Aug 042010
 

Hamsters like variety in their diet. It keeps them both healthy and happy. Feeding your hamster the range of food it needs means providing dry food, fruits and vegetables, the occasional treat, and, of course, water.

Dry Food

Dry food is where your hammy will get most of its nutrition. Here’s what should be in the dry food:

Proteins: Helps normal growth and maintenance of muscle and tissue. Should be 15 to 20% of diet. Very important for hamsters that are pregnant or nursing.
Fats and Carbohydrates: Provides energy; helps vitamin absorption; prevents skin problems. Should only be about 5% of diet.
Minerals: Maintenance of bones and teeth.
Vitamins: Enable chemical reactions within body cells. Helps cell growth; maintenance of general health.
hamster food

Although some people make their own dry hamster food, the easiest way to get it is to buy it in your pet store. Typical hamster food bags have a mix of seeds, grains, beans, and nuts. Some bags may also have alfalfa pellets and dried fruits and vegetables. Avoid bags of food that are mainly sunflower seeds and/or dried corn. hamster food

These bags are usually a loose mix. Your hamster will probably pick out the items that it likes the most, rather than the nutritional mix it needs. That’s why you might also want to buy block-type food. In this type pet food, all the seeds and grains stick together so your hamster has to eat a little of everything.

Look on the side of the food bag to check what’s in the mix and the nutritional information such as what percentage of protein is available in the food.

Fruits and vegetables

A few pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables each day will round out your hamster’s diet and make him or her quite happy. Be sure you wash and dry the fruit and vegetables and cut them into small pieces suitable for the size of your hamster. For fruits, remove stems, seeds, and large pits.

Typical safe fruits include:

  • Peach
  • Tomato
  • Apple
  • Plum
  • Pear
  • Melon
  • Blueberry
  • Strawberry
  • Pineapple

Typical safe vegetables include:

  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Corn
  • Green beans

Avoid iceberg lettuce as its water content is high. This can cause problems for your hamster’s digestive tract.

Hamsters are hoarders. So if you have a typical hamster, it will take more fruits and veggies than it needs and stockpile the extra in its bedding or inside a toy. You’re going to have to check these places in the hamster cage every day for rotting food so your hamster will not eat it.

Treats

What pet doesn’t like an occasional treat? Just remember that it’s a treat, not a meal. Only give it once in a while and only give a small portion. hamster treats

Some typical treats include:

  • A small piece of fully cooked meat (Good for protein)
  • Live mealworms or crickets (Good for protein. You can get them at pet stores.)
  • A small piece of scrambled egg
  • A small piece of cheese
  • A teaspoon of plain yogurt
  • A few unsalted nuts
  • A teaspoon of sugar fee dry cereal

Pet stores also sell bags of treats such as yogurt or cheese drops. One a day is plenty!

Water
hamster water bottle

It goes without saying, that an important part of your hamster’s diet is water. Your hamster needs clean, fresh water every day to prevent dehydration.

You can use a water bottle or a ceramic bowl for the water.

Foods to Avoid

Certain foods should never be fed to a hamster because they can make him or her ill.

Snacks that humans eat fall into this category. Do not feed your hamster:

  • Cookies
  • Candy
  • Chocolate
  • Potato chips
  • Any other type of snack food you might eat.

Anything sticky can get stuck in your hamster’s cheek pouches and cause a lot of problems.

Other foods hamsters should not eat include:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Raw potatoes
  • Canned vegetables
  • Fried foods
  • Pickles
  • Peanut butter

Finally

You should feed your hamster once every day, usually around the same time. Make sure food is available all the time by leaving some dry food in a food bowl. If you feed your hamster the right mix of nutritious food, you’ll have a contented and healthy hamster.

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Jul 292010
 

Your new hamster will probably be nervous when he or she first gets to its hamster cage . The move to a new location can make your hamster frightened and confused. Here are some things you can do to help your hamster get used to his or her new home.

Set up the new cage

Before you bring your new hamster home, make sure you set up the cage. See the article How to Set Up Your New Cage for some tips. In general, you want to put the cage in a quiet place away from other pets. Then you want to put all the stuff the hamster will need inside it – bedding, water, and food. Once it’s all set up, you’re ready to introduce your hamster to its new home.

hamster cage

Bring the New Hamster Home

Let’s say you’re bringing a new hamster home in its carrying box. If the carrying box is not too big and you can open the top of the hamster’s new cage, put the box inside the cage. Then open up the carrying box and wait. Let the hamster come out by itself.

Once the hamster is out, take the bedding material that was in the carrying box – there’s probably not a lot – and put in your cage. Your hamster will recognize the scent. This will help to make it more relaxed in its new home.

Your hamster needs to investigate its new surroundings. So give it some time! This is most important. If your hamster gets spooked when it’s first looking around, it may become fearful of its new home. It will then hide in the bedding more than it should.

You may want to even cover the new cage with a light piece of fabric. This will give the hamster some quiet and some privacy so it can explore its new home. By the way, don’t use something heavy, like a towel, to cover the cage, because your hamster might think it’s for chewing.

Even if you don’t cover the new cage, make sure you, your family, or your friends don’t try to pet, touch, or hold the hamster when it first gets home. There will be plenty of time for playing with your hamster once it feels at home in the new cage.

How Your Hamster Will Get Used to the Cage

At first, your hamster will probably hide. It will burrow into its bedding or go inside a wooden toy. This is normal so don’t bother him or her. Let your hamster rest.
hamster hiding

After a little while – it may do this at night – your hamster will start to explore. It will check out all the corners of the cage, figure out where the food dish and water bottle are, where its exercise wheel is, and what toys are available. It may even take a quick spin in its wheel to burn off some of its nervousness.

Then your hammy will start doing some nest building. It will move around some of the bedding to make a sleeping area and then decide which part of the cage will be its bathroom. It may even move some of the hamster toys around.

Timing

It will typically take about a week for your hamster to get used to its new cage and feel comfortable in it. During this time, you should just watch and talk to your hamster. You can hold your hand up to the cage and let it sniff you. This way it will get used to the sound of your voice and your scent. By taking things slowly, you and your hamster will get off to the right start.

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