I have heard that many types of hamster food sold in pet stores are either not healthy/safe for hamsters or don't provide the proper diet for hamsters. I am interested in making a homemade food mix for a Syrian hamster. Are there any recipes for hamster food that actually fulfill all of the dietary needs of a hamster? Or do I need to create my own recipe?
In nature hamsters have a variety of food to choose from. They eat almost anything that they could get: seeds, grains, herbs, fruits, vegetables, insects and also small mammals. But the winter season is an exception, as that's when they eat mostly dry food - it's because it is more easily storable.
Not a good food is all with sugar, honey or molasses. First, it is too sweet (they get fat), second it probably will glue their chops and causing caries at the rear teeth.
Most dry food mixes include colorful pellets. Read here about the risk of them for the health of your pet: What risk is given if I feed my rabbit pellets?
Following recipe is from diebrain for beginners in mixing their own food (via translation software and fast check from me from german):
Recipe for a high quality dry hamster feed:
200 g cereal mixture with spelt if possible: Millet, barley, oats, rye are well suited. Ready-made mixtures are available in the organic department of the supermarkets or in the health food store.
100 g bird feed / small seeds: Sugar-free budgie feed with few poppy seeds and rice are suitable. Different types of millet and herb seeds should be included. The herb seeds must be added to most budgie foods.
100 g multi-grain flakes or multi-grain muesli: flakes are offered, since the starch is broken down by heating and squeezing and can thus be used better. This is especially important for older animals and growing animals. Sugar-free mueslis with multi-grain flakes are well suited. These usually consist of oat flakes, wheat flakes, barley flakes and rye flakes. Rice flakes may also be included. Sugar-free corn flakes are also allowed and popular. Raisins or other dried fruits should only be contained in small amounts.
100 g dry vegetables: broccoli, zuccini, carrot chips, parsnips, celery cubes, beetroot cubes etc. These can be purchased as a ready mix or as individual components in pet shops.
~ 80 g insects / protein feed: There are various options here. In the terrarium department in the pet shop or at Rodipet there are for example dried mealworms, brown shrimp, crickets, Bombyx mori larvae or insect food for small animals. Young animals get more protein feed, in older animals it is reduced a little.
100 g herbal mixture: A high-quality feed always contains different proportions of dry herbs. These may be tailored to the taste of the hamster, some prefer dried flowers such as sunflower petals, chamomile flowers, marigolds, others like green cereals such as green oats and others prefer herbs such as dandelions, lemon balm, yarrow and ribwort.
50 g nuts / kernels: Sunflower seeds, hazelnuts and walnuts are offered as fat suppliers.
50 g mixture: As a treat and to make the feed more interesting, pea flakes, corn flakes and rice flakes are mixed into the feed.
Please note: this feed mixture is not a complete feed! We assume that the hamsters also get vegetables, green feed, fresh protein feed, herb hay and other herbs, this was taken into account when compiling the recipes!
Regularly check the composition of the hoarded and not consumed food. Leave out ingredients that are not eaten at all (e.g. some hamsters do not like dried herbs, but these animals regularly eat fresh food and in summer fresh grass and herbs, the dried herbs can be left out). From one day to the next, however, if the animals no longer eat certain food components, examine the animals to see whether their teeth are still ok and if they are otherwise healthy - or if necessary, see a veterinarian.
If certain food components are completely eaten, then add more of them to the feed (exceptions, if far too many fatty components are ingested, it rarely happens, but some hamsters are fixated on fat food). At certain times of the year, hamsters develop certain preferences for some food components, e.g. Millet preferred and should then be given more.
One interesting thing with dry food are sprouts. You could let sprout some of the seeds and grains from the dry mix and your hamster gets useful vitamins and nutrients. For this you could use some paper towels or a sprout glass.