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Old 01-17-2022, 05:32 PM   #1
Hammy_pie
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Default Help, please!!

Hello. I just posted my re-introduction (back after a year) in the Introductions forum. Mentioned I just got two Roborovski sisters from the pet store. I received a reply from a member telling me she would never put two hamsters together. She told me to look out for bullying, one growing more than the other, stress and not thriving. I'm horrified. I only want both animals to be happy & healthy. She said to have another cage at the ready just in case. Should I take one back? The pet store worker said not a word to me about this. Said Robos do fine together, if he said anything. I want to do what is best for these girls. Please tell me your thoughts. Thank you in advance for any help you may offer.
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Old 01-17-2022, 06:35 PM   #2
Lilafernim
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Default Re: Help, please!!

Hi, I think I saw this thread earlier, and welcome back by the way! I think it was Ria who said this and sheís had lots of experience with different hamsters so I would definitely take her advice.

Unfortunately, pet shops are incredibly poor with lack of correct information they give to pet owners, myself and many others have been made a target of this for profit. I actually got two male robos when I was younger being told ďtheyíre better in pairsĒ which is entirely not true. As I understand, smaller breeds such as robos do have the ability to live with each other but most the time they like their own space. So if you have a big enclosure as Ria said, two habitats within the enclosure could work. But I agree to have a spare enclosure ready in case they fight.

I even had the incredibly traumatic experience of having to put a rabbit up for adoption who I loved with absolutely every ounce of my heart, but I trusted the ďexpertsĒ. The recommended cage size was massively to small, the food recommended was wrong, the toys and litter was incorrect, they didnít even have a signed vaccination card so sheís had to have vaccines redone. Vet bills were also massively downplayed in terms of costs. I simply didnít have the space or the money to give her a full life, even though they told us we were more generous with space than most. I shouldíve known better with my experience of pet shop hamsters but I didnít believe they could be wrong about every pet they sold.

My previous hamster passed away suddenly and I really donít know for sure if it was the pet shop way of breeding for money, but it did teach me not to trust them after reading stories online and massive help from this group explaining how they were wrong. If you have any questions about hamster care donít be afraid to ask it here because there are people who have massive experience in hamster care, and also knowledge of ethical breeding, so if you have any doubts donít be afraid to ask it helps so much.

In terms of should you take one back, if you have genuine concern that you could not care for them if they had to be separated Iíd say you have two options. Return to the store, which as a reminder they might sell to another customer the same lies they told you meaning they might not go to a good home. Or, itís a lot more work but try and find someone to adopt one from yourself so you can ask people for their cage set ups so you know they would be going to a better life.

Honestly though, my two robos I did have separate cages in the end and I believe I gave them both a full life. Even though when they first fought I thought Iíd never be able to balance time between them. You could always look on gumtree or fb marketplace for cheap enclosures as a back up just in case, and see how it goes maybe?
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Old 01-18-2022, 12:13 PM   #3
flowerfairy
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Default Re: Help, please!!

I tried keeping two roborovski sisters together but they fell out. Luckily I had spare cages so was able to keep them both.

Good luck with whatever you decide. Lila has given you some good advice.
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Old 01-18-2022, 03:19 PM   #4
Azula
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Default Re: Help, please!!

Have to agree 4 out of 5 times pet shop workers will have 0 credible knowledge on hamsters and will just make stuff up in order to sell them. Even if the Robos are from the same litter that doesn't mean they'll get along and there's always the issue of misgendering which petshop workers also get wrong all the time. Either way it's probably best to split them apart or like the other member said have another cage ready. If you aren't experienced with hamster behaviour or recognising their sex, I'd suggest splitting them asap.
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Old 01-18-2022, 08:06 PM   #5
Hammy_pie
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Default Re: Help, please!!

Hello Lilafernim, flowerfairy and Azula. I should have known better! I found out quickly with my first hamster, Hammypie (a Syrian), that the cage they sold me was way, way to small, as well as the wheel. I joined Hamster Central and found all this out within days of finding Hammypie and rectified the situation as fast as I could. I have a forty gallon aquarium and have purchased all new toys and tunnels for Tater & Tot. I do not want to take one back to the pet store, as the living conditions were not satisfactory there. I checked yesterday on both of the hammies (meaning I carefully dug around in the shavings), really worried that I hadn't seen Tot (the smaller one). Both look healthy and fine at the moment, possibly because the cage is big enough so they are not on top of each other. I will attempt to configure another dwelling ASAP. I truly want the hams to be happy and not stressed. I'll update here as things progress. I wish I hadn't felt the need to disrupt their cage while they are settling, but felt I had to see that Tot was okay. I'm looking forward to being able to see both of them out and about. Right now Tot isn't making appearances like Tater. Thank you all for answering quickly so I could make the right decision for these girls. I'm on my way to the Introductions thread to thank Ria as well. Wish me luck, I live in an itty bitty studio. Please tell me the adequate, healthy size a home should be for a Roborovski. Thanks so much for your kindness and help.

Last edited by Hammy_pie; 01-19-2022 at 05:17 AM.
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Old 01-19-2022, 12:05 PM   #6
Lilafernim
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Default Re: Help, please!!

Iím super super happy you are keeping them! I know itís very stressful as youíve basically been miss-sold something, and it really does add up the dots especially when you have to make a new enclosure from scratch. I think itís amazing what youíve chosen to do and I hope you like having both of them too, it can be nice having two hamsters together as you get two personalities also. You asked also for adequate home size, I actually saw a nice checklist from an adoption page the other day but I canít seem to attach it, Iíll write it below. Best wishes for the future and good luck!

-80x50cm minimum enclosure of unbroken floor space
-21cm+ wheel
-a large sand bath or area of sand that covers 1/3 of the enclosure (I think just a large sand bath would be fine)
-6 inches deep paper based bedding in at least 2/3 of the enclosure
-minimum 2x small-medium hides/tunnels
-a multi-chamber hide
-species appropriate food mix
-forage mix
-sprays (flax, millet, oat, wheat, sorghum)
-chew toys
-boredom breakers
-a bathtub, playpen or hamster-proofed free roam area
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Old 01-19-2022, 04:40 PM   #7
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Help, please!!

Hello. It’s been a long standing thing that people say dwarf hamsters can live in pairs and pet shops don’t keep up with current pet welfare usually. It’s a topic that has varying views but most people on here know that it is very very hard to keep a pair without fighting or bullying starting. Occasionally you will hear of a pair who have lived together for life but it’s rare. They may do fine for a few months but issues can start when their hormones kick in. Some people say you should never keep pairs (and the German hamster community believe this). But there are Roborovski breeders who say, of all the species, robos benefit from being in pairs or groups. But then they are very experienced hamster owners.

It is such a tricky thing to achieve as hamsters are Territorial. Hence the cage set up has to be just right. Not too big, not too small - two (or even three) of everything - two houses, wheels, food bowls, water bottles etc. Houses with multiple entrances (so one can’t get territorial and block the other in), no platforms or levels (one can claim the territory of the platform). Even tubes and tunnels need to be big enough that they can both easily fit in.

And even if you get all that right there are still things that can turn one off them territorial - which can lead to the fighting or bullying. Such as taking one of them out of the cage even for 15 minutes or so - both need to be taken out together and put back together.

So yes you need a spare cage - or at least a decent sized bin to make a temporary cage - in case you need to separate them.

And keep an eye on things. Squabbling can quickly turn to fighting and one of them kill or seriously maim the other. But I have always wanted to try and keep a pair of robos abd there are people who have done so successfully- but their welfare comes first.

Warning signs - apart from squabbling or one chasing the other a lot - are one being much bigger than the other - means they are hogging the food and the other is being bullied away from food.

Two or three wheels is good. With one of the wheels being a larger, Syrian sized one - easier for them both to run together in the same wheel. They will often share everything - sleep in the same house, run in the same wheel - but it’s still important to have two of everything so one can retreat to their own house or wheel if they want. Shoeboxes make good houses as you can cut multiple entrances - 3 or 4 doorways- one front, back, top and side eg.

Scatter feeding is probably best rather than using bowls. Or you could have two largeish bowls (big enough they can both sit in a bowl ) and do a bit of scatter feed as well.

You’ll need to play it by ear. If they’re just settling in then it might be better to leave them to settle for now and get into a routine. If they’re very young they might be fine. But do keep an eye out for any squabbling.

Even a change of environment (such as moving to their new home) can cause territorial behaviour.

Hope things go well!
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Old 01-19-2022, 10:03 PM   #8
Hammy_pie
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Default Re: Help, please!!

Thank you for writing and sharing excellent info Lilafernim & Serendipity. Appreciate it so much. I bit the bullet today; after work I bought another 40 gallon aquarium and topper for Tot. I split up the stuff; both have a sand bath, already had two bowls for food, each has a hide, etc. Tot's wheel is on the way, should be here this weekend. I'm getting more hides and another "tree house." Things are pretty equally divided up from what I already had for them. There will be no dual hamster injuries in this home. Actually, it was rather bittersweet to split them up; I had to roust them and they were sleeping together. But I've been forewarned by several people here that bullying can happen any time in the future. I think they are truly adorable. I noticed I'd not seen Tot out and about, drinking or eating. She certainly never stepped paw on the wheel. I'm excited to see if she will come out of hiding and explore more without her alleged sister popping about. They both look healthy and are cute as cute can be. One day I'll take some pictures and share here when they settle into their new condos. I'm relieved, I needn't worry about hamster trouble anymore. It is a little nuts to have two big tanks in my wee apartment, but here's to happy, safe hammies. Thank you all who've supported me here.
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Old 01-20-2022, 09:37 AM   #9
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Help, please!!

I can understand that and they will both be fine living alone. Now separated they must never mix again - not even in a playpen.
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