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Old 11-21-2020, 01:29 PM   #1
Lizchewy
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Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Wales
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Default I'm really stuck on what to do for Chewy

Hello. I've posted on some other threads but just a quick summary - we have a rescue hamster Chewy. Had him for 8 weeks now. Taming was going slowly but steadily and he seemed happy until the roof popped off his igloo on the shelf and I rehomed him in a larger cardboard box at ground level. Ever since then I can only get him out to play every other night and even then I really have to coax him. Once out he will run around the playpen for about 5 mins going through tubes, nibbling at the food I've put out but then he just falls asleep. So then I put him back in his home. He eats, drinks has a little forage around and then goes back to bed. He used to run on his wheel about 5 hours a night, lately I haven't seen him use it at all. Its 12 inch silent spinner flying saucer style. He doesn't get up at all at night (i get up lots at night) apart from food and water. He looks healthy, eats and drinks but is hardly playing at all. He is awake about 7 in the morning but only for food and drink. One morning last week he bar chewed like mad and dug in his sandpit like mad but still wouldnt come out to play. He used to come when I call him and eat from my hand but now he is a recluse. He has been 8 days in his new cardboard box sleeping area. Perhaps he is still cross at his igloo popping. I've got the 12 inch silent runner on it's way in the post, I have degu shelves waiting to put up. I think once the new wheel arrives i will redesign his cage. I'm currently making a plan so I can get it right this time and then just leave it the same. The new wheel will give more space for much more enrichment and I'm also making a giant cardboard sleeve for top and 2 ends of plaza to make it covered and less exposed. At the moment he has flying saucer , sand bath, log bridges, grass huts, 2 shelves with hideouts on, rat tunnel, burrowing area (which he never borrows in so should I keep that bit?) so it s definitely not empty but may not be enough. My friend who volunteers with rescue animals and also has a house full of very calm and happy rescue pets including a hamster thinks I need to really work hard on the taming and maybe wake him up in the day to do it in a bath or a bed where there are no hideouts just to get him really used to humans and not be scared anymore. She has offered to help if he doesn't improve soon. Does anyone have any ideas ? Thank you in advance
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Old 11-21-2020, 01:57 PM   #2
Lizchewy
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Default Re: I'm really stuck on what to do for Chewy

Typically just after I posted that last post I went back to see Chewy and he was playing in his home. I offered him some cucumber and he turned his back on me but then obviously couldn't resist and he took it, then came looking for something else off me. Now he is running fast on his wheel. Perhaps I just needed to tell tales on him!! Do people still think I should try and cage improve when the new wheel arrives? I think ultimately he would be happier with that although changes do seem to bother him. Having a hamster is so confusing yet I'm so in love with him!
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Old 11-21-2020, 02:22 PM   #3
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: I'm really stuck on what to do for Chewy

They do have “Go away I’m washing my hair” days . Was there anything could have set off the bar chewing? Sometimes it’s to tell you something isn’t right. Eg water bottle is empty or wheel is jammed. Sometimes it’s a bit of stress- eg after a cage clean or something they like being taken away. It can actually take 10 days to 2 weeks to settle after a major change so maybe it is the old house going that is stopping him settling so much. They do hide away more when it’s cold as well.

I wouldn’t wake him up during the day for taking - he would be very grumpy. What you can do is get then into a routine of being woken at say 6 or 7 pm for feeding and get them out then for some taming. Just make a little bit of cage noise putting the food out around the same time each day and they get in the habit of waking up at that time for food.

Also observe his evening patterns - they vary. Our first hamster was far too active at 6pm to get out but between 8 and 9pm he was quite dopey and would happily sit for a cuddle or just go to sleep in you. Between 10 and 11 he was highly active again and off!
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Old 11-21-2020, 03:13 PM   #4
Lizchewy
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Default Re: I'm really stuck on what to do for Chewy

Hi! I'm not sure what set off the bar chewing that morning. He had refused to come out the night before so I thought maybe he wanted to come out then so I did try ( even though I was trying to get kids ready for school) but he still wouldn't actually come out. His water bottle had been a bit low in its position as the holder snapped but I still saw him drinking from it. Anyway that is back in normal position now. An igloo (not his old house another one) was outside the cage on the floor by the area he was chewing but I thought they had terrible eyesight or can they see the immediate area surrounding their cage? Anyway I've moved that now as well in case he has igloo obsession. He is still on his wheel now which is good. What is not good though is since I changed his bedding to Aspen my son now has huge puffy eyes so I think my son may be allergic to it! So if he is I will have to change the bedding again. Is Fitch a good idea? Chewy does put substrate in his cheeks to carry to his house as well as the toilet paper. I've been trying to get him out at 7 when he gets up naturally. He is much more sleepy in the playpen than he used to be but I guess once tamed I could cuddle him when he is sleepy. I've been following a taming programme where once he climbs on to my hand I can pick him up but 8 weeks later he still wont climb on to my hand. My friend says just pick him up for a few seconds at a time as that is what she always does to start and her hamsters are so happy and calm and very tame. So I may try that as I think he still thinks I'm a bird.
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Old Yesterday, 04:36 AM   #5
Lizchewy
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Default Re: I'm really stuck on what to do for Chewy

Update on Chewy......well due to my sons puffy eyes we have stayed in today whereas normally we are out at this time. And what do we find ....Chewy is awake and burrowing in his cage at 10am. When I said hello to him he started bar chewing. Anyway, I got him out of the cage and put him in his playpen. He ran around for 45 minutes, in and out of tubes, egg box swing, climbing , playing with toys, eating his treat roll. The kids were delighted. It was bright sunshine in the room and Chewy came to life!! The kids were delighted. Chewy looked so content I just reached in and stroked him with my whole hand, like you would a cat. Not even a flinch, he actually seemed to like it. My daughter who is 3 was rearranging things all around him and he was just running up to her sniffing and then grooming in the open. He all of a sudden seems tame! Anyway, after 45 minutes he went into a cracker box and curled up so I just picked up the cracker box and out him back in his cage. Stroked him again once in there and he went to bed. We have always let him have completely natural lighting during the day and dark at night but I have noticed whenever I open the curtains in the morning and the daylight comes in he gets up. So, could he be a daytime hamster? He acts so nervous in the playpen in the dim light but he was amazing in full light today. We could also see him clearly for the first time really and his coat is an absolutely beautiful ginger colour , not sandy like we thought. Very excited kids here today! And grown up!
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Old Yesterday, 07:03 AM   #6
Ria P
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Default Re: I'm really stuck on what to do for Chewy

That's great news! So happy for you and your family.

Out of my six hamsters two are daytime hamsters and often sleep all night, forage in the morning and want out of cage time during the day.
Two i don't see unless i stay up till after midnight and the other two are more early morning and early evening hamsters.

I've never tried to tune them into hamstermode by adjusting the light and have always stuck to human habits of drawing the curtains at dusk and opening them in the morning.

The hamsters can do as they like and i accommodate their out of cage requests as much as i can.

Doesn't always work out to everyone's satisfaction like last night i was looking forward to play with the hamster who usually wants evening out of cage time but he wasn't in the mood and run on his wheel instead and this morning another asked to come out when i had to leave for work but that's life and i don't stress over it. The hamster was annoyed though and dug a new hole kicking a lot of substrate into her sandpit.
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Old Yesterday, 03:02 PM   #7
Lizchewy
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Default Re: I'm really stuck on what to do for Chewy

Thanks Ria. I have seen Chewy up quite a few times when we are getting ready for the school run in the morning. I've always assumed he is just getting food or water. Also ive stayed up quite a few nights worrying about why is he sleeping so much. It hadn't occurred to me before that he could be a morning hamster. But after getting him out this morning and seeing the huge and positive difference in him I will be getting him out now as much as I can in the mornings before the kids go to school. Although I will have to get him out at a different time on cleaning days as I wont manage that before the school run! My latest task is finding the elusive wee spot as the potty and sandbath have been clump free for days and the aspen all smells ok. But he has just started burrowing so it could be anywhere! Ha ha I'll have to dig around.
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Old Today, 02:48 AM   #8
Lizchewy
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Default Re: I'm really stuck on what to do for Chewy

Ok so Chewy came out again this morning and had a lovely play and his first porridge and a big old stroke which was lovely. My OH kept an eye on him with the kids whilst I had a speedy look for the wee spot. All corners of cage dry, food stash in house stinky with wee underneath. So I scooped it out and replaced with fresh food. Can I do this once a week? Or does it have to be more often if he sleeps where he wees? Thank you.
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Old Today, 05:10 AM   #9
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: I'm really stuck on what to do for Chewy

He sounds lovely. Yep I reckon it was igloo obsession! They seem to know when something is nearby- scent? And possibly also annoyance at the water bottle not being quite right. They do like to let us know if something isn’t right! I had a similar thing when I had to change our hamster’s wheel for safety reasons. I made the mistake of leaving the old wheel near the cage and he went frantic and bar chewed. In the end I let him out and he went on the wheel out of the cage. I put it in another room after that and he adjusted to his new wheel.

They do behave very differently out of the cage than in it so taming sounds to be going well. In the cage they are territorial and don’t like you being in there. Hopefully he will stop peeing on his hoard now. But you need to be careful as if you spot clean while he’s out of the cage they can get reluctant to come out and stay there guarding the hoard! Also they can start peeing on it more to stop people stealing it! If that happens I tend to put the replacement hoard near where the old hoard was rather than the same place to break the pattern. It helps if you can leave a bit of the old hoard left (smells familiar) that isn’t soggy - if there’s a dry bit you can leave behind.

We have one hamster who is a morning hamster - up early in the morning but not after 7am usually!

I am also allergic to wood and hemp beddings. I was ok with aspen but did find it dusty which bothered me a bit. Yes I would get some Fitch. You don’t need to change it all at once - you can start adding it gradually and mixing it in and then at some point swap it all over. Unless it is really affecting your son then you may need to just swap it all over - chewy will then maybe need a few days to adjust and rescent Mark so don’t worry if he goes reclusive for a few days.

I tend to find they settle into a pattern of wanting to be out every few days but not every day - they can get over excited when out and need some chill time for a day or so . But they vary so see how he goes.

I wouldn’t spot clean his hoard every day though. Next time I would try doing it while he’s in his house - he will probably nudge your hand a bit or follow it out of concern so talk to him and explain why you have to do this! He’ll get used to seeing you replacing it with new food and may learn not to pee on it. Sometimes they see a potty as a useful place to hoard food! When that happens I take it out and put it next to the potty so they start hoarding there instead. If it comes to it then moving the potty and leaving the hoard in the same place can help.

He is still a baby and they get better toiletting habits as they get a bit more grown up . Tbh even if the hoard is peed on, leaving it for a few days won’t cause any harm so maybe check it every few days.

It’s trial and error as to what will work best with him. Some hamsters cope with it better if they can see you doing it and check on you. Others go frantic and you need to do it when they’re out of the cage - but they can then not want to come out again for a few days.
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Old Today, 11:39 AM   #10
Ria P
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Default Re: I'm really stuck on what to do for Chewy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizchewy View Post
Ok so Chewy came out again this morning and had a lovely play and his first porridge and a big old stroke which was lovely. My OH kept an eye on him with the kids whilst I had a speedy look for the wee spot. All corners of cage dry, food stash in house stinky with wee underneath. So I scooped it out and replaced with fresh food. Can I do this once a week? Or does it have to be more often if he sleeps where he wees? Thank you.
Our Syrian Rory is a lazy hamster who always pees inside his house but never in his nest. I got the S size Rodipet ceramic corner toilet and put it in that corner of his house. He keeps a hoard underneath his toilet which i leave alone as much as possible and some he chucks in his toilet. About once a week or when i can smell it, i lift the roof off his house while he's in his coconut, lift the toilet out to clean it and put it back in with a little woodchips in it. He watches me doing that and seems to be fine with it.
The rest of his substrate is Kaytee clean and cozy which stays clean because he won't pee anywhere else.
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night, food, put, rescue, cardboard, wheel, bath, mad, run, silent, inch, flying, saucer, hideouts, eats, back, drinks, bed, morning, making, taming, area, happy, hamster, chewy

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