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pocoyo
07-13-08, 01:01 pm
Meet my two new rattie boys. They are about 8 weeks old.


The first picture is Milo and the other two pictures are Toby. I got my ratties yesterday. A bit sooner than expected as I planned on getting them in a week or so. I had all the cage and everything ready for them so it was fine to get them a little sooner.

I just have a few questions that I would like to ask. Any advice would be great. The boys seem to scratch whilst cleaning and also just random scratching. They often use their back foot to scratch and they they put their foot in their mouth and nibble and then make kind of a crunching noise. Is this normal? Or could they have mites/fleas? They also scratch and what looks like biting themselves at their back and legs. I am just a little concerned. I have never had rats before and am unsure as to whether this is just part of their cleaning routine. Is there any drops or anything that I would get to put on them just incase? Something I can put on whether they have mites or not, just to be sure?

Also, how much should I be handling the ratties at this early age? Should I let them settle for a few days or should I handle them often right from the start?

When I had piggies I left a bowl of dry food for them each day. Is this ok to do for rats? Which is the best dry rat food to get which gives them an all round diet? I have bought some nuggets (Excel) which state they provide an all round diet but I'm not sure. I live in the UK so any names of foods i can get would be great. Are they allowed other foods at this early age or just dry foods?

Any advice on this would be much appreciated.

Ly&Pigs
07-13-08, 03:08 pm
See this page for all around good info: ratsrule.com - rat care primer (http://www.ratsrule.com/ratcare.html)

You may find conflicting advice concerning diet. My advice is one of two things. First is Suebee's type mix, a high quality dog food for senior dogs and fresh foods. The second is a high quality lab block, a bit of Suebee's type mix and fresh foods. Fresh foods are important in their diet.

I don't follow Suebee's to the letter. I often make my own recipe. Right now I use 1 box of total cereal, 1 box of store brand generic stuff called natures grains, 1 box granola cereal, about a cup to a cup and a half of rolled oats, 1/2 box puffed wheat, 1/2 bag of Arrowhead Mills puffed millet, 1/2 bag of Arrowhead Mills puffed rice, 1 box of 7 grain rotini, 1 sample sized box of multi grain cheerios, and then I sometimes put one small bag of dried tropical fruit into the mix. I often add other things from month to month as well. Pumpkin seeds one month, sunflower seeds the next, soynuts sometimes and other stuff. I give a small amount on a daily basis.

Fresh foods. I give fresh foods every day but what I give rotates around. The things I feed the ratties are boiled egg, tuna, cooked wholegrain pastas, cooked brown rice, boiled chicken once in a while, fresh veggies- the things I feed the piggers, once a week I give a very small piece of bread dipped in olive oil. For treats I give hard shelled nuts like pecans, walnuts, almonds, etc. I also give treats you'd find in the baby section that have hardly no sugars in them like the strawberry apple puffs and other flavored puffs. I give unsweetened applesauce occasionally. I give frozen peas (thawed). I just found some all natural peanut butter flavored dog treats that I've been giving. They come in petite sizes and regular size. I bought the petite. I've been giving those about once or twice a week. And sometimes they think they need a bite of whatever I'm having for dinner. Mashed potatoes are a favorite of Izzy's.

It seems I have to go back and forth on the lab blocks and dog food. My ratties don't seem to always like the lab blocks. So I feed blocks for a couple months then Innova Sr. for a couple of months. I use Harlan Teklad 2014 for their blocks. I have found a new way though to get them to eat their lab blocks which now they will eat but I have to make a mash out of it. I flavor the mash with babyfood, so now they eat the heck out of it. But I also put regular blocks in their cage which I mostly find thrown out of the cage.


They also scratch and what looks like biting themselves at their back and legs. I am just a little concerned. I have never had rats before and am unsure as to whether this is just part of their cleaning routine.To me it sounds like normal cleaning routine. They use their feet to clean themselves.

To get a good bond with them, you need to handle them daily for at least an hour per day. There are tons of things you can do to play with them.

pocoyo
07-14-08, 01:59 am
Thank you for your reply. I will be sure to get some of the foods you have mentioned. I'm just a little unsure as to whether I can get a hold of those things in the UK. If anyone from the UK knows is this is possible, I would be grateful if you could let me know where you buy them from.

Also, does anyone have a link to a table of different foods similar to the one for piggies? Just for a reference really. Something I could print out and have to hand. Just in case there is anything that I should completely avoid.

Is it possible to handle your rats too much? I don't want to stress them out by handling them and keeping them out of their cage for too long. Should I do it gradually due to them being young?

vics2004
07-14-08, 03:58 pm
I am still trying to find out where to get lab blocks in the UK, so will let you know if I find some.

Otherwise I think Excel is one of the best pre-made rat foods in the UK, you can get Oxbow a few places, but some (especially younger rats) won't eat this apparently, they were looking into how to reformulate it.

There is a table on food here:

Food | Ratz R Us, Rat Health And Care Guides (http://www.ratzrus.co.uk/ratguides/care/nutrition/food.php)

The rats dule forum that LY linked to is really good.

Rattie Mom
07-15-08, 09:36 am
Awe your new boys are adorable.

I have some rat friends in the UK that I will reach out to, to see where you might find good lab blocks. We feed the Harlan 2014 here and my rats will eat them. We also add some Nutro's natural lite dog kibble to their suebees mix and have that readily available too (I do my own variation of suebees too, which is similar to Ly's. We buy almost everything in the bulk food section of the store) We give fresh veggies and a fruit each night. But I don't tend to give my rats all the lettuces we do for our pigs. My rats do love Kale, broccoli, cilantro, frozen (thawed) corn, peas, cooked pasta, grapes, melon, blueberries, canned cooked kidney, black or pinto beans, baby carrots.

Watch the scratching. If they do this pretty regularly, I might treat them for mites, just in case. Look for scabs behind their ears and on their shoulder blades. You can also push back the fur on their bum/backside and look for tiny red dots/or white nits attached to the hair folicals. This would mean lice. But they are very tiny and sometimes hard to see. If you do see evidence of lice, I would get them to the vet and get treatment. We treat our rats with Revolution, but the dose is very small and has to be given appropriate to their weight. We use the 5-15 pound cat formula, and one tube will treat several rats. So you have to be very careful not to overdose.

Here is another great site for info:

Pet Rat Care and Discussion (http://www.ratpalace.com)

The forums are shut down, but there still should be good articles there.

I would definitely hold and interact with your rats as much as possible. Teach them to sit on your shoulder and start to walk around with them there. They love that. Also, set up a nice play area for them....they'll need out of cage time for at least an hour each day. Rats are very food motivated (though not as much as piggies ;) ), so offering them treats to help with socialization is good. We get the honey flavored animal cookies from the bulk food section in the store. My rats go nuts for those!

i-love-nev
07-18-08, 08:00 am
Is it possible to handle your rats too much? I don't want to stress them out by handling them and keeping them out of their cage for too long. Should I do it gradually due to them being young?

In my short experience with ratties, not really! of course you wouldnt have them out all day but I would say 4-5 hours would be fine. My boys are out of the cage taking "hoodie rides", sitting on my shoulder whilst I clean or running around on the sofa for at LEAST 4 hours a day, then they get 1-2 hour on the sofa before bed just running around with tunnels, boxes, shredded paper, coats, jackets, jeans etc then I go to bed and they spend another 2, 3, 4 hours on the bed watching TV with me and they are still really energetic. My boys are 10-ish and 14-ish weeks old and they have had this routine since they were 6-ish and 10-ish weeks, for the first few days they hid all the time though.