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Old 11-18-2017, 08:29 AM   #1
My hamster Zinky
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Default How to stop bar chewing

I give my hamster so many chews and fresh veg and little treats hidden in his sand bath etc. He has so many toys in his cage, and itís a big 1m long one. However, at 4:30 almost exactly each night, he chews the bars and I get woken up. Itís really annoying and I donít know how to stop it. Iíve tried ignoring him. Any ideas?!
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Old 11-18-2017, 11:50 PM   #2
cypher
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Default Re: Managing Bar Chewers

Is he always chewing in one place? If so you can try putting some cardboard or chew toys or even wooden pegs over the area where he chews.
Some photos of your set up might help too.
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Last edited by Fluffagrams; 11-19-2017 at 07:04 AM. Reason: No longer needed
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Old 11-19-2017, 05:55 AM   #3
SimonandSyril
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Default Re: Managing Bar Chewers

A trick i have picked up is to put bitter apple spray or olive oil on the areas you don't want them to chew. Hamsters hate the smell and taste of these and will start chewing on chews not the bars
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Old 11-19-2017, 07:25 AM   #4
Fluffagrams
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Default Re: How to stop bar chewing

Hello there, I have moved your question off of the original thread so that more people have the chance to notice it and you should hopefully get more replies.

Hamsters may bar chew for a number of reasons and ideally to stop the behaviour, you'll need to know what has been causing it so here's a few things that you can consider as a way of ruling out various causes...

What chews are available to your hamster? I have found that my hamsters have shown absolutely no interest in chewing the wooden things that they sell in pet shops for this purpose and they seem a lot more willing to chew a dog biscuit or something like a Whimzees chew which is sold as a dog chew.

Is there an issue with your hamster's teeth? To rule this out, you'll need to quickly have look in your hamster's mouth to make sure that the teeth aren't too long.

Is there something about the cage that's bothering them? Check that the wheel is working and that your hamster is able to use it comfortably. Check the water bottle too. It's also worth thinking about any changes that you've made to the cage recently as they can get attached to certain toys and can get a bit upset if they're taken out.

Is there anything outside the cage that's bothering them? For this one you could think about where in the room the cage is placed such as being next to electronic equipment that may be omitting a buzzing inaudible to us but also if there are food and treats nearby that your hamster can smell. On two occasions, things outside the cage ended up being the cause of bar chewing in my hamstery... once because there was some hamster food kept in a tub nearby and another because a female hamster had developed an interest in one of my boys.

Is it attention seeking? Does your hamster stop chewing when you give them attention if so the problem could be an attention seeking behaviour. If this is the case then rewarding the behaviour will only reinforce it. I know it's not easy to keep up ignoring it, particularly when you're worried that they may harm themselves so it's worth thinking about putting an obstruction in the way and if your hamster is keeping you awake, considering moving them into another room for a while.

The final reason for bar chewing is simply because they can and it's become a habit. In this case, it's better to obstruct the areas that they're likely to chew and keep them occupied as best you can. Ideas that have worked for me have included treat kebabs and food parcels as they allow the hamster to chew in a more productive manner.
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Old 11-19-2017, 09:15 AM   #5
SwaggySyrians
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Default Re: How to stop bar chewing

Vinegar is another thing you can rub on the areas of the bars he chewed. That deterred Reuben from chewing for a bit. Just go for plain malt vinegar, not apple cider or any other variety.

As Cypher mentioned, it would be good to get a couple of photos of your cage setup so that we can see what the issue may be
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Old 11-19-2017, 09:46 PM   #6
Thin Lizzy
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Default Re: How to stop bar chewing

I've had a few bar chewers, I've always used cardboard by weaving it through the bars. You could buy a small wooden bendy bridge and use plastic cable ties to attach it.
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:25 AM   #7
My hamster Zinky
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Red face Re: How to stop bar chewing

Hi, thanks for the replies everyone. I will try to put lots of cardboard in there to distract him and may try scatter feeding too to keep him more occupied. He seems to like chewing metal in general (he chews the suspenders for his hangin bridge, not the actual bridge!) which could be a problem. For now I will try cardboard in the gaps of his cage where he chews and see if that sorts it out. I will also move the food bag away from his cage as it was right next to it! Thanks again, hopefully this will sort the problem out!

Edit: also there isn’t any electronics near his cage, I made sure of that!

Last edited by My hamster Zinky; 11-22-2017 at 10:28 AM. Reason: Forgot a few points
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Old 11-22-2017, 12:37 PM   #8
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Default Re: How to stop bar chewing

I wouldn't put any kind of nasty tasting thing on the bars weaving cardboard can help. But it would be good to know why he is doing it. Has it just started or has he always done it?

As Fluffagrams said it can be something he's not happy with in the cage - eg the wheel not working properly. There are other things too - if there isn't much substrate, or if there isn't anywhere dark to hide away (eg a large enough house or under a shelf).

Another thing can be cleaning out too often, which stresses them. As the others say, a photo of your cage set up might help give some suggestions to help him settle.

Or - he could just be a chewer and have developed this habit. Some changes might distract him if they're the right changes.

Or just a very active hamster who wants more space at night! But I think if they're happy with their set up and have a good wheel, they don't really want to get out of it at night. What size wheel do you have? If it's too small he may not be using it as a wheel that's too small can cause back pain - and then he won't be getting enough exercise which could lead to pent up energy and bar chewing.
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Old 11-23-2017, 09:06 AM   #9
Billz004
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Default Re: How to stop bar chewing

Quote:
Originally Posted by My hamster Zinky View Post
I give my hamster so many chews and fresh veg and little treats hidden in his sand bath etc. He has so many toys in his cage, and itís a big 1m long one. However, at 4:30 almost exactly each night, he chews the bars and I get woken up. Itís really annoying and I donít know how to stop it. Iíve tried ignoring him. Any ideas?!
Hi, my previous hamster, Syrian, would CHEW BARS ALL NIGHT lol, and she has a nice big cage, many treats and stuff. I couldn't work it out.

Eventually, I bought a big bin cage and diy -ed it. She didnt even try and do anything after that.

In conclusion, I think some hamsters are naturally prone to this sort of behaviour and the only way to stop it is to get a bin cage.

The other thing could be cage size but ou have said its a good size. Most of the time its due to cage size or lack of toys, treats, hides and fun.

You can also try putting more bedding for the hamster to dig up which coiuld stop the problem.
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Old 11-25-2017, 04:01 AM   #10
My hamster Zinky
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Default Re: How to stop bar chewing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
I wouldn't put any kind of nasty tasting thing on the bars weaving cardboard can help. But it would be good to know why he is doing it. Has it just started or has he always done it?

As Fluffagrams said it can be something he's not happy with in the cage - eg the wheel not working properly. There are other things too - if there isn't much substrate, or if there isn't anywhere dark to hide away (eg a large enough house or under a shelf).

Another thing can be cleaning out too often, which stresses them. As the others say, a photo of your cage set up might help give some suggestions to help him settle.

Or - he could just be a chewer and have developed this habit. Some changes might distract him if they're the right changes.

Or just a very active hamster who wants more space at night! But I think if they're happy with their set up and have a good wheel, they don't really want to get out of it at night. What size wheel do you have? If it's too small he may not be using it as a wheel that's too small can cause back pain - and then he won't be getting enough exercise which could lead to pent up energy and bar chewing.
I havenít quite got to grips with the picture option yet, so unfortunately canít put one on here. But the cage has lots of running and climbing space as well as a flying saucer which he doesnít really go on and a wheel, which is a silent spinner. It is 9Ē so it doesnít bend his back when he runs.

He has stopped chewing the bars now and is instead chewing the metal suspenders of his hanging bridge. It doesnít make too much noise, but I worry that it isnít good for his teeth (Iím sure itís probaboy fine though). Last night he was chewing his actual wheel. He doesnít seem to want to chew the wood and cardboard that I put in there, perhaps my hamster doesnít like soft things to chew?

Also heís about 5 months old now, Iíve had him for 2 months. He seems to like his cage and his house is just a pile of bedding in the corner under a shelf (he prefers that set up to the actual large house that came with the cage!) and has quite a few hidy holes.

I think that, seeing as he has stopped the bar chewing now, and is now chewing other things that arenít wood or cardboard, itís kind of problem solved? Unless metal and plastic isnít a good thing to chew.... George has got some more toys coming (a chew shelf and a wooden bendy bridge) so he may like them. Thanks!
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