Feb 092012
 

My advice, before you even read any further, is not to breed hamsters. It will take a lot of your time and attention and can become costly when you need extra cages and food.

Also, you’re going to have to deal with a litter of from 4 to 20. Each of those pups is going to need a good home and you can’t count on the local pet store to take your hamster pups – they usually have more than they can sell.

However, if you are still interested in hamster breeding, the following information will be helpful.

Baby Roborovski

Baby dwarf hamster by Beth L. Alexander, on Flickr

 

When to Breed

Although hamsters may reach sexual maturity as early as four to five weeks of age, females should not be bred for the first time until they are 3 to 4 months old (12 to 16 weeks). They should not be bred for the first time after 6 months of age, however. Males can be bred by 2 to 3 months of age.

The female hamster will be ready for mating (in heat) about every 4 days. This will last about 24 to 28 hours. The best mating time is usually in the evening, when hamsters are most active.

If the female is not in heat, she may attack the male hamster. Remove the male immediately if you see this reaction and try again the next night.

Some people report success with a divided cage, such as an aquarium with a mesh between the two halves. The hamsters can then smell and see each other without getting into a fight. When the female seems ready, you can remove the mesh for mating.

Then be sure to separate the pair again.

Length of Pregnancy

Hamsters are pregnant for only a short time, usually from 16 to 18 days. Roborovskis and Chinese hamsters may take a few days longer.

Litter Size

The size of the pup litter can be from 1 to 16. A typical litter for Syrians and Dwarf Campbell’s will be about 6 to 8. Roborovski litters tend to be a bit smaller, typically about 4 to 6 pups.

Newborns

The pups are born naked and blind but will grow rapidly. Within about 7 to 14 days their fur will usually be all grown in. By then they can see and hear and run around the cage.

Newborn pups should not be handled under any circumstances for at least 2 weeks. If your scent rubs off on a pup, the female may abandon it, pushing it from the nest, or worse, she may cannibalize it or all of the pups.

Female hamsters may also kill their babies if they are deformed or she does not think she can produce enough milk to feed the babies.

Most hamsters can be weaned from their mother somewhere between 3 and 4 weeks after birth. This is when it’s time to separate the litter into males and females and put them in separate cages. If not, you may find brothers and sisters mating and you will soon have more hamsters to deal with.

After giving birth, it’s best to wait about 3 or 4 months before starting another round of breeding. This will give the mother a chance to recover from the last experience.

Final Warning

As I said in the beginning, I don’t recommend breeding hamsters unless you are really prepared to put in the effort.

And let’s face it, hamsters from pet stores tend to be from hamster breeding mills so tend to have bad genes meaning you will get a lot of babies that are deformed or sick. They will die or be eaten by the mother. Are you prepared to deal with that?

If you still want to breed hamsters,

  1. Read a lot about selecting hamster stock and breeding hamsters.
  2. Go to a professional hamster breeder to get your stock.

Good luck!


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Jun 232011
 

Hamster tube mazes can help your pet maintain a healthy weight, fight boredom, and are fun to build. Your hamster will spend many hours inside its hamster cage; and while this may guarantee it is safe, it is not very fun. A hamster will be happier if you provide a maze of tubes or attach tubes that travel both inside and outside of the cage.

Whether you are shopping online or locally there are many varieties of hamster tubes available. These include connectors, straight tubes, T-tubes and U turns just to name a few. With the right amount of cleaning and care, connecting tubes can last many years.

A very cheerful hamster habitat can be created by mixing or matching any of the bright, eye-catching colors. Hamsters love to burrow and are naturally attracted to tubes.

Creating Mazes

By creating tunnel mazes you can help your pet lead an active and interesting life. Hamster tube mazes can be interlinked, overlapping, and go in many different directions – this provides the “maze” effect. There is no end to the twists and turns these tubes can take. For example, you can create:

  • Circles
  • Figure eights
  • Slopes that go up
  • Slopes that go down

What else can you do with your maze?

  • Tube roadways can go up over a desk and even under the bed.
  • Try adding a dead-end or two to make it more interesting.
  • Water, food and even look-out stations can be added to attract the hamster to different parts of the maze.
  • You can construct mazes that are distinct and unconnected. Each maze can be a separate area just for hamsters to play and exercise within.
  • Additional tubes can be added over time making distinct pathways for hamsters to travel.
  • A petting station that has a hinged lid will allow ample opportunity to play with your hamsters when they take a break from their maze running.
  • Hamsters like to roost, so you can add a sleeping dome with enough bedding to snuggle into. This can provide your pet a safe place to sleep.

See some wild and crazy mazes by looking at Hamster Tube Video Reviews.

Hamster Tubes and Cages

Since your hamster spends a lot of its entire life in a cage; that cage should be as interesting as possible to help keep your hamster stable, healthy and happy. And children will love planning the layout of the cages and tube maze.

Some hamster cages already come with tubes as part of their design. hamster habitat

Even if you are using an aquarium for a hamster home, you can add a connecting tube maze that goes around the bottom of the fish tank.

Hamster tubes can be used to connect two or more cages together. One cage may be placed low and the other up higher with tubes connecting the two cages together. This is like a mini-maze for your hamster. When a hamster is required to climb up or down it will be even more fun to watch.

Cost

Prices are quite affordable with tubes being sold for about $10 to $15 for a package of four or more. When shopping online numerous brands, prices, and styles can been seen in a matter of only a few minutes time. The best part may be that you can order everything you need without ever having to leave the comfort of your home.

A hamster that is active can live longer and hamster tube mazes will ensure your pet is entertained and healthy. And it’s also great fun to watch hamsters as they navigate through their hamster maze.


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Jun 222011
 

Hamster behaviors are appealing and building a hamster habitat with connecting tubes only make those antics more fascinating. In their natural environment hamsters live in burrows with winding tunnels connecting to small chambers.

Hamster connecting tubes are plastic or acrylic passageways that emulate this environment by linking together different parts of the hamster habitat into an integrated living space. Hamsters love to scramble through these simulated tunnels that cater to their natural instincts.

Extending the living environment

Your hamster’s basic living environment can be boring, both for the animal to live in and for you to watch. Adding hamster tubes gives your pet more room to explore. The running and climbing involved provides your pet with exercise and intellectual stimulation. You as the owner get not only the satisfaction of knowing you have provided a better life for your pet but the amusement of watching it interact with its enhanced environment.

Before you design your hamster’s home, put yourself in the animal’s place. You are just a few inches tall, and if you stand on your hind legs you can reach perhaps four or five inches from the floor. If you add a ladder, elevated platforms, and climbing tubes to its home, your hamster can now move in all different directions.

Design the hamster connecting tubes

Plan to connect the tubes at an angle that the animal can negotiate. Short stretches can be nearly vertical, but tunnels of any length should be only a little above horizontal. Keep in mind that dwarf hamsters may have trouble climbing up tall vertical tubes.

The tunnels can be U or lollipop shapes off a single enclosure, or they can connect two or more hamster cages. They should not be short enough that your pet gets bored, or so long that they get lost or tired.

While the tubes need not lead anywhere other than back to the hamster’s living quarters, they can be connected to different and additional living areas for your pet to enjoy. In fact, some hamster cages have holes that let you connect tubes so you hammy can run back and forth between cages.

Like the tubes, these additional running areas should be cleaned whenever they require it. One advantage of the interconnecting environments is that they usually come with plugs, permitting you to shut your hamster in one part of the habitat while you clean a different part.

Think about your pet’s safety, too. To a hamster, connecting tubes can be a trap, particularly if the animal is rotund and the passage is small. Make sure the tunnels are of a large enough diameter for your hamster to negotiate at a run, not a wriggle.

Connecting the system

Hamster tubes come in segments, either straight or bent, that twist together. Most hamster environments can be created by snapping the tubes together with no tools. Some hamster cages come with holes to which the tubes can connect. Be careful not to twist too hard when connecting the tubes to the holes or the plastic can break.

Like any pet, a hamster depends on its owner to provide it with a suitable environment. Hamster tubes can be an inexpensive and visually appealing option to accomplish that. They represent very good value for the money because they keep you entertained while exercising your hamsters.

For more information, read Hamster Tube Tips.


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Jun 092010
 

Hamsters are known for their burrowing. So if you have a hamster cage, you will need bedding material that lets your hamster burrow and make a nest in which he or she can sleep. Of course, bedding material has another use – that’s to absorb the urine that your hamster will produce. You’ll need about 2 inches (5 cm) of bedding material at the bottom of your hamster cage.

Below are recommendations for the different types of hamster bedding material:

 

GOOD to use:

Wood shavings: Aspen: If you like the look and feel of wood, Aspen shavings are a good choice for your hamster bedding. They have decent absorbency and are very inexpensive, especially compared to a product like Carefresh. The only negative is that some packages can have a lot of dust in them. So when you first use Aspen, check to see if your hamster is sneezing.

Carefresh: Very popular in the U.S. A cellulose based product that has a soft texture and good absorbency. It comes in many different sizes and can be found in most pet stores. If you live in the U.K. it will be pricey, so try the alternate – Magazorb.

Megazorb: Available primarily in the U.K., this is a dried wood pulp product originally used for horses. The dust has been extracted and it has been sterilized. It is soft to the touch and has good absorbency.

Meadow hay: If the hay is natural and does not contain chemicals, this can be a safe bedding material.

OK to Use

Shredded paper such as paper towels or white tissues: Soft and usually non-toxic. But after your hamster urinates a few times on the shredded paper, it will become very wet. This means you will have to change it quite often.

Shredded cardboard: May be non-toxic, but if not finely shredded can have sharp edges that are not good for tiny hamster feet. Finacard, a U.K. based product, is supposed to be finely shredded.

NOT GOOD to Use

Wood shavings: pine or cedar: Often contain phenols. These are chemicals that can affect your hamster’s health – namely, liver or respiratory problems.

Wood: Sawdust. Much too fine. As your hamster runs and burrows it will kick up a lot of wood dust that can irritate your hamster’s lungs.

Newspapers: Newspaper contains ink. Inks contain chemicals that can be harmful to your hamster.

Corn cobs: These tend to deteriorate quickly and get moldy. If you hamster then chews on the moldy cobs, it can get sick.

Cat litter: Very rough for a hamster’s feet. Additionally, like sawdust, cat litter often has a lot of dust in it which your hamster can then breathe in, resulting in respiratory problems.

Fabric: It may be soft, but will be tempting to your hamster to eat. This is not good for the hamster’s digestive system. Also, as fabric shreds, your hamster’s feet can get caught in it.

To learn about other items that should go inside your hamster cage, click here.

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Mar 222010
 

So you’ve bought your hamster cage and supplies and have brought them home. Here are some simple steps to follow to prepare hammy’s home so he or she will feel welcome when they move in.

1. Clean the cage. It may be new, but your cage may have collected dust, dirt, and germs in its travels from the manufacturer to you. Simply rinse and dry each piece before putting it together. You can mix some mild disinfectant in the water for extra safety.

2. Decide on a hamster cage location . You want to put your cage somewhere on a level surface where the air can flow easily through the cage. Remember, you don’t want to put the cage in direct sunlight or too close to an air conditioner. And never put your hamster cage in a place where your other pets can get too close.

3. Lay down the bedding. Your hamster will need at least two inches of bedding material so he or she can burrow, play, and sleep. Hamsters will also use a part of the bedding for their bathroom. Aspen wood shavings or a paper-based material such as Carefresh is recommended. Avoid pine or cedar wood shavings as they contain chemicals harmful to hamsters.

4. Provide water. Hamsters, like us, need food and water to survive. You can use a water bowl or dish, but make sure it’s heavy or your hamster will knock it over. Hamster water bottles made of plastic are more commonly used. Hang the break-resistant plastic bottle outside the cage, with only the drinking tub sticking inside the cage.

5. Provide food. Put some hamster food in a small ceramic bowl. Make sure it’s heavy so your hamster doesn’t tip it over. And be sure to throw in some fresh vegetables from time to time.

Flying saucer

6. Put in the exercise wheel. You need an exercise wheel because hamsters typically like to run 3 to 6 miles (4 to 9 km) every day. The best kind is a wheel with a solid running surface and treads. The kind with wire spokes can catch your hamster’s small toes, resulting in injury. And make sure the wheel is large enough for the size of your hamster.

7. Add the toys. Hamster love to explore and they need to chew. So combine the two with chew toys. Put some wood blocks, little wood houses or a chew tube in your hamster’s home. That way, your hamster can play while keeping his or her teeth in good shape. You can add other toys, such as plastic cars and exercise wheels later.

8. Add the tubes, or levels. If you have a wire and plastic cage, there are usually holes where you can add additional hamster tubes. You can combine tubes in all sorts of ways so your hamster can climb through the crazy creative maze you create. In wire and glass aquarium cages, you can add levels with ladders that let your hamster climb up and down the full height of the cage.

9. Check your security. Before putting your hamster in his or her cage, check the latch on the door to make sure it fits tightly. If you’re using an aquarium, check the top to make sure the screen is fastened tightly and there are no spaces through which your hamster can escape.

10. Introduce your hamster to its new home. Gently place your hamster in its cage and give it some time to wander around and explore its great new home.


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