Hamsters are omnivores, meaning that they eat both meat and plant-based foods. If you’re looking to add something new to your hamster’s diet you might be considering giving them chicken. But can hamsters eat chicken? Before you start feeding it to your pet it’s important to know if they can safely digest it and if they get any health benefits from eating it. Today I’m going to go over everything you need to know before you start feeding chicken to your hamster.
Luckily enough, even though hamsters do not eat chicken in the wild, they are perfectly capable of eating it in captivity. You can definitely give them chicken in small amounts. It’s a great source of protein for these little critters. You do have to make sure to cook it all the way through to destroy any bacteria present in the meat. Also, make sure to only feed them plain chicken. Do not salt it, marinade it, or put sauces on it.
For the whole story on how to feed this delicious snack to your furry friend, keep reading and you’ll learn everything you need to know in no time.
Is chicken healthy for hamsters?
Chicken is a bird that is very high in protein. Most meats contain a lot of protein, but what makes this bird special is that it’s comparatively low in fat. Let’s take a look at the nutrients that are present in 100 grams of chicken breast:
As you can see, the breast is very high in protein while not having all that much fat or calories. Especially if you compare it to some other staple meats like ground beef, which contains 217 calories per 100 grams and 11.8 grams of fat (more than 3 times as much!) while having a lower amount of protein.
Chicken breast also contains many minerals and vitamins. Among others, it contains Niacin (Vitamin B3), Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, and Selenium.
Overall it is a perfectly healthy treat for your hamster to eat on occasion, especially as a source of protein.
Which part of the chicken is best for hamsters?
The healthiest part of the chicken is the breast because other parts such as the thigh (209 calories), drumsticks (172 calories), and wings (203 calories) have slightly higher fat and calorie contents than the breast.
Nevertheless, the other parts of the bird are still decently healthy options and do not pose any threat to your hamster’s health. You should however feed them slightly lower quantities of these cuts due to their higher calorie content.
Can hamsters eat chicken nuggets?
I wouldn’t recommend feeding nuggets to your hammy. The batter they’re coated in is not great for them and causes an upset tummy.
Also, since they’re usually deep-fried they contain way too much fat. If you’re going to feed chicken to your hamster there are way better options than nuggets such as the breast.
Cooked or raw chicken for hamsters?
Just because chicken is a healthy treat for your hamster doesn’t mean you can just grab it from the fridge and throw it in their cage. It should never be fed raw because there are many bacteria on it. Raw chicken is often contaminated with Campylobacter and Salmonella bacteria. These bacteria can make both humans and pets very sick.
Luckily though, you can get rid of these bacteria by cooking or roasting the chicken. As long as the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 Celcius) the bacteria die. The best way to check the internal temperature is by using a meat thermometer. If you do not have a meat thermometer you can check if it’s done by cutting into the meat to see if it is white inside and the juices run clear.
If you’re preparing the meat specifically for your pet, I would recommend cooking it a little longer than if you were cooking it for yourself just to be on the safe side.
If you’re going to feed chicken to your hamster, make sure to either roast it, boil it, or steam it – never feed them raw chicken!
Other things to take into consideration
You should also take into consideration that you should not feed your hamster chicken that has been salted.
In addition, you should never give them marinated, or chicken with sauce on it, only feed your furry friend plain chicken.
Sauces and salt are not healthy for your hammy and quickly turn this healthy treat into a disaster.
You should also introduce it to their diet slowly. Whenever you give any pet new foods it’s a good idea to take it slow. This gives them some time for their digestive system to get used to the new food and will prevent them from getting diarrhea.
Also, you shouldn’t feed them chicken too often. In nature, this is not a part of their diet, and while it’s a good source of protein they can live without it. Therefore, it is best given as a treat rather than it being a staple part of their diet.
Furthermore, don’t feed them canned chicken. There is a lot of added salt, sugar, and preservatives in the canned version, which is not good for them.
How much and how often should hamsters eat chicken?
Hamsters are omnivores, but they’re small creatures and can’t take down chickens or other large prey. Instead, the meat they eat in the wild is mostly worms and insects. So, chicken is not a part of a wild hamster’s diet. They can live a perfectly happy and healthy life without ever eating any of it. Technically, they do not need any chicken in their diet at all.
However, since it’s not harmful to them and it provides them with a boatload of protein many owners still want to give it to them which is fine. I would recommend giving your hamster only a small amount of it once a week. This should be plenty for them without risking overfeeding them. I’d also recommend cutting it into small pieces so you can better control the amount you’re feeding them.
Do hamsters like eating chicken?
Most hamsters seem to absolutely love eating chicken. There are many videos and photos out there of them munching down on some of this delicious meat. Take a look at this video, for example, you can clearly see that he’s enjoying it!
Having said that, it’s very possible that your hamster will not want to eat it. If you’re trying to feed your hamster but he seems uninterested, try giving them some other treats instead.
If your hamster doesn’t want to eat chicken or if you’re simply looking for some other treats to spice up their diet a little bit, here are some ideas to get you started.
- Wholewheat bread in small quantities
- Small amounts of fish
So, can hamsters eat chicken?
Yes, hamsters can eat chicken. Even though hamsters do not eat chicken in nature it is a perfectly safe treat chock full of protein that you can give them occasionally.
Make sure to cook it all the way through to kill any bacteria present. Also do not salt, marinade, or put sauces on the chicken. Only feed it to them cooked, plain and unsalted. Also, make sure that you feed it to them in moderation. While they can eat it, it shouldn’t be a large part of their daily diet.
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