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Hamster where to buy?

(11 Posts)
verygentlydoesit Thu 28-Mar-13 19:16:46

After a lot of thought I have decided to get a hamster for DS (6). I realise this pet may become my responsibility, but I do have some faith in DS's interest as he has stuck with our chickens since he was tiny and happily cleans them out each week.

I realise that the best place to get a hamster from is a breeder. However I'm really struggling to find one (in the east midlands). I've been to Pets at Home and a local large independent pet shop, they seemed knowledgable but I'm not sure whether they are a risky place to get a hamster from. They both said they don't handle them a great deal which sounds like a bad thing. I've also read that breeders tend to offer hamsters with better temperaments- which is important to us.

So, can anyone advise please?

nars Thu 28-Mar-13 19:18:05

ours is from pets at home, he's lasted quite a while and has a lovely temperament

midori1999 Thu 28-Mar-13 23:30:03

It is difficult to find private breeders, but pet shops and PAH, as you say, don't handle them and you're more likely to get a hamster with a dodgy temperament and health issues from them. PAH and most smaller pet shops also get their rodents from rodent farms, which are akin to puppy farms, so there are serious welfare issues involved there too.

Also be aware, most cages sold as hamster cages aren't suitable for hamsters at all as they aren't big enough.

sparkle101 Sat 30-Mar-13 09:17:24

Pets at home is fine to purchase from, there is no evidence they have any more health issues than any other breeder or shop and their breeders are regularly inspected and vetted by the authorities and by pets at home themselves. The animals are held every day as they are cleaned every day.

Any animal is going to take time to get used to you and the animal, it's built up over a few weeks and as long as you respect their boundaries: don't pick them up after waking them, don't pick them up from above, scoop them and thoroughly wash your hands before and after handling they are amazing pets.

The only concern I would have is with hamsters being nocturnal they are usually asleep during the hours a 6 year old was awake for and wakes up just as they go to bed which doesn't give much time for petting.

Rats, guinea pigs and gerbils are good pets for this age (although gerbils can be a bit on the fast side!)

midori1999 Sat 30-Mar-13 11:58:07

Having seen first hand a breeding facility for PAH small animals, I would absolutely not be happy with buying an animal from there. The animals are certainly not cleaned out daily, they are over woefully over crowded and dead animals often not removed quickly enough, IMO.

It really is like buying a dog from a proper breeder or a puppy farmer. No one thinks puppy farms are acceptable, why should a small animal be subjected to substandard care?

sparkle101 Sat 30-Mar-13 13:33:21

I typed out a long reply and then thought better of posting it as didn't want to derail the thread.

I'd leave it up to anyone to make up their own choice with their own experiences but I wanted to put the other side of the argument across, so it was not left as a one sided argument.

pumpkinsweetie Sat 30-Mar-13 13:40:57

Our boy is from Pets at Home, although vicious at first and the awful box they sent him in was crap he is now a lovely boy and is still going strong at the ripe age of 1yr 4months and he is a beaut.
Just make sure you buy a decent little carrier before buying a hamster from in there as you may have to recapture him from a busy road like i did shock

BonkeyMollocks Sat 30-Mar-13 18:39:56

Mostly they don't handle them when theyes are cleaned....they scoop them.up with a scoop and pop in a container.

I would avoid P@H like the plague....but that's just me. I have been and heard yo many bad things to feel comfortable. I don't even buy supplies in there anymore.

BonkeyMollocks Sat 30-Mar-13 18:41:14

Oh...wherever you get one from yes to buying a carrier before hand.

Both of our were a pinch away from chewing out if their shabby boxes by the time we got home and they were in there all of 10 mins!!!

gerbilsarefun Sun 31-Mar-13 10:08:42

We have had gerbils from PAH with no problems. Our first lasted nearly 3 years and was a lovely boy. We have had our second 6 months and she is great too. When we bought the first he was put in a small cardboard box, then in a carrier box but he didn't really try to chew his way out. Our girl chewed her way out of the small box but was contained in the larger box.

I think hamsters are more docile than gerbils, we looked after dd's friend's hamster a couple of times, and she was a little sweetie, not an ounce of nastiness in her. Both of ours are/has been really quick, you couldn't just pick them up out of their cage, but I love gerbils, they have such cute, funny personalities and it's very easy to spoil them (the gerbil got an advent calendar long before the children did!!)

WhatAGoat Sun 31-Mar-13 10:22:51

Not all pets at home are rubbish. They are a giant chain with some badly performing stores and some brilliant stores.
If the cage is clean and the hamster looks healthy then purchase from there.

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