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Old 05-12-2013, 12:50 PM   #1
navat
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Default 4 Brother roborovski's Chances of fighting?

Hello

I've only ever kept Syrian's and Russian hamsters (two girls happily kept together) before but my friend introduced me to her accidental brood and I fell in love!!

I have 4 boys, they are around 10 weeks old and are siblings!

I have read lots of contradicting advice on the internet about them going to start fighting at sexual maturity, but wanted your views

they have 3 beds, 1 wheel, 1 food bowl big enough for all of them to sit in (ATM) and one water bottle plus a few toys.... they used to separate two in each bed but have put in a cereal box and now they all sleep together.

so far no problems one does have a small nick on his nose though but I haven't seen him being picked on and it isn't infected. (he had this when I got him)

so questions...

whens sexual maturity

signs of fighting I should look out for

and what are their chances of being happy together, or should I separate them into 2's now?

also I read if fighting does happen you can mark the hamsters with a washable non toxic felt tip (different colour or symbol) so that you can see which ones cause problems as they all look a like... views on this? not to sure I like the idea but I can see it maybe being handy if it does start to happen so I can choose who to separate...

thank you

Willow xxx
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:02 PM   #2
Nikkigrace
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Default Re: 4 Brother roborovski's Chances of fighting?

I'd say its extremely difficult to keep 4 together peacefully, however not impossible.
Firstly, who sexed the babies? Can you be 110% sure that you have 4 boys?? The last thing you need is siblings mating, and at such a young age too.

There are a few things you can do to try and keep them peaceful. I am currently keeping a trio of robos so I can give you the advice that I had and I'm currently going by to try and keep mine happily together. The general 'rule' is enough wheels for them to have 1 each so they don't have anything to fight over. So in your case you would need 4. I would remove any houses because giving them an open nest will be more than sufficient and they can't get trapped by others in an open nest. With houses that only have 1 entrance/exit, it is possible for hams to get trapped by other hams and you don't want that. With the feeding, I'd remove the bowl and scatter feed the food all over the cage. This again reduces the chances of one or more of them becoming territorial over the bowl and not letting others get to it. Also, it is recommended to keep everything on one level, as adding levels or platforms could again give them something to get territorial over. This doesn't always happen when giving levels to groups but the chances are increased.

The can start fighting, or disagreeing any time now really, and there isn't really an age where you can assume they are now okay and won't fight. Signs to look out for, any squeaking, biting, chasing, rolling around in a ball, one (or more) hamster appearing to not 'socialise' with others, keeping away from them, darting away from the others as if he's scared.

Whether you split them into 2 pairs, I guess is your call. If it was me, I'd say it'd be easier to try and keep pairs happy than 4. But you run the risk of ending up with all of them living on their own no matter what. Fallouts could occur either way.

What cage are they in? Do you have enough spare cages in case they need separating?
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:22 PM   #3
navat
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Default Re: 4 Brother roborovski's Chances of fighting?

thank you for your advice XD the cage they are in ATM is:

Mini Duna Hamster Cage by Ferplast which is 27x39x55cm which is Very small I know I got it from my friend who had the babies its what they have been kept in I thought I would keep them in here for a week or two to get them used to being handled as that's what I used to do with my rats and Syrians.. the cage i'm looking into getting is a hooded rabbit cage which is like HUGE the one I was thinking was...

Rody Rabbit Cage which is 96x50x35cm

if they start fighting I have play boxes I can make into temp bin cages until I find enough cages to house them properly I also have 2 traveling cages that they could be kept in for the night if all of a sudden they go nasty and I don't have time to build a cage up! I also have one cage but its wire and they are rather spaced so I probably wont use that at all unless I stick them in the bath over night with plug in (of course)

do you any thoughts for other cages or do you think the rabbit cage would be suitable with a bit of DIY for the top mesh?

I will take away the beds now and scatter food about I guess that makes it more interesting to as they have to find it!

as for gender... I used to work in a pet shop and also helped out as a basic junior health vet on reception and did routine health checks... sexing.. nails... grooming etc so I'm pretty sure but I may take them to the vets to get a second opinion as I am a bit out of practice and admit to using google as I had never sexed robo's but have with G-pigs, rabbits, syrains, fish! etc
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: 4 Brother roborovski's Chances of fighting?

I would get them into something bigger asap to be honest. Lack of space could also cause them to started disagreeing and fighting. I wouldn't even leave them in it a week or two like you said if you can help it. They will still get used to each other and you can still start taming in something bigger.

I'm not familiar with the rabbit cage you mention but it seems similar dimensions to a zz2 which is what I keep my trio in and what I would suggest you use for your 4 if you can?

If you haven't sexed robos before then it can be VERY difficult to determine whether they are male or female, so I would strongly recommend getting a vet to sex them for you ASAP as they are already at an age where they can mate. Or post photos on this thread and people can help you out, but I realise they might not be keen on being handled yet. If you can scruff them and take photos then I'd do so. You don't want them mating as I said earlier, firstly they are siblings and secondly they are very young.
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Old 05-12-2013, 02:54 PM   #5
kyrilliondaemon
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Default Re: 4 Brother roborovski's Chances of fighting?

I agree with all the advice from Nikki really. We kept a group of four hybrids together for over a year (they did eventually fall out) and following all the basic rules is a really good place to start.
The rody rabbit would be great for them and I would get them to it asap really.

I think sexual maturity in robos is roughly 3-6 months but fights can break out earlier or later - thats just one of the most hormonal times for them.

Oh and I'd make the bin cages now. Don't wait until they fight and expect to have time - sometimes separation has to happen very, very quickly and its not fair to make a ham wait in a carrier for hours.
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Old 05-12-2013, 03:36 PM   #6
_nod
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Default Re: 4 Brother roborovski's Chances of fighting?

I only have experience with a single pair of female Robos, so there's plenty of people here with more experience than me.

When I got my pair they were in a mini duna too, but I felt this was to small for them, so build a large (45cm x 147cm) Perspex tank Shortly after transferring them they started burrowing and building separate nests. Then shortly after this they started squabbling. It seemed as tho, given the extra unfamiliar space, they felt like there was room to start a home of their own, which naturally they became territorial of.

I had to separate them at the time, but was able to successfully reintroduce them onto the larger tank, this time I did it gradually. I partitioned off half of the tank with a relatively thin layer of bedding and slowly moved the partition back every few days. Once the partition was removed completely, I then slowly added more bedding but tried to keep one area specifically for their nest.

I too scatter food now and have tried two flying saucers, but they always seem to insist on using the same one anyway!
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:44 AM   #7
navat
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Default Re: 4 Brother roborovski's Chances of fighting?

thank you all for your advice!

+ have managed to source a fish tank cant remember dimensions but at bigger than the cage they were in and there now all in there think its 70cm?

+scattered food and toys

+no bed just a clump of bedding that they don't seem to like. now trying to fit under the wheel :S.. they like to be covered so may get a cover like a gazebo but for now a card board box with all the sides off so escaping is easy but they are underneath something,

+haven't had any scraps or signs of fighting just yet but will be ordering a rabbit cage soon waiting till vets for a check up to make sure their sexed currently,

+have got an appointment at 20 to 5 tomorrow will let you know!

xxxx
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:52 AM   #8
Nikkigrace
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Default Re: 4 Brother roborovski's Chances of fighting?

I hope for your sake that they are all boys! You might want to take a spare pet carrier with you to the vets because if any of them are girls, you will want to keep them separate. And seen as you mentioned not being able to tell them apart, it might be best to separate any females at the vets as they are sexed. Is it an exotic vets you are going to?

Don't worry about them sleeping in other places! They will bed down where they feel comfortable. This morning I found 1 asleep under a wooden bendy log, 1 asleep behind a wheel and one wide awake running around
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:53 AM   #9
navat
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Default Re: 4 Brother roborovski's Chances of fighting?

oh as mentioned in my first post... about the pens?? thoughts on this?

"also I read if fighting does happen you can mark the hamsters with a washable non toxic felt tip (different colour or symbol) so that you can see which ones cause problems as they all look a like... views on this? not to sure I like the idea but I can see it maybe being handy if it does start to happen so I can choose who to separate..."
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:56 AM   #10
_nod
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Default Re: 4 Brother roborovski's Chances of fighting?

My robos, don't seem to care to much for any of the bedding I give them. As long as they have something above their head's they will just dig down in the wood shavings.
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