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Old 07-12-2015, 03:23 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2015
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Default hamster trouble

I have had my hamster Rothko for nearly 5 months and honestly... i am thinking of giving him to someone else. I love him very much but i cannot stop him biting the bars on his cage and it keeps me awake all night. I have tried multiple runs in his ball before i go to sleep, i have tried lemon juice on the bars, i have put treats attached to the bars he bites to distract him but he moves them, i have bought him a bigger cage, i have given him many chews, i just dont know what else to do. I cant put him in another room bc my dog cant be left with him unsupervised (i keep my door shut when im not there)
my anxiety levels rise a whole lot when i havent slept much and this is honestly not good for me. I dont mind the sound of his wheel, i dont mind any other noise he makes, but the bar biting keeps me up all night.
I have spent quite a bit of money on him and im worried my mum will be mad if i tell her i cant keep him.
i dont know what to do. advice?
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Old 07-12-2015, 03:30 PM   #2
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Default Re: hamster trouble

It can be very annoying when you can't get your hamster to stop biting the bars. Sadly, some hamsters just won't stop before you make it impossible. Have you tried a cage without bars such as a duna multy or a zoozone2? If you think they are too expensive you could make him a bincage as well - to me it sounds like it's the last option unless someone on here has other ideas???
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Old 07-12-2015, 04:30 PM   #3
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Default Re: hamster trouble

It really is a horrible noise bar-biting. Not sure if this helps, but ours was never a bar biter until we went on holiday and left him somewhere else. When we came back he was doing it - and it was an attention thing to want to come out and also it was a bit of a stress thing I think due to the change of environment. I decided to ignore it eventually and he used to stop after we'd left the room. Now he's out of the habit again. If he's in your bedroom you can't go to bed and leave the room though!

The general thought is cage size and enough enrichment to keep them happy in the cage to help prevent it. Unfortunately though it can become a habit they just do after a while and if you have a bar chewing hamster that won't stop, a perspex or tank style cage would be better. I know you say you got him a bigger cage, but just wondering if it's big enough? If their cage is too small they will be stressed and want to chew their way out, especially at night when they are most active.

Miniimum recommended RSPCA size is about 80cm by 50cm continuous floor area - ie in one unit, not 2 or 3 smaller ones. They also need quite deep substrate/litter on the base of the cage so they can dig a bit, a house or hide that is big enough to build a nest inside, and chews to keep their teeth from growing to long. They also need out of cage time regularly as well, even if it's only 15 minutes every other day. Getting them into a routine of coming out around the same time can help so they know they will be coming out of the cage at some point.

Sorry if you know all this already.

It's horrible when you have spent money on a cage and then more money. I would agree with Penguine that a duna cage would be a good idea. The maxi duna multy costs over 60 though. You could make a bin cage (it's a large plastic box basically that you cut holes in and mesh them) but it's quite a bit of diy and a few tools required.

If you could get the money together I think the Maxi Duna Multy would solve the problems though. Your hammy would have lots of space and room for lots of enrichment, hides and deep substrate for digging tunnels, no bars to chew on (the top grid isn't an issue as they can't hold on to chew those bars) and that would solve the bar chewing and you could enjoy your hammy again. You could sell your current cage on ebay and that should get about 20 at least towards the new one.

It's a really nice 'cage' too because you can see them through the clear top.

Cage Maxi Duna Multy

It's quite big at 100cm long but would probably fit easily on top of a chest of drawers with a bit of overhang at the sides maybe, and it's a bit of a hamster heaven having the space.

Here are some pictures of set ups

Does he have a wheel big enough as well? If his current cage and wheel are big enough then it probably is just a case of a solid sided cage, but if his cage and wheel are too small I'm not surprised he's bar chewing. I think if I had just one small room to live in and a chair that was too small to sit in and nothing much to do in there I'd be chewing to get out too!
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Old 07-13-2015, 06:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: hamster trouble

Hi Rothko, we all feel your anxiety because most hamsters find a way to make a racket when the lights go out! Although bar chewing can be the biggest bug bear. The one thing I would do is keep him in a tank or a Perspex-style cage like a Zoozone or the Ferplast Duna style habitats. I read that you bought another cage but does it still have bars? If it does, that won`t solve the bar biting even if the cage is roomier sadly. Some hamsters just focus on chewing bars because the bars are there.

I think you will find a tank-style cage will help, or even solve the problem. As you say, wheels can still rattle and making some noise is normal just because they are highly active during the night. It`s a shame they don`t sleep all night and are more active during the day!

Bin cages can also be tried and I you found a large enough storage box. You could mesh the lid only to prevent him reaching the mesh. Just don`t allow anything he can climb up high enough to reach. x
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Old 07-14-2015, 02:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: hamster trouble

Thanks for all your advice. I worry that a cage with no bars would get extremely hot? it gets quite hot where i'm from. His cage is just larger than requirements, and i got a good deal on it. i dont know if i'd be able to get another one so quickly and idk how long i can deal with the noise to be honest.
I have multiple toys for him and i swap them every three days so he doesnt get fed up, but it does nothing. He also chews all his water bottles until they break, so i attached it to the outside of the cage and now all he does is chew the bit thats through the bars. His face is often covered in water.
He hardly ever uses his wheel? its big enough for him and its not broken but he prefers to bite the bars instead. I give him new toys for when the noise has kept me up for many hours but he ignores them to chew on the bars.
I increased the amount of times i let him out in a day but it hasnt changed anything.
very sleep deprived. thanks for all your advice, i appreciate it. this forum has always been kind to me
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Old 07-14-2015, 02:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: hamster trouble

It definitely sounds like he's a very stressed out little guy if a tank style cage has decent ventilation and it's kept in a cool, dim corner away from direct sunlight then it won't necessarily get hot. Most tanks can be either left open if they're tall enough or you can make a mesh lid that prevents escapes but allows for maximum air flow. Bin cages can have all 4 sides and the lid meshed if you have the patience so they have as much air flow as a barred cage and they are always the cheapest option. If you're worried about chewing mesh (my cheeky girl still finds a way to make noise with mesh and get my attention!) then just mesh the lid!

I hope you don't decide to give him away, you haven't reached the end of the reasonable solutions yet!
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Old 08-24-2015, 05:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: hamster trouble

Hi everyone ! update time ! i watched for where he bit the bars of his cage and covered them with chews and toys strapped to the bars. I also replaced his water bottle with a bowl of water instead, and he is doing so much better. he barely chews anymore, and when he does i swap his toys around or take him out in his ball. so much happier. thank you all for your advice x
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