We all love treating our rats, and our rats love the interest and variety a yummy treat brings. However, it’s important treats are healthy for our pets, and a good way to do that is to make them ourselves.
I mostly use bits and bobs of human foods as treats – a nut in a shell, half a fresh grape, a piece of cooked pasta – but sometimes I go to town and cook them something of their own. You’ll note most of these recipes are savoury – rats love sugar, but they really don’t need it, so I try and fit my treats to their other tastes.
Except for the omelette and porridge, these homemade rat treats can be stored in the freezer for a few months.
Microwave Frozen Veg Omelette
This is a brilliant and really quick way to make a nutritious fresh meal for the rats with minimal effort.
- 1-2 eggs
- frozen vegetables
Simply break one or two eggs into a microwave safe bowl, add in frozen vegetables from the supermarket (I’ve used peas, corn and carrot, or a range of oriental stir fry mixes), stir it all up and cook in the microwave, stirring every minute or so until the egg is done. Let it cool off to a safe temperature and serve to the rats. It’s easy to adjust the amounts to suit the number of rats in a group and it provides protein and fresh veg in one delicious hit.
Super-powered No-cook Porridge
I use this porridge as a treat for the healthy adult rats and a supplement for the elderly who may not be eating their main food as enthusiastically as normal.
- a selection of rolled grains (I use barley and rice as they are gentle on elderly kidneys)
- plant-based milk (I use soy, but any other milk replacement works)
- linseed (flaxseed) meal
- hempseed powder
Pour the grains into a bowl until you have about 2/3rd of the total volume you want. Cover in soy milk and leave to soak in the fridge until the grains are swollen and mushy (can leave it overnight). Give the porridge a stir to check the consistency – you want it sloppy not sticky – and add more milk if needed. Stir in a tea spoon each of flaxseed meal and hempseed powder per 3 rats. Serve in a bowl for the group, or on individual spoons.
Suggestion: if your rats are not keen on savoury tastes or are very elderly and reluctant to eat, stir in a squeeze of chocolate baby custard. I’ve found rats are willing to eat almost anything if flavoured with chocolate custard!
This makes a great vehicle for delivering either supplements to the group, or medications on a spoon to individual rats.
This is a flexible savoury biscuit that you can add in all sorts of fresh left-overs too – scraps from a cooked chicken, or roast joint, fish, or chopped or grated veggies.
Cook up some rice / millet / quinoa / pearl barley (whichever you have or prefer). Puree the grain in a bowl with any meat, fish or veggie scraps you want to use – use about 150 g / 5 oz of scraps to ½ cup of rice. Add in enough stock (meat, fish or veggie is fine – just chose the one that suits your biscuits) to make a smooth but not watery paste. Beat in an egg, and then mix in enough flour to form a firm dough.
Roll the mixture out, shape as you prefer, and place on a greased baking tray. Bake at 180°C / 350°F for about 20 mins, or until hard and golden.
This is another savoury treat biscuit.
- pumpkin or butternut squash flesh
- nut butter
- 2 eggs
- rolled grains
- chopped vegetables
- wholemeal flour
Chop up some pumpkin or butternut squash flesh until you have about a cup full. Puree this with ¼ cup of nut butter (a sugar free peanut butter is the obvious option, but any homemade or commercial nut butter is fine – you can also experiment with olive, seed or nut-based oil) and 2 eggs. Add in ½ cup of rolled grains (oats, barley, whatever you prefer) and some chopped vegetables such as grated carrot, creamed corn, crushed peas, grated zucchini, or shredded raw greens. Once that is all mixed together, add in enough wholemeal flour to make a firm dough.
Once you have it all combined together, roll out the dough to your desired thickness (thinner will cook quicker). If you want to make shaped biscuits then cut them out now. Otherwise, put pieces of the flat dough on a greased backing sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F / 180°C until golden brown. It will be about 20 mins in most ovens. If you haven’t cut the biscuits into shapes, allow to cool and then break up into fragments.
I often cook this to add to my dry mix, but it also works well as a rat treat.
- olive oil
- garlic paste
- egg (optional)
Place a roughly sliced large mushroom (or two or three small ones) on a backing tray and mix with olive oil and a small blob of garlic paste. Roast at 150°C / 300°F until the slices look cooked. Transfer the mushrooms and any cooking juices to a blender, add just enough water to moisten, and blend to a paste. Transfer to a bowl and mix in enough flour to make a stretchy, non-sticky, dough. You can add an egg during mixing if preferred.
Roll the dough out as thin as you can and transfer to a pizza sheet. Score on a grid of lines to allow the bread to be easily broken later. Bake in the oven at 140-160°C / 240 – 320°F until the outside is hard when tapped and the inside is as dry as you can get it – the thinner you can roll the dough the quicker this is. We use a lowish heat for a longer period, as hotter temperatures result in a crispy outside, and a moist inside.
Remove from oven and allow to cool, then break into pieces.
Finally, a sweet treat. This is a great way to use up over-ripe bananas – and they are yummy for humans to share too.
- over-ripe banana
- rolled oats or rolled barley
- seeds, almond flakes, shredded coconut or dried fruit (optional)
Take an over-ripe banana (or two if you fancy making extra for the non-rodent members of the household), peel it and mash up the flesh in a bowl.
Tip in ½ a cup of rolled flaked grains like rolled oats or rolled barley (add an extra ½ cup for every extra banana used). For extra interest, you can also add in seeds, almond flakes, shredded coconut or dried fruit. Mix it all up until its thoroughly combined.
Drop blobs of the mixture onto a greased baking sheet (you can make balls, blobs or biscuits as you prefer), and cook in a preheated oven (around 350°F / 180°C) for 13-15 mins. When done they should be a nice biscuity colour and firm, not sticky in the centre.
Once cool, chop into rat sized portions and hand out.
Do you make homemade rat treats for your pets? Let us know in the comments!