Are turnips safe for hamsters to eat? The answer is yes, in small amounts! Let’s look at the nutritional benefits of turnips and how you should feed them to your hamster.
What Are Turnips?
A turnip is a root vegetable that is typically white or purple in color. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C, as well as a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, and manganese.
The turnip is thought to have originated in Asia.
Turnips can be eaten cooked or raw, and are often used in soups, stews, or mashed.
Can Hamsters Eat Turnips?
So, can hamsters eat turnips? Yes they can! A small amount of turnip cut into a bitesize piece for your hamster is fine as a treat as part of a regular, balanced diet.
The amount of turnips that constitutes a small bite size piece will depend on the type and age of your hamster. As a general rule, only one or two slices of turnip should be fed to adult Syrian hamsters. Young Syrian, Dwarf and Chinese hamsters shouldn’t have more than about one slice due to their smaller size.
Benefits Of Turnips For Hamsters
Turnips are rich in nutrients which make them a healthy treat for hamsters. A great source of Vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium and manganese; turnips also provide your hamster with low levels of iron, calcium and phosphorus.
This makes it easier for your hamster to absorb these minerals from their daily diet.
Additionally, eating turnips can help to keep your hamster’s teeth worn down when used as part of a healthy, balanced diet containing different types of hay and vegetables.
As with any fruit or vegetable you give your hamster as part of their regular diet try not to offer the same kind every day so that they get all the different kinds of nutrients they need to stay healthy.
Risks Of Turnips For Hamsters
As with any treat or food that you give your pet, there are possible risks if given in excess over time. Turnips contain high levels of Vitamin C which can cause stomach upset if fed to your pet regularly. It can also cause diarrhea if too many slices are given at once, so it is best to feed a very small amount of turnip as a treat.
Hamsters are known for storing their food, and this can cause problems for a couple of reasons.
If any turnips are left uneaten in your hamsters cage, they could rot, start to smell and attract insects.
Your hamster may also store uneaten turnips in their cheek pouches, and it’s not uncommon for hamsters to develop abscesses, which can be sore for your pet.
That’s why it’s advisable to monitor your hamster when giving them turnips and immediately remove and discard any uneaten turnip from their cage.
How To Feed Turnips To Your Hamster
Always cut any turnips you give your hamster into small pieces as this will help to prevent choking and make it easier for your hamster to eat.
You should also wash the turnip thoroughly before feeding it to your hamster.
It is also advisable when feeding your hamster turnips for the first time to do so in a separate area where they are less likely to store it, just in case they have an adverse reaction.
Remember that although turnips can be given as part of a healthy diet for your hamsters, they should still only be fed occasionally and not every day.
Turnip slices could also make good enrichment (treat) food for Syrian Hamsters housed alone or groups of
When starting out giving treats and new foods gradually introduce them into their diet over a period
As with the introduction of any new food to your hamsters diet, if you are going to try feeding your hamster turnips, you need to monitor your hamster closely whilst eating them.
How Much Turnip Can A Hamster Eat?
As with any change to your hamster’s diet, try to offer the turnip in very small amounts first. Monitor your hamster for diarrhea or constipation after feeding them a new food. This is especially important if you have fed them other vegetables or fruits before hand as these may have already caused an upset tummy, so take note of how long it has been since they were last changed over to a new type of food.
If your hamster has no problems with their daily diet consisting of one slice of turnip then you can increase this amount gradually over time until they are happily eating two slices. You are now free to give your hamster more turnips!
Make sure that you still provide your hamster with their normal diet of hay and pellets though- turnips are just another treat for them.
When feeding your hamster new foods, you should always start with a tiny amount to ensure that they like it, and that they don’t encounter an allergic reaction. So if you want to try feeding your hamster turnips then we would recommend giving a very small portion size, about the size of a teaspoon.
Another good way to work out what is the right amount of turnip to feed your hamster is to give them a portion they can comfortably hold within their hands.
Other Than Turnips What Else Can Your Hamster Eat?
We have looked at if your hamster can eat turnips.
Other than good quality hamster food, what else could you be feeding your hamster?
Grains are a staple food for hamsters. You should give about a tablespoonful each day. Grains can be found in commercially prepared hamster mixes, providing protein and carbohydrates. Avoid overfeeding fatty nuts (peanuts and sunflower seeds), as they can cause obesity.
Fresh, organic vegetables are the best choice for your hamster.
If you’re not using organic produce, be sure to clean it properly to get rid of any pesticides.
Whilst most vegetables are generally safe for hamsters, dark green vegetables are the best choice, so things like;
- Broccoli spears
- Carrot tops
- Dandelion greens
- Romaine lettuce
Avoid iceberg lettuce and other high-water veggies or fruits (such as watermelon) to avoid stomach problems.
Like vegetables, most fruit is OK for hamsters in small portions, as a supplement to the usual diet.
Some good choices are;
- Apples (with pips removed)
Remember always remove any uneaten veggies or fruits from your hamster’s cage within 24 hours to avoid them going off.
Often overlooked for hamsters, hay is a wonderful gnawing food that can keep your hamster’s teeth clean.
Your hamster should always have access to fresh water, changed daily.
What’s The Best Diet For Hamsters?
If you have a hamster, you need to make sure that you are feeding them the best food possible.
We’ve discussed if hamsters can eat turnips, and whilst hamsters can eat a wide variety of things, their primary diet should consist of good quality hamster food.
There are a lot of options available for your hamster, but not all of them are good! If you want to learn more about the best hamster food, you can read our full review of the best hamster foods here.
If you just want to know what we recommend, it’s Kaytee Pro Health Hamster food.
The Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Food was created by animal nutritionists to ensure that your hamster gets the correct nutrition within their diet.
To support digestive health, Forti-Diet Pro Health includes probiotics and prebiotics. This food is high in natural antioxidants for general health and immunity protection, as well as some bigger, crunchier pieces to promote dental health through natural chewing action.
- Larger, crunchy pieces supports dental health through natural chewing activity
- Prebiotics and probiotics to support digestive health
- Naturally preserved for ideal freshness
- A nutritionally complete diet for hamsters and gerbils
- All natural
So, hamsters can eat turnips.
If you want to try feeding your hamster turnips, we recommend giving a very small portion size to start with and only an amount that they can comfortably hold within their hands. Remember always remove any uneaten veggies or fruits from your hamster’s cage within 24 hours to avoid them going off.
Now you know if it is safe to feed your hamster turnips. Just remember, always start by introducing a very small portion of turnips to your hamster, and look out for any signs of discomfort or unusual behaviour.
If your hamster has an adverse reaction after eating turnips, contact your local veterinarian immediately.