How to Feed Newborn Hamsters by Hand

Written by darcy logan
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How to Feed Newborn Hamsters by Hand
Hand raising hamsters is not easy. (Remmi image by Sergio Martín Guerrero from

Deciding to hand raise newborn hamsters should only be done if there is no alternative. According to Doran Jones of the California Hamster Association, even if everything is done correctly, orphaned hamster only have a 20 per cent chance of surviving. The babies will require round-the-clock care.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • KCF or Lactol kitten formula
  • Eye dropper
  • Adult hamster droppings
  • Soft foods
  • Pedialyte
  • Moist towel
  • Heating pad or heat lamp

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  1. 1

    Use a heating pad or heat lamp to keep the hamster nest at 26.7 degrees Celsius.

  2. 2

    Prepare hamster formula, and warm the formula until it is 32.2 degrees Celsius. For the best results, use high quality milk substitute kitten formula, which can be found at any pet store and some grocery stores. If this is not available, you can use a mixture of 50-50 solution of evaporated milk or dried baby's milk (prepared as directed).

  3. 3

    Using a dropper, feed pups 3 drops of formula every hour, 24 hours a day until they start eating solid foods for Syrian hamsters. For dwarf hamsters, feed three drops every 30 minutes until they are two weeks old, then gradually increase the amount of milk from three drops to four to six drops. After two weeks, dwarf hamsters can be fed every 60 minutes. Continue providing both types of hamsters milk via dropper until they are 21 days old.

  4. 4

    Gently stroke each hamster's tummy after it has fed using your finger or a moist cotton ball to encourage digestion. Use a 1-inch wide soft paint brush and rub it along the hamster's belly and back a couple times to simulate grooming.

  5. 5

    Supplement the formula with lots of soft foods, including canned dog food, hard boiled egg, cooked or grated vegetables, whole grain bread and small pieces of fruit (not citrus), beginning as early as five days. Provide the babies with adult hamster droppings, which the babies will eat. These will provide them with bacteria necessary for them to digest food.

  6. 6

    Using a warm, moist cloth, gently rub each hamster's genital area in order to encourage it to urinate and defecate. Do this a couple times a day until the hamster is regularly defecating on its own.

  7. 7

    Provide hamsters with harder foods, including hamster seed mixtures and quick oats sprinkled with powdered milk and wheat germ, once they are about 10 days old.

  8. 8

    Lower the water bottle and fill it with a 50-50 solution of unflavored oral electrolyte solution and water in order to help prevent dehydration, once the hamsters are moving about the cage.

Tips and warnings

  • Contact your veterinarian to figure out why the mother died (if that is the case) to prevent the pups from contracting it.
  • Contact local hamster breeders to see if they have a hamster capable of adopting your pups. This is essential for pups less than 7 days old. It is also a good idea for pups that are between 7 to 14 days.
  • Hamsters begin eating solid food when they are about eight or nine days old. At that point, you can reduce the feedings to once every three hours.
  • Do not use cow's milk.
  • Social contact (even simulated) is essential for hamsters.

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