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Old 07-15-2017, 07:35 PM   #1
kumys
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Default Best food for dwarfs in US/Canada?

My hams currently eat Oxbow Essentials Hamster & Gerbil supplemented with mealworms, the occasional piece of cooked chicken or egg, and veggies. They also get millet spray, sunflower seeds, peanuts, wholegrain bread, cottage cheese and all sorts of other stuff, but basically, what is the best commercial food for dwarfs in North America? Pellet OR mix. I talked to my mom and she really isn't really willing to buy things for them online hence why I specified Canada or the US (I'm Canadian, but if it's available in America, it's -probably- available here as well). The local pet store has a lot of brands, but nothing really that I've seen get recommended the last time I looked.
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Old 07-15-2017, 09:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: Best food for dwarfs in US/Canada?

Dwarf hamsters are very much prone to diabetes so if you have a dwarf, be careful and some of those foods you're feeding them if they are dwarfs aren't something I'd risk feeding mine.
Peanuts and sunflower seeds only in a tiny amount, as it's very fatty and sunflower seeds tends to already be in the food mix.
Cheese not at all ever.
Bread, again in the tiny tiny tiniest amount as it contains sugar.
With my dwarf I feed him Burguss dwarf mix, extra mealworms and added fresh vegetables. That's it. It may sound boring but it's safe.

Syrians on the other hand, you can be a bit more adventurous with, mine loves yogurt (plain, fat free), tofu (small amount), mackerel (tiny amount), you can give your dwarf mackerel too, they seem to love flax seeds, yoghurt drops (treat only).
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Best food for dwarfs in US/Canada?

There isn't one single food that is suitable on it's own really, if you can get them then the best mix is Higgins sunburst & Mazuri blocks, you need a ratio of 60-40% by weight when you combine the two.

I wouldn't feed bread to your ham, the other extras you mention are fine in moderation though.
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Last edited by cypher; 07-15-2017 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 07-16-2017, 08:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: Best food for dwarfs in US/Canada?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Princess Pixie View Post
Dwarf hamsters are very much prone to diabetes so if you have a dwarf, be careful and some of those foods you're feeding them if they are dwarfs aren't something I'd risk feeding mine.
Peanuts and sunflower seeds only in a tiny amount, as it's very fatty and sunflower seeds tends to already be in the food mix.
Cheese not at all ever.
Bread, again in the tiny tiny tiniest amount as it contains sugar.
With my dwarf I feed him Burguss dwarf mix, extra mealworms and added fresh vegetables. That's it. It may sound boring but it's safe.

Syrians on the other hand, you can be a bit more adventurous with, mine loves yogurt (plain, fat free), tofu (small amount), mackerel (tiny amount), you can give your dwarf mackerel too, they seem to love flax seeds, yoghurt drops (treat only).
I can understand and see why bread may not be the best thing to be feeding my hams, but I don't see how cottage cheese as a treat could cause any harm. Could you elaborate? I don't want to give my hamsters diabetes, but I also don't really see how cottage cheese could even give them diabetes? Looking at Nutritiondata.com, an entire CUP of nonfat cottage cheese contains 3 grams of sugar and, kind of obvious considering the name, 0 grams of fat. An entire cup. My hams generally only get a pinky finger sized amount split between the two of them, but I guess I didn't specify so this misunderstanding is pretty much my own fault. My feeding protocol has basically been a tablespoon of Oxbow, a penny-sized amount of fresh vegetables (non sugary vegetables like broccoli or arugula, I'd offer a bit more but my munchkins aren't big on veggies and tend to hoard them instead of eating them) and tiny amounts of "other" when they greet me at the cage bars and give me "the eyes". Sometimes it's a mealworm or two, sometimes it's some millet, sometimes it's some peanut or some cottage cheese. They've actually been fed quite a lot of different foods and my little list above isn't exhaustive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cypher View Post
There isn't one single food that is suitable on it's own really, if you can get them then the best mix is Higgins sunburst & Mazuri blocks, you need a ratio of 60-40% by weight when you combine the two.

I wouldn't feed bread to your ham, the other extras you mention are fine in moderation though.
I'm not sure where to find either of those, but we have a fairly large petsmart out of town, so perhaps we can see if they have Mazuri or Higgins sunburst and stock up there. Do you pick the dried fruits out of it?
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Old 07-16-2017, 09:19 AM   #5
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Default Re: Best food for dwarfs in US/Canada?

Sorry kumys, I think I got my US foods mixed up! Better wait & see if anyone else in the US can help out, I was thinking of something else when I said Higgins sunburst & I can't remember what now, not very helpful I know!
There is a lot of fruit in the Higgins sunburst so it's not suitable even mixed with Mazuri really & you can't use Mazuri on it's own as the protein is too high & ideally you don't want to just feed block/pellet food.
You could just feed Harry (Hazel) Hamster if you can't find a suitable dwarf food, the biscuit bits need to be broken up a bit & it's not ideal but it is a good balanced food so better than many of the ones full of sugars & other things you don't want.

The only issue with cottage cheese is that hams can be lactose intolerant but if your ham is doing fine with small amounts of it then no reason why you shouldn't continue to feed it in moderation.
If you don't use them already flax & hemp seeds make a good healthy treat too.
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Old 07-16-2017, 10:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: Best food for dwarfs in US/Canada?

I live in US and buy Higgins Sunburst and Mazuri lab blocks for rat & mouse food. I find that my hamsters love the Mazuri, I break it up in smaller pieces for them. I don't really like the Sunburst as there are so many ingredients that my hamsters don't like. It's filled with the green alfalfa filler pellets. Other ingredients as well, but there aren't very many options otherwise. I find that the hammys much prefer the Mazuri over the Kaytee Forti Diet lab blocks ( the kind Pet-Co feeds their hammys). Also, Pet-Co sells both Mazuri and Higgins Sunburst.

I get so frustrated that I waste a lot of food and want them all on a strictly pellet diet but I want them to be happy too so I buy the Sunburst. I pick out the larger pieces of fruit and give it to my Syrian.

I also bought the Burgess but I ordered it in the Syrian mix, instead of the dwarf blend. I recently saw a food just for dwarves, I think at Pet-Co but I didn't look into the ingredients or even the company who made it as I was in a hurry.
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Old 07-16-2017, 05:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: Best food for dwarfs in US/Canada?

Higgins Sunburst is definitely more of a Syrian or non-diabetes prone species only food.Same with Mazuri,as it has molasses.The only options for diabetic hamsters would be Harry/Hazel Hamster and Burgess,but since Burgess might be harder to get in Canada it would be better to aim for Harry/Hazel.

There really aren't any other choices,since anything else would require mixing and there aren't any combinations that would be diabetes friendly.

Cottage cheese would really depend on the individual ingredients of whatever product you're using.Regardless,dairy products in general aren't healthy for hamsters especially since their digestive system doesn't handle them too well There are other more natural treat choices anyways that would be digested much better.
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Old 07-18-2017, 10:49 AM   #8
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Default Re: Best food for dwarfs in US/Canada?

Update!

I talked to my mom some more and I don't really know what's gotten into her lately, but she really seems to be changing for the better. She's agreed to at least consider buying on the Internet and I can possibly now get them foods that aren't strictly Canadian/American. With this in mind, what do you guys suggest?

I'm really considering Burgess and I'm also kind of curious about Clamazis campbell mix on Mixerama. Is it any good? Is it nutritionally complete, or do you have to add other things to it? Sorry if these are dumb questions. I'm just trying to do the very best for my hams and now that I've joined this community and now that able to ask questions, I'm getting a bit carried away.

Last edited by kumys; 07-18-2017 at 10:50 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 07-18-2017, 11:07 AM   #9
cypher
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Default Re: Best food for dwarfs in US/Canada?

Not dumb questions at all

Burgess dwarf hamster harvest is a good mix, it is a bit low on variety though & hams can get a bit bored with it but on the plus side it may be closer (albeit healthier) to the kind of food your ham is used to than some of the German mixes.
The Clamazis mix has a high proportion of grass seed, I was sent some by mistake once & was surprised just how much of it was grass seed, & I've found with making my own mix that mine are very reluctant to eat grass seed, I think it's just too different to what they're used to really, I think the Myps mix would be a better choice, it is a really good food but again quite different to what your ham will be used to, these mixes do depend on your ham eating a reasonable amount of herbage, if they don't eat that part of the mix or not enough the remaining mix will be rather higher in fat than is ideal.
Not an easy choice really but either would be preferable to most foods available in the US/Canada!

ETA I forgot to say all those foods are nutritionally complete so no need to add anything.
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Last edited by cypher; 07-18-2017 at 11:17 AM.
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