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Old 01-08-2017, 12:34 PM   #1
Sharkie
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Default Bar chewing

I've had Winnie for about a week now. At first she really loved playing on her wheel (she'd do it for hours at a time!) but in the last couple of days I've noticed that she has been chewing on her bars at night, and not paying much attention to her wheel or other toys.

I've tried to provide her with lots to gnaw on (wood sticks/gnawing toys, nutty chew sticks).
I've also read that bar chewing can mean that a hamster wants to come out to play more. She's not fully tamed yet (she will sit on my hand, but is still a bit scared of me) so I'm not that confident with letting her explore yet. I tried letting her play in a wire pen that i have, but she just seemed really quite nervous and intent on escaping.

Basically, are there any other reasons why she might be chewing the bars/what can I do about it?
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Old 01-08-2017, 01:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: Bar chewing

It might be that she wants to run about more, I've heard it can be a sign of bordom and sometimes even stress. Did you give her time to settle in to her new habitat?
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Old 01-08-2017, 01:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: Bar chewing

Your hamster may enjoy a run around with toys, tunnels etc in a dry bath. You can sit in the bath and let your hamster climb onto you to help the taming process.

Hiding food/scatter feeding takes longer for the hamster than eating from a bowl. You can also put the food in small cardboard boxes/wrapped in paper or cardboard tube folded. The hamster has to chew through to get to the food.

Check the wheel spins properly and the water bottle is working ok.

Hamsters may prefer a dog biscuit (biskrok) or other dog chews (whimzee, antes).

Other ideas are in the managing bar chewing thread.
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Old 01-08-2017, 02:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: Bar chewing

This could be part of the settling in process, hamsters sometimes chew bars due to stress and going to a new home is highly stressful. Hamsters also chew bars due to boredom so you may want to invest in even more toys than you already have (some hams love them for a day and then need new). Keep an eye on the behavior and try to discourage it. See if it calms down after another week or so.
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Old 01-08-2017, 04:31 PM   #5
Sharkie
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Default Re: Bar chewing

Thanks very much for your replies! I really appreciate your suggestions.
I'll try the dry bath thing as soon as I can, it sounds like a good idea!
I'll have a look for those brands of dog chews. I have dogs so I'll check if the ones we have already are safe for hamsters or not. I like the idea of wrapping food up, that sounds like it would keep her occupied!!
I'll try switching around the toys in her cage to see if that helps too.
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Old 01-08-2017, 05:10 PM   #6
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Bar chewing

I wouldn't switch the toys just yet. It sounds more like stress after moving to her new cage. She hasn't been in it that long has she? They need a good couple of weeks to settle in - so if you've maybe changed anything recently or done a clean that might make her want to get out!

There are also good hamster chews you can get - I like the Rosewood naturals ones but they're not easily available except online. The Vitakraft ones are easily available. I stopped using those as they have honey in so not good for their teeth! But in the short term it would be a good treat and would distract her demolishing it.

If it's stress and you change things around now it could make her more stressed. Starting bathtub taming is a good idea. If you can try and do it around the same time each time she'll know she'll be coming out at some point (ie a bit of a routine) and that might help reduce the bar chewing too.

Other reasons they do it is if something is a problem in the cage - eg empty water bottle, wheel stuck or wedged and not working etc.

Apart from scatter feeding a bit, adding a new chew or a new toy or some extra substrate, I would leave everything in the cage untouched for another week or so while she's still settling in.

I have a little video on taming our Syrian in the bathtub, if it helps We used to let him either climb into his ball - by holding it just inside the cage or near the door, and transport him up to the bathtub in the ball. Sometimes we'd use a tube - putting one end of the tube in the cage and the other end in the ball as he didn't like hands in the cage at first. So he'd walk into the tube and into the ball that way. Then gently put the ball down in the bath and take the lid off. When he'd had enough he used to jump back into the ball. If you put a dry towel on the bottom of the bath it gives a bit of padding. And a few toys (cardboard tube or any kind of hidey place like a mug on its side).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjyEme2xcq4
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:40 PM   #7
Sharkie
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Default Re: Bar chewing

Thanks Serendipity! I won't move anything around just yet then, thankfully I haven't switched any toys. I actually recently had to take out the 'penthouse' part of her cage (i have a savic hamster heaven, it's like a little plastic pod on the top of the cage) as she was using it as a bed and a toilet, so that probably unsettled her a bit too.

I'll watch your video soon, too! I think the bathtub sounds good because I'm still nervous to let her run around on my bed, she's not completely used to being picked up (but the taming is going really well!) and I'd hate to scare her if i had to stop her jumping off or something
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Old 01-10-2017, 02:56 AM   #8
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Default Re: Bar chewing

My fault then! Suggested changing the layout Adding the odd new thing should be ok, but any major changes maybe could wait a bit now until she's settled in. It sounds like she is cross at the penthouse being removed or a bit stressed by the change. Distracting her now could help - maybe add a bit more substrate and hide some treats and chews in the cage as well as a bit of bathtub taming.
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chewing, play, bar, toys, letting, wheel, fully, hand, sit, tamed, scared, bit, pen, bars/what, basically, reasons, escaping, intent, wire, explore, shes, nervous, confident, wood, couple

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