So, starting out in California, I would organize several people to get together, order some large quantity of bedding and rat food, and we'd get together and split it up. That way we could all get 5 or 15 lbs, whatever we could use, at a time, of the food we wanted at very low cost. I also organized something like this in Ann Arbor (before I moved) which is still going on, and is the whole point of this page! No one makes any profit off this, everyone is just in it to get good food and cheap bedding for their rats. (This activity in California at least in part lead to the formation of BARMCA. Hopefully things won't get quite so out of hand in Ann Arbor!)
The group orders every 2 or 3 months. Food is generally about $2 / 5 lbs, although Harlan Teklad is now converting to the metric system, so we'll have to start taking orders in kilograms! Harlan Teklad sells several kinds of litter as well -- CareFRESH 50L bag for about $10, Ultra CareFRESH 50L bag for about $17, SaniChips for less than $7. Others are available.
My rat diet of preference is 8640, the "22/5" rodent diet. It's soy based, and some recent studies show evidence that soy products may reduce the incidence of mammary tumors in female rats. Most pet store diets (and Purina) are corn based. The 8640 is 22% protein, 5% fat, thus the 22/5. Good stuff, not too high fat or too lean, which depending on your rats you can usually free feed.
Several other diets are available, for, say, pregnant or nursing mothers and young rats, or maybe a low fat diet for your chunky old male rat that likes to just sit around, etc. They also have irradiated diets in 5 packs of 5 lb vacuum packed bags, which have at least a 1 year shelf life.
So, you say you're within driving distance of Ann Arbor, you're interested, and want to split rat food with us? Well, I'm not actually in Ann Arbor any more, so you should contact the locals through the michrats list on eGroups and ask when he next order will occur. Michrats is a list of around 30 (at last count) rat owners in Southeastern Michigan. Subscribe using the form below or by sending an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org -- once you've subscribed you can post by sending email to email@example.com. You can also read past posts (and subscribe and post) by visiting the eGroups web page at: http://www.egroups.com
You can find diet info on the Harlan Teklad web page:
[rock art] [brian's somewhat less useful page] [rat page]
Why are you here? / What does it all mean?