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Old 09-14-2020, 04:14 PM   #11
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Cage/Peer pressure on social media

I certainly don't have much of a monthly spend. The initial cost is buying the cage and any extras like shelves. After that I just buy food really. Substrate in bulk so maybe 23 every 6 months on substrate. A bag of hamster food lasts a few months with two Syrians so maybe 15 every 6 months. So that's about 6 or 7 a month. Unless you factor in extra heat in the winter at night! I do buy the large hemp mats but one of those lasts a long time and usually just for setting up a new cage. The odd fuzzbutts out of cage toy - but usually only at Christmas!
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Old 09-14-2020, 04:19 PM   #12
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Default Re: Cage/Peer pressure on social media

I know what you mean though. Boromir and many other hamsters on here lived to a very good age, very happily, with an 8" wheel and an 80 x 50 ish cage. As Ghosts says - other things are important too - bonding, attention, out of cage time.

My ideal cage size doesn't exist. Sometimes 80cm isn't quite big enough and 100cm is too big/tall. I guess my ideal cages would be a variety of different sizes of hamster heaven at 80, 90 and 100cm. All with big front doors. And them come with a shelf and a house like the ones in the Barney.

Sushi I added hemp mat round the bars of the Savic Plaza to make the base deeper. Not because I wanted a deeper base, but to reduce the overall height I got the idea from people having done that with cardboard.
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Old 09-14-2020, 04:46 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cage/Peer pressure on social media

Great to see some positive engagement and some opposing views.

What I have always loved about this forum, is that no matter how long my absences may be (sorry mod team!), whenever I log back on the attitude all our members have to each other is so mature and civil. It makes me really proud!

I've just been having a look at #hamstergram and saw a quite small duna style cage for a syrian in one of the baltic countries. Yes the cage is small, but you can see the owner has really tried their best with it..substrate, hammocks, hides and the photos of them with the hamster all look nice a caring and responsible. I would much rather see a set up like that where it is obvious the hamster is loved and cared for to the best that person can provide in their circumstances/country.. than, as some of you have said, a hamster that is used just for photoshoots in a large cage. But as expected, they have some comments from UK accounts telling them wheel too small, cage too small...

I also agree with your point Serendipity about not having the ideal cage.

My sister is quite popular on IG with her small business and pet account and sent Boromir loads of treats and things. Ive politely told her thanks but no thanks as he just wasn't interested and it goes to waste on him. Whenever I tried to change his cage, he would start doing laps and seemed quite stressed out for days.. sleeping in different places and making a little hiccup sound. When I put things back it stopped so I personally believe, no change and a smaller space suited him.

I'm saddened to read some have felt the peer pressure and it's put you off posting on other mediums. I'm glad to hear so many are comfortable here though.

I used to be a bit more involved in "hammy world" and remember talking to many respected breeders about their set ups and was suprised to learn they kept their hammies in what would be deemed, smaller than expected, cages. And nobody could ever accuse these individuals of being cruel!

Perhaps the online social media hamster owners are of a different "variety" and just a product of our social media society now.
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Old 09-14-2020, 11:03 PM   #14
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Default Re: Cage/Peer pressure on social media

I call them the Cage Cops. I have went a bit round and round with one person who caused my FB Syrian Hamster Genetics and Care group to be deleted because they were so angry that I had a no cage size post rule and they kept posting The Hamsters were Not happy in any Bar cage or Bin cage.

The dispute came to a blaze when she Bluntly told a new Member from a Country that is just learning the do's and Don'ts of Hamster breeding, That they should never place Human emotions on their Hamsters, But then turns around in the same sentence and says their Hamster is not "Happy" in that Tiny Boring Bin cage. Mind you in this new persons country to even find one bin of good size is like a $40 buy, and this person went out and bought a bin for all 10 of their Hamsters because their goal was to educate the Country on proper cages for Syrian Hamsters. Yes the bin was a bit dull for Toys but they did have an 8 1/2 inch wheel for each Bin, and a nice home made Hide which was bigger then some for sale online. They switched to Paper bedding from Pine, and went to large extremes to make their own food mix as in their Country the quality food is horrible.

This STILL was bashed on by the Cage Cops and I soon learned that they were PMing this person and making harsh words to them. I never did get a response on just how do they know their Hamster is "Happy" since "Happy" is a human emotion and not a Hamsters emotion. If your Hamster is active and healthy and runs just fine in a 8 1/2 inch wheel then to me it is "Happy". If you see the Hamster stop using its wheel than observe what is causing that new behavior, and if it is found the wheel is making the Hamster uncomfortable THAN get a bigger wheel. If you can make Hides and the Hamster uses it than I say the Hamster feels it is fine.

Like Amethyst Ice I have tended Hamsters for over 27 years now and have seen the so called "Right" cage size go up, and, up and, up. Cage size seems to need to be bigger every year. Wheels also have changed size to bigger and bigger as well. Ask the Experts (The Hamsters themselves) which wheel they prefer. Do a fun test and record your results. I have 13+ year old Wodent Wheels here. I have several 8 1/2 inch Jr WW, and have five 11 inch WW Sr. Also have 8 1/2 inch Comfort wheels , and a HUGE 12 inch Silent Spinner I paid a whole $5 dollars for. I use a kiddie Pool for my Play pen and my Pups don't get Wheels at all until at least 5 months old as I have found pups run off their weight when given a wheel sooner.

I placed one of each kind of wheel in the Pool and took out a 5 month old keeper pup from 4 different litters. They had free choice of which wheel to use and until the test had never seen any wheels at all. 100% of the time they went for the WW Junior.

Thinking the choice was because they were Babies and the smaller wheel gave them a secure feeling I tested 5 Adults the same way. One by One they checked out the WW Sr and then the WW Jr and 4 of 5 stayed in the WW Jr, One had to be different and actually chose the Comfort wheel But that was still only and 8 1/2 inch wheel. So even The Hamsters picked an 8 1/2 inch wheel even when they had the choice of the 11 Inch WW Sr or the 12 inch Silent Spinner.

FB deleted my Group cause this angry person reported us as selling Live animals which me and my Co Mod tried in vain to save. We had over 3,000 members when it was deleted BUT I now have a PM chatroom and we all feel at ease talking about anything Hamster or other Pet related Chat(from Pygmy Mice to Dairy Goats and Horses). We talk Syrian Genetics and have a wide variety of Countries participating so there is seldom a time there is nobody to chat with.
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Old 09-14-2020, 11:57 PM   #15
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Default Re: Cage/Peer pressure on social media

Cage cops is a good phrase Nancy! And yes people who go round being aggressive and criticizing online are just that. Even if they wanted to educate someone regarding a very small wheel eg, there are ways of doing it nicely.

I remember being confused about wheel size when I first came on here - some people were saying 8" some 11". It was generally said 8" might be big enough but if they grow large they might need 11". So rather than risk having to buy another wheel if the 8" got too small I just got an 11" And Charlie was huge! Giving them a choice sounds interesting though! The only preference I've seen is them preferring a wheel that really spins well and easily and I think that's why the silent runner is so popular. The wood trixie wheel is the same but I don't find them that long lasting if hammered. They end up tilting forwards on the bearings and scraping the base.

I guess a hamster given a wheel will run in it - unless it's so small it causes discomfort and clearly they don't get discomfort in an 8" wheel. I had forgotten about the 8.5" comfort wheel. The choice is more limited now that you can't get wodent wheels any more and silent "spinners" stopped working properly after a manufacturing change - mainly to the wood or plastic trixie wheels, the silent runners or the comfort wheel/savic rolly wheel. The first three seem more popular as they're silent.

Cage size is a hugely emotive topic for a lot of people. Some feel the hamster should have as much space as possible so they're not so "caged". And smaller cages for Syrians do tend to lead to bar chewing. I know from reading on here though that for dwarf hamsters, cage size needs can be very variable due to personality. That can be confusing for a new owner though who needs to know what size to get and wants to avoid having to get a different cage if it's not right, so size guidelines can be helpful. 75 x 45 or 80 x 50 seems to be the sweet spot that is not too big or too small but 60 x 40 is ok for some dwarf hamsters as well.

It would be interesting to see if a Syrian who found a very large cage too overwhelming, reacted the same in a large tank style as they may feel more secure in a tank style with those natural kind of set ups. I just couldn't get on with the glass wall between you and the hamster and top opening only - so prefer cages for that reason. But tanks are easier to obtain than cages in some countries.

My own feeling on seeing some of the huge natural German set ups is - they are amazing and sort of creating a world/habitate for the hamster. But is that the same as having a pet you interact with? Or does the hamster just live in a nice natural world and not have much contact with the owner?

There is also the view that if you can't make a decent sized bin cage you shouldn't keep a hamster. Guinea pigs for example need quite a large amount of space and that is accepted - so if someone couldn't give that space they shouldn't keep guinea pigs. So what started as a good thing, to ensure hamsters weren't kept bar chewing in teeny tiny cages - has perhaps gone a bit too much the other way.

The difficulty is that many new owners aren't that conscentious and will buy the smallest they can if there are no guidelines - because it looks cute and fits in a small space. I think it's good that these days most new owners do a bit of research first. And it's generally known what's a good cage and size.

I have a very nice cage I got as a travel/holiday cage - the Sklyine Ted - which is about 65 x 45. It's a really nice cage and our large Syrian was very happy in it on holiday because it had a nice big space saving house like the one in the Alexander I think even that is ok as long as the hamster gets plenty of out of cage time.

The RSPCA now talk about enrichment and I think the view is you can fit more enrichment in a larger cage. But you can also have good enrichment in a cage like the Skyline Ted if set up carefully.

What I'd really like to see is cage manufacturers selling something that comes with everything needed instead of selling cages with tiny 5" wheels and tiny little plastic houses. If they all had a built in house like the long one in the Alexander it would be a start! And not so many extra things to have to buy.

The Barney is about the only cage that does that - with its shelf, house and 8" wheel. But that is now a very large cage at 100cm by 54cm - it's great but it would be nice if they still made the slightly smaller barney as well (which was slightly bigger than the hamster heaven) - but then the Alaska fills that slot maybe.

Sorry I'm rambling. A lot of countries don't have these cage choices and then it's bin cages, diy or tanks.
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Old 09-15-2020, 03:00 AM   #16
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Default Re: Cage/Peer pressure on social media

Unfortunately I think there will always be pressure on social media regardless of the pet you own... I remember it in my days of keeping fish and fairly recentely I witnessed a bit of the 'cage policing' when it came to pet birds too.

One of the problems I have found is that some people see something like a smaller cage and immediately jump to conclusions. They don't ask questions about the hamster's situation or their personality and on occasions they don't even bother to read the caption of the photos. I've seen some very abrupt messages posted and I honestly don't think they acheive anything. Feelings get hurt and then that potential to actually offer worthwhile advice has been lost. When someone told me several years ago that James would die young and unhappy because 'his cage was too small' I just deleted the post and vowed never to post a photo of one of my cages again. Had that person have taken a kinder approach, I'd have explained exactly why James was in a small cage, that I was planning to upgrade him at a later date and that could have served to better educate others than the aggressive approach they originally went with. As it was James didn't like his larger cage and had to be downgraded back to his 48L RUB where he lived quite happily for over 3 years.

Because of the lessons that James and Jessie (she was a high maintenance Chinese hamster who needed a big cage with lots to do) I tend to have a very flexible approach to my hamster care and if a hamster needs a small cage to feel secure then that is what they are given. I choose wheels based on the individual hamster and I know that this is a very unpopular view but not all of my hamsters have them. Elizabeth for example is as lazy and laid back as her grandfather James was and she has no interest in running around so I'd rather give her toys in her cage that I know she'll enjoy rather than a wheel that I know she'll ignore. The approach works for me but I think that for such an approach to work you have to have a certain degree of confidence to go against the trends.

Don't get me wrong, I think that these large, natural looking habitats look stunning and there is a part of me that would love to be able to do that but it just wouldn't work for my hamsters. It would be interesting to see the bigger picture with these cages rather than just the perfected version we see on social media... I'd like to see how the hamster actually does interact with their surroundings but also to the presence of their owner. Does a very large, more natural set up increase the prey behaviours that the hamsters exhibit for example?
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Old 09-16-2020, 12:10 AM   #17
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Default Re: Cage/Peer pressure on social media

I was pounced on in one FB Group and eventually was Ban because I had an older(almost 2 years old Syrian given to me because her owner claimed she was a pain and would not allow her to even pet her. She came with a single floor Critter Trail Cage, and I was expecting her to enjoy more space in a Christmas tree bin. She DID have a bigger size wheel in the CT cage, but to fit it they had to remove the sleep loft and there was not space for a good size hide so she just had a bedding made nest.

After just a few days in the new bin I noticed she was constantly hiding, and by the water level of the Bottle she was not drinking properly at all. Food was always left out in the open and by counting Lab blocks I knew none were being ate at all.

She had plenty of Toys and lots of hides to help her feel secure so I was beginning to suspect she was ill, BUT when I finally forced her to come out all that was wrong is she was terrified of all that space. Moved her into a 110 liter Bin cage and she was a bit better but still not acting a normal Hamster.

Moved her down to a 66 litter and she still hid and seldom came out of her hide and never played with any toys at all. So in a desperate move I found a two floor Critter Trail in the garbage pick-up bin and found it was just missing the end caps for the tubs to attach. So I took those off the small Critter trail cage she came with and placed a hide and her wodent wheel Jr in and problem solved she started eating like a normal Hamster came out and ran on her wheel and drank the normal amount of water. Started gaining weight and became quite friendly and waiting for her play time with me.

She was satisfied in the small Critter Trail and lived happily until she was over 2 years old.

Sometimes you just have to go with what makes the Hamster's wants filled. When I take Photos I make sure there is Nothing to give any idea how big or small the Hamsters cage is, and seldom take in cage photos at all as I found that stops the rants and Badgering from those People who believe a Hamster is to be kept as close to wild as is possible, and Yes those Countries who push the huge glass tanks feel they are environmentalist, and only a care taker and that Hamsters should NOT be cuddled or played with at all. Sorta like a Zoologist instead of a pet owner.
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