Before all newly made owners of decorative hamsters, if they are responsible for the maintenance of their pet, an important question arises: how to feed the hamster? And it is right. After all, nutrition largely determines how healthy a small rodent will be, and not only quality, but also its life span, depends on it.
In the diet of hamsters must necessarily and daily include juicy vegetables and fruits – only fresh and washed!
The easiest way out is to buy ready-made food for hamsters and periodically pour it into the feeder. But this should take into account two key points:
Therefore, in order to learn how to properly feed a hamster, you must first get acquainted with its behavioral characteristics and the nature of nutrition in the wild.
Basic rules for feeding taking into account the behavior and diet of wild hamsters
Most often, two types of hamsters are brought up at home: Dzungarian and Syrian.
The habitat in the nature of the Dzungarian hamsters is dry steppes and semi-deserts. Therefore, they drink little liquid, getting water from the feed. This is important to consider when drawing up the menu of Dzungar hamsters: installing a drinker in their cage is a less effective way to deal with dehydration than feeding Dzungar hamsters with juicy fresh vegetables and fruits.
The place of residence of the Syrian hamster is sowing meadows, forest-steppes, foothills. There they eat whole grain products, herbs. Therefore, at home, the Syrian hamster prefers grain feed.
In wild conditions, the hamster most often feeds on various grains, and domestic hamsters also love grain food.
In the wild, the hamster stores a large amount of food in its hole, transferring them to well-developed cheek pouches. Such measures allow him to survive the winter. Therefore, his domestic brethren also try to hide food for hamsters in any secluded place. So an empty cup in the cage is not an indication that the pet has eaten and hungry. He probably just moved supplies to a secret corner.
The volume of the portion should be such that the number of hidden, and even more so – perishable products – is minimal.
Also, the wild brothers of the usual Dzungarian hamsters and Syrian hamsters are mostly nocturnal. In the dark, it is easier for them to hide from predators. And domestic rodents are most often active after sunset.
So, the main part of the daily diet should be given in the evening feeding. Some hamster breeders generally recommend feeding them only in the evening. But our veterinarians nevertheless insist on two-time feeding of hamsters, and their Western colleagues even suggest introducing five to six meals a day.
The nutrition of hamsters, like other mammals, should be as balanced and complete as possible. It is advisable to select products based on the individual characteristics of your pet: age, level of his physical activity, habits. In addition, the menu must be modified to reflect the current time of the year.
The daily diet of small rodents is formed from the following components:
Fresh food should be fed to the rodent in the morning, and dried grains in the evening. Subject to this rule, the probability that the hamster will drag a perishable product into the house decreases.
If you decide to use ready-made food for hamsters, then when choosing it, pay attention to the number of sunflower seeds in the total mass. Very often manufacturers add them in excess, which adversely affects the health of hamsters. In addition, some rodents choose from the ready-made feed mixture only the most tidbits, ignoring, at times, the most valuable components.
Give preference to food in moisture-proof packaging – when you purchase them, it is more likely that the dried vegetables and grains are well preserved, not covered with mold.
Many companies produce fortified food for hamsters, which is very convenient, as it frees you from the need to use special vitamin supplements.
High-quality, balanced feed for hamsters has all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
A small drawback of ready-made feeds is that when they are used, the amount of proteins and carbohydrates in the diet cannot be adjusted. And it is sometimes necessary to do this, for example, if the pet has weight problems. Alternatively, you can try to reduce the amount of finished food and increase the proportion of fresh herbs or vegetables.
Avoiding Possible Digestive Problems
In order for the stomach and intestines of the Dzungarian or Syrian hamsters to work correctly, some rules must be followed.
Introduce new food gradually, in small portions. A rodent needs time to get used to it. In no case should you give small rodents spoiled foods: hay with a touch of mold, wilted grass. Remove uneaten fruits and vegetables after feeding.
Wash the feeder and drinkers of hamsters daily. Although some owners believe that it is not necessary to install a drinker in a cage for Dzungarian hamsters, it is still better to have a drinker. The Syrian hamster does not feel well without enough water.
Use a feeder made of sufficiently heavy material (such as ceramics). A light bowl will tip over and it will be of little use. Put greens and hay strictly in a cup, otherwise they will be scattered on the floor.
Often, digestive upsets in Jungar and Syrian hamsters come from too large portions of food eaten. You can not constantly overfeed an animal, it is better if after a meal it remains a little hungry. In addition, do not forget that he always has an untouchable supply in his house, which, in case of emergency, can satisfy his hunger.
Do not use expired hamster food. Even if it looks quite edible. Do not forget that most feeds contain various additives, which after the expiration date can be very toxic.
In no case should hamsters offer the following products:
- all containing sugar, salt and spices (sugar is especially dangerous for Dzungarian hamsters, as these rodents have an increased risk of developing diabetes);
- slices of fatty, fried and smoked dishes from your table;
- any exotic fruits;
- any sweets;
- potato peelings;
- fatty dairy products (cream, sour cream, yogurt);
- breakfast cereals, granola;
- cabbage, sorrel, onions, garlic.
Proper feeding of hamsters allows you to maintain their health, good mood, and also to avoid many unnecessary problems.