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Old 04-30-2019, 08:09 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: USA
Posts: 49
Default Suggested enrichment/boredom breakers for Syrian

Hello! For the past two nights, I have noticed my hamster trying to escape her bin cage. When I saw this, I was rather disheartened as I have read that is a sign the hamster is unhappy in the cage or is bored... In the almost three months that I have had her, I have already upgraded her cage. She's currently in a 44 gallon tote (800 square inches). This is the biggest cage I can provide in my current living situation. I was really hoping she would be happy in this cage, I have tried adding more substrate to encourage burrowing (8 inches), but I can't seem to get her interested. I buried food to encourage it, but it hasn't worked yet. I read that if they burrow, they are less bored. The substrate I use is a mix of hemp and Kaytee clean and cozy.

In her cage she has a big hideaway, a small hideaway, a platform, a bridge, a Carolina Storm bucket wheel, litter box, timothy hay, millet sprays, and toilet paper tubes. I am now trying to make her forage for all her food to help with the boredom. I'm hiding some food inside toilet paper treat parcels. It takes her maybe ten minutes to open it, then she's done.

The few things that seem to keep her busy are Whimzee chews and hamster treat sticks. I read that Whimzees should only be given once a month. I assume it's same for the treat sticks... Are there any healthy chews I can provide for my hamster more often? She usually doesn't chew on toilet paper rolls for more than a couple of minutes. She's uninterested in the wood sticks I have given her.

Does anyone else have any suggestions on things I can buy/make/do for my hamster so she is happier in her environment? Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-01-2019, 12:53 AM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Posts: 3,147
Default Re: Suggested enrichment/boredom breakers for Syrian

Some hams (the ladies in particular) are just always looking for something to do. And even though 800sq inches is not "small" by any means there are some hams that are always going to want more space. If that's not possible then it's not possible so I think you're doing the right things already.

If she's bored of toilet roll tubes try egg boxes or any small cardboard box (do you still have easter egg boxes?) or google "DIY hamster puzzle" and there are ideas out there. You can also use sisal string to hang these from the roof to add another level of difficulty. You can give her whole nuts too so she has to work for a treat.

I do a mix of forage and puzzles most days for my syrian girl, she doesn't have a food bowl so if she doesn't work for it she doesn't get dinner. She knows exactly where I leave things by now so it's not real work but it keeps her busy for a bit. She shreds her own nesting material too, I leave the end of a toilet roll hanging from the roof so she can pull it through the mesh and shred it. I'm going to start taking "donations" of almost-finished toilet rolls from my partners house for this soon as well. You could also do a sandbath? I know you said she has a litter tray but both my syrians will sit in a big glass jar filled with sand and wash themselves or dig (and spray sand everywhere), they prefer it to any of the actual hides they have.

Does she get out-of-cage time?
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Old 05-01-2019, 01:09 AM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Cornwall, UK
Posts: 1,112
Default Re: Suggested enrichment/boredom breakers for Syrian

Different areas with different substrates are good for adding enrichment (sand, eco earth, aspen, etc). My syrians love when I hide seeds in those wicker ball chew, they spend ages rolling them around trying to chew the seeds out. I’ll sometimes also stuff tissue inside a toilet roll so they have to work to get tissue out.

Whimzees are safe to give daily, there’s nothing harmful in the ingredients. Most people here make sure their hams always have access to whimzees. Treat sticks shouldnt be given often because of the high amount of sugar (most use honey to bind them together). As for wooden chews, my hamsters favourites are apple and willow. They cant stand any painted chews
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cage, hamster, toilet, read, paper, treat, shes, food, sticks, things, encourage, inches, chews, minutes, provide, substrate, bored, hideaway, timothy, ten, hay, tubes, make, millet, sprays

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