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Old 08-25-2021, 02:22 AM   #1
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Default Infested Hamster food

Hi, I have a 1-year-old Russian hamster, yesterday I noticed that both bags of her dwarf hamster seed mix had got tiny insects in it. Iím going to get some new food on Friday because itís a specific food and hard to get. I didnít know what to do in the meantime for food so gave her some veg, millet seeds which she usually has in her food and mealworms. This morning I checked up on her and she had a slightly wet bum. I have searched wet tail and itís nothing as severe as that sheís done poos and they just arenít as perfectly shaped as usual I may be overreacting and she has just urinated and thatís why itís slightly wet. I donít think itís a major concern yet Iíll see how she goes itís only 2 days till I get new food and I donít want to upset her more by giving her different food of really low quality. She has a full branch of millets and I checked for any stored food she may have in her cage and there wasnít any as she has recently been cleaned out and I had removed the food as it had been building up for a while. I would appreciate any advice.
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Old 08-25-2021, 05:31 AM   #2
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Default Re: Infested Hamster food

Any change of diet can cause diarrhoea, so when switching foods you're supposed to do it gradually over a few days to avoid that. If you can't get another bag till Friday then get a different hamster mix, put the current one in the freezer - which should kill any bugs. And give a bit of both mixes until Friday - that's my suggestion.

Then when you get a new bag, throw the old bag out that's in the freezer and continue to give a mix of both the replacement mix and your preferred mix for a few days, gradually reducing the replacement mix till you're back to the preferred mix solely.

You could give her a tiny bit of scrambled egg on a teaspoon as an extra for a couple of days too - might help to bung her up and it's protein.

Dwarf hamsters don't usually get wet tail - that is usually Syrians - and it's a specific disease. This sounds like diarrhoea. They can quickly get dehydrated though, so if it doesn't stop you might need to see a vet. Sounds like maybe too much veg and change of diet.
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Old 08-25-2021, 05:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: Infested Hamster food

Having said all that I wouldn't be too keen on giving the mix with bugs in, even if it's been frozen (freezing kills most things but some just become dormant). So then the only other alternative is to buy a different mix and give her that and hope she can tolerate it.

What do others think?
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Old 08-25-2021, 06:37 AM   #4
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Default Re: Infested Hamster food

Weevils eat through food and compromise the nutritional quality. They lay eggs inside grains and then the hatchling weevils hollow out the grain until they finally emerge and eat through the rest of the food. Freezing should kill the hatched weevils but possibly not the eggs, and it won't undo any damage the weevils have already done.

This is a tub of food I was recently given which was infested (it went straight in the outside bin after I took the photo, and the tub was boiled). You can see they've eaten holes through a lot of the pieces. I think the dust you can see at the top is essentially what the weevils excrete after eating the food. You can't see any weevils because they all went into hiding when I opened the tub (they hide inside hollowed out grain husks).

I've heard so many reports of weevil infestations in pet food this year. I think it's either the weather or the manufacturers have a storage problem.

If she's eating more veg than usual, that could be the cause of the diarrhoea. I would cut out the veg for now and just feed dry seeds and cereals such as oats until you can get more food. If the diarrhoea continues after stopping the veg and especially after she's back on her normal diet, she should see a vet though.

I don't gradually introduce new foods and it's always been fine. I don't even always feed the same food from one day to another. The idea of mixing foods together to gradually introduce is mostly for rabbits and guinea pigs which have much more sensitive digestive systems.
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Old 08-25-2021, 07:26 AM   #5
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Default Re: Infested Hamster food

That last bit makes sense - I have always been advised to introduce a new mix gradually - but have found that when introducing a new mix, the hamster may exclusively prefer the new one anyway and ignore the other one! So effectively it's a straight switch.

Agree - bin the bag of food. But I would try and use another hamster mix until friday if you can. If you can't then oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, a bit of scrambled egg, a nut (eg half a shelled walnut) - until Friday.

I'd get two bags on Friday and freeze both of them. Then use the food from one bag but leave it in the freezer.

I have never had weevils in pet food - maybe depends on the brand as well. But all pet foods contain moth eggs, and those can hatch out if the temperature is right! Freezing kills moth eggs.
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Old 08-25-2021, 07:35 AM   #6
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Default Re: Infested Hamster food

I honestly don't think gradual transition is as critical for every individual of every species as some people might think. For certain species(rabbits & guinea pigs for digestive reasons like sushi_78 mentioned and horses as far as I know because of higher chance of colic for example) there are very good reasons not to change diet too quickly - I don't think hamsters are actually one of those species though!

There are some situations where a rapid diet change is actually needed with hamsters, like in this case with an infestation or in other cases with hamsters being fed really unsafe or extremely unhealthy diets.
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Old 08-25-2021, 08:13 AM   #7
Ria P
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Default Re: Infested Hamster food

I have come across weevils before in a bag of dried mealworms and fed them to the garden birds.

As for sudden changes of hamster mix. I have done that before because i forgot that maybe i should have done it gradually. Made no difference to the hamsters.

I' read this thread earlier but didn't reply because i wasn't sure what to suggest.

If it happened with my dwarf mix, i'd simply feed them the Syrian's Harry Hamster until a new supply arrives.
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checked, food, hamster, itís, wet

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