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Old 01-05-2015, 07:06 AM   #1
Leanne
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Unhappy Fighting and separating

Hello

Just over a week ago we got two 8 week old female Russian dwarfs, I think they are hybrids as from pets at home. They have lived together happily for a week, they have slept together but not really interacted much. Then yesterday they started to have fall outs with a lot of noise! Oreo is a little bit bigger and clearly dominant and chewy was making so much noise, looking terrified and kept throwing herself on her back. I spilt this up immediately and we kept a very close eye! They fell out a few more times and I broke it up but didn't want to overact and permanently part them without giving them a chance, there was no injury but maybe only because I didn't give it a chance to happen. Then Oreo chased chewy and took a bite before I could stop it, there was no injury but she lost a little patch of fur. At this point I separated them and they now have their own cage. Oreo seems fine but chewy is still hiding and doesn't seem herself, she is more shy but very active and friendly!
Have I spilt them up to soon, it just didn't feel worth the risk of them getting hurt and what can I do to help poor chewy feel safe and happy again. I'm feeling really bad and not sure what went wrong so suddenly. Clearly bonding two sibling dwarfs is not always as easy and natural as it seems!
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:47 AM   #2
fluffybumolivia
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Default Re: Fighting and separating

You done the right thing spliting them up!!
I'm not really sure as I have never had a pair or a pair that I have had to split, but maybe giving Chewy lots of hiding places and give her time to calm down, settle in and be comfortable before attempting to handle/tame her.
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:56 AM   #3
fluffybumolivia
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Default Re: Fighting and separating

Also, in the cage you had both of them in, did you have two of everything (wheels, bowls, bottles ect) and did you have shelves as hamsters get territorial which could have caused them to fight.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:50 AM   #4
Leanne
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Default Re: Fighting and separating

Thanks for your reply Fluffybumolivia. Yes I had two of everything and was scatter feeding. Yes I had a cage with levels, tubes and lots of add on hidey places. I have now learnt this was not a good choice for a pair. Oreo seems really happy on her own, chewy is still mostly hiding. Oreo has grown so much in a week and chewy hasn't at all, maybe she was maybe she was being bullied before all the fighting started. They have such lovely friendly natures, I was worried this could affect that?
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Old 01-05-2015, 12:02 PM   #5
Leanne
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Default Re: Fighting and separating

Also this only happened after I cleaned them out for the first time. Maybe having all the smells taken away stressed them out? how long should you wait to clean them for the first time? I think you're right that Oreo became territorial, she loves the wheel and every time she uses it will wee on it, chewy never went near either wheel.
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Old 01-05-2015, 12:54 PM   #6
fluffybumolivia
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Default Re: Fighting and separating

I don't think it will effect there natures as now you've separated them, once chewy regains her confidence, she should be lovely and friendly still. It might have been because of the clean out but a week should have been alright. Did you add any bedding back to the cage when you changed it? If you didn't then this may not helped. It probably is because of Oreo being territorial, that they fell out. Don't think it's your fault as it is quite common.
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Old 01-05-2015, 01:19 PM   #7
Leanne
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Default Re: Fighting and separating

No I didn't add the old bedding and cleaned with pet disinfectant, I should have done that as I asked for some from the pet shop to help them settle but the cage was getting smelly after a week. Is this something you should always do to help them feel at home? On a good note Chewy has come out and is running on the wheel for the first time! She loves it! I now feel much better! I have two much happier hammies!
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:13 PM   #8
Thin Lizzy
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Default Re: Fighting and separating

I still keep old wood shavings and bedding back to mix in with new.
Also I find it a lot better doing my cage in sections, I will do the cage bottom and bed area one day and a couple of days later I'll do their toys. I spot check their toilet area daily and clean every 2 weeks for the other sections. Hamsters are a bit funny about their home and don't like it to be over cleaned.
They like to be able to smell their smell.
Now you've got yours in seperate cages, you'll be able to do this and get them into a routine.
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Old 01-06-2015, 12:09 AM   #9
cypher
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Default Re: Fighting and separating

You did the right thing splitting them up, it's always better to be safe than sorry & it sounds as though they are settling again already.
Have you tried litter training them? Just use a small dish or jar with some chinchilla sand or hamster potty litter, put some soiled substrate on top & put it in the place they normally pee. If you do that it makes spot cleaning a lot easier, there should be no smell & you shouldn't need to disturb them by doing a full clean more than about once a month. Always put back some of the substrate, nest material & food hoard when you clean & they won't mind so much & settle back down really quickly after a cage clean then.
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Old 01-06-2015, 08:13 AM   #10
racinghamster
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Default Re: Fighting and separating

Hi Leanne. I would have did the same thing and separated so good on you for reading the signals of bullying before it escalated into real aggression. Pet shops in general will always sing the praises of keeping dwarf hamsters in pairs and many of us now realise this can just turn into having two separate cages as many pairs never stay together. Even with the best intentions and following the habitat rules.

Fully cleaning their cage wouldn`t have helped or having tiered levels, but it`s done now so try not to dwell on it. You may find one is bigger and bolder while the other will be more timid, but they are still young so they have their lives ahead of them and their characters will come to the fore eventually. Enjoy them now without having the worry! x
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