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Old 10-03-2020, 10:39 AM   #1
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 1
Default Advice Needed! Bad Mother hamster, what do I do?

So I adopted 2 Chinese dwarf hamsters, which I thought were boys. Turns out one of them is a girl. As soon as I noticed, I separated them but the girl was pregnant and gave birth to a litter. She ate them before 24 hours even passed. I was kinda shocked.

But after the incident I cleaned the cage, I found that both my hamsters are a little depressed. They don't move around much as opposed to when they are together and they try to out-run each other on the wheel. They really liked each other so I let them have an hour 'play-time' together every once in a while. Turns out I'm a bad chaperone and the girl was pregnant again.

Last night she gave birth. I know because I hear squeaking noises, like the first time, even though the nest is pretty secluded. I can't even see the entrance. I kept the room shady and silent. This morning and afternoon I still hear squeaking noises. But now in the evening there is no noise, and I think I see a baby corpse outside the nest.

What should I do? Do I leave the hamster alone with her potential babies? Has she eaten them? Do I remove her and hand feed the babies?
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Old 10-03-2020, 12:26 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Wales UK
Posts: 24,747
Default Re: Advice Needed! Bad Mother hamster, what do I do?

I’m not entirely sure what the best thing would be if the babies are dead, hopefully one of the experienced breeders on here will see this & be able to give you an answer but I would think it best to leave her alone for a while, if the babies are alive the last thing you want to do it to disturb her as that in itself can lead to culling.
She’s not being a bad mum she’s just doing what’s natural, if the babies are dead or something is wrong with them this is nature’s way, in the wild the instinct would be to get rid of any trace of the dead babies that might attract predators & pet hamsters still have those instincts.
Keep her really quiet & make sure she has loads of nesting material in her cage so she can keep the babies hidden if they are alive.
Handing rearing new born pups is difficult if not impossible so best left alone for now at least.
If the pups do survive you’ll find some threads in the breeding section about taking care of mum & pups, what to feed etc.
Once this is over make sure the two adults never come in contact again not even to play, more pregnancies could follow & Chinese hamsters can fight worse than other species especially a male & female so you could end up with an injured ham or worse.
They will adjust to living alone with a little time just give them lots of enrichment in their cages.
Slave to Zak, Gusto & Merilin.
Always loved, never forgotten, forever in my heart
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Old 10-03-2020, 12:32 PM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Birmingham
Posts: 7,663
Default Re: Advice Needed! Bad Mother hamster, what do I do?

Hello and welcome to HC

Your hamsters wont be depressed at all and are solitary creatures. Hamsters mate very quickly and trying to "chaperone" them is near impossible.

Your priority now is for the mother, being young and already given birth twice will be hard on her body.

If there is still a dead pup outside the nest and she hasn't disposed of it then you can take a spoon, roll it in some of the bedding and scoop it out.

DO NOT disturb the nest or touch any pups. As cypher said hand rearing is very hard. If she has culled the litter it was meant to be, they know when a litter isnt healthy or she can't manage.

As Cypher said, lots of material, quiet place and try not to disturb the next for the first 2 weeks.

Keep us updated

all the best
Feel free to ask me about rat advice too
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Old 10-03-2020, 04:04 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North of England
Posts: 20,889
Default Re: Advice Needed! Bad Mother hamster, what do I do?

As the others say you need to leave the Mother alone completely. Don’t clean anything or move anything in the cage. Just put food and water out add a handful of nesting material (torn up strips of toilet paper) and scoop out the dead pup. Do that when she’s asleep and quietly. Don’t even go close to the cage to peek. If she is looking after them she should keep taking lots of nesting material and food. You need to put extra food out as well and some veggies. So don’t take her out of the cage either.

If she is out on her own a lot and you don’t hear squeaks for a while then she may have culled the rest. But there may be no trace of them.

If there is only one dead pup in the cage the others may still be in the nest and she culled that one because she sensed there was something wrong with it.

It is their instinct to kill the babies if the nest or cage is disturbed because they’re prey animals. And think an invader could steal or hurt the babies so rather than have them suffer they kill them. Just hard wiring - for all they know it could be a hawk invading the cage or other predator.

It also explains why hamsters are generally a bit territorial about their cages.
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