Author Topic: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad  (Read 2767 times)

Offline Michael C

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I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« on: December 15, 2016, 10:06:51 PM »
Up to this point, Iíve been purchasing the 20lb. bags of Oxbow from Drs. Foster & Smith for about $43, or $2.15 per pound. I thought that was a pretty good deal being that itís over $5 a pound at PetSmart.

The 20lb. bags are really big and, with four rats, would last 4-5 months. I would put the Oxbow into several 1 gallon ziplock bags and store them in the freezer until I needed them. They took up a lot of freezer space but it helped keep the food fresh longer.

Sooo, I was recently wasting some time looking around in my local herp store when I noticed that they had giant 33lb. bags of Harlan Teklad 2018 (18% protein, the same stuff as Native Earth) for sale, presumably for folks that raise their own feeders. They also had some smaller, hand packaged bags of 2, 5, and 10lb. for really cheap. Like, really cheap! They were selling Harlan Teklad 2018 for just over a dollar a pound! I asked and they said they only stock the 2018 but they could special order something else for me! I asked how much it would cost to order a 33lb. bag of 2014 (14% protein) and the guy looked it up and told me it would cost $27.

Um, okay.

I got a call today letting me know that it arrived so I picked it up after work! Iím still a little amazed at the price and Iím feeling a little proud of myself.

I know that a lot of rat folks would probably prefer to avoid stores that sell snakes and feeders and such, but it could be worth looking into if you've got a herp store in your area.




Offline Kitsch Slapped

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2016, 12:27:45 AM »
Wow! Good deal! I may have to look around. I dont know if we have anything like that in our area. I know theres fish stores that will sell turtles sometimes... Lucky you! Great find on that! ;D
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Offline Alpha1

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2016, 09:08:59 AM »
It looks like you got yourself a good deal. I haven't heard of the brand before, is it any good?

Offline Michael C

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2016, 09:27:27 AM »
It looks like you got yourself a good deal. I haven't heard of the brand before, is it any good?


Harlan Teklad isn't very common because it's not really a retail brand. It's the diet used by research facilities for lab rats. Some rat rescues use it and/or sell it to help fund their operations. I've also seen it available on Amazon and the 18% formula can be found retail under the brand name Native Earth.

I hope  my boys like it!

Offline RooRat

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2016, 11:22:09 AM »
Wow, awesome! I'd love to switch back to HT but with just the one (fat) rat, a huge bag just isn't reasonable. The only herp store near me is super creepy, dingy, and I'm pretty sure it's a front for a drug operation, so I don't go there. :-\
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Offline BigBen

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2016, 07:45:24 PM »
What an amazing deal!  Harlan never used to be interested in retail sales, but maybe that has changed since merger.

@Alpha1, we recommend feeding rats one of three high-quality brands of lab blocks:  HT, Oxbow, and Mazuri.  The latter two have always sold retail, as well as to the scientific market, but it has been very rare to see HT in a store.  Part of it is due to the high minimum order Harlan requires.  Only laboratories, which buy in bulk, or rat rescues with generous donors can usually afford the high minimum.  And the rescues generally sell off the excess over their own requirements in order to earn a little extra cash to help support their operations.  I am amazed that the store Michael found can afford to sell HT at such a reasonable price.  Yay Michael!
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Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2016, 09:35:54 AM »
Except that there is a good reason why Harlan is cheaper than Oxbow: it is of much lesser quality. For one thing it has a lot of corn and corn is well known to be more likely to have toxins and molds than any other ingredients. Compare the other ingredients too and you'll see why Oxbow is more expensive.  Plus going to a store selling feeders put your rats at risk of Sendai, SDA and respiratory infections by bacteria other than mycoplasma. Not trying to be confrontational but so people has the information on why there is such a price difference; QUALITY is the reason why Oxbow is more expensive than Harlan Teklad.

Offline Michael C

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2016, 11:13:51 AM »
Except that there is a good reason why Harlan is cheaper than Oxbow: it is of much lesser quality. For one thing it has a lot of corn and corn is well known to be more likely to have toxins and molds than any other ingredients. Compare the other ingredients too and you'll see why Oxbow is more expensive.

Is Oxbow of higher quality? I dunno, sure. Could be. I wouldn't argue against that statement because I'm not a scientist.

Is Harlan Teklad low quality, unhealthy, and potentially dangerous for rats? Being that it's trusted and used by the scientific and research communities, I feel confident that it's good for my rats. I wouldn't say that it's the best product out there because, again, I'm not a scientist. ...but I am confident that it is a high quality, healthy lab block.

In fancy circles, Oxbow seems to be the most recommended feed. HT is the second most recommended. I'm quite pleased that I was able to find the second most recommended rat diet for less than half the cost of the most recommended. I'm tickled, in fact.  :toothy9:

Plus going to a store selling feeders put your rats at risk of Sendai, SDA and respiratory infections by bacteria other than mycoplasma.

It might sound less confrontational if you instead asked me if I took any precautions to protect my rats and, if I wasn't aware that precautions were necessary, you could make some suggestions. Now would actually be a really good opportunity to let people know what they can do to prevent exposing their rats to potential viruses, et al.


Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2016, 12:43:31 PM »
No need to be a scientist to compare the ingredients of Oxbow to the ingredients of Harlan Teklad to see that Oxbow is of much better quality. Better food means healthier rats and rats that live longer life- everything else equal. It also means, everything else equal, lower vet bills. Knowing that, I don't see a bargain at all. That being said, rats need plenty of fresh foods too; not just rat pellets no mater what brand of rat food someone chooses to feed his/her rats. Also, most rats prefer Oxbow to Harlan Teklad; rats have better taste buds than us so I really feel like them enjoying their food is very important to their happiness.

So now on why HT is used in lab and not Oxbow. There are many reasons for that:

1) the most obvious reason is the price. It would cost way to much to feed Oxbow to hundreds of rats.

2)HT is standardized to be exactly the same from one batch to the next. They need that to make sure whatever results they get testing something is due to the variable they are testing and not to differences in food. Now I'm talking minuscule differences, but in a lab setting those need to be excluded completely.

3) Most lab rats don't make it past a few months of age anyway, so the quality of food as far as longevity is concerned doesn't matter. Even in long term studies, increasing longevity isn't important because they are not testing different foods but a single scientist variable (hypothesis) and as long as a given group of rats live longer, that is all that matters.


The best thing to protect your rats from deadly diseases like SDA or Sendai is to shop online or at pet store that don't sell small pets. If shopping at a pet store that sell animals, do it before work or at least three hours before coming back home. Of course shopping at a store selling snakes is probably not what most people who love rats would do, but that's just my opinion. 

Anyway, that is my opinion on the matter. Everyone is free to feed their rats whatever they want. I just wanted to paint a realistic picture so people can make an informed decision on what's best for their beloved ratties:)

Offline mamarat2

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2016, 04:11:19 PM »
Harlan Teklad is actually a very good quality food and much more palatable than Oxbow.  I've known many people who try to feed Oxbow and the rats won't eat it because of the taste.
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Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2016, 07:27:45 PM »
Harlan Teklad is actually a very good quality food and much more palatable than Oxbow.  I've known many people who try to feed Oxbow and the rats won't eat it because of the taste.

That was true of the old Oxbow adult formula; not anymore. The new Oxbow formula has been on the market for quite some time now, many years I believe.  Never heard of anyone who had rats that preferred Harlan Teklad to the NEW Oxbow formula. The young rat and mice Oxbow formula isn't liked by many/most rats; my comment refers to the adult Oxbow only. As far as been a very good quality food; how did you come up to that conclusion? I mean looking at the ingredients it looks pretty bad to me as explained above.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2016, 07:29:53 PM by ILoveMyRatties »

Offline mamarat2

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2016, 08:05:32 PM »
Many people have recommended Harlan over the years and it still continues to be a good food. Do your research. Yes many lab related companies use Harlan and feed it to their rodent populations BECAUSE it's a good food. That's just my opinion though.

Michael C good for you for getting such a good price!!  :)
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Offline Kitsch Slapped

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2016, 08:39:39 PM »
Although I do prefer Oxbow's ingredients, Ive been buying HT recently for my newest girls simply because its still a good food and its cheaper and I only have 3 girls so I just buy the small bags available local to me. I believe you wont notice a difference health-wise. I've fed strictly Oxbow to dozens of rats over the years and had every problem under the sun with some of them. Respiritory illness, cancer/tumors (all kinds of cancer/tumors, lung, neck, pituitary, abdominal, mammary, even tongue, etc.), pyometra, ZGT, infections, the list goes on. Rats have the short end of the stick when it comes to health unfortunately. A good diet is essential, but you wont notice much, if anything, switching from one recommended commercially available brand to another. If there is a diet (commercially available or not), that significantly reduces these awful illnesses from occurring in our undeserving ratties, then I would love to know, but so far I have not found it.
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Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2016, 09:13:32 PM »
Although I do prefer Oxbow's ingredients, Ive been buying HT recently for my newest girls simply because its still a good food and its cheaper and I only have 3 girls so I just buy the small bags available local to me. I believe you wont notice a difference health-wise. I've fed strictly Oxbow to dozens of rats over the years and had every problem under the sun with some of them. Respiritory illness, cancer/tumors (all kinds of cancer/tumors, lung, neck, pituitary, abdominal, mammary, even tongue, etc.), pyometra, ZGT, infections, the list goes on. Rats have the short end of the stick when it comes to health unfortunately. A good diet is essential, but you wont notice much, if anything, switching from one recommended commercially available brand to another. If there is a diet (commercially available or not), that significantly reduces these awful illnesses from occurring in our undeserving ratties, then I would love to know, but so far I have not found it.

Did you get your rats from REPUTABLE breeders? If you got them from pet stores, feeder bins, and backyard breeders on Craigslist then it explains (at least partially) why your rats got so many health problems. I mean, yes the quality of foods you feed your rats is very important but good genetics is too. I spent countless hours researching commercial rat  food; emailed many of those companies for more info. Yes Oxbow is the best commercial rat food, BUT it is still a very high processed artificial food! All the vitamins in ALL commercial rat foods are artificial and of a lesser quality than what you would find in vitamins marketed for humans. It is very important to give lots of different veggies, greens, legumes (cooked), a little fruit, nuts, seeds...as those are real foods with real vitamins  and thousands of micro nutrients that aren't present in commercial rat pellets.

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2016, 09:21:49 PM »
Many people have recommended Harlan over the years and it still continues to be a good food. Do your research. Yes many lab related companies use Harlan and feed it to their rodent populations BECAUSE it's a good food. That's just my opinion though.

Michael C good for you for getting such a good price!!  :)

I did my research. Countless hours looking and researching each ingredients and looking at the ARTIFICIAL vitamins and minerals added to commercial rat food. There are many different artificial vitamin B1, B2....some are much better than others at being assimilated by the body, and some have even been found to increase the chances of generative diseases. As I explained above, labs are using HT for reasons that have nothing to do with the food being of great quality; yes it is decent (especially for rats that won't life long anyway) as far as commercial rat food go but that's it. Again I did my research.

Offline Kitsch Slapped

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2016, 09:51:47 PM »
Although I do prefer Oxbow's ingredients, Ive been buying HT recently for my newest girls simply because its still a good food and its cheaper and I only have 3 girls so I just buy the small bags available local to me. I believe you wont notice a difference health-wise. I've fed strictly Oxbow to dozens of rats over the years and had every problem under the sun with some of them. Respiritory illness, cancer/tumors (all kinds of cancer/tumors, lung, neck, pituitary, abdominal, mammary, even tongue, etc.), pyometra, ZGT, infections, the list goes on. Rats have the short end of the stick when it comes to health unfortunately. A good diet is essential, but you wont notice much, if anything, switching from one recommended commercially available brand to another. If there is a diet (commercially available or not), that significantly reduces these awful illnesses from occurring in our undeserving ratties, then I would love to know, but so far I have not found it.

Did you get your rats from REPUTABLE breeders? If you got them from pet stores, feeder bins, and backyard breeders on Craigslist then it explains (at least partially) why your rats got so many health problems. I mean, yes the quality of foods you feed your rats is very important but good genetics is too. I spent countless hours researching commercial rat  food; emailed many of those companies for more info. Yes Oxbow is the best commercial rat food, BUT it is still a very high processed artificial food! All the vitamins in ALL commercial rat foods are artificial and of a lesser quality than what you would find in vitamins marketed for humans. It is very important to give lots of different veggies, greens, legumes (cooked), a little fruit, nuts, seeds...as those are real foods with real vitamins  and thousands of micro nutrients that aren't present in commercial rat pellets.

No, I got my rats where most people get theirs; rescues, the pet store, free from craigslist (as to make sure I wasnt supporting a BYB), and from the local animal shelter. Most people dont have access to reputable (truly reputable) breeders. Ironically, my healthiest rat came from a big chain pet store. Im almost positive that at least a couple of rats I got from the shelter were bred for colors with no regard to health, and they certainly suffered for that, but point being: most people have pet store/rescue/shelter rats and HT and Oxbow are both decent for what you can get commercially. I do prefer Oxbow, but If Oxbow is too expensive for your budget (or whatever other reason), HT is a good 2nd choice.
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Offline Michael C

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2016, 10:59:54 AM »
My boys seem to be digging through the Oxbow to find the HT blocks! I know it's probably just exciting to them because it's new but I'm just glad they're taking to it.

Offline RooRat

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2016, 11:57:25 AM »
I feed Oxbow to my current rat and I fed HT to my previous rats. One passed from a mammary tumor, one from ZGT, and the other of old age complications (he was nearly 3). Pyp is still alive and kicking and is almost 2. Two of my first rats came from rescue (Myka, mammary tumor, and Pete, who passed from old age). Renly wiwth ZGT was from a reputable breeder. And Pyp is a CL rat from an oops litter. Pete was very healthy (ate HT for most of his life) and Pyp is very healthy (eats Oxbow). Renly (reputable breeder) ate HT. Myka (rescue) ate HT.

Why harass people for feeding one good-quality food instead of another good-quality food? HT and Oxbow are all of good quality and miles better than those junky mixed seed diets sold in pet stores. Focus on the good.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2016, 12:00:25 PM by RooRat »
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Offline Michael C

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2016, 01:35:49 PM »
Why harass people for feeding one good-quality food instead of another good-quality food? HT and Oxbow are all of good quality and miles better than those junky mixed seed diets sold in pet stores. Focus on the good.

I think that it totally came from a place of genuine concern. All being said, that part of it is good. We're all learning all of the time, this community is a big part of that. I know that I've learned a ton of new stuff in the short amount of time that I've been paying attention to this site. A willingness to learn from each other is pretty much the reason we're all here. If we all thought we knew everything, we wouldn't feel the need to come here (except to see the latest pictures of Pele).

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Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2016, 01:40:53 PM »
No one is harassing anyone. I'm certainly not doing it by stating true facts. Am I?

Wheat midds is the least nutritious part of wheat, so much so that it can be said it is only a filler. It could be saw dust it wouldn't be much worse. Corn is known to be much more likely than any other ingredients to have molds and toxins. So basically 2 out of the three grain ingredients are very low quality. There are no healthy omega 3 in Harlan either. I could go on & on on why Harlan is bad quality rat food, but those facts alone are enough to make my point.

Look, you feed whatever you want to your rats, I'm just trying to help people who don't mind to pay more for a better rat block / pellet. Daily fresh foods like veggies and greens, but also a little fruits, seed or nuts, are a must too. A rat pellet alone is missing on thousands of nutrients naturally found in fresh food. If anyone believes that Harlan is as good as Oxbow or even somewhat comparable, please explain us why.

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2016, 01:44:33 PM »
Why harass people for feeding one good-quality food instead of another good-quality food? HT and Oxbow are all of good quality and miles better than those junky mixed seed diets sold in pet stores. Focus on the good.

I think that it totally came from a place of genuine concern. All being said, that part of it is good. We're all learning all of the time, this community is a big part of that. I know that I've learned a ton of new stuff in the short amount of time that I've been paying attention to this site. A willingness to learn from each other is pretty much the reason we're all here. If we all thought we knew everything, we wouldn't feel the need to come here (except to see the latest pictures of Pele).

Here's a duck.

 :duckie:

Exactly, thank you:) it is just knowledge and that's a good thing, isn't it? People can do whatever they want, at least they have something to think about and take the best decision they can with what they have available to them (Oxbow can be easily bought online) and their budget.

Offline Michael C

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2016, 02:01:30 PM »
No one is harassing anyone. I'm certainly not doing it by stating true facts. Am I?

Yes. You are.

Your words come off as belittling, haughty, and shaming. You imply that, by feeding them HT, I do not care as much about my rats as you and that I am putting them in danger.

You cling to your (perhaps flawed/incomplete) knowledge despite the attempts of others to quell your concerns. While your intentions may be honorable, your execution could use some work. ...and you should also learn when to take a step back.

Offline Marybelle

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2016, 03:21:24 PM »
No one is harassing anyone. I'm certainly not doing it by stating true facts. Am I?

Yes. You are.

Your words come off as belittling, haughty, and shaming. You imply that, by feeding them HT, I do not care as much about my rats as you and that I am putting them in danger.

You cling to your (perhaps flawed/incomplete) knowledge despite the attempts of others to quell your concerns. While your intentions may be honorable, your execution could use some work. ...and you should also learn when to take a step back.

I agree.  You've stated your opinion, and now you're harping.  It's time to let it go. 

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2016, 03:40:14 PM »
No one is harassing anyone. I'm certainly not doing it by stating true facts. Am I?

Yes. You are.

Your words come off as belittling, haughty, and shaming. You imply that, by feeding them HT, I do not care as much about my rats as you and that I am putting them in danger.

You cling to your (perhaps flawed/incomplete) knowledge despite the attempts of others to quell your concerns. While your intentions may be honorable, your execution could use some work. ...and you should also learn when to take a step back.

Again I just stated facts; I didn't know that stating facts was the same as shaming. Wheat midds is the lowest nutritional part of wheat, it is the cheapest filler out there, and corn is more likely to contain molds and toxins than any other grains. In case one wonders, those molds and toxins commonly found in corn can shorten your rat's life and create all kinds of debilitating diseases. I don't see how this is shaming anyone! Anyone researching and comparing each ingredient of the main rat blocks available out there like I did, will reach the same conclusion I have. Ok I'm done, I stated what everyone else can figure out for themselves if they take the time to do the research.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2016, 03:42:42 PM by ILoveMyRatties »

Offline Michael C

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2016, 04:51:15 PM »
Again I just stated facts; I didn't know that stating facts was the same as shaming.

I'll send a pm when I get home.

Offline Michael C

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2016, 08:16:41 PM »
The following is a positive example of how to voice contrary opinions;

Dear Michael C,

Congratulations on the great deal you've found. I'm a very knowledgeable rat owner who researches a lot of things rat-related on the internet so I know how great that price is. I just wanted to let you know my opinion on Harlan lab blocks. Some of the ingredients used in HT are not as high of quality as the ingredients used in Oxbow Adult Rat pellets. It is my opinion that Oxbow is a better product.

Because I am very knowledgeable about rat care, I know that Harlan Teklad lab blocks are not only trusted by the scientific communities but are also widely used by rat rescues and reputable breeders around the country. I understand that Harlan Teklad lab blocks are recommended by the American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association as well as by the reputable resource, RatGuide.com. I understand that Harlan Teklad lab blocks are widely accepted as one of the best commercially available lab blocks on the market, but it is my opinion that the ingredients used in Oxbow are superior enough to be worth more than double the cost.

Now, because I am very knowledgeable, I understand that Harlan Teklad lab blocks are a perfectly acceptable, healthy staple diet for your rats. I would never do or say anything to belittle your informed choices as a rat owner, especially when it's so obvious that you are also very knowledgeable and care deeply for your pets, but I just wanted to let you know that I think Oxbow is actually worth double the cost of Harlan Teklad lab blocks.


Then it can just be left at that.


Offline Vonda Z

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2016, 11:25:04 PM »
My personal unprofessional opinion is that the ingredients of Oxbow are superior to the ingredients of Harlan Teklad, based largely on a lot of research I did on pet food ingredients when shopping for a commercial diet for my dogs, that I then extended to the rats.

That said, I also agree with the statement that our domesticated rats come from such a poor gene pool that they are not likely to live long enough to see the effects of lesser ingredients over the course of their lifetime. I go with the Oxbow because I feel more comfortable feeding it, as I do wish to give them every edge I can. But even though the ingredients in Oxbow are superior based on analysis of ingredients as available from the dog food ingredient analysis websites, they are still lacking compared with the quality foods available for dogs, for example. However, after trying a high quality dog food with supplementation to balance better for rats, I never felt rats on that diet were healthier than rats on Oxbow, and in fact, those rats had more health problems then the rats I have had since (with certain individual exceptions).

One of the major concerns I have with corn ingredients as found in HT is the risk of Aspergillus fungus (aflatoxins). The standards for aflatoxins in pet foods is much more lenient than in human grade food and so this has always been a concern for me with any animal food. Aspergillus is a big problem for birds and corn cob bedding is a major contributor to this problem when used with birds. Still, I have been on this forum and others for many years and I have never - not once - heard any stories of a rat being diagnosed with issues caused from aflatoxins. Many things go undiagnosed in rats, so it is likely underreported, but with the high quality of vet care that people on this forum seek out, if this were a major risk, it would be diagnosed from time to time. And even with the best possible ingredients, health risks abound in the pet food industry. When I was feeding high quality dog food to my rats, a batch of my dog food was recalled due to salmonella contamination and one of the rats that was eating it (along with my parent's dog eating the same food from the same lot) became very sick. Positive diagnostic testing was not practical, but both dog and rat were treated based on the possibility of salmonella and both recovered and I believe the contamination to be the culprit. In a situation like this, HT is probably a lesser risk because they have more invested in ensuring no outside contamination can effect their diets and thus effect laboratory results. Their standards/QA process is probably much more regimented than a strictly pet food company.

Seeking out quality breeders as a solution to genetic issues in the rat fancy is not likely to be very effective. What most consider a quality breeder is a caring individual with well cared for rats who have nice coloration/markings and no extremely bad obvious recurring health issues in their lines. But most rats (especially does) are bred well before major health concerns have a chance to surface and in order to truly breed for health, breeders must follow up on all of the prodigy and do necropsies on all deceased rats to track cause of death and what health issues are present if they want to have a chance to make even a dent on the gene pool when it comes to health. I don't know anyone who does that. There is a slight edge to rats produced by a decent rattery in that they won't propagate lines with obvious and severe problems that show up early and often, but there are still going to be enough issues that something is likely to take its toll before diet will. A better quality diet is a tool in the arsenal and every little bit helps, but in the end, the things that take most of our rats are going to take them no matter what we are feeding (assuming we are not feeding Ol' Roy and Captain Crunch).

I have also seen that most rats do prefer the Harlan Teklad to the Oxbow. Whenever I have gotten new rats that came with the HT and I have converted them gradually over to Oxbow, I have noticed that both those rats and my existing rats would eat the HT first, then the Oxbow. But I have only had one rat who would not take the Oxbow, so I believe either is an acceptable choice when it comes to taste/palatability. The Oxbow Young Rat/Mouse is, of course, a completely different animal altogether. The ingredients are terrible and I have never had a rat that would eat it unless it was desperate, so I would avoid the Young Rat like the plague. There is really nothing to recommend it.

So my thoughts are always if you are big on nutrition and ingredients, Oxbow is the way to go. But if you choose HT instead because of cost, availability, palatability, the different balance of nutrients/formulas available, or any other reason, I doubt very much that you will see any adverse effects from it. When you are talking about animals with longer life spans where the effects of lesser ingredients have more time to do their damage, then I think food ingredients play a more important role long term. I played a lot with diet early on trying to find anything that would help my rats live longer, thinking that diet could turn things around or at least improve longevity. I studied the soy/anti soy arguments and tried it each way. I looked into raw or homemade diets, dog food, commercial rat foods. I have not found anything that makes a noticeable difference in lifespan/overall health - at least not that was noticeable to me. Some rats are healthier, some have more issues or die young - but diet did not seem to be the deciding factor as I would have some of each no matter what I was feeding. Of course, my experiences are not scientifically significant, but in the end, if I can't see a difference in daily life despite being willing to try and experiment, then I just pick the solution that is the best fit for me. It is just too much stress to try to be perfect especially when there currently is no perfect rat diet.

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2016, 05:03:21 PM »
I've been giving at least 1 healthy meal to my rats a day. It is made out of 5 to 12  different fresh veggies, greens, legumes like peas or beans or chick peas, a little seeds or nuts, some sprouted grains, and a little bit of fruits. Once a week I add a egg to it for 6 rats. I can't prove it scientifically that they will live longer that way, because to do so I would need 60 IDENTICAL rats in two groups: 1 group would only eat a given rat commercial pellet diet, the other would get both the pellets and the fresh foods. Obviously not feasible for the average rat owner. However, we know enough in nutrition;  and most of what we know in nutrition has been tested on rats and mice;  that you can say that adding WELL BALANCED healthy fresh human grade foods to a rat's diet will extend its life and decrease the chance of illness. Fresh  foods have thousands of nutrients (each food) on top of the vitamins and minerals- none of them are present in commercial rat food.

Now back to commercial rat food. No one has ever used 60 identical rats to test whether Oxbow or HT is better or comparable. But looking at the ingredients and knowing what I know about nutrition, I believe that rats fed Oxbow would life longer in that scientific experiment- that's all, and I apologize if I sounded like I was shaming anyone:)

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2016, 05:24:21 PM »
I've been giving at least 1 healthy meal to my rats a day. It is made out of 5 to 12  different fresh veggies, greens, legumes like peas or beans or chick peas, a little seeds or nuts, some sprouted grains, and a little bit of fruits. Once a week I add a egg to it for 6 rats. I can't prove it scientifically that they will live longer that way, because to do so I would need 60 IDENTICAL rats in two groups: 1 group would only eat a given rat commercial pellet diet, the other would get both the pellets and the fresh foods. Obviously not feasible for the average rat owner. However, we know enough in nutrition;  and most of what we know in nutrition has been tested on rats and mice;  that you can say that adding WELL BALANCED healthy fresh human grade foods to a rat's diet will extend its life and decrease the chance of illness. Fresh  foods have thousands of nutrients (each food) on top of the vitamins and minerals- none of them are present in commercial rat food.

Now back to commercial rat food. No one has ever used 60 identical rats to test whether Oxbow or HT is better or comparable. But looking at the ingredients and knowing what I know about nutrition, I believe that rats fed Oxbow would life longer in that scientific experiment (on average, and everything else equal) - that's all, and I apologize if I sounded like I was shaming anyone:)

I meant to modify my post and add "on average, and everything else equal" in my last paragraph...instead I reposted by mistake.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2016, 05:28:40 PM by ILoveMyRatties »

Offline BigBen

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2016, 12:54:16 PM »
In my experience, rats do equally well on Oxbow and HT, and they've always liked both.  I've never tried Mazuri.  In my circumstances, Oxbow is a little easier to find and keep stocked.  I started out using HT, getting it from Mainely Rat Rescue, and I would certainly continue buying it to support them, but the shipping cost is very high, and I can't afford it right now, especially when I can run out to one of several local stores and pick up a bag of Oxbow.

I have been listening to the debate about corn products for many years now, and I think that a distinction needs to be made between high-grade, human-quality corn, and the field corn used by a number of commercial manufacturers who don't store it properly, let it get moldy, and use it anyway.  As I understand it, the corn itself is not the problem, it is the risk of improper storage before it's used.  Maize is a decent source of protein and lower in sugar content than many people seem to think.  As long as it comes from a decent source and is stored properly before being put into the lab blocks, I don't see why it should be a problem.  Up till now, Harlan's quality-control has met the highest standards; it remains to be seen how the new management will maintain those standards, but I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.  They certainly have a strong economic motive to keep up quality; a lot of money is spent on research, and one set of bad results conclusively tied to bad-quality feed would ruin them.

By the way, I'm surprised that no one in this thread has yet brought up the issue of soy in pet foods--shall we argue about that, now, lol?  :cheeky:
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Offline Been to the Mountaintop

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #30 on: December 25, 2016, 11:30:46 AM »
Our local pet store has changed from Oxbow Regal Rat to Oxbow Essential Rat. Is this just rebranding, or a lower quality? Does anybody know?
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Offline BigBen

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #31 on: December 25, 2016, 02:13:03 PM »
It appears to be the same stuff it always was.  For the past three years they've been calling it Oxbow Essentials Regal Rat.  Have they dropped the Regal Rat part now?
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Offline Kitsch Slapped

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #32 on: December 25, 2016, 03:00:46 PM »
As far as I know it is still the same, but I am curious as well if they dropped the "regal rat" part of the name.
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Offline Been to the Mountaintop

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Re: I'm switching to Harlan Teklad
« Reply #33 on: December 26, 2016, 10:23:00 AM »
It's now Oxbow Essentials Adult Rat. Go figure.
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