what do baby rats eat

What Do Baby Rats Eat?

Written by: Gemmali Dizor

Baby rats, commonly referred to as pinkies, are helpless at birth and rely solely on their mothers for nourishment. But what exactly do these little creatures eat? In this article, we’ll investigate their nutritional requirements and what you can do to ensure they develop into healthy adults.

Why is it essential to know what baby rats eat?

Understanding what baby rats eat is essential for their growth and development. Just like all young animals, baby rats require a specific balance of nutrients to support rapid growth and development. Feeding them an inadequate diet may result in stunted development, malnutrition, or other health issues.

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What Do Baby Rats Eat?

Mother’s Milk

Like most mammals, baby rats depend on their mothers for nutrition during the first few weeks of life. Rat milk is packed with essential nutrients like protein, fat, and carbohydrates – giving them all they need to grow and develop properly.

If you come across abandoned baby rats, it is imperative that they be taken to a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian experienced in caring for small animals right away. They will provide specialized care, such as feeding them with a special formula.


If you’re caring for baby rats that have been abandoned or orphaned, specialized formulas designed to mimic rat milk can be fed to them. These types of replacement formulas are available at most pet stores and usually consist of milk, protein, and fat.

It is crucial to follow the directions on a formula package carefully in order to guarantee proper mixing. Diluting or overdiluting can cause health issues.

Solid Food

As your baby rats mature and develop, they will begin nibbling at solid food. Around 2-3 weeks old, you can start offering them solid foods like grains, fruits, and vegetables; you may even feed them small amounts of cooked chicken or scrambled eggs.

It is essential to introduce solid food gradually and ensure it’s easy for them to chew and swallow. You can offer small amounts of food at a time, and if they are not interested, try again later on.

What Foods Should Be Avoided?

Some foods are not recommended for baby rats and could lead to serious health issues or even death. Here is a list of items you should avoid feeding your rodent:

Processed Foods: Processed foods tend to be high in salt, sugar, and preservatives which can be toxic for baby rats.

Dairy Products: Baby rats are lactose intolerant, so it is best to avoid feeding them any dairy products.

Raw Meat: Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria which could make baby rats ill.

Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to rats.

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How often Should You Feed Baby Rats?

Baby rats require frequent feedings to support their rapid growth and development. Newborn rats should be fed every 2-3 hours, including throughout the night. As they get older, you can reduce this frequency of feeding but make sure they always have access to food and water.

How to Wean Baby Rats?

Weaning is the process of weaning baby rats from milk or formula to solid food. Start weaning your rats around 3 weeks old by offering small amounts of solid food in addition to their milk or formula, and gradually increase it as they become accustomed to it.

By approximately four to five weeks old, baby rats should have fully weaned and only be eating solid food.

Feeding baby rats can be a challenging task, but it is necessary for their growth and development. Make sure to provide them with a balanced diet consisting of mother’s milk, formula, and solid food – introduce solid food gradually and avoid foods that are unsuitable – and feed them frequently so that their growth is supported. Consult a veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator if you have any queries regarding caring for baby rats.

In addition to feeding baby rats, it’s essential that their living environment be clean and comfortable. Baby rats are highly sensitive to temperature and humidity levels, so make sure their enclosure is warm and dry. You could also provide them with a nesting box or soft material so they can snuggle in comfort.

As your baby rats grow and develop, their nutritional needs will change. Be sure to monitor their progress and adjust their diet accordingly. With proper care and nutrition, your rodent can grow into a healthy adult.


Baby rats require special nutrition to support their rapid growth and development. They initially depend on their mother’s milk or specialized formula during the first few weeks, then gradually transition to solid food sources such as grains, fruits, vegetables, and small amounts of cooked chicken or scrambled eggs. A balanced diet that includes grains, fruits, and vegetables along with some cooked chicken or scrambled eggs is essential for their health and well-being. Avoid processed foods, dairy products raw meat chocolate. If you have any queries about caring for baby rats consult with a veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator; with proper care, they can grow up healthy and strong!

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