This is a homemade mix that I have formulated using items from my local supermarket (pictured above). As often as I can, I buy from the bulk bins or the store brands. The only item I tend to splurge on is the Total cereal, because it is very nutritious, and recommended by both the Rat Fan Club and my vet. Overall, it costs me between $15 and $20 to put together the grain mix, which lasts me a couple of months, depending on how many rats I have. The weights listed are approximate.
to 1 lb. dry rolled oats
Quaker is fine, but may be more expensive; I buy mine in the bulk bin at the supermarket. Keep in mind that oatmeal is binding, so too much can cause constipation problems.
5.3 oz. box puffed wheat cereal
Malt-O-Meal, Quaker or Kashi. Cheerios are also a viable alternative, if the other two are not available, but keep in mind that there may be added sugar. I use the Quaker, as it has no sugar content. The exact oz. amount between brands is not a big deal. The 5.3 oz is the weight of the Quaker box.
6.4 oz. box puffed rice cereal
Quaker is the best brand, because it contains no sugar. Rice Krispies really are not recommended, because of salt and sugar content.
oz. box Total
Highly recommended by The Rat Fan Club and my veterinarian for its exceptional nutritional content, due to added vitamins and minerals. It's only available in the United States. If you can't get Total, you can add a children's vitamin/mineral tablet to their diet, or use small animal vitamins.
Note: some people think Total has too many vitamins. Keep in mind that on an average day, a rat will only eat a few flakes of the cereal if fed as a part of this mix. The US RDA listed on the box is based on a full bowl. A rat will eat nowhere near this much on any given day.
to 1/2 lb. roasted, unsalted soy nuts
These are somewhat high in protein, but contain valuable cancer-preventing agents, so they are a good addition to the mix. Not all rats like them. May also be called roasted soy beans -- I think the "nuts" thing is a marketing ploy for humans! If you can't find them, you can work soy into their diet in other ways, such as soy milk, tofu, soy crumbles and soy yogurt. You can also purchase Just Soy Nuts online. Raw dried soybeans can also be toasted at home - Roasted Soy Nuts Recipe. Note: I recently read that roasted soybeans are also a good source of vitamin K.
lb dried fruits
Dried bananas and cranberries. The bananas offer potassium, and cranberries are good for the urinary tract. Until recently, I used the banana chips, which unfortunately are fried. I have since discovered Just Bananas, which are nothing more than dried bananas. They also have a lot of other fruits and veggies that make great treats, or additions to the mix. Recently, I have been including Just Fruit Salad instead of buying separate dried fruits.
If you don't want to include the fruit, you don't have to. I know some people prefer to give their rats fresh fruits, instead. I do this when I can, but we don't always have fruit in the house. Some people also avoid fruits in general due to high sugar content. Use your discrection and common sense.
lb dry pasta
The tri-colored spirals, with spinach and tomato flavor. Nice and crunchy for the teeth, and a good source of carbohydrates, which helps balance the protein in the soy nuts. The box I buy is actually 12 oz., a little more than 1/2 lb. Whole wheat pasta ia also a good choice.
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
The large sunflower seeds for birds (the black and white ones) are best. I used to give my boys the unshelled, unsalted seeds from the bulk department, but they weren't enjoyed as much. Keep in mind that too many sunflower seeds can add too much fat and protein to the diet. Use common sense.
lb muesli (optional)
Sometimes (especially in winter), I have a hard time getting the rolled oats in bulk -- too many people eating oatmeal, I guess. I found a mix called "muesli" in the bulk department that had a lot of interesting items in it that the rats really like, including rolled oats, granola, pumpkin seeds and raisins. It offers a nice variety, but I would use it sparingly due to sugar content.
Mix everything together in a huge bowl (or divide ingredients in half and make two batches if you don't have a bowl big enough for everything -- I actually end up doing three batches!). Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. This makes quite a lot of mix, and will last you quite a while if you only have a few rats -- I usually don't have more than four rats, and it lasts me two months.
Ingredients: dehulled soybean meal, ground corn, ground wheat,
wheat middlings, soybean oil, cane molasses, fish meal, ground oats,
porcine meat meal, dehydrated alfalfa meal, dried beet pulp, wheat germ,
brewers dried yeast, calcium carbonate, salt, dried whey, dicalcium
phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium propionate (a preservative),
ground soybean hulls, menadione dimethylpyrimidinol bisulfite (vitamin
K), animal fat preserved with BHA, choline chloride, corn gluten meal,
dried yucca shidigera extract, DL-methionine, cholecalciferol (vitamin
D3), vitamin A acetate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, d-alpha tocopheryl
acetate (natural source vitamin E), thiamin mononitrate, folic acid,
nicotinic acid, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, cyanocobalamin
(vitamin B12), manganous oxide, zinc oxide, ferrous carbonate, copper
sulfate, zinc sulfate, calcium iodate, cobalt carbonate.
Guaranteed analysis: crude protein (min.) 23%, crude fat (min.) 6.5%, crude fiber (max.) 4%, ash (max.) 8%, vitamin E (min.) 25 IU/lb.
Ingredients: Whole Brown Rice, Oat Groats, Wheat Bran, Wheat,
Soybean Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Soybean Hulls, Monocalcium Phosphate,
Flax Seed Meal, (Linseed), Brewers Yeast, Calcium Carbonate, Wheat Germ
Meal, Methionine DL, Salt, Yeast Culture (Saccharomyces cerevisiae),
Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement
(tocopherol), Vitamin C Supplement (Ascorbic Acid), Colloidal Silica,
Riboflavin, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Menadione Sodium
Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, Thiamine,
Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Pyrodoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid,
Sodium Selenite, Magnesium Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Cobalt Carbonate,
Manganese Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Mineral Oil,
Calcium Iodate, Potassium Chloride, Natural Flavorings
Reggie Rat Food
Ground whole wheat, whole corn, flaked peas, flaked whole wheat, whole oats, pelleted soybean meal, dehydrated alfalfa meal, kibbled locust beans, soybean meal, soybean oil (preserved with BHT), ground whole corn, ground dried banana, salt, calcium carbonate, sodium sulfate, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin b6], vitamin a supplement, riboflavin [vitamin b2], thiamine hydrochloride [vitamin b1], folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin d3 supplement), minerals (zinc oxide, manganese oxide, iron sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, cobalt carbonate, sodium selenite), added fd&c colors (yellow 6, yellow 5, blue 1).