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Old 06-15-2005, 04:26 PM  
Hamster Addict
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: North Somerset, UK
Posts: 877
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Default Think Before You Breed!

Many posts on this board are from people who have had surprise litters after bringing home a pregnant hamster from the pet shop - this can't be helped (apart from campaigning for better standards in pet shops) and we're here to help and advise you all we can.

There are also many people who decide to purposely breed their hamsters. Breeding hamsters isn't necessarily a bad thing - we are not against the breeding of hamsters per se! Knowledgable and responsible planned breeding can produce wonderful animals and further the hamster fancy. However the decision to breed should not be taken lightly or for the wrong reasons - so please please please, THINK BEFORE YOU BREED!!!

1. Quality - the vast majority of hamsters shouldn't be bred from. Responsible breeders in the hamster fancy breed for qualities of body conformation, size, depth of colour, quality of markings and fur, and health AS WELL as a good temperament. Good temperament is a given, not something to breed for! Simply being a sweet-natured pet does not make for good breeding material. If you're breeding your own pet with your friend's pet because they're both sweet hamsters, it is highly unlikely they are both good quality hamsters, especially if they came from a pet shop with an unknown background.

2. Practicality - do you have the space to house perhaps 20 hamsters individually if you can't find homes for them, can you afford that many cages? Can you afford to feed them and keep them in bedding and toys, for possibly three years? Can you spend at least twenty minutes a day playing with each one? Can you afford unexpected vets bills - which may run into hundreds of pounds/dollars? Do you have a competent hamster vet nearby, that you can get to in an emergency at any time of the day or night?

3. Responsibility - are you going to let these babies go to any old home, or a pet store, where anything may happen to them? Will you check each possible home, make sure the new owners are knowledgable and able to care for your hamsters, will you make yourself available to advise the new owners for the life of that hamster, and are you willing to take the hamster back at any time, if for some reason the owners can no longer keep it? You have bought these animals into the world, you really should be willing to take responsibility for them for their entire lives.

4. Reality - can you cope with the possibility that the first-time mother may eat her own pups? That she may die during a difficult birth, whilst you watch her writhing in pain? That pups may be stillborn, or born with deformities that require them to be put down, you may have to deal with sick or dead pups?

5. Knowledge - do you actually know what you are doing? Do you understand hamster genetics - are you aware what varieties of hamster a particular mating may produce? (And no - if you mate a black hamster with a white hamster you do not get a litter of half blacks and half whites, or a litter of black & white hamsters, or a litter of grey hamsters!!!) Do you know the genetic history of the animals you are breeding from - do you know what colours their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were, do you know of any hidden recessives in the line? Are you aware of possible lethal combinations of various hamster markings? Have you read up on husbandry of pregnant and young hamsters - do you know how to care for them, how to feed them, what to expect at various stages, how to sex young pups, when you should be separating them into different sexes and at what age they should be housed singly?

6. Why? - Finally, why do you want to breed hamsters? If it's to make money, forget it! This is not a profit-making business. If it's because you want to and you think it's cute, take a while to think about the reality and practicality of it, and all the points mentioned above - does your hamster (and the possible mate) really fit the quality criteria, are you really knowledgable? If you're breeding because you want more hamsters, for yourself or for your friends - please, please contact your local animal rescue, sanctuary or shelter. There are many unwanted hamsters spending their lives in shelters due to people becoming bored of them, abandoning them, or breeding indiscriminately until they can no longer cope with them. Please give one of these unlucky hamsters a second chance rather than bringing more hamsters into the world to add to the shelter's problems.

Hamster Central Moderator

Owned by Merry, Pippin, Lola & Shirley (roborovskis) Toby & Hazel (syrians)

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