October 6, 2008

I have been doing a bit of thinking and research into alternative rat food recently. This isn’t because my rats are not doing well on their current diet, I am just looking for a way of feeding them that works out a bit cheaper and I also liked the idea of a base mix I could use for rats, piggies, rabbits and the hamster with species specific bits added in.

I have recently changed the base of my ‘shunamite diet’ to pasture mix horse food as I was having trouble getting alpha herbal rabbit food. I tried the pasture mix after purchasing some for the piggies as that is what their breeder fed them on. After discussing the ingredients and analysis on the NFRS forum I decided to give it a go, and it seems to be a success. I have noticed a particular difference in Pepper, who’s fur around her eyes is now lovely and dark and her coat has darkened and started to shine. Rupert and Jools’ coats are shinier too and they’ve lost their paler eye circles too. The ingredients of the pasture mix are:

Oatfeed, barley, wheat, cereal straw (treated) cane molasses, maize, wheatfeed, peas, vegetable oil, dehulled soya bean meal, herbs, limestone, dicalcium phosphate, salt, carrots, linseed, full fat soya, minerals, fruit.

And the analysis is:

  • moisture – 14%
  • Protein – 9%
  • Oil – 4%
  • fibre – 14%
  • ash – 8%
  • calcium – 1%
  • phosphorus – 0.4%
  • sodium – 0.4%
  • vitamin A – 10,000 iu / kg
  • vitamin D3 – 1,500 iu / kg
  • vitamin E – 100 mg / kg
  • copper (as cupric sulphate & copper proteinate) – 30 mg / kg
  • selenium – 0.3 mg / kg

The high levels of copper and added selenium were the two things that encouraged me and several others to try it.

The other thing that I was reading about on the NFRS forum was the feeding of ‘straights’, which is basic ingredients, ie; purhasing your own barley, maize etc and making your own cereal mix. So I have orderd a 25kg bag of mixed flakes (barley, peas & maize) and a 20kg bag of rolled oats from greenmule, which should arrive in the next couple of days. The plan is to mix 40% pasture mix, 40% straights, 10% pasta and 10% dog kibble. That way, they get the cereals from the straights mix, which is pretty much what alpha herbal was made of so I know that’s a good combination, the added vitamins, minerals and copper and also some wheat from the pasture mix, plus the protein in the dog food and the carbs in the pasta. Some people recomend not adding pasta as it can make rats fat, however, I feel that during the winter at least, the extra carbs should help towards their energy levels and keeping themselves warm. Hopefully by buying in bulk it will work out a little bit cheaper than purchasing cereals from the supermarket as I do get through quite a bit and this mixture seems to have a good blend of ingredients for them.

Hopefully, the straights will arrive soon, so I will be able to report what they think of their new diet.


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