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Old 06-07-2021, 12:34 PM   #1
emilyy
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Default Cage change - should I and how should I!

Hello all,

I am wondering about a cage change for my 9 month old Syrian hamster, Chuck.

He has had the same cage since I got him, fairly standard cage with tube going around the back and a wheel inside. I used to hear the wheel a lot but I donít anymore so Iím not sure if he still uses it or has outgrown it. (I have him a flying saucer style wheel for in his run which is bigger and I understand to be better for their backs)

I recently bought a Pico XL home which has multiple levels and I believe a slightly bigger wheel so may give him more to do/explore as I do not want him to be bored. It does not however have any tubes and Chuck does make his bed in there so I wonder if he would be disappointed. I could possibly put a small section of tube in the new cage so he has that option.

Do you think I should change the cage? If so, would I put his current bedding in there and let him explore gradually?

Want to ensure he has lots of room and is happy but donít want to upset him in the stress/change or lack of tube!

Thoughts would be appreciated!
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Old 06-07-2021, 12:58 PM   #2
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Cage change - should I and how should I!

I would definitely change his cage if the current cage is less than 80cm x 50cm (width and depth) . But definitely wouldn’t change it for the Pico cage. The floor area is too small snd it’s too tall so there are fall risks (despite the shelves). Also the house is right at the top, too small and has a solid base. Hamsters are ground dwellers who like to dig and forage for food.

A good upgrade would be the Hamster Heaven or Hamster Sky (both the same cage - different contents). Both are 80 x 50 but not too tall and will fit a 28cm Syrian wheel. Or the Savic plaza from pets at home. That is 100cm x 50 cm but more expensive.

The hamster heaven and sky do come with tubes but honestly it’s better to remove them and give them tunnels at floor level instead. With an 80 x 50 or bigger cage they have more floor area so can have normal behaviours like digging, foraging etc and have their house snd toile all at ground level. Because they really need a large ish house that is open underneath snd sat directly on the substrate. It’s more hygienic and allows them normal behaviours like burying hoards under the nest. They will also use a potty tray if the house is at ground level.

None of those cages comes with a decent house so you need to add one. Toys snd houses don’t have to cost a lot though - a shoebox makes a good house (cut the base out snd use the lid as a lift off roof to check inside). Pringles tubes make good floor tunnels.

A good set up would be the hamster heaven with the top penthouse removed, the tubes removed, just one shelf left in - the solid one, a house added and a 28cm truxie wheel- that will take up most of the space but still room for the odd floor tunnel and toy etc. The cage does come with a roof hanging Sputnik which is ok.

Honestly your hanster would be happy as Larry with a set up like that and won’t miss the tubes - the tubes tend to encourage abnormal behaviours like nesting and peeing in them snd blocking them up.

There is a real shortage of hamster cages right now or I’d recommend a few more. But think - more floor area, less height.

Moving cages can be very stressful for them but not if it’s done right. I let them play in the new cage the day before moving - with some substrate and any news items in it. Then the next day out the hamster somewhere secure while you move everything across (eg in a pet carrier in another room so they don’t get stressed hearing and smelling you messing with their cage!

When moving things over don’t clean anything - resist! Move all the old substrate across on top of any substrate already in the new cage. Move any other items you’re keeping from the old cage. Try and set it up do everything is in a similar layout even if it’s a different house and wheel - eg wheel back left, house centre right under a shelf or whatever. Carefully save the nest and hoard and move those over inside any house. You could prune the hoard a bit if it’s very large or peed on but try and save some of it.

With this method the hamster should settle very quickly. They can still be nervy snd skitty for a few days but nothing like as much as a cold Turkey move. It’ll then take about 10 days to two weeks before they’ve fully adjusted to the change and after that you’ll see a happy confident hamster enjoying the space in the cage and loving the bigger wheel
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Old 06-07-2021, 01:15 PM   #3
Ria P
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Default Re: Cage change - should I and how should I!

If you are in the UK have a look on Gumtree. I've just bought another Alaska cage for £25 and Hamster Heavens come up quite regularly. I've seen Zoozone 2 cages going cheap as well and the odd Savic Plaza.

Someone wanted to adopt my foster Syrian hamster today but i turned them down because they had a Pico XL.
It really isn't a good cage for the aforementioned reasons and the wheel is tiny. If its unused i'd return it to the shop.
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Old 06-07-2021, 02:15 PM   #4
Imogen
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Default Re: Cage change - should I and how should I!

You're looking for a cage that has at least 450 square inch space minimum as well as at least 15cm depth of burrowing. (preferred by most famous hamster youtubers I watch and what I go off. But you can have 10cm depth if you can find a tall enough tray cage).

You can buy a box for like £12 and make a bin cage, you can get a decent box from the Range. The trouble is there's only a few select cages suitable enough for hamsters.

I got a £60 box from homebase that's 709 square inch space, but you need to put in the time and effort to make it suitable though and do the mesh and zipties or however you wish to fit it on. Cages can amount up to even more than £60 for like 100 and something sq inch. Bargain if you can make a DIY cage.

The pictures I have here are ever so lightly outdated since he now has a toilet tray (instead of that massive green thing) and a trixie wooden wheel.


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Last edited by Imogen; 06-07-2021 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 06-07-2021, 03:19 PM   #5
LunaTheHamster1
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Default Re: Cage change - should I and how should I!

Sadly, as you have just found out the Pico cage is not suitable for hamsters. It is too small in floorspace and too tall. I wonder if you can return it and get your money back.

Finding suitable cages has become a bit difficult since Brexit/covid but I did create a whole thread about UK cages, with links were to buy or look out for any of them 2nd hand on gum tree, facebook marketplace, preloved, freeads, shpock etc.

UK Hamster Cages 2021

Hope that helps.
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Old 06-07-2021, 11:44 PM   #6
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Cage change - should I and how should I!

Yep - the Pico cage is not cheap either - and totally unsuitable! They really should stop selling them to people - I would also try and take it back for a refund.

A second hand Alaska cage would be ideal if you can find one. Similar size to the hamster heaven - slightly taller but not too tall.

This is the Savic Hamster Sky. Be warned, the savic tubes aren't that wide for a syrian - some hamsters have got stuck before now. Most hamster cages with external plastic tubes have the same issue. But they're easily removed and the cage comes with caps to block off the holes.

https://www.petsathome.com/shop/en/p...ge-7128439p--1

It has a lovely big front opening door which makes taming and interaction with the hamster good.
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Old 06-09-2021, 03:14 AM   #7
emilyy
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Default Re: Cage change - should I and how should I!

Hi all,

Thanks so much for your help and ideas!

Those handmade cages are great! Yes I had kept the receipt and did not unpack the cage before seeing what the thoughts were on the forum! I definitely do not want a falling risk or him to not have enough space, I will return the cage this afternoon and hopefully go for the Hamster Sky which has the option for him to have the tubes and a little more space, I wonder if I can use the tubes from his current cage as well to avoid the narrow sections the Sky seems to have in the pictures.

Thanks so much for the help and advice, ensuring our hams are the happiest they can be!!
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Old 06-09-2021, 12:32 PM   #8
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Cage change - should I and how should I!

You could look out for a second hand hamster heaven on ebay or gumtree as well To save some money.

With the hamster Sky, the best thing really is to remove the external tubes. Yes some are a bit narrow in places, but also they're an escape route and hamsters can nest in them and block them up - and then they have to be removed!

What you can do instead is use some of the lengths of tube that aren't so narrow, as separate floor toys. Hamsters do like tubes but those long continuous ones do cause issues. I have a big rat tube tied to the roof inside the cage in mine No way they can get stuck in that.

So the big tube is tied to the roof with sisal string - one end sits on a platform and the other end leads into a rat sputnik. So he has a "roof run" as well as floor area and loves sitting in the sputnik.

Rat sized toys and tubes tend to be better for Syrians than ones sold for hamsters. It depends how big your Syrian hamster is as well. A smaller or average syrian could be fine with the savic hamster tubes. The length of the tube run is the concern though. When hamsters have full pouches they can be up to 7cm wide! And the hamster tubes are only 6cm wide. Rat tubes are usually about 7cm wide.

I'll go and take a photo of my cage to show you what I mean. I have the Savic Mickey 2XL - it's the identical cage to the Hamster Heaven and Hamster Sky, except it has mouse bar spacing.

Not great photos as it's a bit dark. I also wouldn't normally have a fleece hammock in a cage for a hamster either (they can chew them), but our Syrian is getting quite old now and doesn't chew it.

So this is like starting with an empty cage without all the items the cage comes with.

He has the 28cm wheel back left. A long house on the right side with a little shelf over it at the back. The rat sputnik almost in front of the door. The savic rat tube tied to the roof with sisal string (it rests on the little platform at one end).

And a few floor toys - a little ceramic hide and a couple of bendy stick bridges.

The string on top only looks messy because I didn't snip the long ends off! Sisal string is safe if chewed.

IMG_2122.JPG

IMG_2123.JPG
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Old 06-09-2021, 12:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cage change - should I and how should I!

There are various ways of setting a cage up though and you might want to use the shelf that comes with the Sky. I would block off the external tubes though. And just use a single run as a floor toy. They just like running through them - they don't need to go anywhere! Some hamsters will actually dig their own tunnels as well.

Although they seem to enjoy using the tubes (when you're used to that) they enjoy other things as well - digging is one thing! Piling substrate up against their house and having places to go and things to do in the cage.
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