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Old 02-12-2012, 01:07 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 13
Post What to feed

Hey all I've just bought two Chinese hamsters and so far they have been amazing. I'm just not sure what would be the best to feed them, the petsmart worker suggested bonanza which is what I am feeding them right there anything better for them? if so what. I'm from a small town and the only pet supplier we have is petsmart so I do not have much to chose from. Also what kind of treats can I give them? I'm using the yogurt drop kinds right now.
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:29 AM   #2
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Location: Central Scotland
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Default Re: What to feed

Hi. You are in the US so I don`t know anything about the hamster mixes that are available over there but we do have american members who I`m sure will be along to help you out soon.

All I will say at this point is, you need to remove any yellow corn/flaked maize or fruit/banana pieces or anything containing sugars from the food you currently feed them. Chinese hamsters thrive on small seeds and grains, so it`s a bit of an education curve to learn what to feed them. A basic hamster mix is usually fine, but because they contain certain ingredients that can be detrimental to them like molasses, honey, corn, apple, raisins or any dry fruit, you need to check the bag ingredients and analysis and list them here so that we can have a look at what`s in your mix and advise.

You can safely add things like the following and all are available from pet stores or health food stores/supermarkets:

Budgie seed millet/canary seed mix/finch seed
Millet spray
Dry buckwheat
Dry oats (just porridge oats but in jumbo form if you can get those)
Hemp seed
Dry mealworms

Raw vegetables (in very small amounts)

Mange tout (green bean)
Bean sprouts (these are mung beans that have been sprouted) but you can buy a bag of the beans and soak a small amount in cold water for 48 hours and allow them to sprout at home. Only feed one a day or a couple every few days.

I will let some members from your side of the pond reply aswell because they will know more about the mixes that are fed over there. Hazel Hamster is a good one (it`s known as Harry Hamster in the UK) but you would still need to remove the yellow bits and the extruded biscuits are quite big, so they would need breaking up.

Did you get two males or two females? If you have two females, you may find that they will start to fight, so I would be wary of keeping two females together to be honest. Two males `might` get on better, but it`s not guaranteed. Your cage will need to be a decent size to prevent bickering or territorial disputes. Keeping a pair of chinese or any dwarf hamster requires a large cage and even then, they can turn on one another, so you may have your work cut out in time. Even if they are young and related, I would make sure their environment is right and they have plent of hiding accessories and two wheels. Scatter feeding is also a good idea.

Edited to add: I would stop the yoghurt drops as treats as these will contain sugar. Anything at all that you feed a chinese has to be researched and made sure that it is natural (like dry mealworms or seeds like hemp, linseed, millet, half a pumpkin seed or even a little piece of broken peanut fed by hand). Peanuts and sunflower seeds are higher in fat, so you should only feed these in moderation. With peanuts, these can be bashed up and broken into smaller pieces and fed by hand as a treat. Many of the over-the -counter treats are unsuitable for chinese and certain dwarf hamsters as thy are more prone to developing diabetes if fed too much fat and sugars. They get all the carbohydrate sugars they require from the grains they are fed, especially wholegrains as they are slow release carbs.
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Last edited by racinghamster; 02-13-2012 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:39 AM   #3
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Location: Manchester
Posts: 415
Default Re: What to feed

Racinghamster has said it all. I feed mine Harry (Hazel) hamster with bits picked out, and then a mix of other things listed in her post.

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Old 02-14-2012, 12:08 PM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 13
Smile Re: What to feed

I have two females salt and pepper, as of right now tthey are in the same cage contraption thing (which is 3 cages connected together and I've been watching them closely right now they seem happy to be together but at the first sign of dispute I plan on making 2 different cages. Thanks for the food help as well the only thing I need to pick out is the corn, and I have gotten them sunflower treats instead of the yogurt ones. As well as some fresh veggies you suggested.
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Old 02-17-2012, 03:15 PM   #5
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Join Date: Feb 2012
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Default Re: What to feed

As you live in the US, I can't make recommendations for brands, look for something with small pieces, small amounts of peas, small amounts of corn and fillers like lab pellets, a lot of commercial hamster food is just junk, mainly made of cereal type corn thingies. Often individual pet shop bag their own kind of mix and sometimes it's better quality than branded stuff, plus you can see everything that's in it through he plastic bag!

I make my own mix, which is tailored more to what my Chinese hamster likes:
- the base is a good quality hamster muesli. That makes up quarter of what goes in there.
I add: - lots of millet seeds
- lots of sesame seeds
- lots of golden linseed
- lots of pearl barley
- lots of rye grain
- lots of hemp seed
- moderate amount of high protein cat kibble
- moderate amount of green lentils
- moderate amount of an insect mix, that consists of meal worms, silkworm pupae and other weird worm things
- small amount of peanuts
- small amount of hazelnuts
- small amount of sunflower seeds
- small amount of dried apricot
- small amount of pumpkin seeds

You could add some dried vegetable matter to this, like hay, but Princess doesn't eat that, so it would just go to waste. But dried greens and berries are about the only things she doesn't eat, she's the least fussiest hamster I've ever had.

Also I grow salad cress in her cage, which she respectively nibbles at.

Treats she gets are apple, grapes, carrot, cheese, banana, yoghurt drops, these fruity nibble things, turkey, chicken and very rarely some pork.

She has a nice, soft and thick coat with a shine to it, and is very active, she's neither thin or fat, she's the correct weight, so her diet seems to be okay.
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