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Old 06-28-2020, 03:22 PM   #1
Margaret the dwarf
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Default Geriatric dwarf hamster housing

Since our dwarf hybrid is getting older we were wondering if we should eventually remove her from her multiple level cage(with tubes) and buy her a single level long housing? Also will she stop using the various tubes as she gets older or will she still be able to climb ok when she gets into her golden years. She just turned 1yr old today. Thanks for any help/info. We love her and want her to live comfortably as possible as she ages
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Old 06-28-2020, 05:42 PM   #2
Hammy Luver
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Default Re: Geriatric dwarf hamster housing

Yes, you may want to remove some tubes or ledges that may be hard for your older hamster to get on.

Note that not all hamsters show signs of aging, so your dwarf may still be an energetic furball.

If she is showing signs of age, you may want to remove some hard-to-climb ledges or tubes.

I am not the hamster expert, so my info may not be 100% correct.😅

I hope this helped you a bit, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARGARET!👏🏻😄🐹🎉

--Chelsea 💜
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:02 PM   #3
cypher
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Default Re: Geriatric dwarf hamster housing

What they can manage as they get older varies a lot from one ham to another & may also depend on any health issues that could develop.
I don't expect to see any signs of ageing until 18months or older generally so you have time to think about it.
Changing the cage completely can be very stressful for them so it's usually better to just rearrange things a bit so everything they need can be on one level within easy reach if need be. If your cage has multiple levels & tubes I'm guessing that may not be possible or the actual floor space may be too small? If so it my be better to change the cage to something more suitable earlier, you could gradually introduce her to a new cage as a play area before moving her over completely.
Which cage do you have? Some photos would help with making suggestions if anything could be changed for the better.
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Old 06-29-2020, 07:35 AM   #4
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Geriatric dwarf hamster housing

If you have multiple levels with tubes then yes it will increase fall risks as she gets older. Is it a standard cage with multiple levels, or a rotostak type thing?

She is middle aged at the moment (probably). Lifespan for dwarf hamsters tends to be 18 months to 2 years.

Personally I would look at rehousing her before she gets older providing you can give her a good set up with enough floor space instead of the levels. As Cypher says it would help to see your current cage, as it may just need some tweaks to work - but if it means removing a lot of familiar things that might bother her more than a change to a better cage.

Yes cage moves can be stressful but if it is a change for the better it can be accepted very well.I remember a quite old syrian on here being moved to a wider lower cage and settling well and loving it.

The key is to give enough enrichment in the cage.

Cages with multiple levels do tend to be tall with a small floor area. Ideally you'd have something low with a bigger floor area, maybe one lowish level/platform with easy access and plenty of floor toys and tunnels and hidey places so it's not too open and exposed.

Something like this is good.. Depending on how active your dwarf is. If she is very active still I would go for the larger one and fill it up with lots of tunnels and hides and substrate, plus something like a labyrinth house and a low platform.

If you do move her then come on here first for some tips on how to make it easier so she settles quicker and reduce stress. I've found some adjustment time for a day or two (ie letting them play in the new cage) really makes a difference. Also you need to move everything over without cleaning anything - add her old substrate on top of the new if the cage is bigger and try and keep a similar layout - eg house right, wheel back left etc. Adding new things is accepted fine but keep some old favourite things to move over as well and she won't miss the others.

These are perspex tank style cages - the Zoozones are similar but need the lids meshing. Another alternative that is good - for a barred cage with front access rather than top - is the Hamster heaven with all the tubes and plastic contents removed and set up staritng with an empty cage. Or the Savic Mickey 2XL (I had that for our dwarf robo). They are both quite low so safer for a barred cage as they can still climb bars!

When our first syrian got older I removed all the levels and added more floor toys - but he already had a cage with a large floor area.

https://www.portonaquapet.co.uk/shop...a-Multy-M36261

https://www.portonaquapet.co.uk/shop...a-Multy-M58956

Some examples of set ups in both

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=du...w=1525&bih=668

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ma...h=668&biw=1525
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Old 06-29-2020, 10:45 AM   #5
Margaret the dwarf
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Default Re: Geriatric dwarf hamster housing

Ok, thanks everyone for the replies. Our current set up Is a modified kaytee critter trail 2. But we blocked off the 2nd floor from the 1st floor because she would climb the bars and fall off. But we added 2 additions custom made. We made her a big lookout which she loves and a open play area but she has to climb tubes to get to each area. This is what concerns me. She will also sometimes block one of the tubes on purpose and then never go back to each area until we clean her cage then she will wonder back to that area. Her activity is definitely slowing down. She sleeps a lot during the day and is still active at night on her wheel and in her various levels but as much as she used to be. We take turns 2-3 times a week and stay up with her and get her out of cage at night to run around and play but we are limited on how late we can stay up because of work.
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Old 06-29-2020, 10:49 AM   #6
Margaret the dwarf
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Default Re: Geriatric dwarf hamster housing

Here is pic of our cage set up. Having issues uploading pics. I'll work on it later after work. Please bare with me.
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Old 06-29-2020, 01:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: Geriatric dwarf hamster housing

The Kaytee Crittertrails aren't seen as good cages really - even with add ons the floor area is much too small - and yes tubes are a problem as they do block them up and dwarf hamsters aren't that good at climbing them sometimes. Looking at it the levels are a bit of a fall risk as well.

They do much better with one area of floor space at least 75cm by 45cm and that space filled with lots of substrate and floor toys. A short plastic tube run is fine as a floor toy but they're not good as access.

I'm guessing you're in the US? This is a good cage for a dwarf hamster. It's the same size as the duna multy. You'd need to take the wood items out as they're too big and meant for a rabbit! It costs $60. Some people use a glass tank or a bin cage as well. Smaller areas connected don't let them enjoy the natural behaviours - I think your dwarfie would really enjoy a new cage if the set up suits her better.

Something like the above with at least 4" deep substrate and a good sized house/nesting box plus floor toys would probably make her much happier Things like toilet roll tubes, lots of hidey places (a tissue box is ok or a coconut hide). The main thing though is a good house or nesting box that is open underneath and sat on top of the substrate - so they can have normal behaviours like burying hoards under the nest and burrowng down. Some even like to dig their own tunnels in the substrate.

It also means you don't need to keep cleaning her out as that stresses them if its too often. With deeper substrate you can spot clean mainly and when they can have normal behaviours, they tend to be quite clean little things and pee in a sand bath and refurbish their nests and keep them clean.

tamburino

When you move them into something like that their little personalities really come out and they almost smile and start having normal hamstery behaviours. Having said that a move needs doing carefully as its a big change. Ideally let her play in the new cage the day before with some substrate and a couple of toys. Then move her over next day after setting up the new cage so you don't need to adjust anything for a couple of weeks. Normally it's advised to keep the layout similar but with the current cage type that won't be possible. But the main thing is don't clean anything when moving it over (any toys, house wheel etc) so they smell familiar and she settles in. If you need all new to fit in the new cage - eg a new house and wheel etc then just add a couple of things that are familiar from her old cage - eg a short run of the existing tubes as a floor toy eg. By a short run I mean just a few inches like a toilet roll tube - anything longer she may nest and pee in again. And her existing food bowl etc.

However cardboard is your friend - egg boxes, tissue boxes, cardboard tubes - they love anything like that and they're safe to chew on as well and easy to replace if they get peed in. A sand bath would be a good idea to add as well. Any kind of dish would do - eg a small pyrex casserole dish sunk into the substrate - some people use a salt pig or cookie jar as long as its something they can get in and out of easily. And put chinchilla bathing sand in it (must be sand not dust). They enjoy that for grooming and some will use it as a toilet so it helps keep the cage clean.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:27 PM   #8
Margaret the dwarf
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Default Re: Geriatric dwarf hamster housing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
The Kaytee Crittertrails aren't seen as good cages really - even with add ons the floor area is much too small - and yes tubes are a problem as they do block them up and dwarf hamsters aren't that good at climbing them sometimes. Looking at it the levels are a bit of a fall risk as well.

They do much better with one area of floor space at least 75cm by 45cm and that space filled with lots of substrate and floor toys. A short plastic tube run is fine as a floor toy but they're not good as access.

I'm guessing you're in the US? This is a good cage for a dwarf hamster. It's the same size as the duna multy. You'd need to take the wood items out as they're too big and meant for a rabbit! It costs $60. Some people use a glass tank or a bin cage as well. Smaller areas connected don't let them enjoy the natural behaviours - I think your dwarfie would really enjoy a new cage if the set up suits her better.

Something like the above with at least 4" deep substrate and a good sized house/nesting box plus floor toys would probably make her much happier Things like toilet roll tubes, lots of hidey places (a tissue box is ok or a coconut hide). The main thing though is a good house or nesting box that is open underneath and sat on top of the substrate - so they can have normal behaviours like burying hoards under the nest and burrowng down. Some even like to dig their own tunnels in the substrate.

It also means you don't need to keep cleaning her out as that stresses them if its too often. With deeper substrate you can spot clean mainly and when they can have normal behaviours, they tend to be quite clean little things and pee in a sand bath and refurbish their nests and keep them clean.

tamburino

When you move them into something like that their little personalities really come out and they almost smile and start having normal hamstery behaviours. Having said that a move needs doing carefully as its a big change. Ideally let her play in the new cage the day before with some substrate and a couple of toys. Then move her over next day after setting up the new cage so you don't need to adjust anything for a couple of weeks. Normally it's advised to keep the layout similar but with the current cage type that won't be possible. But the main thing is don't clean anything when moving it over (any toys, house wheel etc) so they smell familiar and she settles in. If you need all new to fit in the new cage - eg a new house and wheel etc then just add a couple of things that are familiar from her old cage - eg a short run of the existing tubes as a floor toy eg. By a short run I mean just a few inches like a toilet roll tube - anything longer she may nest and pee in again. And her existing food bowl etc.

However cardboard is your friend - egg boxes, tissue boxes, cardboard tubes - they love anything like that and they're safe to chew on as well and easy to replace if they get peed in. A sand bath would be a good idea to add as well. Any kind of dish would do - eg a small pyrex casserole dish sunk into the substrate - some people use a salt pig or cookie jar as long as its something they can get in and out of easily. And put chinchilla bathing sand in it (must be sand not dust). They enjoy that for grooming and some will use it as a toilet so it helps keep the cage clean.

Sounds good! I appreciate the advice. We are gonna get her a single level enclosure asap so she can enjoy her golden years.
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Old 06-29-2020, 05:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: Geriatric dwarf hamster housing

The single level is good as long as it's big enough I wouldn't get anything smaller than the 75cm by 45cm type cage linked above. Because you want to fit a lot of "enrichment" into it. Enrichment isn't just toys it is textures etc. So for example when our Syrian was older and everything on one level he had a hyacinth tunnel (they can chew on those as well as walk through them) A coconut hut (they love sitting in those and grooming because they're round). A large cork tunnel - those work really well even for small dwarf hamsters because it fills up the cage and gives them overhead cover a nice big tunnel to run through and they like scratching the inside which is good for keeping their nails short - and it's also something to climb over that's not too high. Cork is an interesting texture for them.

For nesting, plain white toilet paper is best - a few sheets torn into strips. A little heap in the cage somewhere but not inside the house - they like to forage for it and may pouch some to take back and refurbish their nest. Keep topping up the pile. It's also safe if chewed or swallowed. It gives them places to go and things to do and favourite places to sit and lots of variety.

I think of their cage as their habitat.
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Old 06-29-2020, 08:18 PM   #10
Margaret the dwarf
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Default Re: Geriatric dwarf hamster housing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
The single level is good as long as it's big enough I wouldn't get anything smaller than the 75cm by 45cm type cage linked above. Because you want to fit a lot of "enrichment" into it. Enrichment isn't just toys it is textures etc. So for example when our Syrian was older and everything on one level he had a hyacinth tunnel (they can chew on those as well as walk through them) A coconut hut (they love sitting in those and grooming because they're round). A large cork tunnel - those work really well even for small dwarf hamsters because it fills up the cage and gives them overhead cover a nice big tunnel to run through and they like scratching the inside which is good for keeping their nails short - and it's also something to climb over that's not too high. Cork is an interesting texture for them.

For nesting, plain white toilet paper is best - a few sheets torn into strips. A little heap in the cage somewhere but not inside the house - they like to forage for it and may pouch some to take back and refurbish their nest. Keep topping up the pile. It's also safe if chewed or swallowed. It gives them places to go and things to do and favourite places to sit and lots of variety.

I think of their cage as their habitat.
If it's not a bother could u PM me couple pics of your set up? Thank you!
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