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New hammy, lots of questions - like will he be warm enough at night?

(15 Posts)
magso Wed 05-Nov-14 10:18:26

DH and ds came home with a baby (2week old, serbian) hammy, complete kit (equipped cage food pod bedding). He is now in our tiny conservatory. Instructions say hammys prefers a room temp of 22. Overnight when the heating is off it drops a lot colder than that - and its never above 20 - old house. I have put a small heater on low in the conservatory, and put card around the cage to prevent draughts (from the heater) and a carpet square under the cage (which is on a wood shelf away from a window). Should I make a blanket to cover the cage at night? I am new to furry animals and due to allergies cannot have one in the main part of the house.
It seems very good at nest making (it uses the shredded paper) in its little hideout. It is not used to being handled (nips), but seems to enjoy running manically around the conservatory, sniffing, and takes food when offered. How should we settle it in, get used to us and keep it comfy?
Thanks

PixieofCatan Thu 06-Nov-14 13:33:23

Re warmth, can you buy any cheap fleece blankets? We use them in the rat cages and I'm putting two or three over the baby's cage at night to keep heat in.

Just keep going into the conservatory and keeping him company, talking to him, stroking if you can, etc. He needs to get used to you.

If you bought the whole kit from a pet shop do a google and make sure it's suitable for it, some pet shops know fuck all about the creatures they sell unfortunately!

magso Thu 06-Nov-14 17:59:20

Thank you pixie. I have a blanket, so will put that over his cage. I don't really want to run extra heating all night! I have been reading around and think the cage is probably a bit small - it is the minimum size suggested for an adult. It was a surprise,- preceded by the ominous warning whisper of ds saying to dh as they came through the door 'don't tell mummy!' - ds has never managed to master the stage whisper bless him! He (teenager with learning disability) has wanted a small furry animal for ages and is absolutely entranced by hammy, and his climbing speed. We have let hammy explore the conservatory, and the speed he can run, wish to explore everything and fearless disregard for safety reminds me of ds as a young toddler ( I guess hammy is a toddler age for a hamster). Ds follows him around with a flowerpot in case he falls as he climbs up the corners of the room - which he can do astonishingly well. The instruction leaflet that came with hammy was for a dwarf not a standard sized Serbian, but feeding is similar.

magso Sat 08-Nov-14 23:11:06

Um- Is it normal for the hamster to pull the fleece through the bars and chew it? Will it harm him? He doesn't seem to have used it for bedding. I tried to separate the cage and fleece with cardboard, but he obviously managed to grab one bit. I have ordered some toys as I think he may be lonely at night (he has been chewing the bars, and completely shredded an old tee shirt I folded over his cage for warmth the night before the fleece recommendation). He doesn't seem to like his wheel, he climbs on top of it then falls off as it moves, which must be quite upsetting for him.

hugoagogo Sat 08-Nov-14 23:23:56

I wouldn't use the fleece I we're you; hamsters will shred anything they can get their paws on. He will need to chew to keep his teeth from getting overgroiwn - you can buy hammy safe wooden toys at the pet shop.

If it's really cold then you could use a heat pad under his cage, so long as it doesn't make it unstable. Also from the pet shop.

Do you have photo? I love hamstersgrin

magso Sun 09-Nov-14 00:29:40

Thanks Hugo. Its dropping down to about 12 centergrade overnight in the room the cage is in, so yes it is a bit cold for a hammy i think. I have worked out a way of using plastic tubes at each corner to hold the fleece away from his cage, but near enough to give some warmth! We will go to a pet shop tommorrow and see if we can get a microwave heat pad. I quite fancy one for me too! He has a chew toy but is completely ignoring it, but enjoying the cardboard tubes I've given him. Oddly he hasn't shredded them yet. He was white when he arrived but is just getting some blond colouring in his fur. I have ordered a few toys, but will get more tommorrow. He is much calmer than when he first arrived. He has enjoyed running around the conservatory, running over our feet, playing with plant pots and particularly likes a child's watering can. he is very sweet, and sticks his nose out of his nest pod if he hears us near by. I guess he knows we bring nice food. Good idea to take photos.

PixieofCatan Sun 09-Nov-14 10:21:24

Ah, yeah, should have warned you about that blush They do pull it through! It shouldn't harm him. Putting it behind card should work as long as he doesn't manage to find a tiny bit not covered as he did! grin

I'm not 100% about hamsters, but we purposely put t-shirts and scraps on top of our rats cages, they love shredding it and using it to make bedding for themselves. I'm not sure if that's okay for hamsters though? I would assume so!
Would a heat pad stay warm for long enough though? Unless you can buy electric ones?

YYY to toys, google "make hamster toys" or similar and you'll find lots of tutorials on how to make basic toys from household objects smile Cardboard tubes of any shape and size are useful!

TheFairyCaravan Sun 09-Nov-14 10:29:17

I really, really hope he isn't 2 weeks old shock, they aren't meant to be seperated from their mother until 4 weeks. They still suckle until 20-21 days.
It's too soon to have him, sorry.

magso Sun 09-Nov-14 13:34:08

Ah I wondered about his age TFC. He is quite big now, so I wonder if he is a bit older(ds said 2 weeks, DH 2 months and I think dh might be right) but have no experience. We have bought an oil filled heater for the conservatory to keep it warm at night (Dh wanted to do the job properly), and several toys and treats. If it gets really cold we could move the cage overnight - the down stair loo/utility is always cosy! He has a new ball(we got a large one in case he gets very big) and has worked out how to use it, and seems to love it. Also bought a fleece nest liner/toy to give him somewhere warm to curl up, and lots of things to chew. Having been to a pet supply store his cage is actually one of the biggest available for a hammy, but if he has more much more growing to do he will be quite big.
Pixie, thanks for suggesting searching for toy making details, ds will enjoy that. The fleece is old, I was more worried about harming hammy. Obviously I did leave a corner too near! The bits of shredded paper have got all over the house and so far all the allergic humans have survived without extra wheezes.
Thank you everyone for your help.

TheFairyCaravan Sun 09-Nov-14 13:59:56

We've got our hamster in the smaller version of this magso. It is 89cm long. Most of the cages they sell in places like Pets at Home are too small, tbh.

We lost one of our hamsters last weekend, he was 2years 9 months old.sad

We give our hamsters fresh fruit and veg. The like carrot, broccoli, celery, cucumber, grape, bean sprouts, sweetcorn, cooked peas, bananas and apple (not the pips they're poisonous). They love cheese, boiled plain pasta, bits of toast or crusts of bread, crackers, nuts (not almonds they're poisonous to hamsters) and bits of biscuits.

We buy parrot food and mix it with the hamster food, because it has more seeds and nuts in which they seem to like.

I don't like balls, tbh. A lot of hamsters get really stressed in them, so keep an eye on him and only let him in it for a short time. Another thing is wheels, the ones they provide in cages are nearly always too small, this damaging their backs. You probably need to replace it with a bigger one.

I love hamsters. For some reasons ours become so calm that they snuggle up in my bed, or on my shoulder, and go to sleep!

magso Sun 09-Nov-14 14:54:02

Thank you TFC that cage looks ideal. I agree the wheel in the cage is too small for him, and as it is taking up room (and causing falls) I will remove it. We have ordered a bigger free standing one, but was surprised by its size when we saw it in the pet supply store- its the 28cm one. Good tip about the parrot food, and thanks for the long list of foods he can eat, he definitely prefers fresh to dried 'hamster muesli' which is what the pet store recommended. I would not have thought to give him cheese rice pasta or bread. As he is so young cheese might be particularly useful. We had to show him how to use the water bottle, which was one of the reasons I was concerned about him, worried he would pine away. They learn fast! I much prefer to research first, which is not what happened this time, although I think I have been converted to hamsters now! He tentatively walked onto my hand today, so we are making progress.

Sorry you lost one of your hamsters. Do you have several? It sounds like 2 years 9 months is a good age, so he must have been content and healthy. I know they have short lives and have warned ds of this. It is good to see him so gentle and fond of his pet (he has autism and LD). However he also has autistic logic, and has decided to keep the rest of his birthday money for when hammy dies,(for a new hammy) although I know he will be upset. We have only had fish and stick insects before. We might be moving next year so might have more space for keeping small pets.

PixieofCatan Sun 09-Nov-14 16:28:57

As Fairy says, a lot of cages in pet shops are small, even the big ones in pet shops aren't ideal.

Interesting to know that wheels and balls have similar issues for hamsters as they do for rats. Our rescue girls came with a small hamster wheel, the damage had already been done by the time they came to us though, their 'posture' wasn't quite right and Nibbles still has a funny posture and gait compared to our other rats.

Glad to see he's walked on your hand, soon he'll come running to the door whenever you're near grin

TheFairyCaravan Sun 09-Nov-14 18:12:52

We've only got one hamster now magso. We have had several over the years. I love them.

It was hard last week when Rupert died. He was much, much loved. DS1 and him loved each other , but DS1 moved out in July to join the army. I'd send him pictures of him on Snapchat etc all the time. When DS1 was home recently, Rupert really perked up and had a bit of a new lease of life, which sounds a bit daft, but he did. We were all very sad when he died. He never bit anyone and was a happy soul, we'd had him since he was 4 weeks.

When we 'train' ours, we rub some of the sawdust from their cage on our hands, so that they are familiar with the smell and feel safe. Don't put your hand in and pick him up from above because that's how they would be picked oh be prey so it scares them, scoop him up. For the first few days we hold them over the cage so if they get a bit scatty or scared and jump, they won't go far.

Good luck with him, I hope he brings your son, and your family, much happiness.

magso Sun 09-Nov-14 22:05:06

Thank you TFC and Pixie. Hammy seems much happier. I think he was a bit cold. Now he is very active, (the new heater has made the room he is in very cosy, as it is keeping the room at about 19c) and enjoying a wider choice of veg. He eat the little bit of cheese I gave him, but oddly did not take to the strawberry sliver. His favourite so far is carrot and seeds. He has started to run to the front of his cage when I go near. I suspect hamsters are good pets for school age older children, since they sleep during the school day. He is very sweet and has not nipped since that first day when I think he was very frightened, and unused to handling.

PixieofCatan Sun 09-Nov-14 22:10:33

He may be suspicious of new foods, just be sure to offer things numerous times before giving up smile

Good to hear how sweet he is though smile I love rodents smile

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