Food and Water
These days there are many different companies offering complete hamster mixes and other food products, it’s becoming hard to keep track! The complete mixes are the most common type of food to find in the UK. It is important with these foods that you feed your hamster a certain amount every three days. This is because a hamster like any animal when given a choice of foods will pick out their favourites first, and like with all foods, the favourites are usually the less healthy (for example sunflower seeds are rather fattening) by leaving the food in over a few days the hamster will eat their favourites the first day and move on through the rest over the following days, this helps to ensure they get a balanced diet. Many complete foods can have things added. Personally I use a hamster mix as a base then add other seeds (dwarf hamsters are very fond of trill) nuts, even kitten biscuits to it.
It’s important that hamsters get other 'treats' on top of this basic diet. Fresh greens should be offered at least every week but in small quantities, I find cucumber goes down a treat, so does carrot, it’s important to remember that lettuce is pointless for a hamster it has no nutritional value, and can often give them slight diarrhoea. As hamster store their food it’s important to keep track of any food that will spoil and remove it before it does. Dwarf hamsters usually enjoy millet sprays hung from their cages, and also in my experience love mealworms, either dried or live. It’s important to remember that hamsters will eat meats, and a little chicken every few days is appreciated my all types of hamster and is a great source of protein, just make sure the chicken is plain. I also find scrambled egg goes down well too. As a treat my hamsters sometimes get baby food. This is useful when they are ill too as it is soft and moist. An important thing to remember when choosing baby food is that it must contain no onion or garlic, or in fact anything from the onion family, nor tomato seeds. Never feed citrus fruits to a hamster either, all these thing are not good for them.
safe fresh foods include apple, bean sprouts, bread, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cheese, chicken (unseasoned), cooked potato, cucumber, eggs (scrambled or boiled), mealworm, milk (preferably cats milk or Soya milk), peas, porridge, raisins, sultanas, sweet corn
It’s important to never give a hamster too much fresh food at once as this can give them a tummy upset. For example you allow your hamster to have one piece of apple one night, a bit of chicken a day or so later, maybe a slice of cucumber a day or so after that. These are treats, use them as such.
Many companies offer hamster chocolate drops and honey treat bars. these too are ok in moderation, (dog chocolate can be used instead of buy hamster chocolate) one important thing to note is that Campbell’s dwarf hamsters have a tendency to diabetes and so sugary treats such as honey sticks or hamster chocolate should be avoided.
Hamster must always have access to water, it is best to have a water bottle with ball bearings inside, as these prevent leaks. Water bottles should be changed everyday (though they can be left over a weekend if need be) and should be regularly checked to make sure there are no leaks and that they work. If you wish to add vitamin drops to the water also make sure to clean at the bottles with a cleaning brush as the bottles do tend to then be prone to sliming up. Bottles should be thoroughly cleaned regularly. Water bottles should be placed at an easily accessible height, but so low that they can burry their water bottle in their bedding (as this will clog it up as well as sometimes empty it, on top of preventing the hamster from drinking from it) it should also be placed away from the nesting area. It is important that you hamster does not get damp at all.
As hamster teeth never stop growing it is very important to provide them something they can gnaw on, if they do not gnaw and wear the teeth down they will grow too long, over growing the jaw perhaps but always causing difficulties for the hamster with eating sometimes making it impossible. Always then make sure you have something suitable in the cage. from hardwood blocks to dog biscuit bones or even a whole nut in shell slightly cracked open so it can smell the nut (never almond! its shell is poisonous) there are plenty of things out there that your hamster can chew on and enjoy!