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Old 09-04-2019, 03:49 PM   #1
Phoebe05
Newborn Pup
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 13
Default Help... Iím new to this:)!

Hi everyone,
I am new to looking after a hamster and just want anyoneís help and guidance with my new adorable hammy. I have a Syrian hamster named Freddie who I have had for about 3 weeks now from being young. I just get worried about him all the time as I am new to looking after a hamster. Freddie is fine, he is eating well, drinking well, doing all normal hamster things etc. However he is really nervous and I am terrified that he is stressed. He doesnít have any sweaty patches on his fur, however he grooms himself a lot, especially around his face, which I have heard could be stress? I believe he may lick himself too as he had a small spot on his fur which looks as if it has been wet. He is always grooming himself or up on his hind legs listening. Freddie is nervous when being handled and tries to run away all the time rather than enjoying behind held, he is extremely fast and always runs around either in his wheel or when being held. I understand it takes a while for them to get used to being in a new environment, so I am handling him everyday, is this good for him or not? He is still very nervous, and sometimes he jumps when he is in his cage. I just wonder if I am doing the right thing or making him more stressed! Any advice Would be amazing! Thankyou x
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Old 09-05-2019, 09:06 AM   #2
Katiehat
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 9
Default Re: Help... Iím new to this:)!

Try a sand bathe my hamster was grooming himself a lot at first but he soon settled down after the first month think it was the stress of moving and not having a sand-bathe when previously in the pet store he seemed to have one. Some hamsters experience stress due to moving as well as most likely a switch of food as the pet stores and rescue centre may use different ones to the one you have. Try maybe going a bit slower with handling as he maybe not ready yet or nervous still, try giving him a treat while holding it or place it in your hand so he has to walk across your hand to get it that seems to help build there confidence as they associate you and being handle with something positive
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Old 09-06-2019, 01:47 AM   #3
Petite
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Default Re: Help... Iím new to this:)!

I've had my dwarf hammy for 8 months now, and she's still nervous of being held. It takes time, and some hamsters are just naturally not keen on being handled much. It sounds as though you are doing everything right, so give Freddie a bit more time and try to take things at his speed. Have you tried playing with him in a large box or playpen? Another thing you could consider is your hands - do they always smell the same when you handle Freddie? I always wash my hands before I handle my dwarf, so she is used to the same scent. Talk gently to him, too, so he gets used to your voice.
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Old 09-06-2019, 02:09 PM   #4
Phoebe05
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiehat View Post
Try a sand bathe my hamster was grooming himself a lot at first but he soon settled down after the first month think it was the stress of moving and not having a sand-bathe when previously in the pet store he seemed to have one. Some hamsters experience stress due to moving as well as most likely a switch of food as the pet stores and rescue centre may use different ones to the one you have. Try maybe going a bit slower with handling as he maybe not ready yet or nervous still, try giving him a treat while holding it or place it in your hand so he has to walk across your hand to get it that seems to help build there confidence as they associate you and being handle with something positive
Hi, thankyou so much for your reply! It means a lot that youíre helping me! He didnít have a sand bathe in the pet store, but do they need a sand bathe? It it worth getting one? Freddieís cage isnít the best set up, itís large enough for him as I have checked with several pet stores, but not much room for many more things in his cage😂x

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petite View Post
I've had my dwarf hammy for 8 months now, and she's still nervous of being held. It takes time, and some hamsters are just naturally not keen on being handled much. It sounds as though you are doing everything right, so give Freddie a bit more time and try to take things at his speed. Have you tried playing with him in a large box or playpen? Another thing you could consider is your hands - do they always smell the same when you handle Freddie? I always wash my hands before I handle my dwarf, so she is used to the same scent. Talk gently to him, too, so he gets used to your voice.
Hi! Thankyou for your reply also, it makes me feel so much better and causes me so much less stress knowing your advice and experiences as Iím constantly worrying and stressing over him at the moment! I will try to take things at his speed, I suppose not all hamsters love being held and thatís okay!☺️ I havenít tried playing with him in a playpen to be honest, however I sat on the sofa with him once, I gave him somewhere to hide but he was running around and climbing on the sofa so he loved it! Maybe I should get him a playpen, would this make him more comfortable and happy do you think? I do also wash my hands before handing him yes, I work in a restaurant so my hands smell strongly of food even when I wash them, so maybe he doesnít like that? I just feel bad for not getting him out everyday and interacting with him, should I still be putting him in his ball even though he is not used to me yet or not? I do talk to him most times, he just stands on his hind legs and listens☺️X

Last edited by souffle; 09-07-2019 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 09-07-2019, 12:38 PM   #5
AmityvilleHams
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Default Re: Help... Iím new to this:)!

I noticed you said you checked with several pet stores on cage size, and that really isn't a good idea. Pet stores don't have any real knowledge on hamster care beyond what is severely outdated, especially when it comes to cage size, and they'll happily recommend cages that are far too small for any hamster species!

I would also not use hamster balls. They offer no enrichment and block out a hamster's senses so they can be very stressful, even if they seem to willingly run in them.

Sand baths are a must. Not every hamster rolls around in them, but they are a very important enrichment tool if used properly. If your cage doesn't have enough space for the basic necessities like a sand bath, a large enough wheel(12 inches for any Syrian), etc then it's not a very good cage.

Speaking of cages, while a lot of people like 100 cm x 50 cm cages(roughly 5 square feet) science and German standards lean towards a much larger cage size of one square meter or roughly 10 square feet/1550 square inches. A good example of a square meter cage would be a cage that is 5 feet long by 2 feet wide, which would definitely allow all the basics of a good cage along with plenty of extra enrichment and if tall enough and designed properly it could also allow for the ideal substrate depth of 2 feet or more. This would require some DIYing but it would be 100% worth it to make a cage that would actually last permanently in most cases(especially with male Syrians who seem easier to please for cage size while the females often aren't even happy with a square meter of continuous floor space). Keep in mind floor space also must be continuous and not connected through tubes, levels, etc which all do not count towards floor space.

A lot of hamsters don't necessarily want to be taken out of their cages every day so I wouldn't be too worried over not taking him out daily. You could try handling him outside of his cage only, and a good example of a place to try this would be inside a clean and fully dry bathtub with both you and your hamster inside it. Some people have cut up cardboard boxes and used the sides as playpens when they're stuck together in various ways which would be a very cheap or even free option. I personally wouldn't bother spending money on the metal ones sold at pet stores as they tend to be very easy for a hamster to escape from. A large plastic bin could work as a play space, but it really isn't the best for interacting with your hamster. They restrict your access to top only which can be stressful for many hamsters as they're prey animals and hands from above seem like predators to them, but they can still be utilized as a fun bonus enrichment area!
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Old 09-07-2019, 02:54 PM   #6
Phoebe05
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 13
Default Re: Help... Iím new to this:)!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmityvilleHams View Post
I noticed you said you checked with several pet stores on cage size, and that really isn't a good idea. Pet stores don't have any real knowledge on hamster care beyond what is severely outdated, especially when it comes to cage size, and they'll happily recommend cages that are far too small for any hamster species!

I would also not use hamster balls. They offer no enrichment and block out a hamster's senses so they can be very stressful, even if they seem to willingly run in them.

Sand baths are a must. Not every hamster rolls around in them, but they are a very important enrichment tool if used properly. If your cage doesn't have enough space for the basic necessities like a sand bath, a large enough wheel(12 inches for any Syrian), etc then it's not a very good cage.

Speaking of cages, while a lot of people like 100 cm x 50 cm cages(roughly 5 square feet) science and German standards lean towards a much larger cage size of one square meter or roughly 10 square feet/1550 square inches. A good example of a square meter cage would be a cage that is 5 feet long by 2 feet wide, which would definitely allow all the basics of a good cage along with plenty of extra enrichment and if tall enough and designed properly it could also allow for the ideal substrate depth of 2 feet or more. This would require some DIYing but it would be 100% worth it to make a cage that would actually last permanently in most cases(especially with male Syrians who seem easier to please for cage size while the females often aren't even happy with a square meter of continuous floor space). Keep in mind floor space also must be continuous and not connected through tubes, levels, etc which all do not count towards floor space.

A lot of hamsters don't necessarily want to be taken out of their cages every day so I wouldn't be too worried over not taking him out daily. You could try handling him outside of his cage only, and a good example of a place to try this would be inside a clean and fully dry bathtub with both you and your hamster inside it. Some people have cut up cardboard boxes and used the sides as playpens when they're stuck together in various ways which would be a very cheap or even free option. I personally wouldn't bother spending money on the metal ones sold at pet stores as they tend to be very easy for a hamster to escape from. A large plastic bin could work as a play space, but it really isn't the best for interacting with your hamster. They restrict your access to top only which can be stressful for many hamsters as they're prey animals and hands from above seem like predators to them, but they can still be utilized as a fun bonus enrichment area!
Hi,
Thankyou so so much for replying! Your comments help me out so much as I am new to this so Iím definitely still learning😌 I will take your comments on board, and I am already thinking about buying him a much larger cage for him. I have been to look at some today, thankyou again!
Your help is very much appreciated!☺️
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Old 09-07-2019, 02:59 PM   #7
Phoebe05
Newborn Pup
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 13
Default Re: Help... Iím new to this:)!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmityvilleHams View Post
I noticed you said you checked with several pet stores on cage size, and that really isn't a good idea. Pet stores don't have any real knowledge on hamster care beyond what is severely outdated, especially when it comes to cage size, and they'll happily recommend cages that are far too small for any hamster species!

I would also not use hamster balls. They offer no enrichment and block out a hamster's senses so they can be very stressful, even if they seem to willingly run in them.

Sand baths are a must. Not every hamster rolls around in them, but they are a very important enrichment tool if used properly. If your cage doesn't have enough space for the basic necessities like a sand bath, a large enough wheel(12 inches for any Syrian), etc then it's not a very good cage.

Speaking of cages, while a lot of people like 100 cm x 50 cm cages(roughly 5 square feet) science and German standards lean towards a much larger cage size of one square meter or roughly 10 square feet/1550 square inches. A good example of a square meter cage would be a cage that is 5 feet long by 2 feet wide, which would definitely allow all the basics of a good cage along with plenty of extra enrichment and if tall enough and designed properly it could also allow for the ideal substrate depth of 2 feet or more. This would require some DIYing but it would be 100% worth it to make a cage that would actually last permanently in most cases(especially with male Syrians who seem easier to please for cage size while the females often aren't even happy with a square meter of continuous floor space). Keep in mind floor space also must be continuous and not connected through tubes, levels, etc which all do not count towards floor space.

A lot of hamsters don't necessarily want to be taken out of their cages every day so I wouldn't be too worried over not taking him out daily. You could try handling him outside of his cage only, and a good example of a place to try this would be inside a clean and fully dry bathtub with both you and your hamster inside it. Some people have cut up cardboard boxes and used the sides as playpens when they're stuck together in various ways which would be a very cheap or even free option. I personally wouldn't bother spending money on the metal ones sold at pet stores as they tend to be very easy for a hamster to escape from. A large plastic bin could work as a play space, but it really isn't the best for interacting with your hamster. They restrict your access to top only which can be stressful for many hamsters as they're prey animals and hands from above seem like predators to them, but they can still be utilized as a fun bonus enrichment area!
I will post a picture of his cage on this thread tomorrow and see what you think about it☺️
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Old 09-08-2019, 04:34 AM   #8
LunaTheHamster1
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Posts: 404
Default Re: Help... Iím new to this:)!

Hi, to try and save you some money, you may want to look at my playlist for run ideas for hamsters-
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...nMw9Ro6wJO-zmU
some of the shop bought ones are easy for hamsters to escape from and not worth the money. the simplest and cheapest thing is a big cardboard box, but it will most probably need replacing at some point when your hamster chews his way out! So, yes never leave your hamster alone, or you will have a fugitive on the loose.
Also hamsters can spend quite a bit of time grooming themselves, especially when they have first woken up or been upto mischief running around somewhere.
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Old 09-08-2019, 11:57 AM   #9
Schwartzie
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Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 372
Default Re: Help... Iím new to this:)!

Hi Phoebe, this journey is so exciting right?

I saw above that there was a mention of using 2 inches of bedding or more. This is according to German and American standards but I want to just give you some back round on the logistics of using so much bedding. Hamsters use burrowing in the wild to create a place to sleep, pee and stash their food. With the standards mentioned in Germany they also talk about massive cage sizes which imitates the wild as much as possible. Not all of us have the space, funds or most of the skills to build cages like this. I had a rabbit cage of 100cm x 50cm which I placed mesh over and then filled the base over 3 inches deep by blocking the sides. I did this before realizing that I had to tame my hamster first. What a I mean is that before looking into increasing the depth of bedding make sure that your hamster comes out for treats or is actively bonding with you before you do this. 2 inches and more is stated in research but make sure that you put practical things in place first. Serendipity7000 gave me amazing advice on how to keep bedding depth but make it easier to keep your cage clean and hygienic. It gets difficult if the majority of your cage is 2 inches deep because you cant pinpoint where food is being stashed etc for spot cleaning. The German sized cages are so big that you only have to clean them twice a year. It doesn’t matter about spot cleaning where cages that are smaller become tricky to maintain.

Ragna also hardly came up and I eventually found him deep in the bedding. This is what hamsters do but as pets we want to be able to check them etc and bond. I have a camera installed and made a personal...my own choice to build a huge area for him and allow him 50cm bedding knowing I would probably only see him on camera. That’s my choice and I just wanted to tell you what you can do before using that depth of bedding to ensure that you can still interact with your hamster.
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Old 09-08-2019, 12:03 PM   #10
Schwartzie
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Default Re: Help... Iím new to this:)!

I meant feet not inches
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