We see a lot of rats who are undernourished or otherwise in need of nutritional support to add condition, overcome a medical issue or get through a pregnancy. One good trick we're asked a lot about is making a porridge or wet food to promote eating in a weak or disinterested rat, without resorting to less nutritionally complete treats!
Here is a recipe for a porridge that suits rats or mice with a risk of aspiration (inhaling fluids) or where there are beans (babies) present in the tub.
- Vetafarm Rodent Origin's Pellets/Laucke Mills/Cummins (a nutritionally complete pellet or block)
- Di-vetelact/baby formula/sustagen powder (a tasty base)
- Soak half a cup of the pellet or block in water until soft and forming a thin porridge.
The amount of water required differs by brand, the 'dust' at the bottom of a laucke bag is perfect for this purpose.
- Add a heaped teaspoon of formula
- Add a small amount of Nutrigel - you need less than you would assume, read the tube for directions.
- Mix everything up, if you find you've made it too wet for your liking, you can add quick oats to reach the desired consistency easily.
A few hints:
- Making up a larger amount and freezing in ice cube trays is good for portioning and as a hot weather treat.
- Be careful leaving bowls of liquid in with babies, as a drowning risk.
- This mix will go off quickly, don't leave in the cage for longer than a day, and make small quantities as needed if not freezing.
- Be mindful of using high calorie supplements on overweight animals.
- "The dose makes the poison" - when using concentrated supplementation like Nutripet, resist the urge to give as much as you can. Minerals and vitamins that are helpful in the right quantities may put a strain on the system if in excessive amounts, or deter your rat from eating it.
- Work with your vet, some conditions have specific needs.