Calling all hamster owners

smokeysmummy

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I am looking at getting another hamster, but it’s been a looonnngggg time since I was a hamster owner. I’m sure things have changed massively in regards to diet, housing etc.
Would any of you lovely hamster 🐹 owners help me out? Especially in regards to diet and housing as I’m sure what was normal 30 years ago most definitely is not now.
thank you xx
 

Dorota Kasiak

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I haven't owned a hamster but did research them a couple years ago. For a cage the size requirements are larger in the UK that the US I believe, and it be best to go for a custom made bin cage (which isn't extremely difficult to make). There are also many species, and while dwarfs can be housed together it's not reccomended. Also, if you are to buy from a breeder, please avoid hairless syrians due to unethical breeding and different requirements (I believe their skin is extremely delicate and is harder to take care of). Syrians are the biggest domestic species so you might prefer those when it comes to handling and the different species are known to have different temparments, with some being harder to tame. I believe there are hamster forums that you can join for more information and I'd reccomended some hamster channels on YouTube, which can introduce you to basic care, how to make/choose cages and other information. Please avoid advice from pet stores and double check where you are receiving information, hamsters, much like guinea pigs are extremely misunderstood and many people don't fully know their requirements. I apologise if any of my information is incorrect, and please correct me.

Please research the different species and their requirements and decide which one you would like. I have only had experience with babysitting school syrians and I can easily say that a small cage and improper care will stress your hamster and make interaction difficult. I'm sorry if I have repeated anything.
 

Dorota Kasiak

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I hope some actual hamster owners will be able to give you more information.
 

Sweet Potato

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not a hamster owner but I watch a few you-tubers who are and I love learning about animal care I recommend watching videos by Victoria Rachael, Munchie's place and Emiology on YouTube. bigger is always better in terms of size aim to give them as much space as you can people make amazing cages from Ikea Detolf cabinets on their side with a homemade lid. and make sure you give them plenty of bedding to dig in (avoid pine, ceder or softwood shavings as they can be toxic). Hamster care looks like so much fun and they're such cute little creatures. There is some great sources of information and inspiration out there and I hope to see pictures when you get one
 

Dorota Kasiak

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not a hamster owner but I watch a few you-tubers who are and I love learning about animal care I recommend watching videos by Victoria Rachael, Munchie's place and Emiology on YouTube. bigger is always better in terms of size aim to give them as much space as you can people make amazing cages from Ikea Detolf cabinets on their side with a homemade lid. and make sure you give them plenty of bedding to dig in (avoid pine, ceder or softwood shavings as they can be toxic). Hamster care looks like so much fun and they're such cute little creatures. There is some great sources of information and inspiration out there and I hope to see pictures when you get one
I watch them too :)
Definitely would recommend as well a creator named Erin's animals,
 

Roclibrarian

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I've got a male syrian and he is my first ever hamster. I found the hamster forums a good place to start, but they are not as active as this forum.
You tube was my next resource.
I started with a homemade bin cage, but it's really hard to find a big enough one. Minimum floor size is 80cm x 50cm. I ended up buying a cage which is 100cm x 50cm.
Wheel size is important, you must get a 28cm one, any smaller and they can damage their back.
I get my food from Erin Ark, but Harry Hamster is a good quality alternative. They also need a big of veg, and occasional protein such as mealworms, chicken or egg.
I believe females can be a bit smelly and temperamental, so I got a male!
Took me 4 months to get him to trust me, but now he's the sweetest, cuddly little dude.
20200423_201359.jpg
 

Claire W

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I think that the recommended cage size for a Syrian hamster is at least 80cm may be even 100cm The wheel should be 28cm diameter to stop them from arching their back. A good hamster mix should be fed as well as fresh vegetable :)
 

Dorota Kasiak

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Also, please avoid tight tubes and tunnels, because they are extremely hard to clean out and your hamster can even get stuck in them. If you want tubes that extend outside the cage, research, and try to find the safest option. The temperature and activity (even the smell) I believe, can depend on species, age and sex.

Please avoid wheels with gaps in them as your hamster can get it's foot stuck while it's running. Research wheels as the size requirements vary for different species, and some key things to remember are:
It's best to get a silent wheel as they tend to run a lot in the night (especially robos despite their size)
No gaps
And make sure their back doesn't curve. The wheel should be big enough for your hamster to use with no curving to the spine.

I believe it's best to not use hamster balls as they have breathing holes that a small hamster foot can get stuck in and they often aren't big enough for a Syrian to use without it arching it's back (at least in my case). It's better to get a play pen or to line the bottom of your bathtub with blankets and toys, and play with your hamster there. This way you will get a lot more interaction. Also, don't bathe your hamster as it can be very dangerous. I they often can manage cleaning themselves, but long haired syrians can get matted fur if it isynt maintained properly. Also, avoid hamster playdates with hamsters (especially syrians). Due to territorial aggression they can pose a serious threat to each other and can cause damage. You can house dwarf hamsters together but it is not recommended. Again, please correct me if i've made any mistakes.
 

Dorota Kasiak

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Also, please avoid tight tubes and tunnels, because they are extremely hard to clean out and your hamster can even get stuck in them. If you want tubes that extend outside the cage, research, and try to find the safest option. The temperature and activity (even the smell) I believe, can depend on species, age and sex.

Please avoid wheels with gaps in them as your hamster can get it's foot stuck while it's running. Research wheels as the size requirements vary for different species, and some key things to remember are:
It's best to get a silent wheel as they tend to run a lot in the night (especially robos despite their size)
No gaps
And make sure their back doesn't curve. The wheel should be big enough for your hamster to use with no curving to the spine.

I believe it's best to not use hamster balls as they have breathing holes that a small hamster foot can get stuck in and they often aren't big enough for a Syrian to use without it arching it's back (at least in my case). It's better to get a play pen or to line the bottom of your bathtub with blankets and toys, and play with your hamster there. This way you will get a lot more interaction. Also, don't bathe your hamster as it can be very dangerous. I they often can manage cleaning themselves, but long haired syrians can get matted fur if it isynt maintained properly. Also, avoid hamster playdates with hamsters (especially syrians). Due to territorial aggression they can pose a serious threat to each other and can cause damage. You can house dwarf hamsters together but it is not recommended. Again, please correct me if i've made any mistakes.
Sorry, in the beginning I said temperature when I meant temperment, just wanted to make that clear.
 

Robin_

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Hello! Hamster owner here!

For housing, minimums depend on the species. Generally for dwarfs at least 600sq in is recommended (which is like 80x50cm I think) and at least 1000sq in (about 100x70cm) is recommended for syrians. Of course there are also bare minimums but most hamsters won’t be happy in cages that size anyways. ZooPlus has a lot of great options, but if you’re looking into getting a syrian I strongly suggest looking into doing an IKEA-based DIY. PAX bookshelf cages are becoming increasingly popular; just lay the shelf on its side and make a lid for it.

For diet, since you’re in Europe, you have a butt ton of fantastic options. Rodipet, Mixerama, Getzoo, and Futterparadies are just a few I can think of off the top of my head. If the mix you get doesn’t come with insects, you’ll have to add them yourself—the German ideology is to add 1tsp of insects to the feed a couple times a week, potentially more often if your hamster is a pup (under 6mo).

Hamster Hideout and Hamster Central are both fantastic forums for hamster care; I’d check them out!

If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to ask!
 
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