Being omnivores, meat is one of the staple foods of hamsters. But did you know that they can even eat their babies if they look unhealthy?
Meat has high protein levels which are highly significant in meeting the hamsters’ nutritional requirements. And one of the most commonly consumed types of meat is chicken.
Chicken for Hamsters
Can hamsters have chicken? Yes, Hamsters can definitely eat chicken as long as it is given in moderation.
To avoid complications, you’ll have to consider few things if you’re going to feed your pet with this meat. As long as you give the right amount, it can benefit your hamster in many ways.
The protein content of chicken depends on the part, as it comes in different cuts. It can be beneficial but as chicken has high fat and acid levels, it can be dangerous too if you over feed.
Protein Content of Chicken Per Part
The part with the highest protein in chickens is the breast. Every 100 grams of chicken breasts contain 31 grams of protein. They are also low in calories.
There are also other parts like the thighs which have high protein content. One chicken thigh actually contains around 13.5 grams of protein. On the other hand, drumsticks contain 12.4 grams of protein per piece while the chicken wings contain 6.4 grams of protein.
Proteins are important for animal diet as they are the foundation of every animal’s body structure. The choice of the chicken part you are going to feed your hamster will depend on its body condition.
High protein in chickens can help hamsters by repairing and building muscles and other body tissues.
The protein needs of hamsters will also depend on their ages. Adult hamsters which are 6-18 months old require 17% to 18% protein in their diets.
Other Nutrients Found in Chicken
In addition to being rich in protein, it contains other nutrients which are important for the health of hamsters. The following are the vitamins that a hamster can get from chicken:
1. Vitamin B
Vitamin B is essential for a hamster’s growth. It can help your pet boost its immunity and have a disease-free skin. Heart and nervous system functions can also be improved.
Aside from those things, it can also counter the effects of stress. As a precaution, although vitamins are good for hamsters, too much vitamin B can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and irritability.
2. Vitamin D
Hamsters’ diet requires vitamin D which is also present in chicken. The most common source of vitamin D is sunlight. Since hamsters are usually kept indoors, they need a dietary supplement to get this vitamin.
In order to have strong bones, absorption of calcium is very significant and vitamin D boosts this absorption. Despite the good effects, too much of this vitamin in a hamster’s body can cause weight loss.
3. Vitamin A
Hamsters don’t have good eyesight that’s why vitamin A is essential to improve their vision. Deficiency in vitamin A can have many disadvantages including slowing down of the development for baby hamsters.
It’s good to provide foods with this vitamin to your pet. However, too much vitamin A is seen to have negative effects as well. In pregnant hamsters, high doses of vitamin A can cause birth defects, while in adult hamsters, too much consumption of this vitamin can cause liver damage or weakened skeletal system.
Things to Consider When Giving Chicken to Hamsters
The chicken should only be fed to hamsters when boiled or baked. Uncooked chicken contains pathogens which can cause different diseases including food poisoning.
Any kind of seasonings should be avoided since they can be toxic/rough for a hamster’s stomach. Daily serving of chicken should also be avoided. One to two times a week would be ideal.
You should also slowly introduce chicken to a hamster to avoid diarrhea or allergy which might happen if served abruptly.
Aside from the fact that hamsters need to have a balanced diet, chicken is also high in cholesterol and fat. Too much chicken on their meals can lead to having cardiovascular diseases as high calories are involved.
Overall, chickens are safe for hamsters as long as they are fed the right amount and the right way. Remember, they are just small animals so they don’t need so much food. Make sure to balance your hamster’s diet based on the nutrients that it needs.
There are also alternative foods that you can give your pet to keep it in good condition. A hamster mix supplemented with different nutrients is always available. You can try giving crickets or mealworms too. They can also have some of the chicken’s nutrients but with lesser risks when overfed.