Why Feed Rats?
When formulating a diet for domestic raptors it is important to include both avian and non-avian food sources. Whilst quail, chicks, pigeons are all suitable for inclusion in the diet, it is vital to include some food items that are not avian related. In a worse case scenario an outbreak of disease could result in avian based food being unavailable, raptors that have not been fed or will not eat non avian products will be severely compromised until they will accept other food sources. Rats are an excellent source of non-avian food. Rodents form an important part of the food chain, one that is utilised by many raptors including falcons.
For a commercially available diet, the most cost effective rodent is the rat. Our rodents are produced under the strictest Veterinary supervision to ensure that they are suitable for use as raptor food.
Available in sizes varying from 1 day old to 500 grams plus.
The most useful for raptors are in the weight range 60-300 grams.
Smaller rats contain relatively high proportions of vitamins compared with that of larger animals. Not only are they higher in vitamin content but also the minerals are easier to assimilate, bones are softer as not fully formed. Animals up to 195 grams can be fed whole without evisceration, however it is beneficial to remove a section of skin to allow easy access to the meat. Doing so provides the raptor with the option of consuming the intestines, which contain valuable micro nutrients not found in the flesh alone. This size of animal can be eviscerated if required however it is important to leave the internal organs.
This is particularly important when feeding raptors which have been in very low condition or have been subject to digestive issues. In these circumstances it is preferable to feed rats from 60-90gms, these can be fed whole without any preparation.
Larger sizes can be more economical however will require more input in terms of preparation also they contain much higher ratios of fat, skin, fur and intestines.
It is vital to feed skin, along with the internal organs e.g. liver, heart etc as much of the essential fat soluble vitamin content is contained within the liver, heart, skin and brain. Rats are particularly high in vitamins A, B1 and E all of which are required for healthy heart, reproductive function, red blood cell production, disease resistance, growth and many other body functions.
When preparing rats as raptor food we recommend that a strip of skin is removed from the back of the animal, if eviscerating cut just below the sternum, cut to base of tail, remove intestines, cut either side of pelvis to release anus and digestive tract, cut and remove hind feet and tail, remove front of face. This process can be seen on our online raptor food preparation video available at our website www.Honeybrookfoods.co.uk