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Best cage and breed of hamster for me [smile]

(21 Posts)
Bassetfeet Tue 20-Dec-16 12:56:35

Been lucky over the years with beloved dogs and cats . And a very sweet hamster a long time ago. Now kind of housebound and would love a hamster . But have forgotten what breed is best or gender .
Also good cage recommendations would be helpful and oh what is the best food and treats .
So looking forward . Thank you .

KingJoffreysRestingCuntface Tue 20-Dec-16 12:57:33

Female Syrian.

PeteSwotatoes Tue 20-Dec-16 13:12:10

I have a female Syrian that I adopted from Pets at home after someone returned her. She has a massive cage. It's the Barney Pet Cage - Blue: 100 x 54 x 45 from zooplus.

I use carefresh bedding and unscented unbleached toilet paper for her to shred and use in her bedroom.

Toys wise, I have bought a few Rosewood chewing toys. She has a little house that's edible and a mini log with seeds inside.

She also has a litter tray that she wees in.

Don't get a hamster ball - the rspca advises that they scare hamsters and stress them.

PeteSwotatoes Tue 20-Dec-16 13:13:33

Oh and a massive wheel. The Karlie wonderland 29cm. Any smaller and then arch their backs when running.

HPFA Tue 20-Dec-16 13:21:12

Syrian hamsters are generally more friendly but dwarf hamsters are adorable. They tend to be shy and are perhaps more fun to watch than to handle unless you're prepared to put in a lot of effort. It is easy to move them if necessary with an inner kitchen roll tube.

We have a Chinese hamster who is amazingly cute but they are difficult to buy these days, mainly because pet shops only really want females (have a look at a picture of a male Chinese hamster to see why!).

Main priority on cages - it MUST be big enough. Most of the problems people report about hamsters (bar chewing, aggression etc) are caused by being housed in a too small cage. A large enough cage doesn't have to cost a fortune either - these are all good choices

The last cage would be best for dwarf species as it has narrower bar spacing, for a Syrian you'll probably need to add in the cost of a replacement larger wheel. Hamster forums are full of people constructing their own cages - personally with at least three good cages of the right size under £50 I can't see the point! Of course there are other good cages but these are the cheapest

Do not entertain for one moment any of those cages that are masses of tubes and little rooms - they are a nightmare to clean and unsuitable for a hamster's needs. Floor space is better than levels.

Syrian hamsters must be kept alone, hamster owners have had varying degrees of success with keeping dwarves together (you can't mix the species) but often find they start fighting. Don't keep two dwarves unless you're prepared for the possible expense of another cage. Unlike gerbils, mice etc no hamster species needs company provided it has a big enough cage and plenty of enrichment with toys etc.

Good luck!!

Bassetfeet Tue 20-Dec-16 13:25:30

Thank you all for advice and reccomendations . So looking forward to having a new pet .

PeteSwotatoes Tue 20-Dec-16 13:38:42

This is my ham smile

Crocky Tue 20-Dec-16 13:44:05

We have a Chinese wharf male. He is very cute and will take food from your hand but he really prefers not to be handled.
A couple of friends have had much friendlier and easier to handle hamsters but they have all been the full size ones.
At one point ours started to chew his bars and we discovered that the wheel that came with the cage wouldn't go round very well so bought a separate one for him and he has been happy since.

Crocky Tue 20-Dec-16 13:45:18

Dwarf! Flippin autocorrect.

rightsaidfrederickII Tue 20-Dec-16 21:57:27

Syrians are the easiest to handle and are invariably quite friendly, whereas some of the dwarves can be too quick to handle reliably. Dwarves are also very diabetes prone, so you have to be very careful with sugar content (even to the point of avoiding veg like carrots)

Some people say females are more active and have more 'get up and go' than males, though I've only ever had a female, so I can't compare!

Cages wise - the Zooplus Alaska / Barney / Alexander cages are excellent, and fab value for money compared to some of the crap sold in shops like Pets at Home (they even do free delivery, which is useful if you're housebound!). If you want something that's got plastic shelves and a couple of tubes, then the Savic Hamster Heaven is very good. The cages I've mentioned range from £32.99 to £69.99, so unlikely to break the bank compared to other suitable options!

Your hamster will also need a big wheel - if they have to arch their back at all to run, then they will develop painful spinal problems. Mine has a 29cm Karlie Wonderland wheel, though there are other options available of a suitable size e.g. Trixie 28cm wheel - some of them are labelled as being for other, larger rodents like rats, but are absolutely fine for a Syrian!

As I'm sure you'll know, they also need some things to chew on (see this recent thread

Wilkinsons has a surprisingly good and inexpensive selection of hamster toys, and you can also find good options on websites like Viovet and Zooplus.

Harry Hamster food tends to get good reviews, and it's only £2 for a bag in Pets at Home.

Treats wise - they tend to like a variety of things, from small quantities of fruit and veg, a little cooked pasta, unsalted nuts, through to hamster specific treats like milk drops.

Bassetfeet Wed 21-Dec-16 10:42:13

Thank you all very much for such detailed replies and pics to whet my enthusisiasm. .
Going to go for female Syrian hamster after Christmas . Cage being my present on the day so I can tinker with it before hand and spend online for toys . grin.
Hope you all have a very happy Christmas .

rightsaidfrederickII Wed 21-Dec-16 14:27:58

Sounds like a great plan fgrin

I'm sure that (sadly) shortly after Christmas there will be hamsters advertised on Gumtree as being 'free to a good home' after they've been delivered as unwanted Christmas presents - I frequently see (often inadequately housed e.g. I saw one with no bedding, no place to hide, cage too small and wheel too small sad) hamsters being advertised on my local Gumtree, so if you're feeling charitable you could consider taking one of those rather than buying one at a pet shop.

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Wed 21-Dec-16 14:36:10

I agree with everyone who said cage size is key. My husband bought a starter cage from Pets R Us. The poor hamster spent the entire time chewing and very little time socializing, I think it was depressed. My dd saved up and bought the biggest one on Amazon and it transformed the hamster (it was a Syrian female)- she started running about, chewing the wood toys and was just much more sociable than before, we also moved it to downstairs so she had company more, as it was quite lonely up in the bedroom by herself.

I am excited for you, I love hamsters and if/when I'm stuck at home more, will get one for myself, they are lovely little creatures and you can have a lot of fun with one, especially if you put the time in to handle/socialize.

Bassetfeet Wed 21-Dec-16 17:45:22

Ah gumtree a very good idea rightsaid . Can see me having a row of cages blush .
Defo going to get largest cage from Zooplus foureyes . Thank you .
The abuse these wee animals endure is shocking in some situations . God only knows how many are neglected and abused . Such funny wee creatures .
My last one was many many years ago and bought for my sons . Ahem you know who looked after him/her in a cage that shames me now . But out every evening to explore and climb up and down my sleeves and my neck and lap . Lay on palm of my hand upside down to have his tummy rubbed gently . Hamster nirvana grin .
Best forgotten is the chewed phone wires Boxing Day circa 1988. Or the time he got out cage ,climbed the stairs and woke son up ferreting around pillow .
He is resting in the garden in a lightbulb box lined with tissue under a plant that has long gone but I know where .
Sorry if rambling folks . Just so sad and disabled ,bored and scared . So an animal to care for will be the kick start .

Thank you . Just words on a screen it is said .oh no it isn't always that .
Now thinking of names . Another rabbit hole to dive down smile .

MsAwesomeDragon Wed 21-Dec-16 18:54:44

Our hamster was bought by dh when he saw him in the petshop with a frankly inadequate cage, tiny, no hiding place, nothing. The poor little thing had been there for months and nobody wanted him because he was "temperamental" and bit everybody. We brought him home to a big cage with interesting things and he's perfectly happy, only bit dh once

JoeMaplin Wed 21-Dec-16 19:05:11

I think male Syrians smell less! We have a beautifully tame male, he actively looks for us to get him out....he is so friendly. I think they make great pets. Good luck.

TheColdDoesBotherMeAnyway Wed 21-Dec-16 20:44:42

We bought our boy (a Syrian) in October, and he's the most spoilt member of the household blush

We upgraded his cage to a Hamster Heaven after a few weeks when he looked too big for the first cage. Don't order from Zooplus if you're expecting it by Christmas - delivery took well over a week and the tracking information was useless, then it arrived broken angry, took a few phone calls and emails to sort. We removed the 'penthouse' and tubes after a few weeks when he started weeing up there next to his nest and chewing the inside of the tubes the little scamp!

He's a real character. He curls up and falls asleep on us which I've never known a hamster do before. He loves egg and nuts. His favourite toys are logs stuffed with seeds and he tried several wheels before we found one that wasn't noisy or too small. Like I said, spoilt grin

TheColdDoesBotherMeAnyway Wed 21-Dec-16 20:46:35

This is him cuddled up on me having a snooze smile

HPFA Wed 21-Dec-16 20:52:38

OP Why don't you keep us updated on your lovely new pet? Hamster owners love to hear of other's experiences

CointreauVersial Wed 21-Dec-16 20:58:03

We had two Russian Dwarf girlies. They were sisters, but fell out when they were a few months old and started fighting, so we had to buy a second cage.

Really cute, easy to handle - one of them used to bite sometimes, but not particularly seriously. I liked the fact that Dwarves aren't as nocturnal as Syrians, so they were awake a lot of the time. But they don't live long. One made it past her second birthday, which is old for that breed.

Bassetfeet Thu 22-Dec-16 13:50:25

HPFA I definitely will update . Just need to learn how to update pics and borrow sons fancy phone blush . Ah well every day we learn something . Had no idea there were so many different types of hamster .
Defo going to get my new pet from a rescue place or gumtree much as I hate the place for selling animals .
So thank you all so much for posts . Will be back late January to ask more questions and bore the pants off you all..

I like this section of Mumsnet . Merry Christmas all and I just KNOW your hamsters are getting treats too. Their pouches will be full to bursting point .fsmile

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