Updated July 3, 2000
These Foods are generally considered good for Hamsters, but please review the notes on specific items.
My understanding of feeding any citrus fruits is that the acid contained in them is much too harsh on the lining of the hamster’s stomach! Keep in mind that they certainly won’t kill your hamster, but will upset the lining in their stomach. We certainly wouldn’t want that. With this in mind, it is not a recommended food to be feeding you hamster in any of the books you read and hear on any hamster boards.
There are so many foods to offer your hamster, so nothing is lost by not feeding them citrus fruits.
These Foods are considered VERY BAD for Hamsters.
Rabbit Food (Contained in small amounts in Hamster Foods is fine)
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NOTES ! ! ! !
Chemicals, like good foods for hamsters, the lack of chemical sprays is equally important. Foods, wild or domesticated must be free from chemicals. Humans and their chemicals have contaminated many foods that are good for Hammies. Foods from roadsides and parks should be avoided. Be sure of the food source.
Dry, not Sulfurized, items, in the Fruit group should be used. Some items are marked; some items are not marked as to this process. Unless you are sure, assume the item is Sulfurized. Dried Vegetable Chips mixed with Trail Nut Style Mixes can be a Hamster Feast. Homemade mixes are best, as the source is known. We buy bulk / bin nuts, some seeds and vegetables and make our own mix for treats.
Lettuce, is a debatable food source. Hamsters seem to like it, but there are a large number of reports around about its value and/or contamination from chemical sprays if bought commercially. Different types seem more acceptable due to nutritional value and exposure the chemical sprays (Iceberg and Romaine).
We recommend only home grown Iceberg or Romaine Lettuce (no chemical sprays) and as an occasional supplement. If store bought Lettuce is used, only Iceberg and from the center of the vegetable, after washing.
Milk Soaked Breads, can be given in a number of cases when a Hamster is not well. It can be given as a treat / protein supplement also. Crusts of fresh bread (whole grain is better) can be soaked in milk and brought to Room Temperature and given to Hamsters regardless of species. This is helpful if the Hamster is sick, see a Vet if available.
Nuts, can be very fattening for Hamsters and people too. Dry Roasted Peanuts (no salt) in the shell can be a good treat for a Syrian Hamster. Dwarfs may need to have the shell broken open for them. Other nuts like Walnuts, Pecans, Filberts, and Dry Roasted Almonds can be given (Sweet Almonds are not recommended). No salt or preservatives, is an absolute must when buying Hammie food. Nuts are oily and fattening. Hamsters like all kinds of nuts, Pine Nuts are a favorite of all species, but are expensive.
Rabbit Foods, even though Rabbits are small in size also, and some stores will encourage cross species foods, ensure that Hamsters only get foods designed for them. Rabbit foods contain elements that maybe harmful to hamsters. Hammie food has Rabbit pellets in it, which in the moderate amounts in a balanced diet is acceptable.
Rodent Blocks, there is some controversy around this food source. There are Pros and Cons around the diet, the number of animals, pet/home user, breeder, medical / experimental uses. Generally if a hamster is a pet, its diet should include, seed mixes, rodent blocks, fresh foods (plants, vegetables, nuts & fruits), prepared foods, (cooked eggs, chicken, ground beef, and noodles). The pros to Rodent Blocks, is that all food consumed is balanced (see seed mixes).
Seed Mixes, there are hundreds of products available around the world, which have basic food for hamsters. Similar in some ways to Rodent Blocks, these seed mixes contain basic food. The drawback in seed mixes is that the animal will pick the best items from the "buffet" and leave the rest. The Pros are that certain items can be removed (corn for diabetic dwarfs) or the hamster can self regulate it's own diet intake.
Tomatoes, raw can be good, but all green growth / fresh growth has to be removed in all cases. Green Growth can be very harmful / fatal to Hamsters. Some Hammies like it, some don't. We found small sweet cherry tomatoes were a big treat, while larger ones were ignored.
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