It is very easy to lump rodents all into one category, but when it comes to food it is vitally important you treat each specie as an individual. For instance, you would not feed a chinchilla the same type of foods as you would a guinea pig or a rat the same foodstuff as a squirrel.
However, with that being said it’s amazing how many times we hear the question being asked about whether a mouse can eat the same type of food like a hamster would. I mean they’re both quite small right? They look and move in similar ways, right? Maybe it would be ok to feed my mice hamster food?
So, can mice eat hamster food? Yes in theory mice can eat hamster food although it is not ideal. Hamster feed is generally quite high in fat content and this can sometimes be too much for their delicate stomachs. Mice do not do so well with high-fat foods and those made from processed sugars.
Feeding mice hamster food does not necessarily pose a big threat to mice however there are much better foods that can be fed to them which are much lower in fat content. Mice have very sensitive bellies that require the right type of foods to keep them happy and healthy.
Foods with high-fat content are generally troublesome for mice, particularly if fed regularly over long periods. It is always best to stick to pelleted commercial feeds that are designed specifically for mice consumption as well as healthy fruits and vegetables.
What happens if mice eat hamster food?
In the short term, nothing drastic will happen if your mice eat hamster food however in the long term this could pose some problems. Small quantities, little and often of hamster feed will be perfectly ok for your mice to consume however if you are feeding this daily to them you may want to think again.
Although both members of the rodent family, mice, and hamsters have very different needs and this should be reflected in both the feed you give them and the type of care you provide for them.
Not all rodents eat the same types of foods, however, you will often find that rodents are clubbed together in the same category which can cause some issues later on down the line.
Mice need to be fed foods that are typically low in fat content which we will discuss in more detail below. Processed foods and those with high-fat content have an enormous effect on the gastrointestinal system. In the same way, it often does for humans.
Skin conditions, allergies, and obesity are often common causes of mice eating foods that are too high in fat and not right for them.
Why do mice need feeds that are low in fat?
It is a fact that mice are prone to obesity and foods with high-fat content can make them put on weight easily. Where lots of animals such as dogs and cats can burn off this excess fat through regular daily exercise it is much more difficult for your mouse who is likely to be spending most of their days in the confines of the cage.
Exercise wheels and regular playtime out of the cage is indeed important however this isn’t usually enough exercise for them to be able to burn off the effects of daily feeds of high-fat content.
Mice also have very delicate stomachs that need the right types of feed and nutrition to keep them healthy and well. High in fat foods do not sit very well with them and can aggravate their sensitive bellies.
What makes hamster feeds so high in fat content?
Hamster feeds are known for including ingredients that are considered to be high in fat. You will often find these feeds that are usually commercially bought for hamsters will include ingredients such as peanuts and sunflower seeds to name but a few.
Peanuts are classed as oilseeds and are very high in fat content. The fat content in peanuts ranges from 44%-56% and mostly consists of mono- and polyunsaturated fat.
Likewise, sunflower seeds are also pretty high in fat content and although they are considered to contain more healthy fats are still not suitable for your mice and their delicate stomachs.
It is true to say that hamsters (as well as gerbils) require a much higher fat intake than many other rodents which is why many commercial feeds include ingredients such as sunflower seeds and peanuts to boost this content requirement.
The bottom line is mice absolutely love these ingredients and will happily eat these all day if given the opportunity, but it will not do much for their health or wellness.
What if my mice and hamsters share a cage?
It is true to say that mixing a variety of rodents in the same cage is not ideal. Where there may be many similarities between various rodents they will often require different types of care and in particular feed.
There are however some combinations that do work very well together. Ensuring that both rodent types have similar feed content requirements and overall care is important to consider.
Mice and hamsters sharing a cage is not a particularly good combination. It is fair to say that they will generally get on with each other well and have similar lifestyles and care requirements, but when it comes to nutrition and feed this combination has its challenges.
Hamsters require food that has a high fat and protein content whilst mice do not do well with a huge intake of fat thanks to their very delicate stomachs. This will pose many problems housing them together as they will need to be on completely different feed mixes.
By introducing two different types of feed you will never be 100% sure who has eaten what. Mice will happily eat hamster feed and hamsters will happily eat feed that has been designed for mice. By putting both feeds in together you are not able to control who eats what feed which can be troublesome.
In an ideal world, it is best not to house these two rodents together. Try to keep mice together in one cage and hamsters together in another to keep life much simpler for yourself.
If for whatever reason you are unable to do so, you will need to consider separating the two come feeding time. You may decide to leave one rodent in the cage for feeding and take the other rodent out for a completely separate feed. It sounds challenging and that’s because, in reality, it is.
What feeds are best for mice?
Mice are pretty simple creatures. They don’t require elaborate expensive feeds that are hard to get hold of or difficult to feed. They do however require the right types of feed.
As we have mentioned, feeds that are commercially available and specifically designed for mice are ideal.
These types of feed will have all the right nutrition readily formulated so you don’t have to worry about the content yourself. You will find mice feeds are low in fat (usually only 4%-5%), high in carbohydrates (which is important), and protein levels that are usually around the 16% mark as a minimum.
4% – 5%
As much as possible
16% or more
Mice feed usually presents itself in the form of pellets or cubes. These are great for daily feeding as the main part of their meals and you the reassurance that they will be eating the right amount of nutrition to keep them fit and healthy.
It is always a great idea to provide your mice with supplements of fresh fruit and vegetables into their diet. Mice tend to really like fresh produce, but should only be fed on an ad-lib basis.
Let’s take a look at some feed that would be ideal to feed your mice:
- Ready-made commercial mice feed (pellets or cubes)
- Stone Fruit
- Citrus Fruit
- Brussel Sprouts
- Asian Greens
- Fresh Corn
- Beans and Peas
The following feeds below are also safe for mice, but must only be offered as a treat every once in a while and certainly not in large portions:
- Cooked Pasta
- Breakfast Cereals
These are some of the main types of feeds owners choose to feed their mice to ensure they stay as fit and as healthy as possible. There are many more that your mice can eat, but it is always best to do your research first before introducing any new types of feeds to your mice. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
What feeds should mice avoid?
Although many feeds are perfectly ok for mice to eat as part of a nutritionally balanced diet, there are also many types of foods that should be avoided at all costs. There are lots of types of foods that are perfectly ok for other animals and humans to eat that are highly poisonous and toxic to mice.
It is always a wise idea to do your research before providing your mice with new types of foods and speaking to a qualified vet or per nutritionist can easily put your mind at ease.
If you don’t want to be paying a visit to your vet any time soon and would like to see your mice fit and healthy then it is an extremely wise idea to avoid these very poisonous, toxic foods:
- Raw Beans
In addition, there are some other feeds that should be avoided. They are not as toxic as the above list, but are highly inappropriate for mice and can bring on severe tummy distress and loose stools.
- Hot foods
- Spicy foods