Many people unfairly believe that hamsters can be called unpretentious animals. When keeping rodents at home, they need to develop a special diet that will ensure the normal functioning of their digestive system. In particular, for Jungar hamsters and other species of these animals, products that contain a large amount of fat, starch and other carbohydrates are deadly dangerous – they can cause intestinal upset and even obstruction. Therefore, if you decide to have such small rodents at home, you should definitely know how to feed the hamster.
When keeping rodents at home, it is recommended to purchase ready-made feed for hamsters that are produced in a factory way. As a rule, they contain several types of grains, as well as gluten and extracts of various fruits. Manufacturers also add minerals, vitamins and trace elements that hamsters require throughout their lives to the composition of such feeds.
In addition, coarse pieces of food with sharp edges can damage the hamster’s cheek pouches, which will lead to serious illness or even death. Remember that the smaller the hamster, the smaller the feed should be. For a Dzungarian hamster, it is better to buy a special mix, and in its absence, grind the grain.
It is highly undesirable to give hamsters specialized nutritional supplements – pills and briquettes, which are usually called "drops". They can not be used, because manufacturers usually include in their composition not quite useful substances that can cause significant damage to the digestive system of hamsters. A healthy rodent should not be given therapeutic mixes even for preventive purposes – this can also upset his digestion.
If you purchase exceptionally high-quality mixes, they will still not be as beneficial for the hamster as natural food. When keeping animals at home, the basis of their diet should be cereals. Mixes can be done independently – for this it is worth mixing the following types of crops:
Since domestic hamsters are not so hardy and more finicky in food compared to their wild counterparts, cereals should be grinded to get pieces no more than 0.2-0.35 mm long. To do this, you need to purchase a special mill or buy ready-made cereals.
Regardless of whether you feed the hamster with ready-made mixes or mixes created at home, he will need not only grains, but also green food. The most convenient option is to grow grass from the grains that make up the hamster’s main ration – it’s worth picking young tender greens and cutting it into several small pieces so that the rodent’s paw does not get tangled in a long stalk.
In addition, you can feed hamsters with lettuce, parsley and dill, and no fertilizers were used to grow them. A good option for a hamster is the green leaves of a dandelion, which has grown at a considerable distance from the highway. In winter, hamsters are often given finely chopped hay, obtained by drying the aforementioned greens.
The composition of the diet for animals that are kept at home, you need to include vegetables, fruits and berries. It is best to put finely chopped pieces of pumpkin, carrot, beet and zucchini in a bowl for hamsters several times a week. Also suitable for feeding rodents are grapes, currants and apples. As a treat, a very finely chopped banana is used, but it can be given to hamsters no more than once a week.
Previously, hamsters were considered exclusively herbivores, but recent studies have shown the fallacy of this opinion. In nature, rodents get proteins by eating small insects and other inhabitants of the upper soil layer, but when kept at home, giving them live food is irrational. Therefore, two daily protein supplements are prepared for hamsters, which alternate with each other:
- The first consists of 2% fat cottage cheese, finely grated boiled chicken fillet without spices and salt, as well as a boiled egg.
- In the second case, top dressing can be made from chicken, eggs, as well as sprouted oats.
Like other rodents, hamsters quickly grow teeth, and there is a need to grind them. For this, special vitamin-mineral sticks or simple twigs can be used. You need to pick them in a forest or in a planting located far outside the city – hamsters will use branches from trees such as oak, beech or hazel. It is better not to use a nut, and there is a strict ban on conifers in general – the oils contained in such wood can cause severe eating disorder.
Many people, in search of an answer to the question of how to feed a hamster, turn not to experts and professional literature, but to idle amateurs and to the materials of forums on the Internet. The consequence of this is the preparation of an incorrect diet, which often leads to a prolonged hamster disease and even death. Therefore, we will consider the main mistakes in the advice on keeping hamsters at home.
Dzungarian hamster can not be fed whole grains and other large pieces of food – this can lead to damage to the cheek bags and even injuries to the esophagus, which ultimately leads to death. A big mistake will be feeding the hamsters with pieces of cones or with the bones of the fruit – for rodents kept at home, this can be fatal. Seeds of stone fruits and berries contain substances that are toxic to hamsters; therefore, their ingestion in food can cause the development of various diseases, including the appearance of cancerous tumors.
It is strictly forbidden to put citrus fruits and other fruits with a strong aroma and pungent taste in a rodent bowl. The oils and acids they contain are also toxic to the hamster and can kill it in minutes. In addition, it is extremely undesirable to give the animal exotic fruits, including mango, avocado and others. A large amount of carbohydrates can lead to constipation and intestinal obstruction, and the only sweet fruit in the diet should be a banana, but its amount must be strictly limited.
Food from a person’s table is extremely harmful to hamsters – the number one in the hazard rating is white bread – even when dried, it can upset the digestion of a small animal.
It is extremely dangerous to feed the animal with raw and boiled potatoes – a huge amount of starch will also cause intestinal obstruction and a fatal outcome.
The only dairy product that hamsters tolerate well enough is cottage cheese. They should not be given pure milk, cheese, sour cream and other similar products, as this can cause an extremely strong food allergic reaction. In some sources you can find advice on soaking grains in milk, but this advice is relevant only for rats and guinea pigs, but not for hamsters.
Vegetable food cannot be collected in large cities and near highways, because in this case it will be thoroughly saturated with toxins that are dangerous to any living creature. And even when collecting grass or twigs in ecologically clean areas, they need to be thoroughly washed, and the wood should be rinsed with boiling water to destroy the fungus and parasites.
The water for the rodent is passed through a multi-stage filter, since it should not contain a large amount of minerals and, especially, heavy metals.