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Old 10-12-2016, 01:46 AM   #11
chesca_27
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Default Re: RSPCA's new guidelines(?)

There are certain-sized wheel recommendations for each species of hamster, but they are a guide only. For example, an 8-inch wheel should be able to accommodate most dwarf hamsters and 11-12 inch wheels are recommended for Syrians.
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Old 10-12-2016, 02:32 AM   #12
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Default Re: RSPCA's new guidelines(?)

Both PDSA and RSPCA have removed their guidelines. I do not think the intention was to give people an excuse to buy the latest adorable rotastak, etc.
However, this has unfortunately created a lot of chaos in facebook hamster groups, there are now lots of owners not wanting to buy the bigger cages because the RSPCA have removed the guidelines and using them removing it as an excuse to not needing and lots of hamster groups telling people to stop bugging over cage sizes because there isn't a minimum anymore.

I get that not one size fits all hamsters, Chinese hamsters for example often don't like big cages, but they could have, instead of removing it said "it is recommended the cage be 80 x 40cm minimum, however some hamsters simply do not like big spaces and those are the exceptions to this rule."

The apparent reason the RSPCA gave for removing the sizes is that there "wasn't enough research studies done on hamsters and cage sizes" however, there has been a few done that has the end result of small cages (30x20cm, etc. etc.) being proven to be detrimental to most hamsters health and welfare.

The RSPCA removed the guidelines back when Pets at Home was getting a barrage of attacks from people online over the cages they sell. It wouldn't surprise me if the RSPCA removed the guidelines so that people would stop being over the top about cage sizes and would calm down. Even after Pets at Home started stocking Hamster Heavens (of which a few have stopped stocking them in store now because of low demand) people continued the attacks. If it is true they removed the sizes so people would calm down, I understand why that may be seems a lot of people went really-really over the top with it. - But that's just my two cents, lol!
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Old 10-12-2016, 11:19 AM   #13
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Default Re: RSPCA's new guidelines(?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreddyAndMe View Post
My hamster climbs up his Alaska snd throws himself off, I always get worried when he does it and it is one of the reasons I dislike my cage.

I still don't get where they are going with these recommendations, though - like one of you said, a person could pick up a very expensive but small cage from a pet shop and say that is all they could afford, but then they couldnot enrich the hamster because a big wheel would not fit inside. Bit dodgy I feel!

Talking about wheels, does anyone know if they have wheel size reccomendations?
I've recently purchased a zoozone 2 for this same reason. Fudge was in an Alaska cage and he did the same yours is doing.

In relation to pets at home it does bother me that not just pets at home but many other pet shops it's all about the profit and cages and accessories not the hamsters are what brings profit. If people start up a to do about the cages shops sell then naturally there will be a down turn of profit and so pet shops won't like this which i think is not right. If pet shops would only stock decent sized cages no gimmicks as well as good sized wheels everyone one would be happy most of all the hamsters and the shops would do more trade rather than having to go to the Internet. I worry because most people buying hamsters think these cages are suitable and then want to know why some of their hamsters have had short life spans or develop behavioural problems and perhaps one of the contributing factors has been stress due to inappropriate housing although I can't say this is fact as I know there are many other things that affect a hamsters life span.

I think it is a good idea though to have a minimum recommendation so people can know what is the minimum for that species and it avoids people making excuses for ridiculously small cages that can house even a decent sized wheel. Also people can tailor accordingly to their own experience and knowledge of hamster keeping and getting to know over time each individual hamsters personality and needs.
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Old 10-12-2016, 01:36 PM   #14
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Default Re: RSPCA's new guidelines(?)

The NHC has a minimum cage size which means the absolute minimum a hamster in any circumstance should be living in, it's not a reccomended cage size. The RSPCA have made their decision about removing guidelines for a recommended cage size as they feel they don't have enough research to back it up. As Fluffagrams has already said, if this something you think should change you should contact the RSPCA. The same goes for any pet stores you feel may be lacking in what they stock. Please refrain from naming and shaming on the forum.
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Old 10-12-2016, 03:14 PM   #15
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Default Re: RSPCA's new guidelines(?)

The idea of no minimum cage size can work both ways Lilac Dreams By giving a minimum recommended size, people often bought that size and no bigger (which is what I did). So in some ways, by getting rid of figures and centimetres, it does help reduce this business of people saying something is 2cm below the minimum or whatever. They do say hamsters need a lot of space after room for houses, toys and wheel, but I guess people got so used to a minimum recommended size that they feel a guideline is missing. There are a lot of cages around the 80cm by 50cm size as a result of the old guidelines and I think it is still considered a good guideline. Some other animal charities still recommend that as a minimum size.

There is the 2006 Animal Welfare Act which the RSPCA publish, which gives an indication of what would be a suitable environment.

Quote:
What does the law actually say?

Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act places a duty of care on people to ensure they take reasonable steps in all the circumstances to meet the welfare needs of their animals to the extent required by good practice.

What does this mean for those responsible for animals?

In short it means they must take positive steps to ensure they care for their animals properly and in particular must provide for the five welfare needs, which are:

need for a suitable environment
need for a suitable diet
need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals
need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
To be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns, hamsters would need enough space for enrichment, so the lack of a minimum guideline size doesn't necessarily suggest people should go for any old small cage But I agree it can lead to confusion as to what kind of cage is suitable and isn't very specific.

The NHC recommends a minimum of 1000 square centimetres (useable floorspace), which does sound small but I think the "useable floorspace" helps, as it suggests that it's the amount of floorspace needed after large floor items are in the cage. It's a shame there isn't a manufacturer who makes an ideal cage! One that has the right sized stuff in it and still enough floorspace, without worrying about exactly how many centimetres it is! I think the Hamster Heaven did a fairly good job of that, because it provided shelves and houses and floorspace under them. Unfortunately the little houses are a bit small for Syrians and it's a squeeze to fit a Syrian sized wheel in.

If you know people who are having dilemmas, there is some info from the RSPCA that makes it clear that enough space is needed for various behaviours and enrichment. Rather than easily found internet pages, some of the documentation is in pdf now. The first pdf on this link outlines the kind of environment a hamster needs.

https://www.rspca.org.uk/search?sear...msters&x=0&y=0

From that people are expected to visualise how much space would be needed! Which isn't always easy. But they have always tended to recommend a nesting box or house and that can take up floorspace, as can a wheel and other toys. I don't think the minimum recommended sizes have changed really, even though not published, but it does allow for flexibility of set ups and cage styles.

It's a bit more black and white in Germany - with 100cm by 50cm minimum and 50cm square welfare minimum and at least 20cm of substrate. But personally I find enrichment can be had in other ways as well as substrate depth, and cages allow for levels and roof cover and roof runs, whereas the tanks used in Germany seem to focus on being able to dig deep but not much overhead - although they look amazing and like a natural habitat.

Anyway a lot more is being left to common sense and imagination. But I also found it hard to visualise what was big enough and 40cm sounded quite big to me until a saw hamster inside it. 80cm seemed huge but turned out not to be big enough in our case.

As most people are talking about housing for a pet hamster, then doing the best you possibly can to give them enrichment and the ability to have normal behaviours is the main goal really. More experienced owners with a number of hamsters have something else to give as well, which hamsters will respond to - experience in care and handling, and could be more content with a simpler set up. For someone with one or two hamsters and less experience, then a hamster could be happier with a mega environment and less contact. It's a bit complex I think and some depends on how much time owners have with the hamsters and how much interaction.

I actually hate setting up cages! It's a real fiddle and eyeballing what fits where isn't easy. I wish there was an "ideal" hamster cage, ready set up. So people could say - that's the ideal hamster cage.

This is the link with the animal welfare act on.

https://www.rspca.org.uk/whatwedo/ch...imalwelfareact

I can see people will say - but what is a suitable environment?! That's where the other link (the pdf) comes in.

I agree though, it would be a lot more straightforward if they just said - a hamster needs a cage x big with an x big house, an x big wheel, x cm of substrate, at least one floor tunnel and one shelf, and 3 toys. That would make things a bit simpler for a new owner to just follow the guidelines.

Last edited by Pebbles82; 10-12-2016 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 10-12-2016, 11:54 PM   #16
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Default Re: RSPCA's new guidelines(?)

Honestly, reptile and fish keeping is SO much easier when it comes to guidelines! For example, for a leopard gecko, people say you need a two foot long viv, hot spot of 30 degrees and at least one hide at either end of the enclosure. Easy peasy, just a choice of decor you want, whether you are going to use UVB lighting and what you are going to feed it. I wish it was like this with hamsters!

As well as an ideal cage (honestly, if someone could make a 90cm X 40cm that would be great - I mean, who actually has a cabinet that goes 50cm back?!) I think someone needs to make an ideal wheel. We have a choice of tiny, small, medium and HUGE and it is only the HUGE ones that our Syrians are able to use! Why can't we have a 25cm wheel - I am sure most Syrains could use that comfortably and we wouldn't need skyscrapers to fit them in.

I wonder if anyone will ever make this stuff!
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Old 10-13-2016, 12:24 AM   #17
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Default Re: RSPCA's new guidelines(?)

There are 9 inch wheels out there It's a bit under 25cm,but it would really only work for a very small range of Syrians so it wouldn't be the best idea.However,it would work extremely well for larger dwarf hamsters!

Hamster care will most likely never be as simple as reptile or fish care.There are many different needs and also lots of opinions are conflicted,but to have a single minimum would be extremely limiting.A lot of people would want to go with the easiest minimum to access while others would focus more on science,and because of that you will always have a huge divide of what is really good.
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Old 10-13-2016, 07:55 AM   #18
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Default Re: RSPCA's new guidelines(?)

Honestly, there is tons of different advice in those separate hobbies. Honestly both are probably more complicated in that sense, but everybody seems to agree over the basics and that is what, for me, makes them seem a lot nicer when you research into them.

There's a pretty big debate over substrates for reptiles at the minute, particularly concerning lizards - this is highly frustrating. But everybody still knows that the reptile they keep needs a certain temperature and particular items for enrichment, which nobody argues with because they work.

We all know that Syrian hamsters need big cages - but media and pet shops tell us different. We all know that they need suitably sized wheels - yet again, the media and pet shops tell us different.

It all seems to be about profit to me. Hamsters = short lived and easy to breed. Reptiles = often very long lived and more difficult to breed (in the sense that they grow slower and need incubating in general). Pet shops/breeders can breed many hamsters, sell them cheap and get great profit in a short space of time, but only if everything else that is required to keep them is low cost also. On the other hand, reptiles take more time and live longer, so they are sold with everything at a higher cost to make sensible profit, which also means that the correct equipment can be sold alongside them as that costs more.

If you get my meaning, you understand why another setback with guidelines could have an overall huge effect!
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Old 10-13-2016, 12:19 PM   #19
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Default Re: RSPCA's new guidelines(?)

You show me an ideal hamster and I'll show you an ideal hamster cage or wheel....
Seriously though, all of my hamsters are and have been very different to each other amd I yet to have a "stereotypical" hamster.

Guidelines aren't just what someone reckons is the best. They need to be worked out and backed up by research. And as we have already said, if you'd like to understand more about the RSPCA and how they work out their guidelines or decide not to issue them, then you need to contact them directly.

As this thread was a query was a thread about what happened to the RSPCA guidelines, I think that one has been answered. It would be great if we could refrain from it turning into a thread berating pet company's alleged business practises. Thanks guys.
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Old 10-13-2016, 11:37 PM   #20
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Default Re: RSPCA's new guidelines(?)

Okay, gotcha Velma. I wasn't attempting to start any of that malarkey! I have actually contacted them in the past and got no reply, it's quite annoying...
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