CSH and all of the other ethical breeders we work with use Harlan Teklad lab blocks. We use formula 8640. It is an excellent diet and our animals do exceptionally well on it. If you are interested in learning more about this food, we encourage you to read the California Hamster Association's article on the topic.
We also offer our hamsters a seed mix for dietary variety and to encourage natural foraging behaviours. Higgins Sunburst is a suitable mix (as treats, not the main source of nutrition) to purchase at Petco. We offer a handful of this once a week, simply sprinkled over the bedding.
Fresh fruit and veggies a couple times a week will make your hammy very happy as well! Find safe fresh food options below!
We practice free feeding. You hamster should always have access to their staple diet (blocks). When the bowl is empty, simply fill it up! Hamsters regulate their own diet and exercise extremely well.
For seed mixes, offer a handful, once or twice per week. We recommend scattering it over the bedding.
We are available to meet up to purchase food, and we are also able to ship to our adopters. Just e-mail or Facebook Messenger us! Additionally, we sell both 2018 and 8640 Formulas at the California Hamster Association Hamster Shows--just contact us beforehand so we can have it ready for you.
Currently the easiest place to order small quantities online is Wee Companions in San Diego. Amazon may also have some, but be aware there is no way to know how old or authentic it is.
You should avoid hay-based foods, seed mixes, and low protein diets. Unfortunately, this eliminates most foods on the market--including the most popular, Oxbow.
We particularly dislike the Oxbow diet because it is completely inappropriate for hamsters. It is hay-based and extremely low in protein. Hamsters do not digest hay well, so most of the nutrients the food does provide is passed right through the body. While most hamsters are able to survive on this formula, they never thrive. Hamsters on this diet often have poor size, condition, and health overall.
Seed mixes, as discussed above, are great for providing variety. However, they allow the hamster to pick and choose their diet, and in doing so, they often leave the healthiest bits behind. Additionally, this means the diet is very unbalanced from day to day, which is rather undesirable. For these reasons, a seed mix should never be a staple diet.
For more info on foods to avoid, check out the article from the California Hamster Association.
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