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Old 04-10-2021, 05:06 PM   #1
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Default How to introduce fresh food

HI! I was wondering how I should go about introducing a more varied diet into my hamster Marnie's life. I have NOT been very good with feeding fresh food often and usually in small amounts and more as a treat. I know that this should become more of a regular installation in their diet but I just don't know what foods and how much of it to feed. It just feels like their is so much to know about diet!!?

Marnie is a Syrian hamster whose exact age is unknown but when I received her she was still a pup born a few months ago so perhaps around four or five months old?? I have been feeding slightly less than a quarter of a cup of lab block RMH 3000 with a small amount of "treat mix" which is just a commercial seed mix. I just feel like I am not doing enough and need to introduce fresh food more often but not sure how to do so without upsetting her stomach. Any suggestions, experience, or advice on how to introduce food properly would be much appreciated!
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Old 04-10-2021, 09:09 PM   #2
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Default Re: How to introduce fresh food

Hi. The main thing is to have a good hamster mix with the correct level of protein, vitamins and variety as they like to forage for food so a muesli mix is best, ideally without sugars. I am guessing you’re in the US with you mentioning lab block. I would get the main hamster mix right and introduced mainly. Fresh food is extras and they do enjoy it - just a tiny piece of veg daily - 1cm cubed size but doesn’t have to be cube shaped! Initially give fresh veg every 3 days then after a week or two you can give it every day once their stomachs have adjusted. You can start doing that now. Broccoli, carrot, cucumber are all fine and easy to keep in. Raw veg better than cooked as they need hard foods to help their teeth from growing too long. You could also give the odd blueberry or piece of apple (no pips - those are poisonous to them) instead of a piece of veg some days. They like any fresh food as a treat.

So hamster mix. Hazel Hamster or Harry Hamster will provide everything she needs nutrient wise - a tablespoonful a day. The pieces are a good size for Syrians and the protein levels are right. So any fresh food then is a supplement or treat.

There is a other muesli mix that is sometimes recommended in the US but I can’t remember which one it is. I think the protein levels are lower in that one so it needs supplementing with lab block. Personally I prefer to have everything provided that’s needed in the one mix and Hazel or Harry Hamster does that abd is sugar free. It also contains whole peanuts in the shell which they like cracking open.

Hazel and Harry are the same - the labelling is different because one is UK labelling regs and one is US labelling regs. But either are fine. And both sugar free (so they don’t get tooth decay!). That keeps it simple and then you can supplement with daily veg.

For treats I give pumpkin seeds, the occasional half a walnut or plain cashew nut, a raisin or a tiny bit of hard cheese.

They need chew sticks to keep their teeth trim too. The whimzee mini dog chews are popular with hamsters.
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Old 04-10-2021, 10:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: How to introduce fresh food

The proper diet for any hamster in the US is Higgins Vita Garden, not Sunburst and you shouldn't add lab blocks either - they certainly shouldn't have been a significant part of the diet too!

Whimzees dog chews(not the veggie sausages or strips which contain an unsafe ingredient), Pure Bites, flax seed, and safe fresh veg should all be given with the Higgins Vita Garden. In shell unsalted & ideally roasted peanuts are another great extra to give sometimes, walnuts too - these can be raw though as they don't have the same aflatoxin concerns as peanuts.

Generally with slow introductions of a limited amount of fresh veg you shouldn't have any major issues. Don't jump into feeding tons of variety with them immediately, that can sometimes cause stomach issues with hamsters not used to getting fresh veg.
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Old 04-11-2021, 11:02 AM   #4
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Default Re: How to introduce fresh food

Thank you for all the feedback!
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diet, food, fresh, introduce, small

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