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Old 02-26-2016, 11:56 PM   #1
Elmolover4
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Question Need help

I'm new to having a hamster an I really need help with the best kinds for treats, chew stuff, toys an all that for Elmo ( that's his name) I don't know how old he is (he was given to me for my son) if someone could help that would be great or the best place to look for stuff for them I need a house also. I'm in the U.S.if that means anything with finding it online out something I'm new on here also sorry
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Old 02-27-2016, 04:43 AM   #2
Mama2six
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Default Re: Need help

Petco.com offers free shipping, which is nice.

Opinions vary on what is "best". In the U.S., it is hard to find big cages, so many of us make bin cages.

Don't use fluff for nesting material, because it can wrap around a limb. You cab use plain tissue or TP. Do you have a wheel yet? Avoid the bar kind, or cover the rungs. Also avoid cedar bedding.

I believe a seed mix with a large variety, supplemented with some extra protein is best. I also mix in a lab-block type food. Treats can be regular kitchen items like an apple or cucumber slice, or some fresh broccoli. (Never give citrus though!)

If you are looking for a house for inside the cage, he may or may not use it. You can go as simple as a modified cardboard box or oatmeal container (no tape), or you can buy one. Sometimes houses labeled for hamsters aren't good enough. There is an audible house at Wal-Mart, but the differ size is better.

I am sure you will get more feedback.
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Old 02-27-2016, 06:06 AM   #3
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Default Re: Need help

I saw your picture of him in your other thread, what a cutie . He looks like a long haired Syrian.

It does look like you're going to need to upgrade his cage and wheel as soon as you are able though. I can't tell the size of the cage from the picture but it's not recommended to have anything smaller than 80cm x 40cm. This minimum does vary from country to country but honestly you are going to find once he has the appropriate sized wheel and everything else in there that he needs anything less than 80cm is just too small. Personally I'd go for something at least 100cm. I know you are in the US so I'll leave the members that are from there to recommend suitable cages. From what I've heard it can be a bit of a pain sourcing decent cages for hamsters in the US, many go for tanks instead. One cage I can recommend which you can get where you are is the Detolf, which is actually pretty cheap in comparison to other cages. This is a display cabinet from Ikea that can be turned on it's back and used as a tank style cage. It is quite long though so many people find they don't have the space for it. You do also need to make a lid for it but that's actually very easy. If you do an internet search you'll find a lot of information on it. Here's a youtube review on it if you're interested Detolf Review. There is also a video on how to make the lid Detolf Lid, although I would suggest doing your own measurements. I can recommended the youtuber who made the video review as well - she is very experienced and has fantastic hamster videos.

The other thing is the wheel. Unfortunately the wheel you have is not suitable as it needs to have a solid running surface. Hamsters are susceptible to something called Bumblefoot, basically if the wheel is not solid he is going to damage his feet. As a temporary measure you can line the inside of his current wheel with duct tape, just watch to make sure he doesn't chew the tape. The wheel also needs to be the right size so that when he is running his back is completely straight. If it's not it will lead to spinal problems. For a Syrian you will need a wheel of 11 inches / 28cm. Some very small Syrians can get away with an 8 inch wheel but this is not common and not much point buying a small wheel only to have to buy a bigger one later. Even if he turns out to be a very small hamster a bigger wheel will still be suitable.

As the previous poster stated avoid cedar shavings for beddings. Here is another helpful video from ErinsAnimals on safe bedding ( a bit lazy on my part but I think it's better than me explaining it ). You are going to have to be careful with what bedding you use as if he is a long haired hamster then as a male he will likely grow a 'skirt' as he gets older and certain types of bedding can get tangled in his hair.

I hope the above was helpful. Everyone here is very supportive so don't be afraid to ask loads of questions
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Last edited by RubyDG; 02-27-2016 at 06:14 AM.
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Old 02-27-2016, 06:17 AM   #4
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Default Re: Need help

Hi Elmo Lover. I just wanted to let you know, I'm also from the US, and I know you may see a lot of critter trail cages around. Stay away from them with him. They may seem nice, but they're way too small for Syrians. And he may get stuck in the tube. Your best option is to try and get a storage bin with high walls to make a bincage or maybe a large fishtankfor him.
As for homes/houses/hidey places, I found that my Syrian Tiggs(rip) was quite fond of his Snak Shak. If you can I'd try and find one of those. I got mine at Petsmart.
I would stay away from a majority of the hamster/rodent supplies you can find at walmart, its just not good for them, it's very low quality. Except for the Purina natural Little Wonders food. that stuff is good!
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Old 02-27-2016, 11:23 AM   #5
Elmolover4
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Wink Re: Need help

Thank you all so much. When Elmo was given to us he came in a bird cage. So a friend of mines friend gave me a rabbit/guinea pig cage. I took the bird cage apart an lined it inside the bigger cage because I thought he'd like the space an I just put the bottom box to the bird cage in it until I could find out or find the best things for him.

The wheel he has came with him the only thing I had to buy was food for him an I have wrote down all the stuff they can eat that we eat an Elmo loves Apple's. I wrote down all of yalls helpful things. I really like this place y'all are so nice and kind an have help me a lot I'm going to look everything up now
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Old 02-27-2016, 02:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: Need help

Well a guinea pig cage should be fine ! What are the dimensions? There are people who like them because they tend to be a good size or even bigger than most hamster cages. However it will need to be meshed because of the bar spacing. Bar spacing on a Syrian cage should not be bigger than 1cm. I cannot stress enough that hamsters are super escape artists - they can squeeze themselves through very small spaces So I would measure the bar spacing on the guinea pig cage and if it's bigger than 1cm (make sure to check the corners!) then buy some wire mesh (you should be able to find some in a hardware store or online) and some cable ties. As an example here's a link to a thread on a guinea pig forum of someone who meshed one of their cages for their hamster : Meshed Ferplast 140.. Here's a youtube video of someone who did the same thing (I just found it on a search ) Bob's converted cage.

A meshed guinea pig/rabbit cage may not look pretty as such but it does the job and Elmo certainly won't mind
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Old 02-27-2016, 10:27 PM   #7
Elmolover4
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Question Re: Need help

I took the bird cage he came to me in and put that in there an I have a thick chicken wire top. I put cardboard up in the front until I get chicken wire to redo it with.

Funny little story when I first started tying the wire to the out part cage and inner part cage on inside elmo`s little smart butt trys to go out the other side lol and he hasn't tried again he's real calm an really seems to like his little set-up I guess I'm new to this sorry
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Old 02-28-2016, 04:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: Need help

If you show a picture of the cage people will give advice on things that could help you setup a nice cage layout for your hamster.
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Old 02-28-2016, 10:03 AM   #9
Elmolover4
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Question Re: Need help

I'll post one on her.it's kinda different I guess
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Old 02-28-2016, 10:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: Need help

I can help with food maybe? Pet-Co's best food is Sunburst Higgins seed mix & Mazuri Rat & Mouse lab blocks (although that's debatable because it's high in protein and low in fiber)

I personally like Kaytee Forti-Diet lab blocks (healthy support diet) you can get that from almost any pet store. Pet Smart sells Vita/Kraft Vita/Smart & sometimes Vita/Nature, I like Vita/Smart better (seems more recommended for probiotics).

For a house you could use a medium sized plastic igloo found at pet stores, if your cage doesn't work out the pet stores often have $1.00/gal tank sales & a 40 gal breeder tank is recommended for a Syrian. 20 gal in minimum but in my opinion its' ok for a dwarf but too small for a Syrian.

You could also make a bin cage which would be 110 qt minimum I take the top to a hardware store and cut out the majority of the lid and attach mesh with zip ties, they usually have all the materials at the store & the price with labor cost me $13.50. Or you could check out You Tube Videos on how to make a bin cage and make it yourself if your good at things like that? This is only info if you find your current cage isn't going to work

You can attach a water bottle with either Velcro or a metal bottle holder hanging over the top of the bin.

As for a wheel I would highly recommend the Silent Runner 12 in wheel that can be ordered directly from exoticnutrition.com and if you type in YUMMIE in the promotion code I believe you can still get 10 % off you order and they ship it to you priority mail. They also sell a 9 in Silent Runner wheel but for a Syrian the bigger the wheel the better.

There are other wheels but I'd avoid the 6.5 in Silent Spinner (too small) & the comfort wheel is too noisy 8.5 in & also too small. The flying saucers tip over.

As for substrate I like Carefresh paper bedding as there is basically no odor & I change my 20 gal tanks every 3-4 weeks & I have 4 of them in the same room with no odor.

Aspen wood shavings also work, avoid Pine, Cedar or mixed wood products as these often contain pine and is not good for their respiratory systems.

To avoid the possibility of mite eggs I always freeze my hamster food at least 3 days before using it and whatever you don't need right away can be stored in the freezer in freezer bags.
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