What Are Hamster’s Favorite Foods?

by Hamster Care
hamsters-eat

What are hamster’s favorite foods?

This is what hamsters eat:

Hamsters are omnivores, so their diet must be very diverse and well balanced, containing about 18% protein, 7% fat, and 15% fiber. Hamster’s favorite food must be a mixture of a variety of seeds, cereals, fresh vegetables and fruits as treats, animal protein (cooked or dried meat, insects and worms), and sprinkled with a mixture of vitamins and minerals, as well as hay and branches to chew.

Should I just feed my hamster commercial seed mixes?

Are the seed mixes, pellets, or rodent blocks available in pet stores or on the internet the best diet for your hamster?

You should not buy the first seed mix you come across online or in a pet store.

You should ideally make your own food for your hamster, but in the meantime, you can buy a seed mix diet that contains a variety of seeds and grains, not so match cereals, and dried vegetables.

So your hamster can live a long life without having to visit the vet too frequently.

Some of these mixes contain a balanced pellet food, which improves them. I recommend Wild Harvest Advanced Nutrition Diet For Hamsters.

To avoid diarrhea, sprinkle some table spoons of Higgins Sunburst Herb Garden in the cage on a regular basis, and provide a half-centimeter cube of fruit and two to three mealworms per week, as well as small amounts of safe veggies every day.

Never listen to those who recommend a pelleted diet as your hamster’s only food.

You should never feed these pellets to your hamster because they will bore him and are not a complete diet!

Start by feeding your hamster Sunburst food

I also read an article where Dr Sandra M Mitchell recommends Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Gerbil & Hamster Food.

Here is some of what this food (Sunburst) contains:

  • White millet
  • Oats
  • Sun-cured Timothy hay
  • Wheat
  • Sun-cured Alfalfa hay
  • Corn
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Red milo
  • Flaked peas
  • Flaked beans
  • Peanuts
  • Yellow peas
  • Flaked carrots
  • Flaked corn
  • Soybean hulls
  • Dried beet pulp (sugar removed)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Coconut
  • Grapes
  • Soybean meal
  • Apples
  • Dicalcium phosphate
  • Cashews
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Salt
  • Flaxseed
  • Vegetable oil
  • Color added (Algae meal)
  • Soybean oil
  • Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product
  • Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product and other ingredients you can check on Amazon

I would recommend this brand for your new hamster, but I would also ask you to keep track of which seeds and foods your hamster likes to eat and which he leaves in his bowl, which ones he likes, which ones he stocks, and so on, so you know what to put in his future seed mix that you will prepare for him later.

I’ll show you how to make your own hamster mixes right now, so let’s get started!

Healthy dry food mix for hamsters

Never put dry food in your hamster’s bowl.

Instead, scatter it throughout his cage to encourage him to look for it at night, which is a good enrichment for your hamsters.

This habit will encourage him to exercise, which will save him a lot of health problems and especially boredom while you sleep at night!

Begin by writing down his dry food ration, which should be between a tablespoon and two per day.

Place these dry foods in close proximity to his water bowl or fresh vegetables.

Then, gradually move them away from this location, eventually hiding them throughout the cage, including under the litter box, to encourage your hamster to dig them up before eating them.

  1. A mixture of 200gr of cereals:

Start by mixing in equal quantities the maximum of varieties of cereals that you will find in an organic shop.

Here are the cereals which can compose this mixture:

  • Millet
  • Barley
  • Oats 
  • Rye
  • Corn
  • Brown rice

Don’t use too much corn, especially if you are not sure of its origin! You can replace the corn with two or three popcorns every week as a treat.

  1. A mixture of 100gr of grains and small seeds:

Oil seeds and small grass seeds (such as those used for budgies) are essential and mandatory foods for your hamster’s health.

As a result, a varied seed mix will provide your hamster with adequate nutrition.

Here is a list of the seeds that can be used to make this mixture:

A third of oilseeds, between 30 and 35% of the total seeds because they are very fatty:

  • Seeds of Cardi
  • Seeds of Perilla
  • Linen seeds
  • Seeds of Chia
  • Hemp seeds
  • Poppy seeds (don’t use too many!)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Camelina seeds.

Here are some other seeds:

  • Buckwheat seeds (peeled)
  • Amaranth seeds
  • Dandelion seeds
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Dill seeds
  • Parsley seeds
  • Fescue seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Nettle seeds
  • Seeds of Comb
  • Seeds of cockle grass and those of ryegrass seeds
  • Alfalfa seeds
  • Grass seed (check first if your hamster likes it)
  • Hay flower seeds and wild flower seeds
  • Daisy seeds
  • Milk thistle seeds
  • Chervil seeds

Seeds can also be classified as follows:

  • Grass seeds (cereals) – rich in carbohydrates and low in fat – oats, wheat, rye, barley, rice, spelt, kamut, sorghum, and millet.
  • Flower seeds – high in fat and low in carbohydrates – sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, chia seeds, canola seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin and squash seeds.
  • Seeds from the Fabaceae family (beans and peas) – rich in protein and fiber and low in fat – white beans, chickpeas, split peas, soybeans, mung beans and lentils.
  1. A mixture of 100gr of multigrain flakes:

You should add them especially if your hamster is growing or rather old and elderly!

These bottles contain a type of starch that the hamster’s digestive system can easily absorb (a starch that results from heating the seed and subjecting it to strong pressure to create the flake).

Here is the list of flakes to include in this dry food for your hamster:

  • Oat flakes
  • Wheat flakes
  • Barley flakes 
  • Rye flakes
  • Rice flakes (in small quantities!)  
  • Pea flakes
  • Corn flakes (without sugar! and not too much too!)
  1. An intake of 100gr of dried vegetable mix:

Smallpetselect is the best online store for these kinds of foods, so you can get all the healthy dried herbs, fruits, and vegetables you want for your hamsters.

Dehydrated vegetables (containing micronutrients): e.g. squash, zucchini, peppers, broccoli and sweet potatoes, rich in fiber and micronutrients. 

Many vegetables contain special types of prebiotic fiber that feed beneficial bacteria in your hamster’s gut.

You can buy these vegetables already dried or you can dry them yourself at a reduced temperature.

Here is another list of vegetables that can be mixed into the dry hamster food:

  • Beets
  • Carrots (also in potato chip form)
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Celery
  • Parsnip
  • Fennel
  • Kohlrabi

❖ Dried fruits for your hamster dry mix:

As far as dried fruits are concerned, they should not be added systematically to this mixture, but offered in controlled and very small quantities, separately and only as treats because of their fast sugar content which will subject your hamster to a risk of diabetes, especially if it does not have too much space to spend.

  1. 80gr of protein food:

Hamsters are omnivores, which means they enjoy and require animal proteins in their diet.

In their natural environment, hamsters eat insects and small rodents.

As a result, you can include insects in your hamster’s diet.

Here are some examples of insects that can provide protein to your hamsters:

  • The famous dried mealworms
  • River fleas
  • Domestic crickets
  • Claus Bombyx mori larvae
  • Silkworms
  • Crickets
  • Grasshoppers

Here is also a list of fresh protein foods that you can add to your hamster’s healthy diet:

  • Egg white
  • Egg yolk
  • A piece of shrimp
  • Crickets
  • Live crickets (hamsters love to chase them)
  • A bit of skimmed milk yogurt (only one teaspoon per week, without too many additives) or fruit yogurt (remove the pieces of fruit especially the exotic ones)
  • Mild cheeses (Cottage, Quark), without lactose, not fermented like camembert, not too salty and without mold (no blue cheese or herbal cheeses like garlic cheese)
  • Dog cookies
  • Your cat’s treats

❖ Can I give meat to my hamster?

Yes, you can give a tiny piece of meat to your hamster but it must be dried or cooked.

You should never feed your hamster raw meat (white or red).

Avoid minced meat as well, because even if fed directly into the hamster’s mouth, you can’t be sure it hasn’t stopped in his cheeks!

Hamsters tend to stop protein foods, especially meat and give him raw meat or fish, it will stop it and cause the proliferation of putrefactive bacteria and mold cultures that can be fatal later.So, just give a small piece of dried meat or fish and never raw or ground meat.

  1. A mixture of 100gr of dried herbs:

You will actually adapt the components of this dried herbs mix to your hamster’s taste.

You cannot mix them into your hamster’s dry food, but you can sprinkle them around the cage.

Choose a location that is different from where your hamster usually urinates.

You can sprinkle these dried herbs on the elements that make up your hamster’s cage decoration, such as the bridge branch.

You will observe and try to determine which herbs your hamster prefers to eat or whether he prefers flower petals.

Here are some herbs that will make up this mixture:

  • Lemon balm
  • Chamomile & flowers
  • Blueberry flowers
  • Dandelion (root & herbs)
  • Alfalfa
  • Fresh wild mallow
  • Balm (lemon balm)
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint leaves
  • Marigold flowers
  • Sorrel herb
  • Yarrow
  • Sunflower flowers (petals)
  • Plantain Ribwort
  • Bird’s-foot clover
  • Basil
  • Plantain
  • Nettle
  • Blackberry leaves
  • Dill
  • Echinacea, Echinacea
  • Daisy
  • Freshly ground giersch
  • Golliwoog
  • Fresh grass
  • Green oats
  • Green wheat
  • Hazelnut leaves
  • Shepherd’s purse grass
  • Black currant leaves
  • Ribwort

❖ Hamsters need sprays

Hamsters love to go foraging at night, looking for their food and picking it themselves, that’s why I also recommend you to place sprays in the enclosure.

Sprays are dried stems that still contain their seeds, it is an enrichment, the hamster will detach the seeds himself, eat them later or take them and add them to his stock.

Millet sprays (Kaytee) and Oat sprays are the most used, but you can also give him Flax sprays, wheat and Sorghum sprays, Amaranth, Quinoa, Chia, Quackgrass and Canari Grass seed sprays as well.

  1. A small amount of 50g of various nuts:

Because they are too fatty to be mixed with the rest of the dry foods, they should be given separately.

As a result, your hamster should eat no more than one hazelnut, half a nut, or three to four sunflower seeds per week.

Nuts will provide good fat for your hamster; choose nuts high in Omega 3.

Here are some examples of nuts to add in the mixture of your hamster:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Hazelnuts 
  • Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pumpkin seeds.

Fresh foods for hamsters

  1. Forage (Green herbs):

If you want a good supply of vitamins for your hamster, provide green plants, green fodder.

This will be given daily to accompany the dry food.

Here is the list of authorized plants for hamsters:

  • Bock choy
  • Broccoli
  • Carrot leaves
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kohlrabi
  • Fennel leaves
  • Papelet
  • Celery leaves
  • Cucumber
  • Green beans
  • Endive
  • Parsnips
  • Peas
  • Cooked potatoes
  • Sweet corn
  • Turnip greens
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Basil leaves
  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Lemon balm
  • Comb
  • Fescue
  • Giant hogweed
  • Dandelion
  • Milk thistle
  • Mugwort
  • Chamomile
  • Field
  • Mint
  • Sunflowers and daisies

Poisonous plants to avoid giving to your hamster:

  • Agave
  • Aloe Vera
  • Cyclamen
  • Amaryllis
  • Anthurium
  • Arum
  • Azalea
  • Giant Hogweed
  • Wild Garlic
  • Mountain Laurel
  • Henbane
  • Bingelkraut
  • Bitter Sweet Nightshade
  • Wisteria
  • Beans
  • Boxwood
  • Wood Anemone
  • Iron Rose
  • Christ Thorn
  • Ivy
  • Honeysuckle
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Elder
  • Dog Parsley
  • Hyacinth
  • Ilex
  • Groundsel 
  • Kalla
  • Potato
  • Cherry Laurel
  • Corn Vetch
  • Arborvitae
  • Privet
  • Lilies 
  • Lily Lupin
  • Lily Of The Valley
  • Mistletoe
  • Daffodils
  • Oleander
  • Daffodil 
  • Primrose
  • Grapevine
  • Umbelliferae 
  • Sorrel
  • Horsetail
  • Hemlock
  • Blueberry
  • Snowdrop
  • Celery
  • Daphne
  • Summer Lilac
  • Apple Thorn
  • Deadly Nightshade
  • Juniper
  • Laburnum
  • Gundermann
  • Buttercup
  • Dogwood
  • The Ferns
  • Geraniums
  • Gorse
  • Yew Leaves Vinegar
  1. Fresh vegetables:

They will provide your hamster with water and vitamins, especially if you don’t have access to foraging and live in the city.

Vegetables must be fed to your hamster on a daily basis, in small amounts (a small slice, a piece the size of a fingernail, or just a small leaf), depending on the vegetable.

Above all, never leave vegetable scraps in the cage to avoid the growth of bad fungus and mold in your hamster’s hay or bedding. Also, keep an eye on your hamster to ensure that it does not hide these foods under the litter box.

Here is a list of vegetables that your hamster can have:

  • Spinach Leaves
  • Broccoli
  • Chicory
  • Iceberg Lettuce
  • Endive
  • Lamb’s Lettuce 
  • Fennel Bulbs
  • Cucumber
  • Kohlrabi
  • Pumpkin
  • Swiss Chard
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Red Peppers
  • Parsley Root
  • Romaine Lettuce 
  • Beets
  • Arugula
  • Celery 
  • Celery Stalk
  • Turnip Stalk
  • Tomatoes (The Fruit)
  • Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Zucchini
  • Sweet Corn 
  1. Fresh fruits:

Hamsters love fruit, the sweeter the fruit, the more hamsters want it!

But it is not healthy to give him a piece of fruit bigger than the nail of your little finger.

Fruit contains sugar, a natural sugar, but hamsters, especially when the cage is too small, eat it frequently! When they eat too much sugar, they develop diarrhea as well as diabetes, especially in older hamsters.

There are fruits that your hamster can consume without risk but respecting the quantity, here is the list:

  • Apples (remove the seeds)
  • Pears (remove the seeds)
  • Strawberries (too sweet)
  • Bananas (too sweet)
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Melon
  • Kiwi
  • Currants
  • Grapes (remove the seeds)

❖ What fruits are forbidden to hamsters?

Yes, hamsters can’t eat all the fruits we eat.

Basically, we must avoid giving fruits that are too sweet, and the rule is that all fruits with seeds are to be avoided for hamsters.

So, plums, cherries, nectarines, peaches, dates,… contain too much sugar.

As for their pits, they are toxic because once arrived in the intestine of your hamster, the amygdalin they contain, will turn into hydrocyanic acid (toxic).

❖ Can I feed my hamster exotic fruits?

No, you should avoid exotic fruits and not offer them to your hamster even in small quantities.

The reason is that they are too sweet and contain water, they tend to cause digestive problems to hamsters.

These exotic fruits are not allowed for hamsters:

  • Papaya
  • Cherimoya
  • Curuba
  • Pomegranate
  • Avocado
  • Guava
  • The physalis
  • Kumquat
  • Lychee
  • Mango
  1. Branches and twigs for hamsters:

Hamsters, like rabbits and guinea pigs, must constantly file their incisors.

It is therefore advised to place fresh or dry branches and twigs in its cage to allow it to wear its teeth.

A good hay, spread here and there over his litter, but not too hard, choose the fine twig hay like Oxbow.

Tree branches are also a great way to keep your hamster entertained while also providing him with a way to file his teeth.

Because of the starch content, salt, and baking powder, hard bread should be avoided and not given to your hamster (especially overweight ones).

Molds that are invisible to the naked eye can hide in old hard bread and cause serious illness in your hamster.

Therefore, you should choose branches from trees that have not been treated with pesticides.

Here is a list of the types of branches that are allowed for hamsters:

  • Maple
  • Apple tree
  • Birch
  • Pear tree
  • Beech
  • Alder
  • Ash
  • Hornbeam
  • Hazelnut Bush
  • Blueberry bush
  • Black currant bush
  • Linden
  • Poplar

The precautions to take is to remove the bark and leaves of these branches before installing them in your hamster’s cage.

Water for hamster

Of course, water must be available in the hamster’s cage at all times.

I’d rather you give him his water in a bowl.

This water should be changed after cleaning the bowl and at least once a day.

If you suspect your hamster has accidentally urinated in the bowl or dropped food in it, especially if it is hot, change the water immediately.

Bottles with a ball valve should be avoided as germs tend to grow inside the valve.

The bottle doesn’t empty fast enough so the water is only fresh the first day when you give it to your hamster.

The valve can become clogged and your hamster will become dehydrated in your absence which can be fatal.

Finally, I recommend placing the water in a heavy ceramic bowl with a height just above your hamster’s eyes.

This way, your hamster will have access to fresh water that is replenished on a daily basis.

The larger the water bowl for your hamster, the longer you are away.

Place this water bowl away from his sandbox, especially in corners where your hamster may use it as a toilet.

Some other unsafe foods for hamsters:

What to avoid feeding to your hamster:

  • Froot Loops
  • Avocado
  • Bacon and ham
  • Chilli peppers
  • Chives
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Candies
  • Citrus fruits
  • Pickles
  • Lettuce ( iceberg)
  • Raw or uncooked potatoes
  • Spices

❖ Don’t add a lot of corn to your hamsters seed mix!

It would be very dangerous if you were to feed your hamsters a corn-based diet.

It has been established and proven in a hamster study done in a French university that hamsters fed exclusively with corn become cannibals.

When female hamsters are fed a corn-based diet, their behavior completely changes.

They eat their newborns, which is also what happens to wild hamsters in corn fields.

It’s most likely related to the “Pellagra” disease, which used to drive South Americans insane when they only ate corn.

Hamsters require a varied diet, especially vitamins like B3, because adding this vitamin to the studied hamsters prevented them from becoming cannibals and allowed the female hamsters to discover their maternal instinct.

I’m not just saying this to warn people about the dangers of wild hamster colonies living in monoculture fields, but also to those who feed their hamsters poor seed mixes or only pellets with no seed, protein, vegetables, or vitamin sources.

How to easily make balanced food mix for your hamsters?

It’s better to use from 12 to 30 different ingredients in the mix:

  • 5 types of seeds
  • 2 types of legumes
  • 3 types of vegetables
  • 2 types of animal protein. I would advise going more into the 20 – 30 ingredient range

Using percentages: respect The protein/ fat / fiber levels of the ingredients

  • 40% seeds
  • 30% vegetables
  • 20% legumes
  • 10% animal protein

Hamster love to shred and chew things

As previously stated, hamsters enjoy chewing on things, and if you don’t have access to the rods I recommended, you can temporarily replace them with the following alternatives so that your hamster has something to do at night, particularly to file his incisors:

  • Cardboard
  • Coconut shells
  • Hay cubes
  • Unbleached loofah
  • Pumice stone
  • Seagrass

Conclusion

Hamsters are omnivores and opportunists, so if you want to avoid having a picky hamster, provide him with a varied diet and then monitor his habits.

Only give him his daily tablespoon of seed mixture (dry food) after he has finished his previous meal.

Replace the food that your hamster refuses to eat with another food that has the same nutritional value.

Introduce the new food to your hamster gradually and gradually increase the amount.

To encourage digging and exercise, scatter your hamster’s food around the cage and even stuff some seeds under the bed. The herbs should be sprinkled in the hamster’s cage, two to three tablespoons at a time, and added when your hamster is finished eating them.

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!

Waiting for our next post here.

By HamsterCareTip.Com.

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