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Old 04-19-2019, 02:59 PM  
Serendipity7000
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North of England
Posts: 20,241
Default Re: First cage cleaning!

How long has he been in the cage? Just asking as you say it's time to clean him out. If you have plenty of substrate in you can just spot clean for quite a while and clean the toys and wheel as and when needed. This is better than a big "clean out" where you do everything at once - that stresses the hamster as all their familiar scent is removed.

Spot cleaning is just removing the odd handful of soiled substrate, adding a new handful and mixing it in a bit. You can go like that for 6 to 7 weeks just spot cleaning the pee area. If you use a litter tray and empty that every few days the rest of the cage tends to stay clean and dry.

I go about 2 to 3 months doing this, before changing the substrate and cleaning the base of the cage (which is usually dry anyway). And even then I replace some of the old clean substrate and either mix it in or spread it on top.

They are quite clean little things really - it's just their pee that needs keeping on top of. Poops aren't a major issue unless they start to take over - they actually eat those sometimes, which is normal. They're like little hard seeds. They have two stomachs and can redigest nutrients from the poops. They even hoard them sometimes for emergency food supplies!

So if you have 4" or more of substrate you shouldn't need to change all the substrate for some time. You can gradually change over to the new one with spot cleaning - it's fine to mix two different substrates.

When you do change the substrate, best not to clean anything else at the same time and do the wheel a different week and any toys a different week again. I leave the nest unless it's pee'd in and I just prune the hoard when changing thesubstrate - again dry hoard is fine left for some time. If you do need to remove hoard if it's pee'd on then replace it with new food in exactly the same place but try and leave a bit of the old hoard behind.

Also the cage doesn't need disinfecting unless there has been illness or disease - when you do come to change the substrate, just warm water with a bit of washing up liquid in is fine
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