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Old 10-02-2020, 04:45 PM   #1
robpot53
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Unhappy Stubborn Bar Chewer!

Hey all,

Wondering if anyone could help! I have a hammy who has decided that chewing the bars in her cage is something she *must* do. She's got all the toys in teh world she could want but even from day 1 she's never taken much to chewing them. I've given her food to chew on, chew sticks, anything and nope - always back to the bars!

I've tried lemon juice on the bars, she just kept going. Olive oil - she even grabbed the tissue out of my hand on that one and chewed through that, and I've put things in the way of the corners (bolt on toys, houses etc) and she will always consistently find a way around it. I try not to pay her much attention when she does it but she does it so often now and always when I'm trying to sleep so I have to admit I do get a little too frustrated.

I can't afford a tank cage right now so does anyone have any advice?
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:11 PM   #2
cypher
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Default Re: Stubborn Bar Chewer!

You should never put anything on the bars to prevent them chewing, lemon juice could be harmful for your ham it doesn’t tend to work anyway.
What cage is she in & what size is it?
It could be something to do with the size of her cage or the set up she has that’s not right for her so if you could tell us which cage it is & post a photo of her set up that would help with any suggestions we might be able to make to help.
Does she have a large enough wheel that works properly.
Deep substrate for burrowing in, preferably about 6” or more.
A lot of chew toys or sticks really don’t interest hams, have you tried whimzee dog chews, the toothbrush ones are good & most hams love them.
Does she have enough out of cage time to use up some of that excess energy & help prevent boredom.
Do you use a food bowl? Scatter feeding & making treat toys out of cardboard & things like toilet tissue tubes to hide food & treats in can help keep them busy too.
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Old 10-03-2020, 07:32 AM   #3
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Stubborn Bar Chewer!

Agree with Cypher. Some females can be extremely active and need more space. I’m guessing you’re in the US when you said you can’t afford a tank yet and most cages in the US are too small. Is she a Syrian? If so there is a good sized cage available for about 60 dollars on Amazon - the prevue cage. It’s about 32” x 20” floorspace which is about the minimum you want for a Syrian. Having said that, even that may not be big enough for an active female. Do you have space for a detolf? Cheaper than a 40 gallon tank I think.

Even if the cage is a good size it might be something else causing bar chewing stress. Too much cleaning out can cause it especially if you remove the nest and hoard and remove all their familiar scent in one go. That can make them quite frantic and they chew to try and escape because their environment isn’t their own. So spot cleaning is better and partial cage cleans so something always smells familiar. If you have enough substrate (4 to 6 inches) then with soot cleaning you can easily go 2 or 3 months without a full substrate change. Especially if they use a litter tray.

Do you have a photo of her set up? For now you might just need to keep giving her lots of out of cage time. And you can try weaving cardboard through the bars in the area she chews (torn up cereal packet eg) - at least then it will protect her teeth chewing the cardboard but they then sometimes just move to another section of bars.

It is stress behaviour whatever is causing it.
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Old 10-03-2020, 07:38 AM   #4
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Stubborn Bar Chewer!

Prevue cage. It’s gone up in price - that’s the pandemic for you. Although Amazon prices can go up and down. But I suspect she may bar chew in that as well.

https://www.amazon.com/Prevue-Pet-Pr...1735719&sr=8-1

Detolf

https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/p/detolf-...rown-10119206/

Examples of detolf

Google “Hamster detolf” and select Images.
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Old 10-03-2020, 07:55 AM   #5
LunaTheHamster1
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Default Re: Stubborn Bar Chewer!

Hi, out of cage time, adding enrichment to the cage such as diy boredom breakers and scatter feeding can help.

Also adding cardboard or chew mats to the cage can help. I did this video on how to get more bedding into your cage but something like this would also help protect your hamsters teeth, you can just recycle cardboard if you have no money to do anything else at the moment. it's not ideal and I imagine it will need to be replaced often but it could help.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doZJJHCW1fs&t=31s
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Old 10-05-2020, 06:18 AM   #6
flowerfairy
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Default Re: Stubborn Bar Chewer!

I had a female syrian hamster, Kashi who was a dedicated bar biter.

She lived in the barney cage (approx 100 x 50cm). I put cardboard around the bottom half of the bars which she loved to chew. I chamged her toys often and gave her lots of cardboard boxes to chomp on.

She did give up bar chewing the end.
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Old 10-05-2020, 02:14 PM   #7
Engel
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Default Re: Stubborn Bar Chewer!

what cage have you got?
blocking the bars helps and so does more out of cage time.
can we see your setup?
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Old 10-12-2020, 06:00 AM   #8
Shadow Cat
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Default Re: Stubborn Bar Chewer!

My female syrian is/was a massive bar chewer too. She lives in the Barney cage. Adding chew toys didn't really help, though of course she still has them. I've found that since I've put a heap more things in her cage for her to climb she's been chewing the bars far far less. I installed a Trixie corner shelf in the one corner next to her wheel she chewed the most and put a lof od extra paper bedding underneath and since then she's found a love of burrowing under the shelf an climbing onto it and hasn't chewed. I also bought her a cork tunnel for her to climb on and crawl through for something else to do. In the other place she used to chew I attached a flattened bendy bridge with zip ties across those bars and she occasionally chews the bridge but can't get to the bars anymore (which is a good thing because one of the horizontal bars actually snapped and I was afraid she woudl hurt herself) Another thing you could try is making foraging toys out of toilet rolls to keep your ham occupied with chewing something else instead. Once my girl has got the treats out of the toilet rolls (I kind of seal both ends by folding them over horizontally at one end and vertically at the other) she carries on shrerdding the cardboard.
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