One of the very best things about rats is that they can eat almost anything. That means you can use them for cleaning up your leftovers and you never have to worry if you forgot that they needed more food while doing your grocery shopping and went home without it.
To give an idea of the variety our rats get I tracked what Lyra, Vanilla (six month old girls) and Dusky (one and a half) ate for a week. The bowls I use for all the rat’s food are the little ceramic ones you can find at most pet shops. They’re good because they don’t get tipped over and they’re easy to clean.
Rats need a grain based diet that can easily be put together from things you’d find in any supermarket. Our rats have constant access to a mixture of oats, cornflakes, weetbix, and rice bubbles with a few seeds mixed in as surprise treats. This mix is topped with a few lab blocks. They don’t get more than a few each per day as they tend to hide them and then forget about them and I find a huge pile of them in a corner going soggy when I clean out the cage. I give them about half of a cup of this mixture every morning and it’s usually pretty much gone by the next.
They also get two table spoons of veggies every morning. This week it was frozen mix of peas, beans, and (regrettably) carrot, which everyone ate around and left to go slimy in the bottom of the bowl. Next week it’s back to plain old peas as they are always really well liked.
In the evening the rats get a dinner of whatever we have if there are any leftovers. When there’s nothing extra for them, or on the nights we go out for dinner, they get some baby food, soup, or an extra bowl of veggies. On the first night the girls got a bowl of pasta, with some kind of pasta sauce and a little bit of mince. On the second they got deconstructed chicken sandwiches with whole meal bread, stuffing, lots of greens, avocado, and one piece of chicken each.
On the third night the girls had crispy crunchy salad with noodles, greens, capsicum, and cucumber and on the forth night they had rice risotto baby food because I had fish and chips and didn’t save any for them despite them peering longingly at it through the doors of their cage.
On the fifth night they had nachos with guacamole, tomato, sour cream, corn chips and a bit of mince and on the sixth night they had stir fried veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and courgette) with rice.
On the seventh night I was to lazy to cook and had crackers for dinner so they had salmon and avocado on a bed broken crackers too. On the eighth night I went out for dinner and they had spaghetti which was the only dinner this week that they seemed a bit disappointed with and didn’t finish, though they enjoyed licking all the sauce off.