When you think about your little furry friend’s diet, the first thing that may come to mind is the commercial hamster food you feed them, or even little bits of veggies and fruits every now and then. But did any proteins come to mind?
Sometimes we forget that hamsters are omnivores, meaning they need a varied diet that includes meat and protein-rich foods. Commercial hamster foods do include protein, but it is often not enough to ensure your hamster is getting enough protein in their diet.
So, what can you feed your hamster to help meet this protein need? One of the easiest and least expensive options may be right inside your refrigerator!
Can Hamsters Eat Eggs?
In fact, it is recommended to feed your hamster some egg once or twice weekly to ensure it is getting enough protein. This protein need can also be met through other protein-rich foods, like chicken and mealworms.
They can have more than just chicken eggs, too! Your hamster can have quail eggs and even small pieces of duck eggs.
Are Eggs Safe for Hamsters?
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, as well as vitamin A, B vitamins, and iron.
Hamsters can have eggs cooked in a variety of ways, including scrambled, baked, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, or oil free pan-fried eggs.
It is extremely important to not feed your hamster raw egg whites. This can lead to biotin deficiencies, causing hair loss, skin problems, and even eye infections.
How Much Egg Can I Feed My Hamster?
Hamsters can have a piece of egg once or twice weekly. How much you give will be dependent on how big your hamster is.
Larger hamsters can have a quarter or a half of an egg per week divided into 2-3 feedings. Dwarf hamsters can have up to a quarter of an egg per week.
If you are feeding duck eggs, this amount decreases since they are larger than chicken eggs and much higher in fat and calories.
If you offer your hamster quail eggs, larger hamsters can have 1-2 full-size quail eggs weekly while smaller hamsters can have an egg or less.
Can My Hamster Eat Eggshells?
Eggshells are a great source of calcium, but if your hamster is being fed an appropriately balanced diet, calcium supplementation should not be necessary. If feeding eggshells to your hamster, they should not need to be fed this more than once every couple of months. It is safest to grind eggshells into a fine powder to put on your hamster’s food.
If you feel like your hamster’s calcium intake is lacking, make sure to check with your veterinarian before beginning any supplementation like eggshell powder.
Eggshells are also a low-calorie protein source for your hamster. If you feed your hamster eggshells, ensure they are washed thoroughly prior to crushing.
What Else Should I Consider When Feeding Eggs to My Hamster?
Eggs are a great treat for your hamster, but they are high in fat. This means that they should be fed in very controlled portions to prevent obesity and medical problems. High-fat foods can even lead to diarrhea and stomach discomfort for your hamster.
While some sources indicate that raw egg yolks can be fed, it is not recommended by most veterinary-backed sources. There is a risk of salmonella transmission with feeding any part of raw eggs to your hamster, and it carries no additional nutritional value. Combined with the risk of raw egg whites causing biotin deficiencies, the risks of feeding raw eggs greatly outweigh any benefits it may carry.
While you can cook eggs in a variety of ways to feed your hamster, cooking in a manner that leaves the yolk uncooked should not be used to feed your hamster. This includes sunny side up, poached, and over easy. You can provide hard or soft-boiled eggs to your hamster, as well as baked. They can be fed scrambled eggs that are made without butter, salt, milk, oil, or other additives like cheese and cracked pepper. Hamsters can also have a pan-cooked egg that has been made without oil or butter.
Making your hamster an omelet or scramble with some favorite veggies mixed in is an excellent option for a nutrient-rich treat. Just make sure you are still feeding within recommended amounts of eggs and other foods you mix in.
Hamsters love trying new foods, so if you haven’t given your hamster any egg before now might be a great time to try it!
Remember to slowly introduce new foods to your hamster to prevent stomach upset, so maybe start with one or two bites of egg before increasing the amount your hamster gets.
Duck eggs, quail eggs, and chicken eggs all have different tastes, and rotating through a variety of eggs can be an exciting treat for your hamster.
Featured Image Credit By: Gaelle Marcel, unsplash