If you’re always on the hunt for exciting foods for your hamster to try, you may have wondered if your hamster can have chicken.
We know that chicken is a good option for humans, with its high protein and low calorie content relative to many other types of meat that we eat. However, you probably know by now that many of the things we can eat may not be safe for your hamster. Many of the things we eat that may shorten our lives, like processed and fried foods, will definitely shorten your hamster’s life.
So, can your hamster safely try some chicken? The short answer is yes, your hamster can eat chicken in moderation. Here are the things you need to know!
Can Hamsters Eat Chicken?
Hamsters are omnivorous mammals, meaning they can eat meat and plants. In nature, hamsters eat insects, frogs, lizards, and animal-based protein they come across on the ground. Wild hamsters don’t usually come across cooked chicken, but your pet hamster can have some chicken.
Is Chicken Safe for Hamsters?
Plain cooked chicken is a safe treat for your hamster to eat while raw and undercooked chicken is not! It is also important to note that the chicken should not be seasoned, breaded or fried. Skinless, boiled chicken (no bones) is the best option.
Chicken is a good source of B vitamins, iron, and potassium, as well as having no sugar or carbohydrates. The high protein and low carbohydrate content of chicken make it a good treat option for obesity-prone hamsters, especially dwarf varieties.
Foods high in lean protein will help your hamster get an adequate amount of protein in its diet without adding too many calories. Protein is also filling, making it a suitable option to treat your hamster with because it will not leave them hungry afterward.
How Much Chicken Can My Hamster Eat?
Start by giving your hamster a tiny piece of chicken, just enough for a taste. Once they are used to eating chicken, you can give them up to ¼ of a tablespoon of chopped chicken 1–3 times per week. The amount and frequency you give not only depends on the size of your hamster, but also on whether you are feeding other proteins to your hamster. If your hamster is getting egg, fish, and chicken weekly, then you may need to cut back on the amounts you are feeding or the frequency you are feeding these foods.
What Else Should I Consider When Feeding Chicken to My Hamster?
Never feed raw or undercooked chicken to your hamster as these can carry food-borne illnesses and may make your hamster sick. It is also important to avoid giving your hamster dark meat or chicken skin because these are higher in fat and calories than chicken breast. If you do give your hamster these parts of the chicken, make sure it is in smaller quantities and less frequently than white meat chicken. Ensure you do not give your hamster chicken bones. Don’t give your hamster seasoned or marinated chicken, including canned chicken. Only plain roasted, baked, or boiled chicken is acceptable for hamsters.
Introduce chicken to your hamster slowly and in very small quantities. Any new food may cause stomach upset or diarrhea, so always start slow. Remember, your hamster’s body hasn’t evolved to eat chicken, so it should be given only as a treat and not as a dietary staple.
If your hamster currently has or previously had any medical issue, always check with your veterinarian before trying new foods. You may inadvertently hurt your hamster if chicken is not recommended for your individual hamster’s health.
It’s a good idea to switch up your hamster’s diet from time to time and introducing chicken can be a special treat for your hamster. Remember that the base for your hamster’s diet should always be high-quality commercial food and other foods should be given as a treat, no matter how healthy they are.
Your hamster will likely love having a little taste of chicken from time to time. Just remember to feed fully cooked, plain chicken. Your hamster’s tummy will thank you. Your hamster doesn’t need a taste of your fried chicken, chicken nuggets, or rotisserie chicken!