Broccoli is a staple vegetable in our household and one we all enjoy chomping on. Steamed, boiled, roasted and even raw, this versatile veggie can be served up in a number of ways. But is broccoli something that we should be feeding to our hamster Oscar, and if so, how do we cook it and how much can he eat?
Can hamsters eat broccoli?
Broccoli is a great vegetable to give a hamster to eat. Packed full of nutrients, broccoli is a good accompaniment to your hamster’s normal diet. As long as it is thoroughly washed beforehand, broccoli can be served either raw or steamed.
Now I will be totally honest here, whilst carrots and corn are an absolute winner, broccoli is not a vegetable that I would naturally think of to give our hamster. But, after some recent research into the nutritional benefits of broccoli, it is now a firm favourite on our hamster’s menu.
Why you should feed your hamster broccoli?
The nutritional benefits of broccoli are plentiful, as this leafy green vegetable offers a good source of protein and fibre. Packed with a number of vitamins from the alphabet (A-C & K) it contains a plethora of minerals, splattering of magnesium and a good dose of potassium, calcium, iron and phosphorus too.
Broccoli is a nutrient-rich vegetable that also has many important antioxidants, helping to protect your hamster’s cells from damage. It is also, unlike a lot of our other 5 a day, really low in natural sugar, so a great snack to feed to small animals – especially hamsters that may be prone to diabetes.
Broccoli is a great all-round vegetable as it can also provide your hamster with plenty of energy, promotes metabolism, and keeps their vision intact.
Should you feed your hamster broccoli?
Although broccoli isn’t quite as divisive as Marmite, it does have a slightly bitter taste and therefore a lot of people don’t actually enjoy eating it. My youngest daughter is very much in the beige food camp and won’t even touch a stem of broccoli, whilst my eldest could happily munch floret after floret of the stuff.
The same can also be said when it comes to your hamster’s tastebuds – each is unique and what is heaven for one furry friend, maybe hell for another. Therefore we strongly advise that you introduce broccoli a little bit at a time.
Even if your hamster turns out to be a broccoli enthusiast, it is important to restrict the quantities you feed them as too much broccoli could cause issues for their sensitive stomachs.
How much broccoli should you feed your hamster?
If you are already feeding your hamster plenty of fruit and vegetables as part of their everyday diet, then we would recommend adding (for a Syrian hamster) an inch long floret to the cage 2-3 times a week.
Syrians are the largest of all hamster species, so for Chinese, Roborovski and Winter Whites, they will require smaller portions. And remember to make sure that you mix up your vegetable rotation so that you are not giving them all on the same day.
Broccoli can be difficult to digest for your hamster, so you should make sure that they can easily eat less complex vegetables first, such as celery or cucumber before introducing broccoli. Once you can see that your hamster is not coming to any harm and that their bowel movements are normal, then you should start to introduce broccoli into their diet.
Should hamsters eat raw broccoli?
Whilst your hamster is able to gnaw on raw broccoli, if you buy flowerheads then it is always best to steam or boil it. This way you can be sure that is free from any nasty insecticides or pesticides.
If your hamster does prefer to chow on broccoli raw, then please make sure that you give it a good wash before serving.
Finally, if you do decide to give your hamster cooked broccoli, then you should ensure that has cooled down sufficiently and that it is not flavored or covered with condiments. A serving of water is all that your hamster needs to wash it down with.
Should hamsters eat broccoli stems?
There is no harm in giving your hamster the whole broccoli, stems and all, as they will enjoy munching on them and they are good for their teeth.However, make sure that you wash the broccoli leaf and stalk before feeding it to your hamster so that you remove away any dirt, chemicals, and bacteria.
What other fruit and vegetables can hamsters eat?
If your hamster doesn’t like the taste of broccoli, then there’s no need to worry as there are plenty of other healthy fruit and vegetable items that you can offer them, in addition to their normal pellets. These include:
Vegetables – carrots, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, chicory, celery, romaine lettuce, spinach, peppers and other greens. Stay away from onions and raw potato as these can be harmful to your hamster.
Fresh fruits – apples, pears, peach, melon, blueberries, bananas, grapes, dates, figs and most berries. But remember never give rhubarb or any citrus fruits like oranges, limes, lemons or grapefruit. As fruit contains a lot of natural sugar it is also important that you only give small amounts at a time.
In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, your hamster will love to snack on whole-grain breads and cereals. Add a handful of protein such as scrambled or boiled egg to their cage and it won’t take long for you to see the benefits of your hamster’s balanced diet.
A happy and healthy hamster will have glossy fur, shiny eyes and plenty of energy to play.
It is important that our hamsters eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and broccoli is one of the best as is so packed full of nutrients. So, whether you decide to serve it raw, boiled, steamed or even sauteed, it won’t take long to see the benefits for your hamster.
If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on food, toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!
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