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Old 06-21-2016, 05:58 PM   #1
David Gossett
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Wilmington North Carolina
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Default Feeding help

I just received 2 winter white hamsters I do not know the age. I was given some food in a zip lock bag unknown what. Been looking at what to get lots out there. Every store tells you something different. Some say the bag food, some say bag and western Timothy hay I don't know so I came here first please help. David
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Old 06-21-2016, 08:17 PM   #2
AmityvilleHams
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Default Re: Feeding help

Hamsters don't require hay.You can order Higgins from Petco or purchase it in store,or Pet Supermarket may have it but that could depend on individual stores and it is generally cheaper there.For Winter Whites you would need to get Higgins Vita Garden hamster and gerbil,as it is diabetes friendly and they are a species which is prone to diabetes.

Generally don't listen to pet store advice,they're extremely out of date at best.Hamsters are omnivores,requiring high protein low fat diets(around 16-20% protein and 4-6% fat).With Higgins you do need to add extra protein,but that can be done with things like tofu,broccoli and other high protein vegetables,plain chicken or freeze dried chicken,high quality dog biscuits(not Purina,Pedigree,or other big brands and also be mindful of ingredients as not all are safe).Freshwater shrimp are a great protein boost,as they are high in protein but also very low in fat.

Aside from diet,you need to have large enough cages.For dwarf hamsters it would be best to put each hamster in their own cage that is around half a square meter or 775 square inches(roughly 25 inches x 31 inches per cage).It might be hard to find a cage with these dimensions,so you could certainly build a DIY hamster cage that is the right size or purchase a pair of Detolf's.

Wheels and substrate are two very easy subjects to cover!You need one wheel per hamster,upright is best and flying saucer style wheels shouldn't be used as the only wheel as they don't allow for the most natural movement.Around 8 inches in diameter is good for that,but the wheels must be a solid running surface.For substrate,you need to use something safe like aspen wood shavings or a paper based unscented substrate such as Carefresh or Kaytee Clean and Cozy that is around 6 inches deep.Do not use pine or cedar or scented substrates as these can be extremely dangerous.

The last subject that I'll cover is nesting material,and for that toilet paper is great as long as it is unscented and can be dissolved with water.Cheap Walmart or other store brand will do and actually can work better as it breaks up easier than the expensive stuff anyways!

If I think of anything else that is important or you have any questions I'll definitely post more information,but that covers some of the basics that a new owner would need to know.
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Old 06-21-2016, 08:58 PM   #3
cypher
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Default Re: Feeding help

Hams can have hay but they don't need it & giving it is a little bit problematic! You have to go through it to remove any sharp spiky bits that can damage pouches & freeze it in case of mites.

For a main food the vita garden does seem to be about the best available for diabetic prone species, your hams are hybrids btw, with a little extra protein & some safe veg, best introduced slowly until they get used to them.
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Old 06-22-2016, 02:50 PM   #4
David Gossett
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Default Re: Feeding help

Sorry I was told to feed them the Timothy hay by guess who the petco store . I went a bought some on line at doctor foster very good price also got some bedding ,food, and a salt luck also recommend. I guess I did wrong. The hay having to be frozen for mites makes me quver. Are this safe in the house? Any ideas David
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Old 06-22-2016, 02:59 PM   #5
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Feeding help

Hay is safe in the house but it's a good idea to stick it in the freezer in its plastic bag for a week. Just in case there are any bug eggs in there. It's just a precaution really. As the others say, hay isn't necessary for hamsters and can be a bit of a problem too.

You need

1) Bedding (substrate) - there are a number of choices, but not pine or cedar bedding. Some pine bedding is kiln dried which makes it less of a problem, but there are lots of alternatives - Carefresh, Kaytee Clean and Cosy, Boxo, Oxbow paper bedding or aspen.

2) Food - a good hamster mix. Some recommendations above. You can give them a thumbnail sized piece of fresh veg each every 2 or 3 days - that will be very popular with them! There's a list of safe veg on here - I tend to stick to broccoli, carrot, cauliflower or cucumber mainly. No sugar or fruit to avoid risk of diabetes. So the hamster mix needs to be one that isn't full of sugar.

3) Salt lick - not really necessary. I think they were recommended at one time, but not now.

Your boys are going to have a lovely surprise when they come back and find all this!
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Old 06-22-2016, 08:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: Feeding help

Salt licks are only necessary for herbivores,from what I've heard,as omnivores and carnivores would get necessary salt through animal protein apparently.Either way,a good diet would likely have this anyways as one of the added vitamins and minerals!

For bedding,the two easiest to purchase in the US are Carefresh and Kaytee Clean and Cozy.Clean and Cozy is really good and cheaper than Carefresh,but you have to be careful to get an unscented version for safety and health reasons.Do not use Carefresh Shavings Plus,as this contains unspecified softwood shavings and any form of unspecified shavings are automatically to be considered unsafe.

Also if you do want Carefresh,it's best to buy it in bulk as the cost is generally better.Aspen shavings are also considered "safe" but that doesn't necessarily mean they're guaranteed not to cause issues,so paper is always best.Aspen is certainly not risk free,and with hamster care you want to take as little risks as possible and always be a responsible owner!
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Old 06-23-2016, 04:55 AM   #7
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Feeding help

Just realised when I said hay is safe in the house I meant your house, not the hamster house! Personally I find it risky as it has so many sharp bits to poke their eyes.
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