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Old 01-07-2018, 08:32 AM   #1
Maximus
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Default Escape, fighting, injuries and housing

Hi all, not posted for a long time. Iím in trouble with my robos. My beautiful Campbellís Bear died (old age) new year. She was in one half of a detolf cage. The other half is home to Mustard the shy and quiet Robo. Mustardís brother Honey lived in a separate cage.

I have been thinking lately that Honey is getting bored, and needed more stimulus. Heís a super active ham, could win records for running I swear! I was thinking something along the lines of massive bin cage, but Bear died and I had a vacated half of detolf. I cleaned it thoroughly, and bought new houses and logs and all sorts. I moved Honey in (with some of his old garb) and he seemed to absolutely love it. Iíd worked really hard to make it interesting and he had SO much to climb and dig in and all sorts, that he was clearly very happy. I sat watching him for a few hours, making sure he wasnít going to get over the divider. I had had 2 hams living perfectly happily in it for 2 years, but Honey is a pickle. Eventually I stuck two blocks of wood on the very top to completely fill the little gap above the divider to be totally sure.

Mustard hates me. He was very sick when he was younger with skin issues and had to have syringe fed baytril and some other medicine twice a day for a month. I was told he would die (thatís why Honey and Mustard were separated - I didnít want to have a weak and dying Mustard vulnerable to a young a spritely Honey). Anyway, he got better unexpectedly, but has never forgiven me and is terrified of hoomans, especially me. Iím ok with that, I leave him be, and as long as he appears to drink and I can see little paw prints in his sand bath I donít disturb him.

Mustardís half of detolf needed a deep clean though, it was overdue and having spent ages sorting Honey out I wanted to make Mustardís home just as nice for him.

I try to clean Mustardís bits and bobs with as little disturbance as possible - take bits out to clean and only at the end when the actual tank needs cleaning do I get him out. Just to try minimising stress. I Started cleaning the wheel and then was scooping some cleaner substrate to mix and my boyfriend came over and said ďthereís twoĒ.

Honey was in Mustardís side of the detolf.

Itís like a horror story. There was a little corner, right at the bottom that was totally buried, about a centimetre square gap. He must have got through that. I didnít see it because it was buried under mountains and mountains of substrate. I was busy checking the top and overlooked the bottom - after all I had had 2 hams separated perfectly happily for 2 years!!

Honey hasnít got a scratch on him. He fine. Iíve put him back in his side and he seems happy as Larry.

Mustard isnít quite as lucky. He is clearly deeply traumatised to start. He has moderate cuts to his face and legs which Iím sure are painful but not too threatening. Mustard initially looked worse, but after a salt bath washed him off, I could see it was mostly just dried blood. He has a ďpuffinessĒ on his belly. It is slightly darker, and Iím not sure if it is just bruising or swelling really. I have put him in the emergency cage (a much smaller horrid P@H one, I only use it for isolation or vet trips). After being washed down, He seemed very still, but his breathing was perfectly steady. I think he is terrified and in shock. While I prepared the cage my boyfriend sat with him in wrapped in kitchen paper and sitting in his hands, and he sat perfectly still and quiet. This helped because it meant he could dry off and was kept warm in boyfriendís hands. Very unlike Musatrd though.

I put him in the little cage and he didnít immediately run off, but did find his feet after 30 seconds or so and sat in a little glass jar. I had offered him his water bottle but he ignored it, so I cut a little slice of courgette and rinsed it to moisten it and put it next to him and he took that. I donít know if he was licking the water or eating it or both but any of the options are good.

He has been in the little cage a couple of hours now, he moved and is hiding in a dark tube. I covered half the cage with a towel to make it nice and dark and have kept him in a quiet spot. He seemed to be trying to slee, but doing it with ďone eye openĒ kind of thing. I have cancelled my plans to keep an eye on him today.

I think he is exhausted and traumatised but not particularly badly injured. I will keep an extremely close eye on him, and particularly the odd belly bruise. If there is no improvement tomorrow I will take him to our vet (we are lucky to have a fantastic specialist). But I thought that most of all he needed rest and peace and quiet today.

I need advice all over the place. Any other suggestions for Mustard? Do I reinforce the divide and move Mustard back home after he improves? Iíve not seen him drink - should I force feed him fluids? Considering the relatively minor physical injuries, should I have kept them together (it feels like insanity even considering that!)?

I feel cripplingly guilty. I have one job to protect my babies and keep them happy and healthy and safe and I feel like I have totally failed Mustard. I donít blame Honey at all; he was only doing what a hamster is supposed to do. Little Mustard is so tiny, and so scared, and he has had such a hard life. He has suffered so much. I feel so stupid for not noticing. As soon as my boyfriend said it I could see it. I feel like such an awful AWFUL owner. I couldnít look and see that the hamster in front of me wasnít the right hamster. I know that they look insanely similar, and I know that I am the only person in the world that can tell them apart, but they are my babies and I donít know how I couldnít see it straight away. Has this EVER happened to anyone else? I adore my hamster babies and I pride myself on taking the very very best care of them that is possible. Now I feel like I am not fit to look after them.
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Old 01-07-2018, 09:20 AM   #2
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Default Re: Escape, fighting, injuries and housing

Mustard is eating a piece of apple. They almost never get such a sweet treat, but he’s definitely eating. Still in the tube.
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Old 01-07-2018, 09:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: Escape, fighting, injuries and housing

He is likely to be a bit nervous/stressed after what happened, but will settle again in time.
.
Do you have the shelves that came with the detolf? You may be able to fix one in as a divider using aquarium sealant. If you make sure there are no gaps near the divider then having one hamster each side would be ok.
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Old 01-07-2018, 10:07 AM   #4
Maximus
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Default Re: Escape, fighting, injuries and housing

No the glass shelves went. I wanted something less permanent in case I wanted to use it as a single home. If i re-think the dividers to be more secure, you think it will be ok?
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Old 01-07-2018, 10:13 AM   #5
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Default Re: Escape, fighting, injuries and housing

Yes it should be ok. If the divider is wood, you could cover it with wire to help prevent chewing.
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Old 01-07-2018, 11:25 AM   #6
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Default Re: Escape, fighting, injuries and housing

Well Iíve just totally emptied Mustardís side if Iím going to secure it. The gap that I assumed he went through he couldnít possibly have - there IS a gap Mustard side, but thereís wood the other (I basically have two barriers back-to-back. So he must have gone over! How would he get up there though?? Hamsters canít climb vertical walls????
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Old 01-07-2018, 04:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: Escape, fighting, injuries and housing

So sorry this has happened to Mustard. I've read in various places that this is one of the problems with dividing a detolf - very hard to keep each side secure. Personally I wouldn't return Mustard to the detolf - he will be too close to Honey and will be stressed I would think. He'll be fine in the little pets at home cage and he needs a hospital cage at the moment anyway, and to settle and recover without disturbance. If and when he recovers you could just get him a duna multy possiby. Not too expensive and about the same size as half a detolf. Poor little guy. If you're worried about him drinking maybe just give him fluidy foods - a bit of cucumber, and even some baby food for comfort (plus it is mostly water). I used to use the lids of the baby food jars to put a bit of out separately from the regular food bowl.

Difficult to know what next - you'll have to see how he is tomorrow. A vet visit would be stressful too but the swollen tummy doesn't sound good.
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Old 01-07-2018, 04:42 PM   #8
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Default Re: Escape, fighting, injuries and housing

So sorry this has happened to Mustard. I've read in various places that this is one of the problems with dividing a detolf - very hard to keep each side secure. Personally I wouldn't return Mustard to the detolf - he will be too close to Honey and will be stressed I would think. He'll be fine in the little pets at home cage and he needs a hospital cage at the moment anyway. If and when he recovers you could just get him a duna multy possiby. Not too expensive and about the same size as half a detolf. Poor little guy. If you're worried about him drinking maybe just give him fluidy foods - a bit of cucumber, and even some baby food for comfort (plus it is mostly water). I used to use the lids of the baby food jars to put a bit of out separately from the regular food bowl.

Difficult to know what next - you'll have to see how he is tomorrow. A vet visit would be stressful too but the swollen tummy doesn't sound good.
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