When making the choice about adopting a hamster, one of the first topics you might research is on what sort of food they should eat. And it should come as no surprise that a baby hamster would have a different diet than an adult hamster would.
So, what should baby hamsters eat? The short answer is that baby hamsters should consume their mother’s milk.
But even apart from the benefit of mother’s milk, this article will touch on possible alternatives in the event mother’s milk is unavailable, and at what point the baby hamster’s diet begins to change.
Mother’s Milk and the Baby Hamster
It is a natural instinct for infant mammals to breastfeed. From human babies to hamster babies, the milk of the mother contains all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients necessary to help the baby grow. In addition to key nutrients, mother’s milk also provides certain antibacterial qualities that can help boost the baby’s immunity to bacteria and disease.
Alternatives to Mother’s Milk
But what happens when you have hamster pups without a mother to nurse them? At that point, the duty must very quickly fall to you, with a little help from your veterinarian.
There are a few supplements available that can work as a substitute in a pinch.
KMR is a milk replacement used primarily for feeding kittens, but small amounts inside a dropper can work for baby hamsters, too. Just make sure that it is evenly heated before serving in accordance with preparation instructions. Feeding frequency is about three drops per hour for each pup. Administering food this way requires around the clock care.
Another milk replacement meant mostly for kittens and puppies but requires being mixed with heated water before use in accordance with the preparation instructions. Feed the hamster pups once per hour, every hour. Administering food this way requires around the clock care.
In the event you are unable to find a milk replacement that is meant for baby animals, human baby formula will get the job done, but is obviously less preferred to formula meant for baby animals. Mix and heat the formula in accordance with the preparation instructions. Feed the hamster pups once per hour, every hour. Administering food this way requires around the clock care.
It’s worth noting that cow milk is an unsuitable option to feed baby hamsters. While it does contain certain vitamins and minerals, it also contains fats and other compounds that pose great health risks for baby hamsters.
When Can Baby Hamsters be Weaned?
Small amounts of solid food can be introduced when the baby hamsters are around twelve days old, and they should be able to eat solid food around two weeks old. But prior to weaning your baby hamsters completely, especially if you’ve been feeding them with a milk replacement, check in with your vet to make sure they’re ready.
What Do Baby Hamsters Eat – A Final Word
In the end, there are very few substitutes for a mother’s milk, but if you find yourself with a need to feed baby hamsters by hand, now you know all there is to know about it.