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Choosing Pet Rodent Water, Food and Feeding

Exactly what types of foods and in what quantity you should
feed your pet rodent depends on the species and age of the
animal, of course. You will need to do your due diligence
research. Many of the other articles on this site can help.
But there are some generalized suggestions in this area that
apply to most if not all rodents; we will share some of them

The primary food you provide for your pet rodent will
probably be either a commercially available pressed food
pellet or a seed mixture designed for your species of
rodent. If you feed a seed mixture, you will need to watch
that the animals are eating a wide variety of seeds and not
just the fatty and consequently tastier ones such as
sunflower seeds and peanuts. If your pet eats all the
sunflower seeds and peanuts first, leave the other seeds in
the cage for a day or so and it will likely eat the rest.
But if over a period of time you see that your pet
consistently refuses a particular seed type or hates alfalfa
pellets, for example, you may want to seek out an equally
nutritious food mixture that doesn't contain those items.

Low quality foods that are not designed to meet the
nutritional needs of your rodent species can result in poor
body and coat condition, cannibalism, especially of the
young, fewer surviving young, smaller litters, infertility,
on to the extremes of liver and kidney failure and death.
This is why we recommend that you buy a commercial food
rather than trying to save money and mixing your own.

The most commonly seen nutritional deficiencies in pet
rodents are calcium and/or protein. A good quality
commercial rodent food will prevent calcium deficiencies in
all but nursing mothers. Pregnant and nursing mothers, who
are producing milk or preparing to do so, should be given a
calcium supplement. Including dog food or peanuts in the
ration can help with protein deficiency.

If you are going to use food bowls, (Some animals will use
them, some will just throw the food out of the bowl.) be
sure to buy bottom-weighted ceramic bowls. Plastic bowls
will be gnawed on, and the damaged parts will hide bacteria
and broken bits could possibly damage your rodent's
digestive system. Metal bowls, though easier to keep clean,
aren't usually heavy enough to stay upright when an animal
is balancing on one side, as most rodents will do.

Water for rodents should not be served in a dish. If you try
to give your rodents water in a dish, you will find that the
water is always full of litter and possibly even feces, and
that the cage litter is always wet from the animals tipping
the water dish. Plus, if you have young animals some will
fall in and drown.

The best way to water animals of nearly every kind,
including rodents large or small, is to buy the suitable
sized pet water bottle with a spout that has a steel ball in
the end. When such a bottle is filled with water and turned
upside down, a vacuum is created that keeps the water, or at
least most of the water, from leaking out, and the animals
can drink at will and in safety.

The ball will keep dirt and litter out of the water, and you
can quickly see when the bottle needs refilling. If your
rodents live in a wire cage, you may even be able to mount
the water bottle on the outside of the cage with only the
spout inside, so preventing the inevitable chewing and
making it even more convenient to keep your pets supplied
with clean, fresh water. If you can't mount the bottle on
the outside of the cage for some reason, the cage is a glass
aquarium, for example, you will need a holder for the bottle
that guards the top and bottom of the bottle from gnawing.

Your pet rodent may enjoy occasional snacks of fresh
vegetables and fruits, or even mealworms. Check books or
online for the food requirements and like for your
particular species.

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