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Old 08-31-2019, 03:24 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 1
Default A natural enclosure


I was thinking about making a DIY hamster enclosure, having various materials , like soil, gravel , sand, etc but then I thought it would’ve hard to clean out , but if the enclosure had a lot of natural soil with bugs in it surely the droppings and wee would kind of biodegrade naturally ? And so the smell would go away ? So perhaps it wouldn’t need so much cleaning ? That’s my theory , but I don’t know if this is correct ?

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Old 09-03-2019, 01:13 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: London
Posts: 334
Default Re: A natural enclosure


This is an interesting idea, but there are a few concerns. While droppings would eventually biodegrade, this takes a while and would need quite a deep layer of soil. A deep layer of completely dry, loose soil could be difficult for a hamster to walk on without sinking down. Damp soil could lead to some mould or bacterial issues, and humidity problems. A mix of dry soil and hay could possibly work. The hay would help to hold the soil together.

Still, I don't think a cage with dry soil and hay would need any less cleaning than one with normal bedding. A hamster in the wild would have a very large burrow, with some toilet chambers just for the droppings and wee. It would be easy for the hamster to keep away from these chambers in order to stay healthy. Even the biggest cages could never replicate these kinds of burrow systems, and in any case, many domesticated hamsters seem to have lost the burrowing instinct to some extent. So a hamster in captivity will always be in close proximity to its own waste, and therefore will need regular cleaning out.

I hope this helps.
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Old 09-28-2019, 02:52 PM   #3
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 6
Default Re: A natural enclosure

hi, I definitely recommend a sand bath for your hamster it should be about 1 inch deep at least and quite large and dwarf hamsters do prefer to have a larger sand bath due to where they come from and it is a good idea to put a small hide In it also so it has an enclosed area to groom itself. it may also use this as a toilet making spot cleaning easy, however I would not recommend soil as it isn't beneficial and may have bugs etc and if your hamster swallows it can cause more harm than good however hay is a great idea in moderation just get soft hay as if its sharp and ur hamster stuffs it in its cheek pouches it can cut the tissue causing extreme pain so be careful on the type you use if you don't want to risk it I wouldn't recommend hope this helped
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Old 09-29-2019, 08:41 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: West midlands, UK
Posts: 3,222
Default Re: A natural enclosure

I've used sterilised top soil for a natural enclosure before and it was more effort and hassle than it was worth. It made the tank even heavier and impossible to move, it was difficult to clean out and you end up with a horrible mouldy/earthy smell in the room. Not only that but it was causing the seeds in the hamster food to germinate and grow. I've had natural enclosures since and have found that using different substrates in the same enclosure works well. I used a mix of beech chips, aspen, hemp, shavings and natural carefresh for the main areas and than had a large area filled with bathing sand.

You don't have to do full cleans regardless of the set up you have, it's always best to have some of the old substrate left over to mix in with the new. This reduces the stress on your hamster as their scent is still present in the cage
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