Until recently, I didn't know so much about hamsters. I house-sat for a couple who bred Syrian hamsters, and part of their care package that they left for me were a bunch of Petfooddirect.com coupons, "just in case their supplies run out", as they put it.
When it was time to feed the little fur balls, I was surprised by just how many different foods they had on their menu. I thought that all they ate was birdseed - apparently I was wrong. There were even live mealworms happily munching on a piece of stale bread in a small terrarium among the hamsters' cages, oblivious to the fact that they were being fattened up for the next meal.
Sure enough, the next day saw me looking up the pet food store to get some of the items that had been running low before my friends had left. Again, I was surprised at just how many things you could actually feed a hamster. I was even more surprised when I discovered how helpful the online coupons my friends had left were.
After I'd ordered what the household pets needed, I spent some time brushing up on hamster diet do's and don'ts. Apparently, because they are such low-maintenance pets, many people (myself included) forget that hamsters and other rodents such as gerbils and rabbits also require varied diets, much like cats and dogs.
People sometimes think that all rabbits eat are carrots and that hamsters are healthiest when eating nothing but dried corn, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Rodents need a very varied diet to maintain optimum health. Luckily pet stores have almost everything a hamster needs to be happy, and that includes vitamin supplements, treats, their daily rations of seeds, and even something called "alfalfa bales". I thought all these fancy food would come at a real fancy cost, too, until I noticed that most of my friends' purchases were made using Petfooddirect.com coupons, which made the huge assortment of feeds more affordable.
And what an assortment it is! There was a list on the door to the room where the hamsters were kept that detailed everything that I was supposed to feed them. Aside from the daily rations of a mix of seeds, on their menu was hard-boiled egg, alfalfa, fresh corn and carrots, whole oats, dog biscuits, and hay.
My tasks included clearing out all unfinished fresh food every day, and making sure that their treats never ran out. Their fruit-flavored twigs (for keeping their teeth healthy, I read) were always wearing down and kept having to be replaced, and at the end of the week, when I changed their wood shavings, I found several tiny food caches in their bedding. Apparently, hamsters like snacks, and aren't too fond of having to go all the way to the food bowl to get some.
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