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Old 03-11-2020, 08:04 AM   #1
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 17
Question Cleaning...?

So how often do you do a full cage clean?
I know spot cleaning every day is ok, but like a proper clean every out?

Hammy sleeps in one of her plastic tubes, how often should that be cleaned? She hoards and poops in it ��
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Old 03-11-2020, 08:20 AM   #2
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Location: North of England
Posts: 21,976
Default Re: Cleaning...?

Cage set up and cleaning sort of go together. Weekly full cage cleans aren't recommended - stresses the hamster and can lead to abnormal behaviours like peeing on things to re-scent mark them, including their hoards.

Basically if you have a good depth of substrate in a cage (4 to 6") and use a litter tray then you can leave doing a substrate clean for weeks or even 2 to 3 months. The only spot cleaning needed is the pee or occasionally if a lot of poops build up (poops can be left for some time really unless they start taking over = they are not dirty or smelly and they sometimes eat them which is normal - they have two stomachs and can redigest nutrients from the poops).

So general sugggestions are - keep a good depth of substrate, use a litter tray, don't clean everything at the same time (removes all familiar scent for hamster and is very stressful).

As a guide, when the substrate needs to be changed then keep back about a quarter or a third of the old substrate that is clean (possibly the bottom part) and spread it on top of the new substrate so it still smells a bit familiar, but don't clean any other items - you can do the wheel a different week and any other toys as and when needed at a different time again. Toys generally don't need a lot of cleanign that often. It is only really their pee that needs cleaning as hamsters are otherwise very clean little things. If they do pee in their nest then it needs taking out but try and leave a little bit of old nest behind that smells familiar and put out a big pile of torn up strips of plain white toilet paper near the house (not inside it) so they can rebuild the nest. Otherwise it is fine to be left quite a long time. Likewise with hoards- if they are pee'd on they need removing but always replace the hoard with new food in exactly the same place or they will start having stressed and abnormal behaviours. Most hamsters will use a litter tray if it's provided. If they have a pee corner in the cage put it there or they might not use it if you put it somewhere else. Young and baby hamsters can take a few weeks to get into good toiletting habits!

Tubes are an issue in themselves. If they start to nest and pee in the tubes then yes they need taking out and cleaning quite often and then the hamster does it more! It is much better not to have internal tubes. Most cages allow for these to be removed and blocked off. And have tubes as floor toys instead in short single runs. If you provide a good sized house at floor level on top of the substrate and open underneath (so they can bury hoards) the hamster will probably just move into it - if you remove the tubes. That allows them to have normal behaviours - separate areas for nesting, hoarding and peeing. If thehouse is big enough you can even put a corner litter tray inside the house.

A shoebox house is ideal - cut the base out of a shoebox so it's open underneath and sat on top of the substrate. Cut a hole for a door at one end of one of the long sides (the other end will then be darker and they nest in the darkest area) and ideally put a bendy bridge over the door - makes it dark inside and provides a ramp onto the roof. The lid can be used as a lift off roof to check inside if needed, without needing to take the house out so the nest doesn't fall about. They are very precious about their nests and hoards.

So basically - take the tubes out and add a decent sized house at substrate level that is open underneath and pop a litter tray in one corner of the cage with Chinchilla bathing sand in it. If the hamster pees in a different corner, move the litter tray there. Some depends on the style of cage. What cage do you have? Tall cages with small floor area aren't good - they are susceptible to injuries from falls and are basically ground dwellers and diggers who like to bury things like their hoards.

I use these litter trays

Spot cleaning every day is a bit too much possibly. I go two to three months without changing the substrate, and using a litter tray that is emptied every few days - with an 80 to 100cm cage and about 5" of substrate.
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Old 03-11-2020, 12:57 PM   #3
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 17
Default Re: Cleaning...?

Thank you i will attach a picture, it's all one level that I made,Then you can say what I need to change
She has sand that she pees in, I don't know is she pees in the tuff tube or not, she sleeps and hoards in the red one.
She always pees in sand when put for play too.
She has deep bedding at that end too.
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Old 03-12-2020, 06:03 AM   #4
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 17
Default Re: Cleaning...?

Brought a gift box to make her a house anything else I should change?
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clean, cleaning, day, full, proper

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