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Old 10-18-2016, 02:46 PM   #1
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 3
Question Help! I have so many questions!


I bought my two little girls a week ago. They are best friends that do everything together. From what I have seen and read online, Pip shows signs of being the dominant one, whereas Squeak seems to be a lot smaller in size and follows Pip around.

I let them settle down in their new home, only putting my hand in the cage to change their water and give them food. I read that it is important to get them used to your hand being in their cage, so I made a point of letting them smell my hand when they were out of their burrow. They got used to me pretty quickly, so after 4 days I started to give them treats. They don't seem to like many of the treats I try to give them, which makes taming very difficult.

Pip seems to be more tame than Squeak, she has let me pick her up twice and hold her for a minute or two. But lately her has started to nip at my fingers and today she actually bit through my skin. I'm not sure what's changed, but she either tries to bite me or gets uncomfortable around my hand and runs back to her burrow. I'm worried that she will become wild and I wont be able to tame her.

Squeak is a different story. She is practically wild already. Most of the time she isn't bothered by me being around the cage and my hand going near her for a sniff, but she sometimes freezes in place and doesn't even move her nose to sniff my hand or the treat I put in front of her. It takes her about a minute to snap out of it and she then smells my hand and carries on doing what she was doing. I have tried to pick her up twice and failed miserably both times. She hates being picked up and either screams at me or jumps out my hand every time I try. She wont let my hand get near her to pet her and she avoids contact with me whenever possible. I don't know how to tame her because she is so scared of coming into contact with me. I have placed my hand flat in front of her many times, often resulting in a lick and then a hard, painful bite. I figured Squeak is a "look but don't touch" pet, but if it's possible, I'd like to change that.

It seems like the more I try to pick them up the more they resist and become scared of me. Why is this happening?

Another thing I have a question about is their burrow. They have set themselves up very nicely in the deep bedding section of the cage that I set up. But they are very territorial over it. I'm not sure what to do when is comes to cleaning the cage. I have to get into the burrow at some point to clean out old food and the mess they tend to make. How do I go about doing this? I don't want to traumatise them by destroying their burrow, but at the same time I know it needs to be cleaned at some point.

Sorry if this is way too long! I just want my hammies to be happy and let me love them!
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Old 10-19-2016, 01:32 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Wales UK
Posts: 20,433
Default Re: Help! I have so many questions!

Hi Melissa welcome to HC.

Which species are Pip & Squeak?
If they are robos they can be hard to tame & take time & a lot of patience, some will never want to be picked up but may tolerate your hand & come to you for treats while others will become hand tame with time.
Russian hams can be territorial about their cage & are sometimes better tamed in a playpen or play bin so the taming method will depend on which species you have.
You may have been going a bit quick for them either way & taming/bonding often takes a backward step now & then but usually picks up again ok. They are sometimes really curious the first few days & come to you surprisingly readily but once they begin to settle aren't so happy as they see the cage as their space but you can get over that easily enough with a little patience.
A week isn't long at all, if you haven't already do the tissue trick to get them really accustomed to having your scent in their space, that means putting some unscented toilet tissue up your sleeve for a few hours then putting it in the cage & repeating daily for as long as it takes.
I wouldn't try picking them up just yet, stick with your hand flat in the cage for now or if you have a barred cage offer treats through the bars, if they bite or nibble try not to react & wait a moment before slowly removing your hand talking to them gently as you do it.
What treats are you using?
Most find sunflower seeds & mealworms very hard to resist & there are other natural foods you can use as treats or just take out the best bits from their mix & use that.

For cleaning it's best to take them out & put them in a pet carrier with some substrate where they will be safe & quiet while you clean.
Disturbing or destroying burrows always seems a bit sad but as long as you don't remove everything in one go they'll soon sort it out again. Always leave some of the old nest material & hoard or replace the hoard with some fresh mix.
For the first month just spot cleaning, removing pee should be enough, if you put a sand bath in with chinchilla sand (not dust) they may well pee in that which makes life so much easier!
Slave to Zeki, Tinw & Zylvan.
Always loved, never forgotten, forever in my heart
T'ycor & Ziggy, Zephyr, Flynt, Mickle, Little Whisp
& Zen
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Old 10-19-2016, 03:08 AM   #3
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 3
Default Re: Help! I have so many questions!

Thanks for the reply Cypher, it was super helpful. They are Russian hams and I try to give them a variety of treats. Different flavour drops including yogurt, carrot and apple. I also try to give them other treats but I threw away the packaging and can't remember the name. I include mealworms in their hamster mix but I'll start giving it to them as treats instead, the girls love them!

I have put a potty with sand in for them already, but they seem to poop and pee on the wooden platfom on the second level of the cage. This makes it really hard to potty train them because I can't take a peice of tissue or bedding thats been peed on to put in the sand box. They like to bath in the sand so I'm glad they still use it.

Also, is fresh baby corn safe for hamsters?
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hand, cage, burrow, squeak, point, give, tame, pick, pip, time, treats, set, contact, started, pet, sniff, times, front, wild, scared, bite, minute, food, change, read

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