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Old 11-18-2016, 04:46 PM   #1
snit_girl
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Default Hamster sitting. Would you change anything?

Hi guys, I've not been on here since my girl Belle left us last year but now I'm hamster sitting a lovely wee syrian boy called buddy.

He was dropped off tonight by my mums colleague (I don't know her personally) and will stay here for 2 weeks. He is absolutely teeny tiny and so skinny. Apparently he was a rescue from the p@h adoption section so no idea how old.

He's here in an old gerbil cage complete with fluffy bedding, dwarf size silent spinner, no toys and his food is glennwood hamster and gerbil muesli that resembles sawdust and a few seeds, it's so dusty.

I have a mini duna, ball on a stand and would happily go buy him some harry hamster food, paper bedding and something to chew like a whimzee while he's here. I know that stuff isn't really suitable for a syrian but he's so small he'd fit it for now.

What I'm asking is, would you be offended if someone changed your hamsters food and environment? Should I do it and move him back before he's collected? Leave well enough alone? He's very active and quite the climber. He went in his wheel a little bit but I was told he doesn't use it and I'm not surprised as he was bent right back and flipped over. I'd even happily give him away with everything but the cage too.
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Old 11-18-2016, 05:07 PM   #2
Cinnamon Bear
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Default Re: Hamster sitting. Would you change anything?

Can you get in touch with the owner and ask her over the phone? Would you be willing to give your mini duna to her permanently? If so she might welcome the change?
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Old 11-18-2016, 05:08 PM   #3
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Hamster sitting. Would you change anything?

Hmm difficult one. Some people would appreciate it, others would be offended. Did she leave any instructions about what not to do, or do specifically? If not then I think some changes would be fine and easily changed again if need be. Whereas others might be a bit too far. I'm not sure about the cage change - that's a big thing for a hammy - and presumably the gerbil cage is a bit bigger than the mini duna? I would change the wheel, swap the fluffy bedding for paper and get some Harry Hamster (mixing it in gradually during the first week), plus give him some supplements each day. A small piece of veg every 2 or 3 days - extras like nuts, pumpkin seeds, a bit of cheese, scrambled egg etc and scatter feed some of the extras. So improve his nutrition and safety, basically. Would an 8" wheel fit in the gerbil cage? I think he would need a wheel in the cage and an 8" wouldn't fit in a mini duna.

How big is the gerbil cage? I think this colleague of your Mum's, if you explain the dangers of fluffy bedding to her, and spinal arching in hamsters, will be appreciative of the minor changes. And then drop in the fact that hamsters need a high protein mix like Harry Hamster to stay healthy and avoid vet bills, plus it has monkey nuts in and is quite cheap bought in bulk. And he seems to enjoy fresh veg, and pumpkin seeds.

Go for it. She can always change the wheel and bedding back again, but I don't think anyone would once they know toilet paper is better! That would mean you getting an 8" wheel though. The ball on the stand would be ok for out of cage but he'd need a decent wheel in the cage. You can get an 8" Trixie wheel from Amazon for 5.99.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Trixie-Exer...t%2Bwheel&th=1

Would the 11" Trixie wheel fit in the cage? Even if he's small he'd probably run really well in that if he's active and that's only a few pounds more.

I should do it - add a few toys - toilet roll toys maybe and a bendy bridge or something and the odd chew and plenty of substrate and when the owner sees the difference I am sure she will like it. Shame if you have to pay for things - but I think I would too!
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Old 11-18-2016, 05:40 PM   #4
snit_girl
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Default Re: Hamster sitting. Would you change anything?

The gerbil cage is really small, smaller floor area than the mini duna but it is higher and has a half second level sort of. He is a climber so I've already seen him fall from quite a height. The dwarf wheel is all that will fit in it. I could put a big wheel in without the level but it would literally take up half of the floor space. There's also a horizontal bar missing which I'm not keen on as he's so small.

My mum was here and told her not to be surprised if she came back to him being in a different cage and she just laughed. No other instructions apart from scatter feeding him and leaving a big bag of bedding, food, sawdust, etc. She also said he went into hibernation last week but came round after being warmed up, not really an issue in my roasting house.

The ball she left is actually broken, but it's identical to the one I have on a stand. It's a p@h one I've used for smaller hams before in the duna. Thing is I've never used the duna long term, it has always been a recovery cage or one for emergencies (which is why I'd like to hang onto it). My main cage was a hamster heaven but it's not fit to live in just now as the bars need re-coated and it's not the weather to do it now.
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Old 11-19-2016, 02:16 AM   #5
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Default Re: Hamster sitting. Would you change anything?

Could you change the fluffy bedding and wheel, and give her some research on everything? That way it's up to her to make the changes? The problem with changing the food is it has to be done gradually and if she doesn't feed that when he goes then it might be pointless. But you could still give him fresh food. You could ask your mom about whether making the changes is a good idea or not, but if you change the cage she might just out him back in the cage he's already in, which would make him stressed a bit. Do you have any good hamster care books you could let her borrow? Or direct her to the forum maybe?
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Old 11-21-2016, 05:07 AM   #6
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Default Re: Hamster sitting. Would you change anything?

Is this the gerbilarium?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ferplast-Ga...ry+gerbilarium

If so, or it's similar, you could fill the base with substrate to within a couple of inches of the platform and fix an 8" wheel to the bars along the back where the gap is. Then he'd have lots of substrate to burrow in. Maybe put a hammock over the gap as well - big enough to overlap the shelf too.

To be honest I'd be tempted to make a bin cage for him. I appreciate that's expense for you, but a Samla bin would be an improvement. If the gerbil cage is smaller than the one linked and an 8" wheel won't fit then it's very bad for him. It might mean an outlay of about 25, for the bin, materials and a wheel, and is still a bit on the small side for a Syrian but he would be able to have normal behaviours and that and a good diet will improve his quality of life no end. You know that, but some people can't imagine it until they see it. Give him a shoebox house as well and then you can show her what a big nest he has built.

Actually I'd be tempted to get him an Alaska cage for 33 and put your ball on the stand inside it for now. It folds flat so if she doesn't want it, you could keep it. Do you think your Mum would help out towards the cost of it. Then you'd just need a shoe box house and some home-made toys and lots of substrate and nesting material - I think he would visibly improve and the owner would see that.
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Old 11-24-2016, 06:58 AM   #7
Thin Lizzy
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Default Re: Hamster sitting. Would you change anything?

Is this her first hamster? It could be she got the cage in a petshop along with the fluffy bedding, I would try and talk to her on the phone. But, I'd remove that fluffy bedding asap. I would print her off some information on hamsters for her to read.
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