Mice and rats are scavengers and not very picky eaters. They are easy to feed a varied diet to. The very best feed I've found is at every horse barn in the world: horse grain! If you have access to a barn in your area, simply go ask the owners if you can have a variety of horse grain, oats, sweetfeed - whatever they have - and trade them apples or carrots for their horses. If this isn't possible, you can mix your own mouse and rat food at home. Commercial foods are not necessary - you can find plenty of food around your house for your mice and/or rats.
- Experiment with different things and you'll find what your particular mouse or rat likes best. Just remember - they do not like vegetables or fruits and prefer grains. Here is a list of foods your rodent may enjoy:
- Black oil sunflower seed (that you feed wild birds)
- All kinds of nuts - walnuts, peanuts, almonds (low salt is best)
- Uncooked oatmeal such as Quaker quick cooking oats. Simply put a small amount in his bowl.
- Small pieces of dog or cat food
- Leftovers of many things from your dinner table, such as cooked white rice
- Breads of all kinds
- French Fries or baked potato
- Pizza crust
- Mushrooms (cooked or not)
- Cooked macaroni or pasta
- Cheese, but as a treat only. Some cheeses (like cheddar) will make your rodent's urine smell stronger. So if you don't want to clean the cage every week, then not too much cheese...
- Chips such as Triscuits or Wheat Thins (but only small pieces every now and then - too much salt is not good)
- An occasional small bite of a cookie
The more variety you give your mouse or rat, the better chance they have at getting all the vitamins they need from their food. They will come to know when it's dinner time and will run over to see what you've brought them.
They don't need large quantities of anything. Small pieces of the foods and grains are best. You can overfeed mice and rats - and they will get fat. This shortens their life, so be sure you aren't giving them too much.
Different textures (some soft foods, some very crunchy) will make sure that your mouse or rat grinds down his teeth through usage. The teeth of mice and rats continually grow, so they need something to grind them on. Feeding your animal hard foods is the best way to ensure that this occurs.
Always make sure that your mouse or rat has plenty of fresh water. Make sure you check his water every day and tap the ball at the end of the bottle to be sure it is still dispensing water. Sometimes the tip of the water bottle gets gummed up with food and it will stop letting water flow. Fill it the bottle when it gets to be half empty - do not wait until it's completely dry. Water bottles work on a gravity feed - the more water that's pushing down on it, the easier it is for the rodent to drink.
Enjoy your furry friends!