Register FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Navigation
Front Page
Forum
Gallery
Wiki

Ads by Google


Go Back   Hamster Central > >

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-07-2020, 01:59 PM   #11
Picket
Newborn Pup
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Michigan, U.S.A.
Posts: 11
Default Re: Newbie: Picket the WW (we think) and his new house.

I don't think you looked at the picture of the Kallax I am making in my initial post. The top floor has no dividers between floors, it is completely unencumbered and absolutely is continuous floor space. The other floor has only two dividers in it, to provide some cross bracing stability, but with wide cut outs to provide full access across the entire span of the shelf - which is almost 57 inches long! The bottom two shelves are for storage, the top two for Picket. I am sad that my initial intro to this forum is someone telling me that 800+ inches of floor space isn't good enough.
Picket is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2020, 02:33 PM   #12
Engel
Hamster Overlord
 
Engel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 674
Default Re: Newbie: Picket the WW (we think) and his new house.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Picket View Post
I don't think you looked at the picture of the Kallax I am making in my initial post. The top floor has no dividers between floors, it is completely unencumbered and absolutely is continuous floor space. The other floor has only two dividers in it, to provide some cross bracing stability, but with wide cut outs to provide full access across the entire span of the shelf - which is almost 57 inches long! The bottom two shelves are for storage, the top two for Picket. I am sad that my initial intro to this forum is someone telling me that 800+ inches of floor space isn't good enough.
800 inches of floor space is fantastic!

For arguments sake can you measure the top shelf (width length and height).
one shelf would be sufficient but the fact you are giving your hamster both is fantastic!

What Amity means is it technically wouldn't be 1600" as it needs to be continuous uninterrupted space. Essentially what you have is an extra floor which doesn't add floorspace (think of it as the amount of room the shelving unit takes on your actual floor.) like in a house. the base takes up x amount of space on the ground, floors are added above. leaving room around the base for more housing or greenspace . Do you understand? I know its confusing but hopefully that helps you.

What you do have is extra space. like in a house you have enough room for a couch, tv and kitchen on one floor so on the second floor you can have bedroom and bathroom.

This extra space can be used for enrichment like lots of bedding to burrow in, large sand bath/ digging box, foraging areas. you could use the same substrate throughout or use 1 or 2 other substrates to add enrichment.

Hamsters in the wild live on the edges of deserts. Maybe have a look at where your hamster species comes from and the environment and it will give you ideas on the types of things you can add into their cage

Id be interested to see it when its done. Exciting times!!!
__________________
🐶 3 dogs, 🐀 2 rats, 🐷 2 pigs, 🐹 1 ham. 🌈 Forever in my heart, Lilith, Nikolai and Athena ❤️
Engel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2020, 05:36 PM   #13
Picket
Newborn Pup
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Michigan, U.S.A.
Posts: 11
Default Re: Newbie: Picket the WW (we think) and his new house.

The top floor by itself is @ 55 x15 = 825 square inches. The overall dimensions of a 4x4 Kallax are 57 7/8 wide/long by 15 3/8 deep.
Picket is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2020, 04:01 AM   #14
Ria P
House of Hamsters
 
Ria P's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Posts: 2,895
Default Re: Newbie: Picket the WW (we think) and his new house.

Following your post in Amethyst Ice's thread i've reread your thread here. I'm not getting involved in this debate about your hamster's future habitat because its too technical for me.

I have one question though out of sheer curiosity.
.
Why did you chose the Ikea Kallax over the Ikea Detolf which only requires a meshed lid?

I am looking forward to see your hamsters habitat once completed. Partly because i can't quite visualize it and it does sound very interesting.

Btw, i've always used the same sand you use which has also been up for discussion in another thread and opinions varied. My hamsters like it and i like it so we're sticking to it.

After my hamster kept digging in my plant pots i got the eco earth coconut fibre which was damp because its produced for that purpose. I dried it in the sun, in the oven and with the hair dryer until it was dry. Very dry. Put some in the cage and my hamster ignored it so that was the end of that.

I listen to advice and take in what people say because people here are extremely helpful, non judgemental and knowledgable but in the end its down to what you think is right for your hamster.
__________________
Housemate of Gordon & Edwina & Ozzy & Rory & Rodney & Clarissa & lodger Frieda & lodger Luca
always in my thoughts Percy and Henry

Last edited by Ria P; 10-08-2020 at 07:51 AM.
Ria P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2020, 06:33 AM   #15
Engel
Hamster Overlord
 
Engel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 674
Default Re: Newbie: Picket the WW (we think) and his new house.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Picket View Post
The top floor by itself is @ 55 x15 = 825 square inches. The overall dimensions of a 4x4 Kallax are 57 7/8 wide/long by 15 3/8 deep.
Honestly that's fine! You now need to work out ventilation and doors

Check out Erin's animals YouTube channel as she builds her own enclosures so that may aid you
__________________
🐶 3 dogs, 🐀 2 rats, 🐷 2 pigs, 🐹 1 ham. 🌈 Forever in my heart, Lilith, Nikolai and Athena ❤️
Engel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2020, 03:34 PM   #16
Serendipity7000
Hamsters University
 
Serendipity7000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North of England
Posts: 20,747
Default Re: Newbie: Picket the WW (we think) and his new house.

I'm also catching up with this thread after reading your post on Amethyst Ice's and I'm so sorry your first post on the forum has focused so much on cage size etc. I had not seen your thread before or posted on it so didn't realise you were a newbie or were finding things a bit critical on here.

Everything you described at the start sounds great - lots of people use Carefresh. The Kallax conversion sounds great too. I think sometimes we can give advice when it isn't asked for It sounds like you have researched it all well. The key word these days is enrichment, which is more important than how big the cage is (although most people would agree it needs to be a reasonable sized cage to fit the enrichment in) - and enrichment is basically variety - plenty of tunnels and hides, different levels, overhead cover - places to go, things to do.

You sometimes see people with huge cages with a lot of open space and not much in them! And that's not ideal for a hamster.

My personal thing is houses. I think they need a good sized house that's big enough to build a big cosy nest and even to fit a litter tray inside. They like a nice big dark house - a shoebox house is ideal.

Diet is always a tricky one in the US and I am no expert on US hamster mixes but I would agree that Oxbow isn't good for hamsters unfortunately.

I just wanted to add that I made many many mistakes with our first hamster - and it took a while to get things right. Whereas you have done your research and are getting things right already I am very much looking forward to updates on the finished cage.

Do please keep updating us . The one thing most people on here have is a passion for hamsters and their care and I am sure no criticism was intended - cage size is something that often crops up with various opinions and some strength of feeling sometimes.
__________________
Serendipity7000 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2020, 03:48 PM   #17
Serendipity7000
Hamsters University
 
Serendipity7000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North of England
Posts: 20,747
Default Re: Newbie: Picket the WW (we think) and his new house.

Oh and by the way - welcome That is usually what we do when someone introduces themselves as a new member.
__________________
Serendipity7000 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2020, 04:40 PM   #18
Serendipity7000
Hamsters University
 
Serendipity7000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North of England
Posts: 20,747
Default Re: Newbie: Picket the WW (we think) and his new house.

Quote:
Would love your best input on different types of substrates/bedding, chew toys, bathing sand, potty litters, etc that can be found in US - and what are things to just avoid. And, I saw something that anything “natural” you should bake first to kill any microorganisms? (Wood toys, logs, etc?) We’re just trying to learn all we can to give Picket his best life ever! Can’t wait to learn from everyone. (And see all the cute hamsters.)
Just to reply to your initial request

Chew toys - Whimzee dog chews are very popular - especially the toothbrush ones as you can stick pumpkin or sunflower seeds in the "bristles" and the hamsters have fun getting them out and like the chews. The mini size. Also toilet rolls, cardboard box hides etc - depending on how chewy the hamster is! Our hamsters have only ever been interested in chewing things with food stuck to them.

Chinchilla bathing sand is the type to use (needs to be sand not dust). It can also be used as potty litter - it soaks up the pee. Dwarf hamsters aren't as easily toilet trained as Syrians but they do sometimes use their sand bath as a toilet. But can pee in multiple places - which is ok - you just spot clean the pee areas (if you can find them - if you can't don't worry about it - wait till it smells!)

You don't really need to bake any items unless there has been illness, disease or mites etc. But freezing certain things is a good idea to kill any bugs that might be lurking in food, bark wood items, hay or cork logs.

The two things I would absolutely freeze for a week are hamster food, including chews - and hay. It is very common for hamster food (and all pet foods) to contain microscopic moth eggs which can hatch out in the right conditions - pantry moths. Freezing the food for a week first kills them off. Hay is a common source of mites - but freezing for a week kills those off too. Hay isn't necessary really.

As you are making such a lovely large cage, you might want to think about using different substrates in different areas, for variety. Carefresh is fine but could be expensive if you only used that, as you need at least 4 to 6" deep substrate really.

Other options include Boxo which you can buy in bulk at Walmart (sort of soft cardboard pieces), as well as the other substrates mentioned by others.

Things to avoid - ladders with rungs, anything with chains (feet can get caught). Fabric toys like hammocks. No "fluffy bedding". Wood houses or toys that can have nails in (check them for splinters or protruding nails). Cardboard is your friend Old tissue boxes can make good hides, or a child's size shoe box can make a good house with a lift off roof (cut the base out so it's open underneath and sat on the substrate - they like to burrow down and bury hoards under their nest), cut a hole or two for a door and keep the lid as a lift off roof, so you can check inside. If it's large enough you can put a corner litter tray inside as well and you might find they use it. I put it at the end opposite the door (cut the door at one end of one of the long sides so the other end is darker).

They always nest at the darkest end furthest away from the door. If you put a bendy stick bridge over the door it makes a tunnel entrance as well so that makes it darker inside, which they like, they like the tunnel entrance and it doubles up as a ramp up onto the roof as well.

The other thing to look out for with toys/houses etc is entrance holes - some are far too small even for a dwarf hamster - and they can get stuck - which can be quite an emergency and stressful. One member had to saw her hamster out of a house.

Little houses/hides like this are quite nice - smooth wood with no nails (I think). But as you can see it has a small round window. And it doesn't say how big it is. It needs to be at least 4cm diameter for a dwarf hamster really. 5cm minimum ideally. If it is too small then you can just block it off (I glued a couple of wood dowels over a window that was too small).

https://www.amazon.com/Niteangel-Woo...2198896&sr=8-5

This is also a nice hide for enrichment I wish we could get this one in the uk

https://www.amazon.com/Kaytee-Natura...042nst800sr-20

This is a bit expensive but your hamster would love it. If budget is tight then a shoebox house is good. But if you can stretch to it (or even make one yourself) these labyrinth houses are excellent. They have different rooms for nesting, hoarding and toileting - and it does work. Depending on the hamster! With this type you don't need a bendy bridge over the door as it has a double entrance and rooms to the side - and light doesn't go round corners.

https://www.amazon.com/Niteangel-Mul...199148&sr=8-11

Lots of tunnels - these help the hamster feel secure moving around a large cage so they can always dive into/under something. Kitchen roll inner tubes and toilet roll tubes etc. You can also use a tube as a ramp to a platform or level, if secured well.

The large cork tunnels are great - they have an interesting texture to climb over and also make a good ramp up to a level - and a nice big tunnel to sit in or run through. Our robo used to like scratching bits off the inside (which is good for their toenails!).

Reptile stores sell them or there's this one on Amazon. They are often quite grungy looking or dusty but just need a rinseout and left to dry before using.

https://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-Natur...2199511&sr=8-1

One thing that's important is a level or platform. Maybe you could make one - in some natural cages they have a long one running along the back.

Again it is shelter so a hamster can dive under something but they also like to climb onto it - somewhere else to go. And it's a place to sit and have a wash. They're also good for putting any heavy items on that could sink in the substrate (or squash a hamster if tunnelled under) - eg a ceramic hide or sand bath and can be a good place to put a food bowl so it doesn't get full of substate. Or just a few toys/chews/hides on it. I don't know where you can buy a freestanding platform. But some people make them out of Ikea Knuff magazine racks. (The small holes may need blocking off). Some examples here

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=kn...w=1366&bih=598

Different textures and things to chew are good as well - these hyacinth tunnels are safe to chew and nice and soft. Our hamsters love their hyacinth tunnels. I freeze these natural/grassy things for a week.

https://www.amazon.com/Niteangel-Cre...199769&sr=8-32

Dwarf hamsters like a sand bath and you can use any kind of dish as a sand bath. A pyrex casserole, a salt pig etc. But these ceramic critter baths are popular hides (whether as a sand bath or just a ceramic hideout). It's good to have something ceramic so they can cool off in hot weather. Also terracotta plant pots on their side or terracotta plant pot saucers - all good for cooling. They feel the heat and they feel the cold - hence they like building a big cosy nest.

https://www.amazon.com/Kaytee-100079...199769&sr=8-35

For nesting material - plain white toilet paper is safest - just tear a few sheets into strips and leave them in a big pile somewhere in the cage (not inside the house) - they like to forage for it and/or pouch it and take it to their nest.

These are the Whimzees - pet stores probably sell them too

https://www.amazon.com/Whimzees-Toot...s%2C234&sr=8-9

Wheels. With all that space your hammy would appreciate a flying saucer as well as an upright wheel I reckon! Our robo had both and used both. They tend to love their flying saucers but they do need an upright wheel as well. This size is good for a dwarf hamster

https://www.amazon.com/Ware-Manufact...2200600&sr=8-1

It can be difficult finding good wheels in the US. The 6.5" silent spinner used to be the standard one for a dwarf hamster. But if you get one check it works ok - some of them are too stiff and don't spin and the hamster gets frustrated (or just can't push it).

Other alternatives are the 8" wodent wheel

https://www.exoticnutrition.com/Prod...el-8__WW8.aspx

And the 9" Silent "Runner" which is a brilliant wheel for dwarf hamsters - completely silent, has a safe sturdy stand and runs very easily and smoothly. It might sound big for a dwarf hamster but it spins so well and they do enjoy them. If you're feeling flush! As the above is turning into a shopping list!

https://www.exoticnutrition.com/Prod...-9__43672.aspx

My main tip would be get everything set up before moving your hammy so no need to tweak things later while they're settling in/adjusting. You probably already know about moving the old substrate across to help them settle (without cleaning anything first).

Food - Regarding hamster mixes. In Europe people tend to give a dwarf specific hamster mix. I am not sure there is one available in the US and many of the hamster mixes contain sugars. Dwarf hamsters are prone to diabetes so it's better to give a sugar free mix. Harry Hamster (or Hazel Hamster) is absolutely fine (they are the same - just different names for different countries) - it contains all the protein and nutrients needed and is sugar free. You can then give smaller seeds as treats as they do love smaller seeds - eg a pinch of linseeds or hemp seeds on a separate dish. They like linseeds and they're very good for top notch fur!

Treats - natural treats are better for taming and generally -eg pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds. I sometimes give some of these. You want avoid sugary ones again so not the yoghurt drops or chocolate drops.

https://www.amazon.com/Supreme-Frien...2201387&sr=8-8

Dietwise all they need is a good hamster mix and a tiny bit of fresh veg each day - thumbnail sized - carrot, cucumber, broccoli are all fine. I tend to avoid lettuce and cabbage - there are plenty of others to use.

Do post when you're ready to upgrade (and before!) as there are some useful tips for helping them adjust quickly to the cage change. Also partial cleans are better than full clean outs (so something always smells familiar). Eg substrate one week, wheel another week and so on. I leave the nest and hoards alone unless pee'd in - then prune the hoard when doing a substrate change (if it is getting a bit large/old). You can easily go three months without doing a substrate change, with spot cleaning and 4 to 6" of substrate. Which is less stress for the hamster. With a larger cage also you can clean one section at a different time to another section.
__________________

Last edited by Serendipity7000; 10-08-2020 at 05:10 PM.
Serendipity7000 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2020, 05:26 PM   #19
Serendipity7000
Hamsters University
 
Serendipity7000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North of England
Posts: 20,747
Default Re: Newbie: Picket the WW (we think) and his new house.

Quote:
I’ll be spending lots of time scouring here for details on how others have set up their Kallax/Expedits. I have questions about sourcing materials in USA, as most “hacks” seem to be done in Europe. I am having a particularly hard time deciding what style doors and back ventilation to use and how to assemble.
Ria has a good point that it could be easier to make a detolf cage to sit on top of the kallax unit. There are lots of videos on youtube on how to make the two lids (which is the only diy needed).

But I assume you're converting the kallax to have more space. And yes ventilation is important. I would suggest meshing the back. For the front, doors are fiddly. You need "u" channels to fit pieces of glass into for sliding doors.

Edit: Just noticed you already have a silent runner wheel And it's a tall kallax so you can't put a detolf on top! I saw a video for putting doors on a simular unit - I'll see if I can find it ....Nope. The channel has closed so the video isn't there any more.

Here you are - this should help

DIY Ikea hack - Kallax / Expedit Cage. - Tips, How-To and DIY - Hamster Hideout Forum
__________________

Last edited by Serendipity7000; 10-08-2020 at 05:38 PM.
Serendipity7000 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2020, 06:47 AM   #20
AmityvilleHams
PM Fluffy for custom title
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 4,185
Default Re: Newbie: Picket the WW (we think) and his new house.

Welcome to the forum, I do apologize as I was probably fairly overwhelming.

Serendipity, you did have some useful tips and such especially regarding the cardboard box usage and some very important safety information!

However there are some things I'll be adding on to with some other information:
1. Carefresh: Even without considering the cost there are still other issues. Yes, other members have used it and not necessarily had issues, but it is still a safety risk for a variety of reasons. Carefresh is still a very dusty product and dust is a known respiratory health threat. Carefresh is also known to source wood fibers from hemlock - listed as an unsafe wood species.

I'd also add onto that with the unknown "OdorStop" formula. It may claim to be "natural based", but that in no way means that it is safe. Carefresh in the past was known to use baking soda which was dangerous. Sure, they may have switched off of that, but they could still be using something like zeolite which is just as unsafe!

Oxbow Pure Comfort or Small Pet Select paper bedding are really the way to go, preferably Small Pet Select as it is less expensive. They also definitely do not have odor control or other additives making them significantly safer - even Boxo claims odor control but whether or not it contains additives is unknown, and since it is a recycled product and not virgin fiber you do have a risk with inks dyes etc.

2. Chinchilla sand: It's overpriced and not easy to find in the US. Play sand, if properly processed before use and natural, is incredibly safe. It's also extremely cost effective compared to any "pet store" product - reptile sand can't hold up compared by cost and really at best has dubious safety.

3. Some linked products: The Kaytee tree trunk hideout is unfortunately a wood plastic composite which would be unsafe for chewing. I would either not get that at all or only use it with extremely close supervision outside of the cage, but there are much better options for that use.

Kaytee do make a more suitable and hamster appropriate product, the terracotta tunnel. You'll find different names and prices depending on where you look, but the main thing to keep in mind is the right sizing depending on species. I do know the Amazon pricing for those was really overpriced compared to Petmountain at more than double what Petmountain charges for a large! The medium is suitable for most species but the large would be even better for Syrians, though they can and will fit into the medium. The small is more mouse friendly than suited to any hamster though.

https://www.petmountain.com/product/...xoCcqAQAvD_BwE

Anything made from plywood like the Ikea Knuff or the Niteangel labyrinth house need to be watched closely for chewing as plywood isn't safe for chewing. Regarding cork rounds, Zoo Med typically can be found in the average pet store so for the OP if you're comfortable and able to go to pet stores at the moment you should be able to find some cork rounds from Zoo Med. This would really let you choose the best shape and size that you think would suit your hamster and enclosure, while ordering online is a bit of a gamble since you never know what you're getting with natural products like that.

Also you can often find Pyrex dishes and such at stores like Home Goods, Ross, etc in the US and they're often really affordable and generally less expensive than buying them in for example Walmart. Anchor Hocking is also a decent brand for those. With baking dishes I would mainly just watch out for any holes particularly in the handle area that could perhaps trap feet.

A really great tip I've learned from personal experience - the cheaper toilet paper often is the safest. You want to make sure any toilet paper you use for nesting material is not scented or dyed or anything like that, but also that it easily falls apart in water. This basically lets you know that it won't block up a hamster's digestive system just in case, and interestingly enough this tends to be extremely fast and easy with very cheap toilet paper. Plus it keeps you from having to use the really nice toilet paper for your hamster!

For diet, definitely not Harry/Hazel Hamster. It isn't very dwarf friendly and as I mentioned previously the best food for dwarf hamsters and really all species in the US is Higgins Vita Garden. There are no added sugars, no dried fruits, etc. It isn't as good as Rodipet, but it's the best we have in the US and it is good for any hamster species.

ETA the Kaytee terracotta tunnel also works really well as a platform to scatter some food on, particularly I found it useful for scattering flax seeds.
AmityvilleHams is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
picket, hamster, things, attached, daughter, hamsters, back, toys, set, learn, weíre, time, make, iím, arenít, learning, ups, didnít, europe, hard, stuff, deciding, doors, safe, ventilation

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Parts of this site powered by vBulletin Mods & Addons from DragonByte Technologies Ltd. (Details)
Copyright © 2003-2020, Hobby Solutions
All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:40 PM.