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Old 03-30-2020, 05:38 PM   #1
Kaycejones
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Default Best food in US?

I tried searching as I imagine it had to be somewhere but was unable to find much.

I'm looking for thoughts on different hamster foods, what pre made mixes or pellets are best for these little guys. I had rats many years but as these are different I'd like to learn more while waiting for weaning time.

I don't have any interest in either making my own mix or spending an outrageous amount of foregoing but can provide fresh foods and such as med.
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Old 03-30-2020, 06:36 PM   #2
Corbeens
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Default Re: Best food in US?

I've heard good things about higgins sunburst but I think it needs a lab block mixed in for extra protein. I'm in the UK though so some US-based people may have better solutions
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Old 03-30-2020, 07:25 PM   #3
AmityvilleHams
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Default Re: Best food in US?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corbeens View Post
I've heard good things about higgins sunburst but I think it needs a lab block mixed in for extra protein.
That combination was popular, but it really isn't a good diet. Mazuri is not a high quality food, Higgins Sunburst is loaded with dried fruit(which is not the most natural thing for hamsters to get - and for certain species it is a more concentrated source of sugar than fresh fruit which can be a concern for blood glucose spikes when dealing with hamsters who may develop diabetes even though sugar does not cause diabetes), etc.

The best diet in the US is Higgins Vita Garden. There is no dried fruit with that or any sort of added sugar.

For extras, with any food I'd always add flax seed. They're great for the coat and have pretty good nutritional value! Another excellent addition to this particular food would be Pure Bites freeze dried shrimp, chicken, or turkey - ideally a rotating variety and not just the same exact one every single time.
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Old 04-05-2020, 08:45 AM   #4
Kaycejones
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Default Re: Best food in US?

Where do I find these? Are they available at major pet stores?
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Old 04-05-2020, 08:58 AM   #5
theoffice
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Default Re: Best food in US?

I know petco carries higgins foods. I use the petsmart power of 5 lab blocks to add some protein to my seed mix (currently finishing off a bag of higgins sunburst, although the higgins vita garden has less sugar).
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Old 04-06-2020, 08:34 AM   #6
Creampuff
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Default Re: Best food in US?

I use Oxbow Garden Select. I don't use a seed mix because I'm pretty sure my hamster will pick through it and only choose what she likes - how do you avoid that?
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Old 04-06-2020, 09:46 AM   #7
AmityvilleHams
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Default Re: Best food in US?

You really cannot avoid hamsters picking pieces out of a mix. This is a completely natural behavior and is something we should encourage - it actually allows mental stimulation and dietary enrichment, which pellet foods are severely lacking in(hence why pellet foods are an unacceptable diet). They don't necessarily eat every bit of food right away though which isn't unusual.

Oxbow pellets are hay based which is an inappropriate diet for hamsters. They do not have a diet based on hay and should not be eating a diet that is hay based. Hay based diets are ideal for rabbits, guinea pigs, and certain other small pets but definitely not hamsters(not that Oxbow is necessarily the best pellet brand for these pets). I know that pellets are widely recommended for many pets but that is debatable at best in so many cases!
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Old 04-06-2020, 03:43 PM   #8
Poppythehammy
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Smile Re: Best food in US?

I would say Higgins sunburst with something to add protein UNLESS it is a WW or Russian camble because it does have a bit of added sugar
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Old 04-08-2020, 08:20 AM   #9
AmityvilleHams
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Default Re: Best food in US?

Higgins Sunburst isn't suitable period. Hamsters in the wild, regardless of species, wouldn't be consuming much if any fruit. Since we want to aim for the most species appropriate diets, that means not feeding tons of fruit.

For further clarification, dried fruits are even worse for diabetes prone hamsters. This isn't because sugars themselves cause diabetes, but rather that sugar and sugary foods can sometimes cause blood glucose to spike. There's also the glycemic load to consider which can be challenging to find for some foods. It is very important to consider the glycemic index of different foods in such a situation and portion accordingly if you feel comfortable with it and have the knowledge to do so safely(which many people do not have). Some people will disagree with that idea, but it is always important to remember first and foremost that sugar does not cause diabetes.

I actually had a small discussion with a nutritionist(admittedly human focused but the principles apply regardless) regarding dried fruit vs fresh fruit. The conclusion is that dried foods in general including freeze dried fruit are significantly more concentrated nutritionally and therefore will be far higher in sugar than fresh fruits. Because of that, the recommendation for diabetics from that nutritionist was to just avoid the dried fruits and stick with fresh fruit. Some freeze dried fruit has less sugar than others - however even these fruits with low sugar in freeze dried form would have even less sugar if simply fed as fresh fruit in their raw state.

For me, fresh fruits will be chosen over dried ones. Some freeze dried fruit could still be an acceptable treat on occasion for Syrians and non-diabetic/non-diabetes-prone hamsters. For hamsters in particular I will not be giving dried fruit on a daily basis especially in uncontrolled amounts as in Higgins Sunburst.
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