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Old 12-12-2021, 01:21 PM   #1
Ria P
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Default Gertie had babies!!

Turns out that Gertie the retired from breeding winterwhite dwarf was only semi retired.

Ok, she did look like an egg but i read somewhere that pure bred winterwhites have an egg shaped body.

She surfaced from a hole when she heard me come in to try for a couple of mealworms and then sat in her food bowl. Next thing this tiny furry face appears looking out of the hole. My head kept swivelling from Gertie to furry face and back and then it dawned on me.......

This explains everything about Gertie's recent behaviour. Why she bit me when i held her around her middle, the screeching when i moved or touched anything in her habitat, the hoarding like there was no tomorrow and the guzzling of water that had started to worry me.

She's in our bedroom and away from the other hamsters. I just went in to give her some boiled egg when i saw a baby briefly on the surface. It was about 2 in long and fully covered with fur but i didn't see the eyes because it dived underground. I don't know how old it is and why it was already out of the nest. Gertie spent quite a bit of time trying to interact with me so i left the room because i was concerned that she wasn't with the babies.

In fact, Gertie had been out of her cage today and was on the futon with me but that was before i knew about the babies. Not ideal but can't do anything about it now.

I'll wait and see what happens until i know how many there are and how many are going to survive.

I got a rough idea from reading threads on here about what to do and when but need to make 100% sure that no one ends up pregnant when the time comes.

Am i right in thinking that i need to sex them and take the boys out at 4 weeks old?

My guess is that they aren't more than a week old but please correct me if i'm wrong.

One thing i'm not sure about is how to respond to Gertie.
Should i just stick to feeding her so she attends to her babies instead of running around her cage when she sees me and walk away?

Or should i interact with her, pet her and let her out of her cage?

That's her third litter so Gertie knows what she's doing but she wasn't meant to have more babies. Gertie is meant to be a spoiled pet. In a way i feel sorry for her.
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Old 12-13-2021, 02:04 AM   #2
Ria P
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Default Re: Gertie had babies!!

I woke up to see 5 babies playing with Gertie watching over them. What a lovely start to the day.

I've also received good advice and plenty of support from the lady who is a very experienced breeder. The delay that happened with Gertie's pregnancy is rare but it's all working out in the end. The babies look healthy and they are going back to the hamstery once old enough. And then Gertie can enjoy her retirement.
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Old 12-14-2021, 11:42 AM   #3
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Default Re: Gertie had babies!!

Here's Gertie with 3 of her 5 babies.
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File Type: jpg Screenshot_20211214-153717_Gallery.jpg (80.8 KB, 34 views)
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Old 12-14-2021, 12:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: Gertie had babies!!

Aww they’re so cute. Are you a breeder or did you get Gertie from a breeder?

It sounds like she’s hit the jackpot with you.
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Old 12-14-2021, 12:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: Gertie had babies!!

Goodness they are adorable and definitely fully grown babies. She must have been hiding them away well until they were big enough to leave the nest. Gertie must also trust you doing things in her cage, despite her fuss, or she'd have culled the babies. Although if she wasn't a first time Mother she'd be experienced in this!

So was Gertie an adoption?
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Old 12-14-2021, 01:55 PM   #6
Ria P
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Smile Re: Gertie had babies!!

Gertie has her own thread called "Gertie".
After losing so many dwarf hybrids to illnesses i didn't want another dwarf as our own pet but my OH didn't want to be without a dwarf girl.
I agreed to get a pedigree dwarf from a reputable breeder hoping that better genetics will give a hamster a better chance of good health.
Gertie is a pure bred winter white and has had two litters. I wanted to offer a hamster retired from breeding a retirement home as a pet so had to wait for Gertie who was on pregnancy watch at the hamstery and then she was ready to move in with us.

She looked like an egg with ears and still does but i didn't know she came to me pregnant and neither did the breeder. Nature was playing tricks.
Gertie was in a settling in phase so i didn't handle her much because i didn't want to rush her. She's in our bedroom, i did not hear any squeaks but i noticed that she spent time under the platform. Didn't think anything of it because dwarfs are burrowers. Didn't do any cleaning either because she was still settling in. Maybe just as well because i would have found and disturbed the nest.

But, i feel ever so bad for only feeding her normal portions for one hamster because i had no idea that she was nursing five babies. I never skimp with food and feed more rather than less but still, i'm sure she could have done with more.

The babies were born into the wrong set up too with a wheel, sandbath, bridges etc when they should have been on one level. At least the Hamster Heaven is a low cage and Gertie's has a lot of Kaytee clean and cozy substrate.

The babies are already running around on the platform and over the bridges but i can't take everything out now as this would really upset Gertie. Gertie goes on top of her house and rests in her ceramic hide away from the babies sometimes. I think she's quite tired out. She's in there now while some of the babies are running around.

I hope that everything continues to go well with Gertie and the babies but this is an experience i would not want to repeat. It's quite stressful because i worry about the babies getting stuck somewhere but can't think where. They are so so small and very lively and inquisitive. Had i known i would have taken time of work. My OH is home though and on the other end of the phone to give me updates.

The babies are eating and drinking but still feeding from Gertie as well. They are due to go to the hamstery on the 28th. If Gertie gets fed up with them or exhausted and providing they are weaned then i may move them to a spare cage over Christmas. I have started to handle them and can already see their different personalities. Most are very wriggly and jump off my hand but there's one who will calmly sit on my hand for a while and let me stroke it. I say "it" because i don't know their gender yet.

Gertie seems to trust me with her babies. I'm really looking forward to get to know Gertie.
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Last edited by Ria P; 12-14-2021 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 12-14-2021, 05:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Gertie had babies!!

Sorry, I must have missed her thread It does sound stressful but perhaps on the excitement plane of stressful as sounds exciting too. Don't worry, all went well - and I'm sure they're all getting plenty to eat now.

Personally I would take the levels out now. It's past the stage where Gertie will cull them if disturbed and it's probably safer. Maybe add a new tunnel/floor toy to make up for it. It'll also be easier for Gertie to Mother them if they can't climb and get away from her. I think I'd probably take the wheel out too but not certain on that - Souffle might know.
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Old 12-14-2021, 05:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: Gertie had babies!!

These kind of floor tunnels are popular with baby hamsters.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Natural-Woo...25&sr=8-6&th=1
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Old 12-15-2021, 04:45 AM   #9
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Default Re: Gertie had babies!!

Oh they’re beautiful! Ria, she was on pregnancy watch and was released as “not pregnant” you would’ve had no idea! I know it’s easy to say sometimes that you wish you would’ve done something different, but looking at the alternative the only way you could’ve known is if you literally disturbed her nest and then that could’ve really freaked her out. Despite the fact there could’ve been more food, there was clearly enough to get them all to this stage and the important thing is you know now.

I know you said you were worried about having another hamster after such losses, so what a shock this must be for you, I couldn’t imagine buying one then ending up with 5 more �� They couldn’t have a better owner to care for them so don’t beat yourself up on what could’ve been done because they’re all alive and well. Wishing you all the luck in the world to continue great care in their growth!
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Old 12-15-2021, 04:56 AM   #10
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Default Re: Gertie had babies!!

Reading back, I am really not sure on how to manage things with Gertie and think perhaps there is no right answer in this situatuation, but more a case of how you want to manage things. If this was a planned litter, or one you were keeping, or planning to keep one of the babies - I think you would want to be encouraging Gertie to fulfill all her maternal role in helping the babies grow up in the first few weeks and being a Mother and keeping an eye on them. And actually maybe that is the way to do it, so the babies have the best chance/start in life.

I'm also wondering when they get weaned from the Mother? They could be still feeding from her as well as having general food. So important she doesn't miss out on feeds with them perhaps. Just made me realise I don't know when they get weaned! But yes sexing and separation is 4 to 5 weeks I think.

Do you think you might keep one of the babies? I am just wondering if it might be nice for Gertie.
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