Breeding Hamsters - The Ethics

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The Ethics

The first thing you need to think about before breeding hamsters, is the ethics. The word Ethics means "theory or system of moral values."

All breeders have their own 'ethics' although some aren't at all correct. All experianced breeders have their ethics and aims and will be able to tell you what these are.

There is indeed only one correct, ethically and morally right reason for breeding a hamster. This is:

  • To make a distinct improvement on the quality of the parents* (e.g. colour, size, shape etc)

This is the ONLY reason for breeding, however there is a long list of WRONG ethics used for breeding. Some examples of these are:

  • Because I love my hamsters and I want more like him/her/them.
  • Because I want more hamsters of the same colour.
  • Because I know people who want a hamster too.
  • Because I want to make some money.
  • Because I wan't some babies to look after.
  • Because my hamsters were lonely and I thought it would only be fair/natural for them to have babies.

No true breeder should EVER say any of the above is their aim, although in making certain choices in breeding, you would be breeding for certain colours and out of hamsters with nice temperments that could be passed into the next generation. Though these shouldnt be the main aim.

Millions(literally) of hamsters are killed/abandoned and euthanized every year because so many hamsters are having babies and never find their loving home, instead they spend their entire life in a shelter with very little love and attention. Rather like being put in prison yourself but for absolutely no reason other than that the world was over populated. At what point do we decide who is going to be stuck in prison (rescue shelter)?

If you would like a pet hamster, why not get a hamster from a rescue shelter and feel like you are saving a life rather than buying a hamster or breeding hamsters and know that you are condeming another 1-24 hamsters to death because you felt like breeding your hamsters?

Going back to the *wrong* ethics.

Because I love my hamsters and I want more like him/her/them.

This is a very poor reason to breed hamster. Even when you know and fully understand the genetics of breeding hamsters, you can't predict exactly the colours or temperments of the babies. The babies will not be a clone of the parents and will have their own personalities.

Because I want more hamsters of the same colour.

Unless you have researched your hamsters genetics for as many generations as possible, there is NO way you can guarantee the colours of the babies, it can be guessed but never accurately. Two good examples of this are 'black bear hamsters' and 'calico/tortoiseshell hamsters'. Neither of these are at all rare but they are popular and so people feel the need to breed them if they are owned.

Because I know people who want a hamster too.

It would be much easier, less time consuming and less cruel just to give the name of an experianced breeder or a rescue shelter to your friends and also give them the link to a website such as this to research BEFORE getting a hamster.

Because I want to make some money.

I can assure you, there is absolutely NO money in breeding hamsters! By the time you have paid for all the bedding, the food, the cages, the toys, the accessories such as water bottles etc... and you only get a litter of 3 babies... there is NO way you are going to make any money, you will just lose it!

Because I wan't some babies to look after

Then you are better off taking up babysitting! The female hamster does all of the rearing of the babies and the babies shouldn't even be looked at for the first two weeks of their life, by which time they look like a small version of an adult hamster...

Because my hamsters were lonely and I thought it would only be fair/natural for them to have babies.

Your hamsters don't *want* to have babies. They come into season and males react to this because it is natural. Syrians do NOT get lonely. They do NOT enjoy looking after their babies, it is just something they do to pass on their genetics and ensure the survival of their species. They don't know about the population explosion, It isn't possible to apply human emotions and feelings onto an animal such as a hamster because they dont have the capability to feel as we do or see the world as we do.

When expert breeders decide to breed their hamsters, they will:

  • Make sure they have money set aside in case of emergency or vet bills.
  • Have cages ready for when the babies need them.
  • Have the food and bedding ready.
  • Have plans as to who is having a baby (at least 15 people on a waiting list or people willing to take more than one! litters can get as large as 24, you never know...)
  • Have ethics and reasons for breeding already sorted.

Proffesional or expert breeders breed their hamsters for the best colour, size, shape and temperment. The breeders will have the genetic history of their hamsters for many generations. Pet shop hamsters are not used, only the 'pure' hamsters are bred from and hybridising is NOT used. Their hamsters are bred to improve the species, create a better understanding of genetics and the colour combinations and, of course, to create the best hamster possible by the standards for showing purposes.

Article Gemma Pickering aka Moosley

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