Suggested Lab Block
What is lab block (or sometimes called kibble)? Lab block is a dried, processed food that should make up the majority of your pet rats’ diet. This food is engineered by the manufacturer to be a complete diet for pet rats. In general, lab block should comprise about 80% of their diet and should be available for the around the clock, daily.
Since the lab block is the foundation of a rat’s diet, it is a good idea to understand just how much the little fur balls might eat. Rats eat about 5% of their body weight everyday. So for example, 2 adult male rats of approximately 500 grams will eat 3.5 pounds of food in a month.
While there are tons of choices for the basic lab block, for the purposes of this article, we will only discuss the block brands that we have personally used and recommend to our adopters. Both of our suggested brands are high quality but also a little more expensive than other brands (though they are similar in cost themselves). Also, one, if not both, of these brands can usually be found at most local pet stores and online retailers.
Mazuri Rat & Mouse Diet
This brand is currently our preferred brand and what we feed all of our rats. Mazuri is a vegetarian block that contains a yucca extract to help reduce aerosolized ammonia. While some breeders prefer other brands due to the high protein content, we noticed a tremendous reduction in smell after starting to use Mazuri — something many people agree with. While the high protein is good for mamas and growing babies, it can be a little troublesome for adult males. We combat this issue by not supplementing our adult males with any additional protein sources. There are two common varieties: the regular and the 6F. 6F is a bit cheaper, but it’s also harder to find.
Oxbow Essentials – Adult Rat Food
This kibble is considered by many as the industry leader in rat food. While it does cost slightly more than Mazuri, the cost isn’t prohibitive. It’s balanced in nutrition as well as minerals. When we started with just four pet rats, we used Oxbow and really liked it. Oxbow is a quality manufacturer and can be considered a go-to for any small animal needs.
Many breeders will actually purchase individual ingredients to make their own base rat diet. While the lab blocks above discourage selective feeding, homemade mixes are often touted for producing large, healthy rats. Certainly, you control exactly what your rats eat (e.g. all organic). If you would like to explore making your own food mix, head over to our friends at Evolution Rattery to read about their recipe for a balanced and healthy mix.