When you’re feeding your hamster you’ll want to give them the best diet that you can that will keep them healthy throughout their lives so it is important that you not only give them the best quality foods that you can but also that you give them a varied diet.
When you bring your new Chinese Hamster home, most breeders and pet shops will have given you a supply of the food that they have been eating whilst in their care. You can then use this to help them transition over to the food that you plan to use gradually, introducing a little more of the new food every day until your hamster gets used to it.
Most pet shops will sell a choice of brands and most types of hamster foods for sale are a muesli based food and contain ingredients such as oats, corn, flaked peas and seeds. However some have been seen to contain a number of artificial colours and additives and whilst there has been no definite evidence that EC permitted colourants are harmful to hamsters, you may prefer to avoid these foods if you can.
Some owners prefer to offer a complete pellet based food. These usually take the form of small shaped biscuits or nuggets that contain all the nutrients that a hamster requires. These biscuits can be broken into smaller pieces or mashed with a little bit of water for older hamsters. Most owners feed this alongside a hamster muesli but this can also be fed exclusively.
Chinese Hamsters are a species that can be prone to diabetes and whilst it’s not necessary to avoid feeding them foods containing sugars entirely it’s worth refraining from feeding them too many sugary treats. It’s also important not to remove any components such as corn or peas from your hamster’s mix unless your hamster has a diagnosis of diabetes and you have been instructed to do so by your vet.
When choosing treats for your hamster, it is best to avoid giving them too many of the treats that are often sold for small pets and find natural alternatives. The Metallica Chinese love a few sunflower seeds after their playtimes and most will enjoy mealworms too. You can also feed your hamster fresh fruit and veg although you will need to avoid citrus fruits, onions, leeks and garlic as these are harmful to your hamster. You can also give your hamster foods that you might not expect to be able to such as chicken, white fish (the Metallica hamsters love a bit of Mackerel), egg and unsweetened cereals such as porridge.