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Old 10-09-2019, 06:35 AM   #1
chloere93
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Default Cohabiting Syrians

Hello all,

I'm aware that as a general rule you should not home 2 Syrians together because of fighting and aggression in adulthood.

I have a Qute hamster cage sold by Omlet and wanted to buy a second one and join them together by a ferplast tube via the wires.
https://www.omlet.co.uk/shop/hamster..._hamster_cage/

In this instance would it be safe to home 2 Syrians 'together' in the sense that their cages would be connected but they would still be able to have their own space in the individual cages.

I'm looking to breed Syrians so this would be an ideal set up for me so that I can let nature take it's course as it were. Just to be clear, I would disconnect the tubes after arrival of the babies and leave the mother to look after them.

I don't know if anyone has any experience in doing this with hamsters, I know keeping them in a confined cage together is never a good idea but wasn't sure whether this would give them enough space that they could potentially cohab.

Any advice would be appreciated
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:06 PM   #2
souffle
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Default Re: Cohabiting Syrians

No absolutely not!
You must research breeding carefully. The female will only tolerate the male for a few hours when she is in full heat or else she will attack him. They must never be allowed access to another hamster and only put together for supervised mating. Nature taking it's course would mean the female killing or maiming the male with syrians.
The Qute is not a suitable breeding cage either. It's far too small and the pups can't get up to the top level either for water.
Really think long and hard and learn loads before you even think about it. You also need a large vet fund and a litter of pups eats a ton of food. We have 10 pups here just now who are eating about 1kg every 3 days plus all the extras they need!
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:23 PM   #3
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No no no! Soufflé has said it all really. The Omlet is a terrible cage anyway. Not suitable - vertical tube and wire floor, not escapeproof and too small. Even 2 joined together for one hamster wouldn’t be good. Have a look in Zooplus. The Barney, Alaska and Alexander cages are all popular, ideal for Syrians and recommended. Also much cheaper. If you prefer the furniture look and tank style then the 98cm Marrakesh is good. Amazon also sell the maxi dubs multy which is a lovely Perspex tank style cage.

Breeding is something that should not really be done without learning from experienced breeders and understanding the genetics. Or you can get awful things like eyeless hamsters. You could join the National Hamster Councik and discuss with other breeders first.

There is also the detolf jack on a kallax unit which looks just as nice. Much bigger though. I would just get one hamster for now and get to know them. Google “hamster detolf” and click on images. There are some amazing hamster habitats in these and they look nice in a room on top of kallax storage units. Quite a cheap option too although you need to do a little bit of diy to make a lid.
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:50 AM   #4
chloere93
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Default Re: Cohabiting Syrians

Thank you both for the advice. I didn't realise that the Omlet wasn't suitable as it seemed bigger than most store bought hamster cages. It's perfectly escape proof from my experience so far and the flooring isn't wire- there is a plastic plate that goes over the top of the wiring inside the cage. He seems to have no issue with the vertical tube either, I was just told not to keep dwarf or robo hamsters in it because they can't climb.

I'll have a look at the other cages for future reference but won't be swapping out right now as I've only recently bought it. I'll just keep the single hamster for now and think about things in future with regards to breeding- I was going to have a third cage for keeping the pups with mum but I'll post-pone this and do some more research first and reconsider my cage choice. It was just ideal because of the furniture look and also how easy it is to clean as that's a flaw I've found with a lot of hamster cages being difficult or time consuming to clean.

Thanks again
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Old 10-10-2019, 03:03 AM   #5
Ria P
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Default Re: Cohabiting Syrians

No disrespect intended but why on earth do you want to breed hamsters when you know so little about them?

Even pet shops, who are a very unreliable source of information, state that adult Syrian hamsters must live alone.

I believe that breeding hamsters involves a lot of complex and in depth knowledge. The letting nature take its course approach sounds like a road to disaster to me.
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Old 10-10-2019, 03:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: Cohabiting Syrians

Quote:
Originally Posted by chloere93 View Post
Thank you both for the advice. I didn't realise that the Omlet wasn't suitable as it seemed bigger than most store bought hamster cages. It's perfectly escape proof from my experience so far and the flooring isn't wire- there is a plastic plate that goes over the top of the wiring inside the cage. He seems to have no issue with the vertical tube either, I was just told not to keep dwarf or robo hamsters in it because they can't climb.

I'll have a look at the other cages for future reference but won't be swapping out right now as I've only recently bought it. I'll just keep the single hamster for now and think about things in future with regards to breeding- I was going to have a third cage for keeping the pups with mum but I'll post-pone this and do some more research first and reconsider my cage choice. It was just ideal because of the furniture look and also how easy it is to clean as that's a flaw I've found with a lot of hamster cages being difficult or time consuming to clean.

Thanks again
Bless you for taking advice so well! Honestly I hate that the Omlet cage is so well marketed, it's so easy to get sucked in to the design. I do agree with Serendipity above that the IKEA detolf might be perfect for you. It's a great size and looks very sleek. It's not that expensive either.

Breeding tiny cute baby hams seems like a wonderful idea but yes, do have a read around. I find Strong Brew Hamstery a great resource for things like this. And of course threads on this forum. The more I read about it the more I realise I'm just not cut out for it tbh.
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Old 10-10-2019, 03:54 AM   #7
chloere93
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Default Re: Cohabiting Syrians

As I stated, I'm aware that Syrians should not be homed 'together' I was just uncertain as to whether joining 2 separate cages together would be classified as 'living' together as they would have ample space to just get away from each other- as with some other animals it is not advisable to home them together unless there is ample space for them and that there is 2 of everything.

Clearly this is not the case with Syrians (which I did think would ultimately be the answer) the way I figure though is if you're unsure about something you ask rather than just assuming and going ahead with it. So I wouldn't say I know 'so little' about hamsters more than I was asking a question to something I wasn't 100% certain on. Thanks for your input anyway.
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Old 10-10-2019, 04:09 AM   #8
chloere93
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Default Re: Cohabiting Syrians

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shannonmcn View Post
Bless you for taking advice so well! Honestly I hate that the Omlet cage is so well marketed, it's so easy to get sucked in to the design. I do agree with Serendipity above that the IKEA detolf might be perfect for you. It's a great size and looks very sleek. It's not that expensive either.

Breeding tiny cute baby hams seems like a wonderful idea but yes, do have a read around. I find Strong Brew Hamstery a great resource for things like this. And of course threads on this forum. The more I read about it the more I realise I'm just not cut out for it tbh.

Thanks I've had a look at the detolf and they do look very good actually- I'm just not DIY savvy so I'm wondering how to best source a lid once I figure that part out I'd be more than happy to swap out- but then I'd only be selling my omlet onto someone else so it's swings and roundabouts really.

My primary reason for wanting to breed hamsters was simply due to the fact of seeing how many hamsters are returned to my local pet shop by young children because they are unable to handle them out of fear of being bitten, I thought that selling hamsters which have been used to handling from a young age (I know you can't handle them for a while before people jump on me about that) would give children more incentive to be tentative to their small pets. Pet shops just don't seem to put the time and energy into their animals and I've noticed they tend to be very skittish. I love animals and don't have many hobbies so my time is spent looking after my pets which gives me a lot of pleasure, so I felt I would have a lot and time and heart to invest in this. I don't want people thinking that it's just because I want a bunch of cute baby hamsters around haha

It's definitely something I'll look into more, I wasn't going to just expect a yes from people and dive straight in to breeding- it was just a question I wasn't 100% sure on as being a reptile keeper, a lot of reptiles are advised not to be kept together unless they have ample space of 2 of everything (hides, water bowls, etc.) so I wasn't certain whether this could apply to other animals or if it was a definite outright "no". I have my answer now and I'm satisfied to do everything in stages, I just don't want people acting like I'm a complete idiot with no knowledge. So long as people respect that, I'll respect their advice.
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Old 10-10-2019, 06:07 AM   #9
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Default Re: Cohabiting Syrians

Quote:
Originally Posted by chloere93 View Post
Thanks I've had a look at the detolf and they do look very good actually- I'm just not DIY savvy so I'm wondering how to best source a lid once I figure that part out I'd be more than happy to swap out- but then I'd only be selling my omlet onto someone else so it's swings and roundabouts really.

My primary reason for wanting to breed hamsters was simply due to the fact of seeing how many hamsters are returned to my local pet shop by young children because they are unable to handle them out of fear of being bitten, I thought that selling hamsters which have been used to handling from a young age (I know you can't handle them for a while before people jump on me about that) would give children more incentive to be tentative to their small pets. Pet shops just don't seem to put the time and energy into their animals and I've noticed they tend to be very skittish. I love animals and don't have many hobbies so my time is spent looking after my pets which gives me a lot of pleasure, so I felt I would have a lot and time and heart to invest in this. I don't want people thinking that it's just because I want a bunch of cute baby hamsters around haha

It's definitely something I'll look into more, I wasn't going to just expect a yes from people and dive straight in to breeding- it was just a question I wasn't 100% sure on as being a reptile keeper, a lot of reptiles are advised not to be kept together unless they have ample space of 2 of everything (hides, water bowls, etc.) so I wasn't certain whether this could apply to other animals or if it was a definite outright "no". I have my answer now and I'm satisfied to do everything in stages, I just don't want people acting like I'm a complete idiot with no knowledge. So long as people respect that, I'll respect their advice.
The lid is actually not hard at all. I managed a serviceable job with a blunt hand saw, some gorilla glue and a staple gun. If you have any favors to call in with friends who own a table saw you'll have it done in 20 mins! (Or if you can convince someone at B&Q to break the rules for you and cut the thinner wood sections to size.)

I absolutely get that feeling, that would be what would tempt me as well. I'm in Northern Ireland and we don't really have any established hamsterys here. I get my hams from the p@h adoption section and from gumtree in the exact circumstances you're talking about. I don't think the solution is necessarily to add more hamsters to that mix though. Not until you're a literal expert and can truly say you're breeding to improve the species. Which is a years long adventure.

If you're in Sussex you should join the Southern Hamster Club! Go to some shows, speak to some established breeders! We have a few on the forum too.
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Old 10-10-2019, 06:18 AM   #10
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Default Re: Cohabiting Syrians

I agree you are taking the advice well It is just members get quite alarmed when hearing about syrians being in contact with each other and breeding.

The main problem with the Omlet is its size and lack of floor area on one level. The floor area is only 48cm by 37 cm maximum and although there is another level it is not that easily accessible and doesn't really count towards the floor area. The other thing is the size of the wheel. Unfortunately most pet cages are sold with a wheel that is too small for a Syrian. They need one that is big enough that they can run with a completely straight back. Most people get an 11" diameter wheel. Anything smaller than 8" diameter is far too small and can give them back problems in old age. They may even stop using it if it starts to hurt their back.

It would be difficult to fit an 11" wheel in there even at ground level. They did improve the top level by adding plastic to the level but there are still open grid areas to walk on and those are very bad for hamsters feet - they can get a condition called Bumblefoot which is extremely painful and can lead to extensive ongoing vet treatment.

Even if your hamster can manage the vertical tube now, an older hamster won't be able to do this. The escapeproof bit is the bin at the bottom - hamsters can get down behind it, push it out and escape that way. Although it seems easy to clean it isn't actually recommended to clean out their substrate regularly! It is better to use a litter tray and then just spot clean occasionally so it doesn't remove all their familiar scent. They can get very stressed by regular clean outs. With a litter tray and spot cleaning you can go a long time without needing to change the substrate and even then I only change half of it so it still smells familiar. And clean different things at different times so something always smells familiar. They are quite clean little things really - it's only their pee that smells and if they use a litter tray (which most syrians will if you put it in the right place) then you just empty that every few days and the cage stays clean and dry

As Shannon said, it is well marketed and looks very nice. Unfortunately there is no legislation in this country regarding hamster cages and absolutely anything can be called a hamster cage! It is a lovely design with humans in mind rather than hamsters!

The generally accepted minimum floor space size on one level is 80cm by 50cm. In a cage that is not too tall (fall risks). So more single level floor area, less height basically.

The Alexander, Barney, and Alaska on zooplus are all ideal.

The key is "enrichment" so the more space, the more enrichment you can add. Enrichment includes plenty of substrate, space to roam, hidey places, toys, tunnels etc, a wheel big enough, and some variety.

So many people get sold unsuitable cages - I had the same thing and had to change cage quite quickly. It is a shame there isn't legislation as people end up wasting money.

However, if you have a cage that is too small or unsuitable, it can still be very useful as a play cage (for when doing a clean out), or just for storage of hamster things.

I also really liked the look of tank style cages but I went back to barred cages - I just couldn't get on with the "wall" between me and the hamster, and the lack of a front access door.

There is much better ventilation with a barred cage and you can interact better with the hamster with a front door. So although the marrakesch looks lovely it is still top access. It is also very expensive! I have had two Syrians in the Barney cage and they were very happy and loved it - loads of space to dig, room for a large house/nesting box (they need a good sized house to build a nest). It is quite a bulky cage though. Many people get the Alaska cage which is a good size and not expensive - about £33.

You'd have a very happy hamster with more floor space.

Personally I'd forget furniture and get an Alaska cage - it should sit nicely on top of the Omlet and you can use the omlet for storage It has a nice big front door as well. Still needs an 11" wheel and a house though (the little white cat house is too small for a syrian and the holes are too small so they could get stuck but it's easily removed). It's only £31.99 at the moment.

https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/small...r_cages/284288

On this page, the suitable cages for a syrian are - The Hamster Heaven, Alexander, Alaska, Barney, Eco Habitat and Marrakesh. Although I think the Hamster Heaven is not the best choice as it's hard to fit an 11" wheel in and all the tubes and penthouse need removing or you get abnormal behaviours like nesting in tubes.

https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/small.../hamster_cages

This is the maxi duna multy - also a lovely looking cage and suitable for a syrian. It would also sit on top of the Omlet - you can have a bit of overhang at the sides and it's fine.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...9E360VW8B8707W

The trouble with small and cute is - it's too small for a hamster to live in all the time. If the Omlet cage was twice the size (two joined together doesn't count as it doesn't give the continuous floor area) then it might be ok if it had a ramp as well and a solid floor.

This is our Syrian's current cage - it's the 100cm Savic Plaza, so the base/floor area is 100cm x 50cm approx. They do need a lot of exercise at night. I made a roof run as well to add more things to do so he can climb from his house roof, into a sputnik, then through a tunnel to another sputnik and out onto the shelf at the other side. On the shelf he has a hideout where he goes to sit for a wash, and his second food dish for veggies. He has two houses - one that's large and dark inside and has a litter tray inside, which he uses, a coconut hut, and he likes sitting under the shelf sometimes too. But lots of space and variety, So it is a habitat really that they can roam around in at night. Just an example. Have a look at the "Lets see your cages" thread and you'll see lots of ideas

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