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fashion victim
11-20-06, 01:20 am
I found an ad on a newspaper about a hamster breeder who's giving up all her Campbell's Dwarf stock, including some recent litters, because she's moving to the U.S. The economic situation here is very bad since a 5.5% tax was added to the 1.5% tax which started in August. Hundreds of people are moving to the U.S. or other islands in search of a better situation.

This breeder is one of these people. She's moving to Florida and she can't take them. I was thinking on taking the female babies from the most recent litters, which she told me come up to a total of 12 hamsters. There's lots of space in my room to build a cage for them. I'm willing to give them a permanent home and I'm on the lookout for people interested in the others amongst family friends and neighbors. She keeps them separated by gender except for her breeding ones and sells her litters to petshops, but doesn't have time betwen the packing up and getting everything sorted out to distribute the remaining ones.

Now to my question: I've been reading a lot about this breed and it seems like they are sociable and can be roomed together. Would it be safe to house all 12 of them in a single cage? The cage would be pretty huge; I'm willing to make it up to 6 feet long and I can make it up to 2 feet wide. For now it would be made entirely of coro with 12 inch high walls until I'm able to get my hands on some mesh cubes. This would just be a temporary housing. I just want to take them as soon as possible because since she's giving them away then probably someone's going to use them as reptile food. I can't keep them if they have to be housed separately, though, because mom will flat out refuse filling the whole house with cages.

The coro is extremely easy to get, there's a supplier about 5 minutes from here which sells the 4x8 sheets at $8.90. However, if I can't find cubes here then I have to wait until mid December for my aunt to come visit (she lives in Washington D.C. - Virginia area and she says she has a Target very close to her).

To put it in simpler words,
1 - Can an all-female Campbell Dwarf hamster herd of 12 grow up (and permanently live in until death by old age) in a huge cage without killing each other?
2- Is it ok to keep them in a coroplast only cage until I am able to get mesh grids by mid-December?

Please note that my financial situation is extremely well and I am able to bring all of my animals up with the best there is available here. My only problem is not having a credit card with enough credit (I'm a minor) to make large purchases online. So I WILL be able to feed and house them (provided I stay with them if they can live in a single cage) and pay for any vet visits easily. They won't live in neglect and they will have constant interaction because my mother and brother also love hamsters. My mother says they're just like small bears heh. Any comments and useful advice which will help me make this decision will be greatly appreciated.

Ly&Pigs
11-20-06, 11:49 am
To put it in simpler words,
1 - Can an all-female Campbell Dwarf hamster herd of 12 grow up (and permanently live in until death by old age) in a huge cage without killing each other?Campbell's aren't like Syrians. They can be housed in groups of same sex so I will say that you shouldn't have too many problems if they are all female. I've had Campbell's before but it was always 2 or 3, so haven't dealt with that large of a group before but the ones I've had always got on well.


2- Is it ok to keep them in a coroplast only cage until I am able to get mesh grids by mid-December?The only thing I can think of is that they may chew the coroplast. I don't know if mesh grids will be suitable for building a home for them because they are so small and don't get large like Syrian hamsters to, they may easily be able to get through the corners of the mesh grids.

fashion victim
11-20-06, 12:57 pm
Thanks for pointing out that last thing. I never noticed before how mesh grids have some sort of opening in each corner. I found a photo in the galleries of some sort of colored playpen that has bars instead of mesh, but they look to be about the size of the barred pieces in both my hamster's homes (1 cm), so I suppose that could be ok?


http://www.guineapigcages.com/photos/showphoto.php/photo/3560/si/hamster%20cage/what/titledesc is where the picture came from.

There's also one in http://www.guineapigcages.com/photos/showphoto.php/photo/4922/si/hamster%20cage/what/titledesc made of the same exact bars (I presume).

I saw this exact same playpen in a petshop here, so I don't have to wait for my aunt to arrive in about a month to make the cage. Given the ok I'll go out as soon as possible to pick up the hamsters, since someone I know of (and who I honestly dislike very much) already took some breeding pairs to start a colony to feed her snake collection. I can't believe she called me to gloat about it. Ugh. Today's a holiday, so I'll go out tomorrow morning to buy the barred pieces IF someone approves them as safe in here.

Ly&Pigs
11-20-06, 01:26 pm
Yes, those playpens are safe to use but you will have to disassemble part of them and reassemble them into a cage configuration complete with lid for the hamsters, like in that second photo you linked but larger. I did that with 2 of those playpens for my ratty Teresa. Teresa has a 2 story cage complete with lid and shelves all made from those playpens. They are easy to take apart, just get a pair of pliers and gently pull back on the legs where they attach together.

For a large group of cambells though, you will need at least 2 of the playpens, possibly 3. You will have to build a lid out of parts of the playpen using cable/zip ties to attach it to the main portion and you can use binder clips to keep the lid closed.

fashion victim
11-20-06, 01:38 pm
I'll buy the whole stock of those playpens; I can find a good use for the ones that are left over. My brother is going to deal with all the putting together, he has a freakish talent for building and for keeping plants alive. I say freakish because he's been a sort of a handyman and a gardener since he was less than 10 years old, and now he's 17 and he helps with the permanent remodeling of our other house. I swear dad's always having something built every month. He's obsessed on making the house better.

I'll ask my brother to do exactly as you said, take it all apart and use zip-ties to tie them back up. It looks so easy to do that I may be tempted to try it myself. Then again, I've sliced my hand more than 4 times when cutting the coroplast, so I'm not sure I should be doing any handiwork right now. Thank you for being so helpful!

Jennicat
11-20-06, 01:38 pm
I don't even know that this applies to hamsters, but I'm throwing it out there as a consideration.

I know that with gerbils if you have too many gerbils in too much space, they can "declan" and form little "factions" (if you will) that will claim their own territory and defend it vigorously from each other.

As I said, I don't know that hamsters operate under the same social norms as gerbils, but it may be something to take into consideration.

standuprookie
11-20-06, 01:56 pm
The main thing you will need with 12 hamsters, is wheels, water bottles, food dishes. You will need plenty of wheels with a flat running surface (no gaps) and a food dish. Dwarfs like to sit in their food dish so you will have to get one they all 12 can lay in, getting more than one food dish will result in fighting.

fashion victim
11-20-06, 02:28 pm
The main thing you will need with 12 hamsters, is wheels, water bottles, food dishes. You will need plenty of wheels with a flat running surface (no gaps) and a food dish. Dwarfs like to sit in their food dish so you will have to get one they all 12 can lay in, getting more than one food dish will result in fighting.

That's the other reason I'm making the cage so huge! I have to get them a BUNCH of wheels and toys and those adorable little mini apartment buildings with stairs and holes. I'm going to pamper them SO much! I called the lady already but I can't contact her, so I'm going to try later on tonight. There's a HUGE ceramic bowl for pets (large dogs), it costs about 25 dollars but I know they'll all fit in there.

standuprookie
11-20-06, 02:33 pm
This link provides lots of information on housing multiple hamsters.
Housing Multiple Hamsters - Hamster Hideout Forum (http://www.hamsterhideout.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=24143&st=0)

wickedrodent
11-20-06, 10:09 pm
Okie Dokie.. I know this is going to be long.

The playpens are great, I made the same thing for my hamster and she loves it! I used 1 and 1/2 playpens to create it.. So, if you are planning on getting 12 hamsters.. 10 playpens would make enough enclosures for them.

Here is her cage-

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d96/princessfionachanel/HamsterCage001.jpg
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d96/princessfionachanel/HamsterCage002.jpg

This cage is 14in x 28in.. I would only house two hamsters per this size cage, so if you were planning on housing 12 hamsters, I would make 6 of these cages that you can connect (but if you wanted, you could also separate them, for if they ended up not getting along or what not..)

If you arent able to spend $100+ on playpens, another really good idea would be to buy hardware cloth at homedepot (2ft x 25ft is only $25!) and making a cage out of that.. You could make either one 2ft x 6ft cage (The min requirement for 12 hamsters.. In my opinion), or few smaller cages and have a way to connect them (which would probably be better, in case they dont all get along)

One wheel, one hidey house, one waterbottle, one food dish PER each 14in x 28in cage. So 6 wheels, 6 hideyhouses, 6 waterbottles, and 6 food dishes all together.

Using Coroplast is not an option, they are not like guinea pigs, and will chew it and eat it and get sick. You can use under the bed storage boxes and build them into it (like in my picture)

Make sure you get a wheel that is Solid, not metel with spaces between, that would hurt their feet.

If you have any other questions I would be happy to help :D

fashion victim
11-20-06, 11:40 pm
Oh my gosh well now I don't know what to do, mom had a car accident and she sort of hurt her neck and she had to go to emergency because doctors weren't open today. She ... I'm not sure how it's called in spanish... sprained(?) her neck. So she has to rest a lot an now she can't take me to get the supplies. I friend of mine is willing to foster and home some of the hammies, but I called the lady today a few hours ago to explain and ask if she'd hold the ones I asked for and she said that she's in a real hurry to get rid of them and she's already given out most of them, because it seems she put the ad in different newspapers and websites (online classifieds). If she has some left by Wednesday then I'll take them. My friend is going over to the lady's house to pick up some of them.

wickedrodent
11-21-06, 02:33 pm
Oh, Im so sorry about your mom! Sprained is correct.. I hope she feels better!

standuprookie
11-21-06, 03:41 pm
If the lady gets rid of all her hamsters before your mom gets to feeling better you could take in all the ones you friend is fostering.

fashion victim
11-21-06, 07:05 pm
If the lady gets rid of all her hamsters before your mom gets to feeling better you could take in all the ones you friend is fostering.

She's better at finding them homes than me, since her mom is a vet in training (she's a psychologist but she's studying for being a veterinarian). I did offer to take some in, but she's staying with quite a few herself, she says they are really adorable and playful. I gave her the data on accesories and space required and offered to pay for their little toys and houses and such.

At home everything's getting worse. My grand-dad died a few weeks ago and now we got a call from the elderly Home my grandmother is staying at and they said she lost conciousness and is going to die soon (next week at most). We've been expecting it since she got Alzheimer's in 1996, so now it's been going on for 10 years, and in this one she finally stopped recognizing us. Mom is completely devastated, because these were her parents, not dad's. And to top it off mom can't do anything like drive or do chores because she's having really bad migraines, we don't know if it's the stress or the sprain or both. Luckily my brother has his license, so he can help drive her around. But he starts class on Monday again so that won't be useful for long.

aqh88
11-22-06, 01:43 pm
I know that with gerbils if you have too many gerbils in too much space, they can "declan" and form little "factions" (if you will) that will claim their own territory and defend it vigorously from each other.

Hamsters don't declan in the same sense as gerbils. Gerbils are less agressive toward each other and more social so when they split it's usually into fairly even groups. 2 dominant gerbils will each gather their favorite gerbils and set up 2 seperate territories with 2 seperate clans. Even if you remove the dominant ones the clans still remain and a new leaders will take the place of the old ones.

With hamsters 1 dominant more agressive hamster will decide there are too many others around and that the territory needs space. That hamster will then pick out the weakest or most submissive of the other hamsters and start killing them until the group is of a size the dominant hamster likes. If you remove the dominant one peace returns unless there is another dominant hamster that feels the same way. If you have a large group of 8+ it's best to react to such behavior by removing the 3 most dominant to their own cage. The rest generally remain peaceful and the 3 equal each other out so they do not see 1 as weak enough to be attacked. That happens most commonly with females. Males are soooo much easier to keep in large groups. Both with gerbils and dwarf hamsters. I've seen large all male groups of gerbils and dwarf hamsters up to several dozen in a huge cage. Where female groups are hit or miss after around 3-5individuals.

wickedrodent
11-26-06, 09:43 am
Just wanted to add..

I was at my local petstore (I only shop at this one, because they are the only ones that adopt out animals instead of selling them) and saw this really cool bird cage, that could be used as an awesome hamster cage..

When I got home, I looked it up online, and on petsmarts website they have it on sale 2 cages for $37.. they are usually 1 cage for $40..so its a GREAT deal.. The only catch is that you have to order it online..

Heres the link...

PetSmart - Triple Roof Parakeet Cage by Prevue (http://www.petsmart.com/global/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=84552444180 8010&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302047584&ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id=2534374302023691&bmUID=1164555804050&itemNo=17&Nao=12&In=Bird&N=2023691+4294961644&Ne=2)

Its a really neat cage, very sturdy.. It opens from the front, and from the top, where the gables are.

fashion victim
11-26-06, 01:26 pm
Thanks for the info everyone but I won't be able to get my hands on any of them. The person moved out this Friday and she'd already rehomed all her stock. My grandmother died this Wednesday so I wasn't really able to do anything else except cry and attend the funeral and accompany mom and auntie to get all the papers and stuff for the records. You have all been so helpful and I really appreciate it. I'll be passing on all this information to my friend, who's staying with 6 hamsters and was able to rehome the rest.

Ly&Pigs
11-26-06, 01:44 pm
I'm so sorry to hear of your grandmothers passing. You have my deepest sympathy.

TabithaTwitchit
12-09-06, 01:31 pm
I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother.

I would suggest keeping a good eye on those dwarf hamsters. Hamsters (in my experience) can escape from certain kinds of barred cages. My Syrian can climb or jump out of her playpen (the same kind you have for your hamsters), and she can squeeze out of nearly anything.
My dwarf hamsters couldn't climb the bars, but they could squeeze under, and, if they're small enough, squeeze through the bars.
Also, there have been many cases where dwarf hamsters--even females--have attacked and killed each other. I've had several dwarf hamsters who attacked any other hamster they saw. Most of the naughty ones were albino or had "spiky" fur. It may be that these ones had neurological problems such as epilepsy. I know that animals with a lot of white fur are prone to problems like this.
I'm not saying that your hamsters will fight, I'm just saying to be careful. In most cases, fights are short and the hamsters are just sorting out who's the boss. But if there are any hamsters who keep fighting, it's best to separate the troublemakers.

Shaffy
12-09-06, 01:56 pm
I'm very sorry to hear about your grandma.