View Single Post
Old 12-08-2016, 03:32 AM  
Hamster Antics
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 23,533
Default Re: Simple question on changing cage

Hello. Do you mean cleaning out his cage? Or moving things around? Or both? Anyway whichever, hammies don't like things being cleaned or disturbed really and it can cause quite a bit of stress for them because they scent mark everything to help find their way around as they don't see well. Plus it feels like there has been an intruder in their space sometimes (less so as the hamster gets older and knows you well, but they still prefer to move things around themselves generally!)

If you have a glass tank you will probably have plenty of room for a good depth of substrate. Maybe 4 to 6 " deep? Although that may sound like a lot, it doesn't actually cost more really because instead of cleaning out every week, you "spot clean". Most of the substrate stays dry and you take the occasional handful out, replace it and mix it in.

It's best to leave toys, wheel and house in the same position all the time really. Hamsters basically don't like change.

I tend to only do a "full" clean about once every 3 or 4 months - and even then I only change about half of the substrate, and replace half and mix it in with the new. Also do the toys at a separate time (maybe a week later) - but toys often don't really need much of a clean anyway. And the wheel at a separate time as well. That way there is always something that still smells familiar and it's less stressful for them.

It's fine just to use a cloth soaked in warm water as well - don't use anything scented as hamsters have a very strong sense of smell and this can be very strong for them. A disinfectant is only necessary if there has been illness or disease. With deeper substrate the tank itself may stay dry anyway, but this depends on your hammy's toiletting habits. I think Cypher said that dwarf hammies can tend to burrow down to pee, in which case warm soapy water would remove any pee smell. Just a bit of washing up liquid or something.

Using a litter tray can also help save on substrate and cleaning - hammies tend to use it (but then there is always a hammy that won't!). Sometimes they will use a sand bath as a toilet as well. The main thing is put the litter tray in the place they have chosen as their pee/toilet place then they're more likely to use it.

I found this video really helped me with cage cleaning as our hamster was very nervous when younger and got quite distressed if anything at all changed and especially at cage cleaning time. Erin's suggested method worked really well for us. You can adapt it slightly with a dwarf hamster if they tend to pee at the bottom of the cage. So instead of just replacing the top half to a third of substrate, just replace the same amount have spot cleaned the wet parts
Pebbles82 is offline   Reply With Quote