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Old 03-18-2008, 01:50 PM   #1
Gust0o
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Default The Great Syrian Weigh-In! Week 6 Update

I'm not sure if this isn't a health thread - but as it's for Syrians, I plonked it here!

After seeing some of the marvellous hamsters on show at Topcliffe, I did notice that Hobbs and Bob were underweight, compared to show standard.

No indictment of our treatment of our hamsters - but reflective of the hours, and hours, of exercise ours get; burning off just about every trace of fat!

Well, Hobbs and Bob did very well for first-time entrants, both winning Reserve slots - and we got some great tips for how to adapt their diets and regime, to help them perform better in future shows.

So this is where this thread comes in - I'm going to use it to log their development; to get some diet input; to allow people the chance to join in with their own posts; and let us make comparisons.

Week 1:

Bob (9mth F Syrian) - 150g

Harry (8mth M Syrian) - 125g

Hobbs (14wk M Syrian) - 100g

Wes (7wk F Syrian) - 90g

This is the control week - so we've got their starting weights, to measure future progress against. Hobbs' small stature is very evident against Wes' initial weight - Wes, I will note, who is in no way overweight!

Diet - all living on staple of Harry Hamster, with vitamin supplement; fresh veg every other day. On advice, have begun serving tofu and lactol porridge - small doses only, and served with some chopped apple for taste.

They weren't interested at first, but all have cleaned their dishes! Phew - was holding the rice pudding back, just in case; which I might now eat myself

All hamsters have hanging rice treats and dog biscuits in cages.

Activity - I hadn't thought about the hamsters running themselves ragged; but, having made a note of how much time Hobbs and Harry spend running, agree it could be an issue. Experimenting with restricting wheel time - 8-12 on an evening, with some free-range time. Seemed to have little ill effect last night. Have rearranged toys to ensure no boredom when wheel out. Will see!

Early days! I'm without any sense of target weights, beyond my experience with some of the better-performing hamsters at Topcliffe - I guess the real judge will be Holmfirth in a month - any thoughts on targets?

Would like to introduce them to seeds - spent an age in Holland & Barretts, but couldn't decide - recommendations?

Sorry if this thread might be a little boring - sometimes it's better to write things down; and I think I'm going to find this useful
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Old 03-18-2008, 02:09 PM   #2
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The seeds I buy are linseed, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower and also wheatgerm and organic oats.
None of my petshop hams are much over 150g, they are just smaller built.
I don't take the wheels away from mine, even the addicts.
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Old 03-18-2008, 02:41 PM   #3
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We don't take the wheels away either. We prefer them to enjoy running when they want and and think they will grow to the size they are meant to be regardless. Ours like the Omega mix seeds from Holland & Barratt. I shall watch your thread with interest Gus
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Old 03-18-2008, 03:12 PM   #4
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Well, this is why it's an experiment - I know some people do restrict wheel usage, certainly approaching showtime.

In any case, the wheels are still in - for the time being, after some consultation with Al. I think, for the first fortnight, we'll see how the dietary changes impact them; before reconsidering their exercise levels.

I do know we give them a heck of a lot!

Bob has put a lot of weight on recently, as she's matured - she's gone from tom boy to matron in a few weeks! So I'm guessing 150g would be a reasonable weight - still a little shy of those scoring higher, but we'll see.

Omega mix? Linseed? Pumpkin? I was looking at those - I just couldn't make my mind up!

I'm trying to get the right balance!
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Old 03-18-2008, 03:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Omega mix? Linseed? Pumpkin? I was looking at those - I just couldn't make my mind up!
Go for it Gus - buy them all!
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Old 03-18-2008, 03:19 PM   #6
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Ha, well that's a fair recommendation!

The more the merrier, really, as I seem to have spent a fortune on them all lately
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:15 PM   #7
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Right, one week in - and where are we?

Well, we've been enjoying the Lactol! It took them all, bar Wes, a little while to get used to this new food, but they're all now enjoying their porridge.

Current weights:

Bob - 165g (+15g)

Harry - 130g (+5g)

Hobbs - 115g (+15g)

Wes - 100g (+10g)

We decided to not limit wheel time, so all have been running regularly - with plenty of ball, and time playing with us - especially Harry! Although he's wolfed down everything going, his constant activity has kept him lean. Wes has the most magnificent figure, and has just discovered her wheel - she's continuing to grow into a little princess!

Bob has continued to grow, as she has done in the last few weeks - 165g is the best estimate, as her enthusiasm to explore the weighing scales produced some interesting results

I'm not sure if her growth is attributable to her dietary changes, or this process of growth - that will remain to be seen.

I'm pleased Hobbs is growing - I think you can really see a difference in him

Well, I'm pleased with this - they're all obviously very healthy, and seem to be thriving on their diets; I also think the variety lies behind their enthusiasm - porridge; rice pudding; Harry Hamster; seeds; treats; apple; cucumber; dog biscuits! They've had the lot and loved it!

Let's see how we get on in Week 2

I still haven't had any more thoughts on desired weights - as this is a conscious effort to control the health of my hamsters. I've ordered some books, which I'm waiting to receive, which may give more of an indication on show standards - in any case, given levels of exercise, I would anticipate weights would plateau.
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Old 03-22-2008, 03:59 AM   #8
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I would look for a female syrian adult to weigh around 180-220g and a male a bit less normally around 165-190g. They should be well muscled and not fat. However really size is of lesser importance overall than type and colour. You may lose a couple of points for a smaller hammy but poor type and colour can lose you 10 or 12 points!
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Old 03-22-2008, 04:25 AM   #9
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I find after a while they just settle at what is 'their' weight, give or take a gramme.
Sounds like they are enjoying their new diet though.
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Old 03-22-2008, 04:43 AM   #10
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Charlie is now about 14 months old and has never been over about 130g. I'm not sure how much he is at the moment - I'll weigh him later. He's pretty small and was hand reared but he is from a good breeder. He gets fresh food daily - it's either some vegetable, baby food, porridge or something similar. He also has a large cage and unlimited time on his wheel. He does go on his wheel a lot, so maybe that doesn't help. However, he seems happy! Yes, he's a bit small. I've spoken to his breeder about it and she agrees it would be better if he weighed more but he's happy. After long discussions with her I took his wheel away for a bit, he had lots of time out of the cage (over two hours a day I'd say) but he didn't seem happy without his wheel.

I know size and everything is important when showing hamsters but I think (and I know you will all agree) that their happiness and well being comes first. Of course they'll enjoy the extra treats and that's great, but I don't agree with taking wheels away - or not for long, atleast.
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