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Old 05-22-2023, 09:54 AM   #1
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Dec 2022
Location: Hertfordshire,UK
Posts: 42
Default A lot of questions

I've had my first hamster, a Syrian boy (whom now i suspect being a girl since when he stand up I couldn't see the testicles(I couldn't see nipples and I don't think he/she has heat though I'm not sure)named Starnite for about 2 months now. One day,when I was scattering his food,I took a look at the cage and I was thinking, this cage need a serious glow up. And so begins my hamster haul plans

Q1.Safe wood shaving(preferably aspen)in the UK?
One thing I do want to add is some more texture so I think adding a wood bedding type would create a nice colour scheme and texture. From what I know,they're cheaper so if I put some wood bedding in the middle,I can pile up paper based bedding on the two sides. I'm only using wood shaving for one third of the cage and that part is not his toilet area so the wood bedding is probably going to be changed every 3 months. Therefore, I don't intend to bulk buy but if that is way cheaper then I'm okay with it.

Q2. Are all sprays in the rosewood pick n fly hamster safe?
One thing that I definitely need for the cage is sprays. I kind of want a cheaper option so I searched the whole Amazon and found this. It's marketed for birds but I saw people saying that it's completely safe for hamsters but I'm not sure since people on amazon says small cages is good anyway.

Q3:Forage mix in the UK
Forage mix is probably the most important thing for me,since I can't bear strong smells and even though the cage doesn't smell that bad,it never smells fresh so forage mix would really help

Q4:Taming tips?
I'm not sure if Starnite is a ghost or not,but I have a feeling that it'll be a long journey taming him. I've searched the whole internet and even the forum and the taming ways but
just didn't work. First attempt to tame him is a failure as he has bitten 2 people while me and my dad tried to let him to take treats from our palms. He uses the same move to bite:nibble, nibble, BITE. He still let me to pet him and he will take treats from my hand but he just gets nibbly when I show him fingers. I've tried using baking gloves and he still tries to eat the fingers.

Q5iy playpen?
I usually use bathtub for free roaming but it's a pain trying to dry the whole thing every time he free roams so I really want to have a cheap diy playpen but we have no idea how to do it cheaply.. Any help would be appreciated (sorry for the long post)
Current Hamster🐹:Starnite (Female Syrian)
Playing Over The Bridge🌈:Mia (Female Hybrid WW)

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Old 05-22-2023, 11:20 AM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 239
Default Re: A lot of questions

1. My info is a little out of date as I've been using teabag bedding for years, but aspen is considered safe, although apparently can sometimes cause allergic reactions. Hemp is also safe. From a quick search to refresh my memory, the only unsafe ones are pine and cedar, due to the oils/acids that may be present in the wood. (Note: If I remember correctly, solid pine toys are generally considered safe in the UK, as pine is kiln-dried which removes almost all of the oils.)

2. I have used the sprays myself many times, although only for dwarfs; my Syrians were never interested other than as an initial exploratory nibble. They generally contain millet and dari, which hamsters enjoy. To be safer, you can always store the sprays in the freezer for a couple of days to ensure there are no bugs.

3. Pets at home have a few forage mixes, both own-brand and Rosewood. Be sure to check the ingredients and compare with 'safe foods for hamsters' lists, as at least one of the mixes (Rosewood Fruit Salad, I believe) contains leeks, which hamsters shouldn't have. I have found that hamsters generally aren't too interested in 'herby' mixes with dried petals, although they can make the cage look more colourful. Rodipet also has a number of forage mixes (and I get my hamsters main foods there), but they can be very, very expensive (especially with the shipping fees) compared to things in the UK.

4. I guess you've already tried the 'sitting by cage and talking to hamster' and 'give tissues that have your scent' methods? Unfortunately I don't have much advice for this; my hamsters have always been either very easy to tame, or for the less-friendly ones (generally dwarfs), had learned enough of their personalities to know when to minimise interaction. The only advice I can really give is to, well, start over. Give your hamster a break for a couple of days; only do the bare minimum of interaction. Then slowly start doing the usual methods again; talking, you-scented tissue, gently stroking the back as he eats, then moving to stroke the sides as he gets more comfortable with that, gradually moving to picking him up and holding him in your arms (fingers tucked away!). Food distractions are a good idea for any kind of physical interaction, as most hamsters are very food-motivated.

5. I've used a play pen a few times, and my hamsters always just wanted to escape it. But, for your question, a DIY option might not work, unless you're good with woodor metalworking; a cardboard playpen will be easy to chew through, and plastic boxes (like those used in bin cages) might not be large enough. You can get a toddler ball pit off Amazon for about £10, which would give ample space, is waterproof, and doesn't have bars the hamster can climb up, but you'd still have to watch out in case he nibbles through it.
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Old 05-22-2023, 02:54 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: UK
Posts: 3,190
Default Re: A lot of questions

1. You can buy aspen from the reptile section of pet stores. It’s usually shredded aspen:
Also small pet select sell aspen but as woodshaving flakes - Aspen shavings bedding - Small Pet Select UK

2. Rosewood Pick n fly is safe. From looking at the product image looks like they contain flax, panicle millet and sorghum/Dari. All are safe for hamsters. The rosewood harvest festival contain flax, oat sprays alongside dill and mint. This one is also safe to use - content vary from pack to pack.

3. You can buy forage mixes from pets at home I normally get the herbal salad one -
This website also has lots of forage Forage for rabbits, guinea pigs & small animals | Bunny Bistro.

4. When taming I avoid using treat especially feeding them from your hand so my hamsters don’t associate my hands with food. How I tame my hamsters is I set up and playpen and sit in there with them. I go on my phone and completely ignore them - I don’t try to pick them up or try handle them. Normally they will avoid climbing on your for the first few days or even week. Then they start to get braver and begin climbing into your lap. When they get really comfortable climbing into your lap I put my hand - palm upward in my lap and let them walk over. I avoid lifting my hand up or moving it until they get really comfortable climbing into my hand. Then begin lifting your hand up briefly then put them straight back down - gradually extend the amount of time in your hand the more confident they get. It takes a lot of repetition and it best where possible do it daily. And they get a treat when I put them back into their cage so it more of a reward. This is the taming method. And wash your hand with unscented soap beforehand. This method is really successful for me and has help even my most nervous Syrian become tame.

5. Look into c&c grids - Stylish playpen. I didn’t use the same panels as my Syrians will chew through. Instead I bought the grid versions and covered each panel in 4mm clear acrylic (you can order custom cut sizes or I bought a large sheet and cut to size myself) and attached them to the panel using binder clips. It chewproof and they can’t climb over it.
Popcorn Syrian

Owning Hamsters since Nov 2007
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Old 06-10-2023, 02:50 PM   #4
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Dec 2022
Location: Hertfordshire,UK
Posts: 42
Default Re: A lot of questions

Thank you so much for the answers! SKB, I have a question,Starnite kept escaping when I put him inside the playpen with some toys that I don't think he'll be interested in me when I put myself in with him,should I tame him in a bathtub instead of the playpen?Tysm xx
Current Hamster🐹:Starnite (Female Syrian)
Playing Over The Bridge🌈:Mia (Female Hybrid WW)

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bedding, cage, cheaper, thing, wood

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