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Old 01-09-2019, 02:43 AM  
Serendipity7000
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North of England
Posts: 18,936
Default Re: Help! First time hamster owner, she is sick!

Best not to do any cleanouts while she is poorly as well. It's usually recommended not to clean out too often anyway, and just "spot clean" the toilet area mainly. Not sure if you know about that, but it can be very stressful for a hamster to have everything cleaned at the same time, as it removes all their familiar scent.

They scent mark their cage, to find their way around and claim it as their territory. So best to clean things at different times - eg wheel one week, spot clean another week - any toys a different time (toys often don't need cleaning that often).

If you have enough substrate in, I only change the substrate about every 2 to 3 months with spot cleaning, and then best to replace some of the old clean and mix it in so it still smells familiar to them.

3 to 4 " depth minimum is good but more is good. So they can have normal behaviours like digging and burying hoards. They get very upset if you remove their nest and hoard so best to leave those unless they are peed on. If they are pee'd on then always replace the hoard with new food in exactly the same place and try to leave some of the old dry hoard.

Just wondering about nesting material now I've mentioned impacted pouches. Sometimes people are sold "fluffy bedding" by pet shops and that is quite dangerous stuff - they pouch nesting material to move it around, and fluffy bedding can cause impacted pouches (and also digestive blockages and get tied around limbs and cut the circulation off).

So if you have any of that, then bin it! It's the one time you should remove the nest. Plain white toilet paper sheets torn into strips is the safest nesting material and they like it - a big pile of it somewhere in the cage (but not in the house itself as they like to forage for it). They take some and take it to their chosen nesting area and build a big nest with it. They often build very big nests in winter.
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