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Old 09-06-2022, 04:39 PM   #1
MikeTherk
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Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 31
Default Always skinny

I've had a few hamsters now and I try to become a better owner with each one.

A trend I noticed with my hams specifically is they always seem to be on the skinnier side. I feed them often, so I know I'm not starving them. But I'm wondering if the NUTRITION aspect just isn't good.

So here's what I've fed my hams. Let me know where I'm going wrong because I'd like my hams to be plump but healthy.

- KAYTEE® Forti-Diet Pro Health Hamster & Gerbil Food (a tablespoon a day)
- Vitakraft® Drops Hamster Treats (a treat twice weekly)
- Fluker's 5 Star Medley Freeze-Dried Aquatic Turtle Treats (worms/bugs twice weekly as protein supplement)
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Old 09-06-2022, 05:56 PM   #2
AmityvilleHams
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 4,521
Default Re: Always skinny

The quality of the main diet is going to be lacking when you're relying on Kaytee products in general. Higgins Vita Garden is the proper diet in the US.

For much healthier treats than sugary yogurt drop type things(which are basically pure sugar), stick to more whole foods and natural things. Flax seed for example has wonderful benefits for the skin and coat. Whole peanuts in shell are great enrichment since they take work to get at, but I'd stick to roasted human grade ones with those specifically(safety reasons I won't get into to keep things simple). Freeze dried shrimp would be an upgrade from dried worms though as they're better nutritionally with a much better balance of fat & protein.
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Old 09-08-2022, 03:17 PM   #3
Pebbles82
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 23,536
Default Re: Always skinny

The Hamster mix is part of the most important thing. They need 18 to 20% protein in the first year, to build muscle. The Kaytee diet isn't the best. As well as the protein levels, the ingredients need to be of good quality without fillers.

For treats and taming treats it's best to use natural things like pumpkin seeds. With our Syrian hamsters they get a tablespoonful of hamster mix every day, plus a very tiny piece of fresh daily, and one "extra" or treat. In my case the treat is a protein treat every 2 or 3 days as the mix I use is not quite high enough in protein - but it's good quality. Sometimes that's half a walnut or half a cashew nut, other times some pumpkin seeds a mini chew stick treat or a blueberry for example.

Aside from diet there are other things that can mean they don't quite thrive and gain weight and stress is one of those. You probably know all that, but avoiding stress means not cleaning out too often or throwing away their hoard and nest regularly. Plus not too many changes.

It could also be genetic - and to do with breeding.

But generally a hamster flourishes and gains good muscle tone and weight with the right diet and right environment.

Our current Syrian is a rescue hamster who was tiny and only weighed 97g when I got him. I was told he was a particularly small hamster. He is now a standard sized hamster, filled out (but not overweight) and weighs 170g! He is flourishing.

One other thing that can make a difference I believe - is excessive use of a wheel when they are very young. Now all hamsters love their wheels and use them a lot! Especially when young. But I think some breeders don't let them have a wheel until they're about 10 weeks old. Partly out of fear of them having a heart attack and partly so they don't get too lean too quick - and fail to gain muscle tone.
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Old 09-08-2022, 07:33 PM   #4
ilguy
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Join Date: Jan 2022
Location: IL
Posts: 230
Default Re: Always skinny

If you're in the States, I super recommend checking out hardware stores for treats. The Menards near me had a pound of dried mealworms for $17, my hams are set for a long time with those. Great for supplementing a mix with protein, and as treats of course
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