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Author Topic: Hamster Help/Information  (Read 2420 times)
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ZoeyGirl (Jenn)
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« on: May 24, 2009, 07:37:52 PM »

We're researching hamsters.  My middle child will be 11yrs old in July and is interested in getting a hamster.  I've found a few sites and know that Syrian hamsters are best when it comes to kids.  I also have several pics of homemade cages that are easy to clean and easy to get to the hamster.

So, does anyone here have a hamster and have any advice/information for us.  I am on the lookout in re: to adopting a hamster.  My daughter wants to run out and buy one but I know we'll be able to adopt one and get more info from the rescue/shelter or previous owner.  I welcome any and all advice on hamsters.  I had one as a kid but it was not a pleasant experience.  But I'm sure I didn't do things like correctly.   huh?
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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2009, 09:02:06 PM »

Sorry,no ideas for you. We had one when I was a kid. It was found outside ( must have escaped from somewhere) But I don't remember much about him. I know he used to run in his wheel in the middle of the night.  Cheesy
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KivaLuver
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2009, 09:33:10 PM »

I haven't had a hamster in years........like 30 something. A basic cage with wheel will do nice. If you want to really recreate their world, you can put together an aquarium system with top soil and live plants. The hamsters will make their own tunnels and dens. Too much handling can constipate them and kill them. Also, if you get a mating pair, be careful. Males will kill babies and the momma will too if the babies are disturbed too much. I love those little guys but it would be a death in the making with two terriers around.
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shadow94
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2009, 10:25:05 PM »

My kids had syrian hamsters recently.  They both died  last year and we haven't gotten any more since, but they are great pets for kids.  First we had the wire cages and they made too much of a mess.  They could push the bedding out through the sides.  Then I bought the habitrail cages because my son wanted to build the tunnels.  That was a disaster because they would eliminate in the tubes and it was disgusting and a PITA to clean.  Finally we made cages out of the plastic bins and they were awesome.  You can get them as big as you like and they are light and easy to clean. They are inexpensive and easy to make.  My DH and 6 year old made 2 of them in about an hour.  They are great also because it was easy to move them out of their rooms at night if the noise bothered the kids.
First I would recommend using the Carefresh bedding.  It is more expensive, but it is good for odor control.  You don't want to use pine or cedar because the oils can cause respitory disease.  You can use aspen bedding which is cheaper, but not great for odors.  I also tried a few different wheels and found the "Wodent Wheel" to be the best.  Quiet, easy to clean and the safest on the market.
As for hamster rescue I have no experience. We bought the hamsters from a local pet store.  Hamsters only live 2-3 years.  My kids had a hard time when they passed.  I see a lot of ads on Craigslist for hamsters because people buy pets for their kids and find out they are pregnant.  These are probably good pets because they would be raised and handled in a home. 
If you have any specific questions I would do my best to answer.
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ZoeyGirl (Jenn)
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2009, 10:25:53 AM »

Thanks for all the advice.  I actually use both Carefresh and aspen bedding w/ the guinea pigs, so that won't be an additional cost.  As far as the cage goes, I've heard all about the wire cages being a mess and the other habitrail cage is a pain to clean.  So, we're building one kind of like these:





This one will give it plenty of room to run around plus it's easier to clean and easier to pick up the hammie.  Smiley

The main concern is keeping the odor under control.  We have issues w/ the piggies right now but I think I've got that handled.  I've been scrouring the ads-craigslist, petfinder, etc..for any hamsters but I need to build the cage first.  Smiley

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Angel-Dancer
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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2009, 01:58:31 PM »

Hey Jenn,
We do not have hamsters, I have been bit by them when I was little and my sisters had them.  We have had tons of rats and have two now we adopted from the HS.  They were not on the site, we called and asked if they had any.
I have a 10 gal aquarium with a two story wire cage on top.  The shavings hang out at the bottom, so cleaning is easy, just take off the top and clean the bottom out.  I use shavings and carefresh for the rats.  I feed them similar to the piggies too.  The rats get rat food and veges too.  The only thing they also eat the piggies do not is cheese.  
As far as hamsters, I am not sure what else they can eat on diet other then hamster food.  The cage is whatever you make of it, and they do love wheels ALL NIGHT LONG.  HA!  I have pic somewhere of the rat cage and it has not changed, let me find it and post it.

« Last Edit: May 25, 2009, 02:01:51 PM by Angel-Dancer » Logged
KivaLuver
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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2009, 09:44:58 PM »

My experience with Habitrails is that the hamsters can gnaw through the tunnels easily and the round little vent covering that can be removed to add tunnels are easily opened.
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2009, 10:04:17 PM »

I had House (My sweet 3 legged Hammie) in a place like you posted a pic of. He really liked it, but scratched a corner and gnawed on it a lot and broke through in a tiny spot. So just be vigilant. As much as I adored House I will say I think Rats make better pets! Hammies bite! Even the nice ones generally bite. They are also nocturnal so they aren't a ton of fun during the day.

RAts are awake during the day, rarely bite and are easier to find in shelters! But you need 2 or they get lonely! 

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Angel-Dancer
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2009, 10:32:35 PM »

Yeah, I have two sisters, littermates too.  They are about a year old now.  If there is the smell of food on your hand, Sarah will bite at your hand, but Suzi Q it does not matter, she does not care of you have food or not, she just loves and loves.  Both rats are easy to handle, and both will stay still for a few min at a time similar to the piggies.  These two do not hang on the shoulder too well, they are too active, but they hang out on the bed without many problems.  We just lay down a sheet or towels before putting them on there to catch the poos.  We socialize the rats similar to the piggies, we just do not give the rats floor time.
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ZoeyGirl (Jenn)
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« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2009, 02:10:35 PM »

Well, I've been doing research on gerbils as well as hamsters.  I just can't decide if I want to go gerbils or hamster.  I can't do rats.  Even though I've heard they are great pets, I can't get past the tail.  *shivers*  Sorry, but I just can't do it.  So, we're still researching and I'm looking for a 20gal tank in case we go w/ gerbils or for the hamster.  I figured I'll get "a feeling" one way or the other...just hopefully soon.  Thanks for the advice.  Keep it coming if you have anymore.   Grin
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Angel-Dancer
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« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2009, 02:27:57 PM »

I use to have gerbils.  The good thing about them I was able to use their tails as a "leash" sort of speak if they got away from me.  The other good thing is they did not ever bite me, they were cute too and differnt colors, I had black and brown ones.  They were up all night in their wheel, they did chew a lot, the only thing that I found harder to deal with is they were so quick.  Otherwise they are great pets too.
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shadow94
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« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2009, 06:35:39 PM »

I personally like hamsters much better than gerbils.  In my experience gerbils gnaw and chew a lot more, and they dig.  Anytime I have ever held a gerbil all it did was dig in my hand!  Don't forget they too have tails, but at least they are not hairless Smiley
For a cage, I would definitely go with a bin cage.  A 20gallon tank is going to be heavy and you have to totally empty and wash it at least once a week.  Bins are light and very easy to clean.  Try to find one with a lot of floor space and rounded corners.
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KivaLuver
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« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2009, 10:50:49 PM »

Having owned both. Gerbils are speed demons will run away from you as fast they can. Hamsters don't move as fast but are more likely to bite the crap out of you if not socialized.
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Angel-Dancer
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« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2009, 11:18:34 PM »

Now, if you start considering a mouse, they are harder and quicker to hold on too and I was bit by one once.  They are just adorably cute in the cage IMO.  Grin  Hey, have you ever considered pet guinea pigs?  They are great pets, fun to hold, rarely bite, you can build awesome cages and are not crazy all night long. (I just had to get that out of my system, I could not resist any longer).
Or a ferret, a chinchilla, or a dwarf bunny, or a chihuahua.  Grin  (I think my pain meds are going to my head). thud rotfl
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LoveMy2
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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2009, 06:58:31 PM »

I had a couple of hamsters (not at the same time) before I got Spip. I don't recall a big biting problem. Mine were in wire cages and had carpet time several times a week. They were very sweet, crawled up in laps, on legs, played the pinball game (going back and forth between our legs when we sat V-style feet on feet on the floor). I added carrots and occasionally lettuce to their diet. I used Carefresh and found them to be very clean. They picked  a corner of the cage to go to the bathroom so I could clean that corner more often rather than change the whole bedding several times a week. They need to chew a lot so they had chew sticks; they can chew thru about everything (even wire) given enough time. Their big drawback is their short lifespan.
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« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2009, 12:07:09 AM »

Yeah the short lilfe span is fairly common among most small rodents that I am aware of.  The gerbils and rats that I have had averaged about 3 yrs.  I know some can live longer and some shorter.  Now my parakeets are very easy to clean their cage and care for.  They can be hand tamed if the time is put into them.  I do not have mine hand tamed, but I do love talking to them, listening to them and they have ME so trained when they need food or low on water or just want attention.  I have read they do better in a pair than by themselves, but I grew up with one that was by itself, so who knows.  I have two boys who are brothers and they play, groom and yack at each other all the time.  From what I understand birds have a fairly long life span.  Of all my caged animals I have found them the easiest to care for and the least expensive.
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