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Old 02-20-2018, 06:24 AM   #1
Razor
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Sweden
Posts: 274
Default From Mini Duna to Detolf. My thoughts.

Hello there!

As of today, it's been three weeks since I started my new adventures with my new found love, Gaby, my winter white dwarf. And my isn't she a cuddly one! Just one week into getting her and the only thing she wants to do is cuddle and walk all over me. And she's really responsive both to my voice as well as scent.

Anyway, to the point. One of my biggest regrets being a new hamster owner is listening to the guys at the pet store and spending money on all the wrong things. The store suggested the Mini Duna Cage to me, suggesting that it's:
1. Their most popular cage
2. It's more than big enough for a dwarf. In fact they even showed me this chart with recommended cage sizes (on hindsight, it was clearly outdated)
So me being the fool who fell for that, purchased it anyway for about 60 Euro (my best approximation from Swedish Krona.) At first, sure I was happy since it it seemed amazing, I mean, a water bottle, house, a 6.5" wheel, food dish (which I use as a sand bath) and they even provided me with nesting, bedding materials and a good hamster mix.

I'm not saying that the cage was of a bad quality or anything. Sure, it had a good build! I was quite satisfied with quality, especially considering the price I paid when having compared it with other cages in the store. The transparent window was really nice too, not to mention the ease of access to the cage through the roof for cleaning etc. Of course, I had to do my homework anyway, so one of the things I did do when I got back home was read through reviews of this cage. Most of the reviews I read were really positive too! So I was quite pleased with my investment.

Fast forward a week, and I started noticing Gaby was starting to behave a bit differently. No denying, she was super social, but then she was also almost always in her house. Soon, she started displaying other signs of cage aggression such as stress burrowing, reduced water consumption, and refusal to exercise on the wheel. I didn't think of this as much, as I assumed that this could be because she was still quite new and stressed. Then began the bar chewing. She would hop on the wheel, hang upside down from the cage roof and chew at it all night long. I mean, that's the only thing she ever did when she was awake. It was either the bars or else the plastic clasps on the side. And she used fall down pretty often too from the roof. All of this really started worrying me. I went through reviews on Hamstercental and Hamsterhideout, and I saw quite a few reviews saying that "The hamsters were happy." But there was one comment by a forum member on one of these forums who asked "How would you know if your hamster is really happy inside this cage? Just because she is very social with you and doesn't seem aggressive towards you doesn't mean (or prove) they are happy."

This was when I decided, I need a bigger cage. Doesn't matter if I don't have space in my own house, but she's going to get a really big cage! Headed to IKEA the very next day and bought myself the Detolf cabinet for 50 Euro, 4 times the size and yet 10 Euro cheaper. Sure it weighed a ton! No, it's not going to be fun when I move into a new apartment in 6 months. Yes, it occupies a very large part of my 19 square meter student apartment. But do I regret this? Hell no! The excitement from Gaby was so evident when I first placed her into this cage. I even replaced the bedding from the Pine base one that the pet store strongly recommended to Aspen (I have two colors of it). She was suddenly all over the place! Bolting from end to end at top speed all day and night long! She started playing with every single DIY toy I made for her. She even spent the whole of last night running on her new Flying Saucer wheel (She learnt to use it on the same day). She is just so active now, almost on overdrive! And her personality seemed to have just gotten so much better! If she was a little cuddle monster in the old cage, multiply it by 10 now! Sure it took me about 30L of Aspen to fill the cage with a decent amount of substrate, but she loves it! It super easy to clean, pick her up or even simply just stare at her for hours.

Funny thing is this: so I decided to go back to the pet store and inform them that the cage is too small and not to recommend the Mini Duna so strongly to other customers. Here's what the conversation went like- Me: "Mini Duna is too small for a dwarf. My hamster was hanging on the bars and chewing at it all night long. This isn't good for the teeth as well as is a sign of stress". Pet store person: "Really! That's what a stressed hamster is like when they are in a small cage? I had several customers complaining about this to me, and I was under the impression this was normal hamster behavior. Some customers even complained of hamsters having hurt themselves falling down. Please recommend an option for me to advise these customers". Yup. That's what pet stores and Mini Duna cage is like y'all.

Ok so this was quite a long post. But long story short, please don't confine your cute furry ball of joy to a teeny weeny 360 square inch cage. Be generous! Doesn't matter if you have a small apartment, it's worth it getting a big one. At the very least, I would recommend an IKEA Samla bin cage which is about 660 square inches. Just imagine yourself being trapped inside a tiny room for the rest of your life with no room to walk, and no doors to get out. Could you survive? Bet not. So I strongly say this: if you cannot get a big enough cage for the hamster, you'd be doing the hamster a favor by allowing her to find a house with someone else who can afford to give her that space.

Here a couple of links to videos and pictures:
Picture of my complete Detolf. PLan to continue upgrading.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1hn...Ha5hQBElOg_1EN

Running at the speed on light inside the new cage:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Mx...QtTkaVa1KhLowI

A stress burrow she built. I insist on stress burrow, because she prefers her little house and only the house now:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1xt...Ue4ef6o7e_Dndx

And finally, bar chewing:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Lm...AeSL6DkKMpGnNH

Hope you find this article useful! I know it's been super long, but hope it was worth your time.

Cheers,
Razor and Gaby
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Old 02-20-2018, 06:57 AM   #2
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: From Mini Duna to Detolf. My thoughts.

It was wonderful reading about it Been there, got the t-shirt. We bought a 3 tier rotostak thing - which looked big. And a Syrian hamster. Had to upgrade within 3 weeks due to cage aggression, depression and getting stuck in a tube. I got an 80 x 50cm cage. And wished I had got a 100cm cage as it soon filled up! So he then got upgraded to a 100cm cage. I would love a detolf, but we have two hamsters now so am sticking with the 100cm cage I do think our Robo could do with an upgrade from his 75cm tank though.

The mini duna is a nice little cage but it is quite small for a permanent home. It would be good for a play cage during a clean out maybe.

Lucky hammy having a nice big detolf. It really does allow their personality to come out when they're in the right cage doesn't it?

Their personalities do vary and for some, no cage is big enough, for others, they are happier in something not so big - but there does need to be enough space for plenty of enrichment.

And yes it is crazy that some small unsuitable cages are so expensive!
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:14 PM   #3
Razor
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Default Re: From Mini Duna to Detolf. My thoughts.

Indeed it does! It sure does bring out the best in them.

Agreed. I plan to keep the mini duna as a temporary cage for when I'm cleaning out the detolf or as a travel cage. It is after all small enough for that.
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Old 02-25-2018, 08:12 PM   #4
hollynelson1984
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Default Re: From Mini Duna to Detolf. My thoughts.

Lucky hamster! I am trying to figure out a way to stack. Detolfs so I can get mine out of samlas and into them!
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Old 02-27-2018, 02:57 AM   #5
Razor
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Default Re: From Mini Duna to Detolf. My thoughts.

Quote:
Lucky hamster! I am trying to figure out a way to stack. Detolfs so I can get mine out of samlas and into them!
That's great to hear! If you're planning to stack Detolfs, consider doing it with the Ikea Billy instead? They are wooden and costs approximately the same. So it would be easier to both stack them as well as make a wired door. It costs approximately the same (as Detolf) per unit. Consider laying them on the side? So you have a wired front facing door on all levels, and good ventilation too!

BILLY Bokhylla - ekfaner - IKEA
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Old 02-27-2018, 05:10 PM   #6
hollynelson1984
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Default Re: From Mini Duna to Detolf. My thoughts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Razor View Post
That's great to hear! If you're planning to stack Detolfs, consider doing it with the Ikea Billy instead? They are wooden and costs approximately the same. So it would be easier to both stack them as well as make a wired door. It costs approximately the same (as Detolf) per unit. Consider laying them on the side? So you have a wired front facing door on all levels, and good ventilation too!

BILLY Bokhylla - ekfaner - IKEA
They are amazing! I will check to see if they are available in Canada. I was hoping to get my partner to make heavy duty shelves with mesh doors at the front so I could lie the detolfs on the side. I love this idea though!
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