer just to make sure my boys are getting the best. thank you

      • profile image

        kelly 

        4 years ago

        just wanted to say thank you, my 3 girl rats love this homemade mix you suggested. I give it to them 2-3 times a week and the other 4 days they eat mazzuri rat block. Everything works out perfect

      • profile image

        Claire 

        6 years ago

        My rat has Been sneezing so much and I love him to death I can't take him to the vet what do I do!? I think he has respotory problems sumone help me

      • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR

        Whitney 

        6 years ago from Georgia

        I prefer to use Mazuri mice and rat food

      • profile image

        maddie 

        6 years ago

        what's a good pakaged food?

      • profile image

        Lei_Kei 

        7 years ago

        I'm so glad I found this! My rat's been getting kind fat, and it's probably because I don't feed her the healthest things :/

      • profile image

        janet deavers 

        7 years ago

        my rat is fat and scratche hes 1 year old very sweet .

        I got another baby rat for a companion for him as I didn't want babies I got another male and put him in a cge inside his cage the new rat is small just a baby and nips a bit My rat takes no notice of him I think the new rat just needs time to adjust to me then he will stop niping

      • Crobin28 profile image

        Crobin28 

        7 years ago from Pelham, Alabama

        Whitney, I have read several of your articles and everyone of them seem to be extremely informative! I am a rat lover, currently owned by 5 beautiful females! Although I knew most of the information here, it is all information that I would recommend to any new prospecting rat owner! Thanks for all of your hard work!! I am going to leave you good feedback!!

      • profile image

        Chelsea 

        7 years ago

        About the message above, be sure to separate all rats from the mother and babies because the mother rat will probably be teritoral. Plus any other rats could harm the babies. Also whenever the kits (young rats) get a bit older you should find out their gender and separate them out unless you want many more rats. lol. Goodluck, I hope all goes well with your pets.(:

      • profile image

        cate1317 

        7 years ago

        We purchased a feeder rat as a pet and she came pregnant. Do we need to increase anything in her diet? We got her a friend about 4 days after we got her and they are inseparable. Do you know if we need to remove the second rat when her babies are born? Or could you direct me to the appropriate website.

      • profile image

        Mike 

        7 years ago

        My rats eat what I eat and they are perfectly healthy.

      • profile image

        paris barlow 

        7 years ago

        i have three rats i but them £3.00 pounds worth of rat food but i get it home ang it has bird seeds and meal worms in it is that alright

      • profile image

        Emily 

        7 years ago

        I currently have 2 rats and hey love their Mazuri lab blocks...they alos love peas. currently my rats are Ralph and R.Jaye...but RIPmy past rats : Rascall, Rebbel, and my very first rat, Rosco

      • profile image

        Emma 

        7 years ago

        i have never found a web site as good as this! my rats (6 of them)all have a pets at home nuget with veg and fruit as treats and they have chew toys but one of my rats have a split tooth and her teeth are over growing she had them clipped and sorted but she still not eating solid food and she lost loads of weight so I have started to giver her soft food eg cooked paster, cheese, bread and popcorn(from pet shop for rats)and cooked egg I just wanted to know if I am doing the right thing for her. i offer her the nuggets still but she wont take them.

      • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR

        Whitney 

        7 years ago from Georgia

        That diet sounds good. I would still offer mazuri rat block though. I'm still unsure about a staple diet being 100% homemade

      • profile image

        Katie B 

        7 years ago

        I have done several things wrong in my rats diet, one of which is giving them raw sweet potato. I have been giving a cm cubed of raw sweet potato each day for about 3 or 4 months and am scared of the effects it has had on my rats health (contains cyanide-forming compounds). Some websites describe their rats getting ill from eating it so what signs should I look for? I am also concerned as I have fed my rats raw broccoli and frozen corn (which apparently is bad for them) and canned bean mixes, all of which had been mixed into their dinner mix.

        I have now reviewed my diet for my rats which is almost entirely homemade and I am hoping you could spare the time to give me feedback on their diet. Perhaps there is something I have overlooked and it is bad for them? Their diet is as follows:

        All day mix (available all day to the rats):

        RSPCA Peters Mouse and Rat mixture (contains wheat, sorghum, crushed maize, crushed lupins, black sunflower seed, lucerme chaff, oaten chaff and soyabean meal - about a third of the entire all day mix is made up of this. Although its not listed on the packet it looks as if it contains dried corn)

        Lowan Apricot and Almond Muesli (contains wholegrain oats, dried apricots, almonds, coconut and seeds)

        Rolled oats

        Oats

        Sultana bran

        Weetbix

        Pecan nuts (chopped)

        Crushed vita wheats

        Crushed anzac biscuits

        Sultanas

        Dinner mix (given at dinner, usually eaten quickly):

        - Dinner mix is kept in the freezer and is entirely frozen and is given to the rats this way (please let me know if I should defrost it before giving it to them) -

        Cooked sweet potato

        Cooked broccoli

        Edgell four bean mix (canned) (contains small red kidney beans, butter beans (lima beans), chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) and great northern beans)

        Rockmelon

        Watermelon

        Frozen peas

        Cooked pasta (home brand)

        Other foods given to them occasionally:

        Cooked steak bones (different websites say different things about this. I am not sure if it is good for them? Does it matter if its barbequed or marinated? Will it splinter? I dont like giving them chicken bones as there are really fine bones they might choke on. Are there any meats they can't have?)

        Bread

        Milk (warm milk in winter)

        Yoghurt

        Egg

        Cheese

        I look forward to any feedback

      • Lucas H. profile image

        Lucas H. 

        7 years ago from Las Cruces, New Mexico

        Hey thanks for the info, can't wait to try out the recipes.

      • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR

        Whitney 

        7 years ago from Georgia

        Sounds more like stress than upper respiratory infection.

      • profile image

        JayJay 

        7 years ago

        Ok because when i brought my rats home one of them was sneezing, but i decided to wait a couple days because i read that sometimes they just have new home sneezes. She sneezed less and less everyday but sometimes she would have some porphyrin around her nose after she was sleeping. But now she doesn't have any signs of resiratory disease.

      • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR

        Whitney 

        7 years ago from Georgia

        JayJay, that will all depend on the rat and the severity. Some rats (rare and seldom) may heal without treatment, but it should never be tested and treatment should always be provided.

        Jasmine, It's no sharper than chewing wood. It's a good treat that is hard enough for their teeth to get some usage.

      • profile image

        Jasmine 

        7 years ago

        Ok, I'm sure that would be fine too. I've just heard that dry pasta can be sharp for eating but you seem to know quite a bit about rats so I won't worry about it. Your other rat articles are a lot more helpful than other stuff I've read too!

      • profile image

        JayJay 

        7 years ago

        Oh one more thing- If a rat gets a resiratory disease, and wasnt treated, do you know how long the rat would have before it died?

      • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR

        Whitney 

        7 years ago from Georgia

        JayJay, just give a few treats Nothing excessive.

        Jasmine, I'm not sure. I've always just used dried pasta. I guess any dried carb. I'd be leery of rice, but I guess it would do. I would just try to stick with the pasta.

      • profile image

        jasmine 

        7 years ago

        What are good substitutes for the dried pasta portions of the diets?

      • profile image

        JayJay 

        7 years ago

        Ok thanks. But how do I know what's 10% of their diet? And id like to thank you for all of the web pages you have made about taking care of rats. Before i got my rats i did a lot of research and most of the time that id look something up it would take me to one of your sites. I can tell that you take a lot of time to answer peoples questions so thanks again!

      • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR

        Whitney 

        7 years ago from Georgia

        There's a link above for good treats. You don't want the treats to be more than 10% of the diet.

      • profile image

        JayJay 

        7 years ago

        I just got two rats about a week and half ago. When i got them, they told me they were a couple months old. I am feeding them a staple diet of forti-diet rat/mouse/hamster food. I give them each 2-3 blocks each a day as recommended on the bag. I was wondering how often should i give them treats (like fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, ect.) ? Also, what are the most healthy treats and what portion of the treats should i give them? Thank you.

      • profile image

        Jaz 

        7 years ago

        Do not give rats cat food. Cat food is high in taurine which isn't good for rats. A bit of blue buffalo DOG food will be ok as it is healthy for them just stay away from the blue Buffalo large breed as it is really high in protein.

      • profile image

        SunnyCher101 

        7 years ago

        I want make my own rat food so I don't have to buy the expensive rat food.

      • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR

        Whitney 

        8 years ago from Georgia

        cat food is not a good staple diet. you can offer flax seeds on ocassion, but again not as a staple in the diet.

      • profile image

        Flint 

        8 years ago

        I would like t know if dry cat food i.e. meow mix is ok to give to rats and baked flax seeds. I have lots of these foods and the rats seem to love them.

      • profile image

        ndmccain 

        8 years ago

        Thank you so much for gathering these! I've been looking for lowe calorie solutions (prevents tumors) to store baught food.

      • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR

        Whitney 

        8 years ago from Georgia

        A high quality dog food with high proteins and little to now grains would help supplement this diet. Although, a rat block in addition to this diet is still a good idea.

      • profile image

        butterfly 

        8 years ago

        I went to the website for Rattatats homemade diet and they said on there that their blend isn't a complete diet by itself. They add a premium dog food to it. Is that a complete diet?

      • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR

        Whitney 

        8 years ago from Georgia

        As a treat, it is fine.

      • profile image

        diaz 

        8 years ago

        hey this is very helpful and was just wondering whether they can eat coliflower??

      • profile image

        brooke914 

        8 years ago

        Thanks for the great info! We just got pet rats for our kids and I want to make sure they are getting good nutrition.

      • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR

        Whitney 

        8 years ago from Georgia

        The rat isn't going to be very healthy on a sole diet of nuts, fruits, and vegetables. You need to give those as treats alone and offer a high quality brand rat block, such as Mazuri or Harland Tekland.

        Fruits and vegetables can give diarrhea as well as nutrient deficiencies if used as the sole diet, and nuts are very fatty. Cheese is not recommended as a regular food either, and neither is chicken.

        The rat will not be healthy on that diet. Those things are treats only, not staple foods.

      • profile image

        juice 

        8 years ago

        Well im deffinitly going to try all of these i am getting a rat tommorow and i want it to be as healthy as can be but will not give it meat because it will learn to adapt.And feed them mostley fresh fruits not dried cause it is harder to dijest and im NOT buying the name brand foods this is my recipie

        nuts,cut fruits and vegies and mabey a little chicken here and there and tiny bit of cheese

      • profile image

        darkangil101 

        9 years ago

        I think your information is WAY awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • profile image

        rat princess 

        10 years ago

        Suebees diet should be used as a supplement only. It is NOT nutritionally complete and does not offer everything needed to make the diet complete. I would suggest adding either harland teklad rodent block or regal rat by oxbow to their daily diet if using SueBees recipe. Mazuri is a bit too high in protein, holding a hefty 23 percent of protein that exceeds 8% of the recommended daily allowance which is right around 15% and 18% for special needs rats.

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