Debbie's Molasses Mix Rat Food
3/4 cup Total-style cereal (vitamin & mineral fortified bran flakes) --OR
-- 1 chewable children's vitamin & mineral tablet (see note)
1 lb. soft tofu (silken or regular will work)
4 Tablespoons shelled raw sunflower seeds
1 Tablespoon flax seeds
3 Tablespoons uncooked oats
4 teaspoons pearled barley
4 teaspoons millet
3 Tablespoons cooked brown rice
4 Tablespoons toasted wheat germ
2 1/4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes (5.6 g)
2 Tablespoons blackstrap molasses
vegan vitamin and mineral supplements (see below)
This recipe has been reprinted with permission in a slightly modified version of the "Molasses Mix" rat diet prescribed by rat enthusiast and expert, Debbie Ducommun, email@example.com. Debbie Ducommun's original recipe can be found at http://www.ratfanclub.org/diet.html.
As rats and other rodents do not naturally eat a veg*n diet, Debbie's recommended rat diet includes meat; HOWEVER, she suggests this for making a veg*n diet as nutritionally complete as possible: "if you feel strongly that you want to feed your rats a vegetarian diet, you must add 5 mg of copper (for example, as copper sulfate) to the molasses mix for adults. For babies, you must add 10 mg of copper."
The rest of these ingredients can be obtained at most grocery stores, health food stores (check the bulk bins!), and other bulk grain suppliers (look online).
For the supplement mix, you will need the following (see note):
-- 1500 mg calcium from chewable tablets or liquid calcium with vitamin D
-- 2000 mcg chromium picolinate
-- 250 mcg vitamin B12
-- 40 mg manganese (from capsules)
-- 5 mg copper for adults, 10 mg for babies
Now, let's get to work!
1.) Soak the chromium picolinate, calcium, and B12 tablets in a tiny bit of water and when soft, crush.
2.) Coarsely crush the Total in a plastic bag (or crush chewable tablet).
3.) Mash the tofu in a bowl. Add all ingredients together with warm molasses and mix thoroughly.
Store covered in the refrigerator or freezer. Serve about 3 Tablespoons of mix to each rat daily.
If you would like dry food, you could dehydrate this or bake in a low temperature oven. Spread the mix in an even layer (approx. 1/4 inch, or whatever works for you) on an oiled baking sheet. Dehydrate/bake until mix stiffens and hardens. Cut or crumble into biscuits or blocks. ....Although, I would recommend dehydrating only a small portion of the mix at one time--you may wish to keep some of the wet mixture in case you accidentally "over-cook" your dry mix attempt....not that I've done that, or anything.
-- Vitamin and mineral supplements: Read the labels and be sure to avoid ingredients such as Sorbitol (a synthetic sweetener that rats hate), Gelatin, Stearic Acid and its derivatives, and other animal-based products.
-- IF you choose to not use the ready-to-eat Total-style cereal: You will need to find a Children's Chewable Vitamin & Mineral tablet for ages 2-4 (avoid the unwanted ingredients listed above, and make sure it has both vitamins AND minerals) and grind it up with the other supplements.
For more information on feeding your rats a complete and balanced diet, see the Rat Fan Club website or contact Debbie at the email listed above.
There you will also find helpful tips on proper serving sizes, beneficial/disease-preventing foods, and what NOT to feed your rats.
This homemade diet "meets the requirements set for rats by the National Research Council. Because my diet contains only fresh foods I feel that it’s the best diet for rats. It takes only a little more time to prepare than the blocks with fresh foods. If you wish you can also feed a mix of my homemade diet and blocks. Even if you don’t want to make the whole diet, it will give you ideas for the best fruits and veggies to supplement your rats’ commercial diet."