Whichever species of hamster you choose the diet is almost the same.
Dry hamster mix.
Different brands will have different extras added for example: peanuts, raisins, dried banana, dried coconut etc but nearly all have seeds, grains (wheat, oats etc), maize, peas and bits of coloured biscuit (coloured to make it look nice to humans).
Extruded hamster mix.
This mix has the same type of ingredients but ground together and extruded into pellet form. This less interesting to eat but it does mean that the hamster will get a balanced diet because it can't pick out its favourites.
Hamsters relish a varied diet
Making meal times more fun
Extra seeds can be added to the mix from time to time - millet, budgie, foreign finch seed etc (especially for dwarfs). Half a millet spray or a small piece of corn on the cob is also a hamster favourite.
To add extra vitamins to the diet supply fresh vegetables and fruit from time to time but always in small amounts. Suitable vegetable include: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, curly kale, brussel sprouts, sweetcorn, carrot, swede, celery, cucumber, cooked potato, runner bean strings, cress, a peapod, bean shoots, broad beans but no onions or leeks. If you feed your hamster beetroot be prepared to see the bedding turn red the next time the hamster has a wee! You can also feed the following fruits in moderation: apple, pear, banana and grape.
If you fancy going foraging yourself, these are the wild greens that you can pick for your hamster: dandelions, clover, watercress, and groundsel but not buttercups as these are poisonous to hamsters.
All fruit and vegetables should be washed before giving to the hamster especially wild greens that may have come into contact with urine and stools from other animals.
Hamsters have very definite likes and dislikes about fresh fruit and vegetables. Some are tasted then ignored, some eaten as there is nothing else on the menu and some consumed on the spot. You will soon find out what fruit and vegetables are your hamster's favourites.
Once your hamster is accustomed to a varied diet special treats can be given in very small amounts. Would you believe that an animal originating from a hot dry desert could like a scottish breakfast cereal? Well it’s true, hamsters love porridge and it’s more commercial form - readybrek. Made with a bit of milk you will be in your hamsters good books all day. This is an especially good treat for elderly hamsters and the young who are still growing and need the calcium to build strong bones and teeth. The odd small serving of scrambled or boiled egg, boiled rice, mash potato etc will be eaten with relish especially by the elderly or a hamster who is a little under the weather and needs to be tempted to eat.
A small serving would just cover the bottom of a plastic milk bottle top.
If you have just eaten an apple, give your hamster the core for and hour or so but remember to take it out after this time, if you leave it the hamster will probably store it and it will go mouldy.
Unlike humans whose permanent teeth do not continue to grow, hamster’s teeth grow throughout their lives, so they need to gnaw to keep the length of their teeth to an acceptable level and to keep them sharp. Their basic diet of nuts, grains, and seed will do this. Too much ‘soft food’ will mean that the hamster’s teeth are not being worn down and so can become overgrown. If your hamsters teeth are overgrown your vet will be able to trim them back.
Prevention is better than cure as the old saying goes and you can provide your hamster with lots of things to gnaw on to keep it’s teeth in good condition. Hard dog biscuits, non treated wood, wooden clothes pegs clipped onto the wire and a small twig from an apple or pear tree (washed, of course) will give your hamster plenty to chew on.
New foods need to be introduced gradually and in very small quantities to prevent your hamster from getting a tummy upset.