So you are planning to have turkey meat as part of your dinner. However, it’s the first time you are cooking it ever since you got yourself a hamster and you aren’t sure whether your furry friend can eat this kind of meat. Can they?
Hamsters can eat turkey. However, always ensure that you give them the right amount to avoid potential health risks. Again, it should only come as an occasional treat and not as a staple diet.
What is Turkey Meat?
Turkey meat is the flesh of turkey which belongs to a large bird family called Meleagrididae, along with other birds such as the guinea fowl and the pheasant.
Most people buy already-cooked turkey meat since it can be expensive and time-consuming for restaurants and families to cook. For the latter, they usually buy them in whole and cut them up on their own.
Because of the lengthy preparation it requires, you are likely to see turkey meat during special occasions like Thanksgiving (in the United States), Christmas, or Easter.
Why Can Hamsters Eat Turkey?
Hamsters are omnivorous in the truest sense of the word. This means that they can eat both meat and plants. Turkey meat falls under the all-meat group which includes beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish, seafood, etc.
While there are other safe foods you can give your hamster like vegetables or eggs, turkey has more benefits. This meat is a good source of protein, just like other types of meat like chicken and beef.
In other words, turkey contains a long list of essential compounds that are going to benefit your furry friend.
Nutritional Stats Of Turkey Meat
Like any other poultry, turkey doesn’t come shy when it comes to nutritional value. This is why you need to introduce it as one of the occasional treats for your furry friend.
100 grams of turkey breast contains the following;
- Calories- 147
- Protein- 22.68g
- Fat- 2.1g
- Cholesterol- 80mg
- Sodium- 99mg
- Calcium- 1.8mg
- Potassium- 297mg
- Zinc- 3.9mg
Turkey meat also contains vitamin B6, niacin, thiamin, vitamin B12, vitamin D, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus selenium, phosphorus, and other minerals. You can find these nutrients in skinless turkey meat.
Compared to other poultry, turkey is on the higher end when it comes to protein content with almost 23 grams per 100 grams of meat. Not bad for your furry friend’s muscles and bones!
Again, it’s worth noting that turkey doesn’t contain carbohydrates, dietary fiber, or sugars. Except for fiber, the rest are good news for your pet’s health.
Health Benefits Of Turkey For Hamsters
Before you give your hamster that small piece of turkey meat, it’s essential to know the health benefits of turkey. Here is how different nutrients benefits your lovely furry friend;
- Protein – You know that protein is vital for your furry friend’s muscles, right? Well, without a sufficient amount of protein in their diet, hamsters are at risk of losing muscles over time. Since they have a very active lifestyle, it’s essential to make sure that their protein requirements are met.
- Iron – If you have a female hamster, then it’s important to watch out for iron levels since it can lead to anemia or hypochromic anemia over time if it’s not balanced with the right amount of dietary intake.
- Phosphorus – Phosphorus is another essential mineral for your furry friend’s diet, just like calcium which you already know from the beginning of this article.
- Vitamin B6 – The vitamin not only helps to regulate hormones but also keeps a healthy nervous system and promotes skin health as well as growth and maturation in infants. It also helps to metabolize proteins and fats.
- Tryptophan – In addition to turkey’s high protein content, it’s also rich in tryptophan which helps hamsters feel relaxed and happy.
- Niacin – This is another compound that has a vitamin B3 content which helps to lower LDL or bad cholesterol while increasing HDL or good cholesterol.
- Moisture– The last benefit you need to know about turkey meat is that it contains moisture which is essential for hamsters. However, there are many other health benefits which we can’t exhaust under this subtopic.
How Much Turkey Should You Give Your Hamster?
The amount of turkey to give your pet will depend on the breed. Apparently, hamster breeds with higher food intake need more turkey. And so, we just don’t have a one-size-fits-all answer to how much turkey you should give your pet. Let’s break it down so that we can answer the question more precisely;
How Much Turkey Should Syrian Hamsters Eat?
Syrian hamsters are the typical pet hamsters you are familiar with. They are bigger in size compared to other breeds, and they consume lots of food.
When giving a Syrian hamster turkey, a teaspoon is the farthest you can go. Again, it should only come weekly and as a supplement to their normal hamster food.
How Much Turkey Should Roborovski Hamsters Eat?
Dwarf hamsters or the Roborovski’s are much smaller in size compared to Syrian hamsters. In fact, they look like a smooth-coated version of a mouse.
When it comes to giving them turkey, keep the amount at a teaspoon level. However, they should only enjoy this tasty treat once a fortnight.
How Much Turkey Should Dwarf Hamsters Eat?
When I talk about Dwarf hamsters, I refer to Chinese hamsters, Winter White Dwarf hamsters, and Campbell Dwarf hamsters. And as the name suggests, they are the smallest compared to the other hamster breeds.
If it happens that you have these little furry friends, only give a teaspoon of turkey once a month.
Therefore, as seen, the difference is not in the quantity of the turkey you should give but the frequency in which to serve it.
Can Baby Hamsters Eat Turkey?
If you have a baby hamster, it’s unfortunate that they can’t eat turkey meat. They are still in the weaning process and need to be fed according to their age group. Hence, if you were planning to offer it to them, you will need to wait.
Can Pregnant Hamsters Have Turkey Meat?
A pregnant hamster needs foods high in proteins to help in the development of the fetus. That said, you can give your pregnant hamster turkey meat and it usually won’t harm your pet. However, as with any hamster, remember to keep the intake level under control.
Can Hamsters Eat Turkey Skin?
Yes, hamsters can eat turkey skin. Only beware that it contains higher levels of cholesterol and proteins. That means you should be very careful not to go beyond the safe limits when giving this part of the turkey.
Can Hamsters Eat Turkey Bones?
We discourage you from feeding your little buddies with turkey bones. They might not be as sharp as the bones of other animals such as chickens, but they can still choke them and cause serious health issues. At times they can cause death so keep them away!
Health Risks of Feeding Your Hamster Turkey
Though there are a plethora of health benefits associated with turkey meat, there are some health risks as well.
- Allergies: If your pet has a history of allergies to poultry or beef, you should bear in mind that turkey is from the same family so it can cause allergic reactions as well.
- Stomach Upset: Giving your hamster lots of turkey meat can also cause your beloved hamster to develop an upset stomach. That’s because they don’t have the capability to digest large quantities of food. If you keep feeding them with turkey, their tiny stomachs will never be fully satisfied and that can cause harm.
- Obesity: Another potential health risk of feeding your hamster turkey is obesity. Obesity and hamsters don’t go well together as your pet might become lazy, reluctant, and worst, it can attract more health complications.
- Diabetes: Turkey contains massive fat content, especially the skin. That means, too much of it can cause your pet to develop diabetes. If you already have a diabetic hamster, you should keep them away from turkey meat.
- Choking: Turkey bones can damage their insides causing serious issues such as perforation and punctures. It could even cause death and that’s why you should only concentrate on the turkey meat when feeding your hamster. Larger sizes of meat can also be a choking hazard, so ensure you cut them up into very small pieces before offering it.
As seen, turkey meat has both its pros and cons. However, most of the cons will only come when you offer too much of it to your hamster or when you don’t follow the feeding guidelines.
As you can see, turkey is safe for your hamster and there is nothing wrong in giving your pet small quantities of turkey meat. However, always keep everything we’ve talked about in this article in mind. That will help you avoid any potential health risks.