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Old 04-14-2019, 03:51 PM   #1
mapfef
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Default Cleaning a cage

I just got my new Syrian hamster and his cage is around 660 square inches and and he has 6+ inches of bedding in part of the cage. I am planning on spot cleaning every few days, but when should I totally clean out the cage. Iíve seen people saying to rarely ever clean out all the bedding. Should I do a total clean once a month or more? Is it to stressful for the hamster to do it that often? Anyways to help smell in a cage?
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Old 04-15-2019, 01:28 AM   #2
Shannonmcn
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Default Re: Cleaning a cage

Spot cleaning should take care of any smell, once you figure out where their pee-spot is. Or if you use a litter tray or sand dish you only really need to clean that. The rest of the bedding won't get dirty at all really.

The hamster would prefer you change literally zero bedding ever so how often you change it is for your peace of mind. I will change maybe 1/3 of the bedding every couple of months but that's usually because it's gotten mixed up with chewed bits of cardboard or she's spilled sand everywhere or something so it's just to keep it tidier for me. I won't ever do a full clean unless someone has been ill or something, there's no need and having no bedding with their scent on it is stressful.

Just live with it for a while, keep up the spot cleaning and see how it goes until you feel spot cleaning just isn't cutting it anymore.
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Old 04-15-2019, 05:07 AM   #3
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Cleaning a cage

What Shannon said I go 2 to 3 months usually, sometimes a bit longer, and then change about half the substrate - our hammy uses a litter tray and I empty that every 2 to 3 days. It isn't too stressful for them when you do a substrate change - especially if you mix some of the old in that smells familiar, or sprinkle it on top. I find as they get older, it even meets with approval! It's doing it a lot and cleaning everything that stresses them. So best thing is not to clean everything at the same time. So when you do a substrate change, don't clean everything else. You can do the wheel a different week and the toys a different week again.

I also leave the nest alone if it isn't pee'd in. The hoard under the nest gradually builds up. I leave the hoard until I do a substrate change (if it's not pee'd in) as our hammy only hoards dry food - so you need to keep an eye on their habits - if you think they have hoarded fresh food that can go off, then you may need to spot clean the hoard a bit.

When I do the substrate change I tend to "prune" the bottom half/two thirds of the hoard as it gets really large and takes over the bottom half of the cage! If you do need to remove the hoard if it's pee'd in then put new food back in exactly the same place to replace it and try and leave a tiny bit of old hoard that's clean and smells familiar.

Same with the nest - if it gets pee'd in and has to be removed then try and leave a little bit of the old nest behind that isn't wet and smells familiar. Then put a big pile of new nesting paper out and they take some to rebuild the nest. Torn up strips of plain white toilet paper are best for nesting material. I keep some out in the cage al l the time (they like to forage for it) because they regularly add new bits to the nest or chuck old bits out (which you can remove when spot cleaning).

Actually I think they get more stressy about their nests and hoards than a substrate change. Main thing is keep things smelling familiar and not removing all their familiar scent.

The other thing is, when cleaning the base of the cage when doing a substrate clean - not to use anything scented as it's overpowering for hamsters and that can stress them. Unless there has been illness or disease you don't need antiseptic cleaners - just warm water is fine, or warm water with a bit of fairy liquid in and rinse well.

If you ever do need to use pet disinfectant - Beaphar and Johnsons don't smell too much - they say they don't need rinsing, but rinse it well anyway to get rid of any scent quicker.
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Old 04-15-2019, 07:52 PM   #4
mapfef
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Default Re: Cleaning a cage

Thank you so much for the replies this is very helpful and I will keep it in mind when cleaning his cage
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