I did some research on lab block amounts and calorie restrictions in a rat’s diet. I tried out a diet which allowed my rats to have 3 lab blocks a day. This amount of lab blocks caused some weight loss and I noticed that they were more active instead of sleeping all the time.
Lab Block Rat Food Amounts for Pet Rats
It’s common to hear that rats should have an unlimited lab block amounts all day. However, while constant access to unlimited lab block amounts or food can be crucial to wild rats, they are constantly on the move.
Our rats are in their cage and ideally getting a couple of hours of exercise a day. The difference in activity level signifies we do not need to feed large amounts of lab blocks because they are probably not burning as much calories as a wild rat.
The excess in lab block amounts may lead to obesity and weight issues and weight issues can put more strain on your pet rat’s body than if they were at a healthy weight.
READ ALSO: What Should I Feed My Pet Rat?
Therefore, I think it would be good to think about if our pet rats really need as big of an lab block amounts as most people recommend. Do they need an unlimited source of food?
amount of lab blocks to feedI started limiting the amount of lab blocks that I feed my rats just for pure health reasons. Again, I was going from unlimited lab blocks to just 3 lab blocks per day per rat.
The key is to maintain a healthy weight so it does take some research. From what I have read and tested, an adult male rat should weigh around a pound or two.
Your rat’s body shape should be lean with no belly dragging under them. Females may need more than males as they are more active and constantly on the move. Also, when they are pregnant or nursing, they really need the extra nutrition.
I feed my two male rats Harlan Teklad 2014 lab blocks but with females, you want to feed them Harlan Teklad 2018 because the 2018 formula has a higher amount of protein.
ALSO SEE: Can Rats eat Carrots?
You can purchase food from your local rat rescue or you can buy the 2018 formula from Amazon.com under the brand name Native Earth.
I’ve did do some research before writing this up just so that I can show you other sources saying the same thing. If there’s one thing I highly suggest doing is to research, research and research!
I write a lot of rat health information here but even after writing everything I know, I’m still interested in reading about what other people find out. So please, take some time in doing some research of your own. 🙂
Nutritional Requirement for a Rat’s Diet
Eats about 15g o dry food blocks a day (60 calories a day) (source)
Rat Studies on Lab Block Amounts
McCay CM et al. discovered that reducing the amount of calories fed to rodents nearly doubled their lifespans. Preserved structural and functional parameters in aging rodents.
Mattson gave rats an unlimited amount of lab blocks daily to every other day and measured animals heart rate, blood pressure and other physiological measure for 6 months.
Under stressful conditions, the rats fed every other day had lower heart rats and blood pressure and physically showed more readily to adapt to stressful situations. (source)