Anyone who knows me probably knows that I have pet rats. I've kept rats off and on for the last 4-5 years, but i am currently down to only having 3. 2 Girls, Sadie and Camilla, who are around 3 years old, and one boy, Harry, who's almost 2. They're some of the best pets I've ever had, and it's hard for me to imagine my life in Portland without them.
There was a point where i had upwards of 8. There was some unfortunate sickness and whatnot, and that's what has led to the significantly dwindled amount I have now.
After being unemployed for a personal record of 5 months (i don't think i've been unemployed that much in TOTAL since getting my first McJob at 16), my moneys were tight, and I had been buying a crappy seed-with-a-bit-of-lab-block mix of food from the local petstore for them. Not my favorite thing to do. I can watch them gain weight when i'm feeding them this stuff, and it makes me feel like a bad pet owner.
Now that i'm working again, I had planned to purchase my favorite store-bought rat food, Regal Rat. Unfortuantely, we were TOTALLY out of food, and I didn't make it to the petstore on time. I figured "OK, i'll go to the grocery store, buy some low-sugar cereal and that'll tide them over 'til tomorrow".
Then I remembered reading an article about blending your own ratfoods, and how much better it was for them because you could filter out junk (like peanuts!) that is in the store-bought blends.
I turned to RatsRule.com's article entitled "Suebee's Rat Diet".
I was shopping at a Large chain grocery store that isn't particularly known for it's healthfood section (though, god help them, they try). It was a bit toughing to track down a couple of the ingredients, but i feel like i found suitable substitutions. Here's where i differed:
1) I couldn't find unsalted/unflavored in-the-shell Sunflower seeds, so i got roasted un-salted out-of-the-shell ones from the bulk section.
2) I couldn't find completely unsweetened, dehydrated bananas, so I used banana chips. Their sugar amount was low, so i'm assuming most of that is just fruit-sugars at that point. I also got these from the bulk bins.
3) I couldn't find any bulk mixed fruit or cranberries, so i ended up with Ocean Spray Craisins. They were the lowest in sugar-content of all the dried fruits in general, as well as by brand. Go figure!
4) I didn't have mixed-veggie spirals, but i did have some regular Farfalle at home. They don't seem to mind, and if i buy some of the spirals, i'll add them in later.
The other thing that i didn't think of until it was too late was the SHEER VOLUME of all this food. I tried to do it in two mixing bowls, but before i even GOT to the dried cereals portion, both bowls were full. I opted for a paper bag from your friend, and mine, Trader Joe's.
After dumping everything in, i gave it a good stir with a big spoon, and then shook it a bit for good measure. I was kind of afraid the soy nuts and sunflower seeds were gonna end up in the bottom, so i kept stiring long past where i could have stopped. What can i say, I never know when to stop.
After all that, i had to divide it up into containers. FORTUNATELY i had opted to pick up the 3-piece set from Bi-Mart, isntead of the cute but-oh-so-much-smaller-than-i-would-have-needed Barrel shaped container. *SIGH* It did, however, fill ALL THREE containers.
On the bright side, the Rats seemed to LOVE it (once they noticed it in the bowl, obviously they were delirious from the hungries).
This all cost me about 12$ (not including the 5$ for the containers, and the 2$ for the box of cheerios i bought but didn't need)
I guess this is how i'll be doing things from now on! The kids sure seem to like it :)