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How to house and care for a hamster?

LoveMyHerd

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Oct 6, 2014
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They are quite acrobatic for not being able to jump like gerbils and frequently people wake up to find they've gone wandering from a bad tube connection or loose lid.
Yes, @aqh88! That has happened to my brother with his hamster Houdini (who passed away about six months ago, poor little guy) Well anyway, one day Andrew (my brother) woke up to find Houdini gone! We were all very concerned that he might have gone under the door and into the hall where the cat Sasha was allowed free reign. Long story short, Andrew woke up in the middle of the night with Houdini climbing up his face. Personally, that would have freaked me out, but Andrew was just happy to get his hamster back. We then reinforced the tube connectors with Duck Tape. I know that there are many unhappy-ending stories out there due to loose tubes, but I just thought I would share this happy-ending one.:)
 
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jessieisabel

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[MENTION=33116]LoveMyHerd[/MENTION] Houdini was a good name choice I guess! Sorry to hear that he has passed :(

I'm getting way too excited about owning a hamster haha
 

jessieisabel

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I am indeed getting a hamster soon! What brand of hamster food would you guys recommend?

Edit: here are the brands available at my local pet store (which does not sell animals!). I can't find nutritional info for all of them but if you are familiar with any of these brands, that would be great :)

LM Farms: Bonanza Gourmet Diet for Hamster & Gerbil

Oxbow: Essentials Hamster & Gerbil

Kaytee: Fiesta Max Hamster and Gerbil Food

Health Diet: Hamster Gerbil Seed Mix

Royal Cuisine: Hamster/Gerbil Mix

Martin: Little Friends - Hamster and Gerbil Food
 
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Banshee

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Most Syrians use 11/12 inch wheels!

I highly recommend joining this forum:
http://hamsterhideout.com/forum/
They're all lovely people and are very helpful!
As stated above bins are so much better then store bought cages! Also fish tanks (20 gallon long or larger) work nicely, and DIY cages are always an option. I recommend cages larger then 500 sq inches though-I find hamsters have a better temperament towards humans in larger cages. (Examples-Passed ham Tobias lived in a 250 sq inch cage his hole life and was labeled "anti social" and nippy by his owners. After 2 weeks in his 576 sq inch cage he was very sweet and while he wasnt one for cuddles, he loved playing and climbing on my lap. My current hamster Tokyo came home and spent a few months in a 576 sq inch cage, and he was very timid. After being upgraded to 860 sq inches he is taking food from me and will let me pet him if he is bribed with a treat. My other hamster Tiny Tim isnt very human friendly, but he is a robo (the least domesticated species), so its to be expected.)

Oopsies I didnt read the second page were most of these were already said. My bad!
 
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labgirl5

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Oct 24, 2013
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390
I am indeed getting a hamster soon! What brand of hamster food would you guys recommend?

Edit: here are the brands available at my local pet store (which does not sell animals!). I can't find nutritional info for all of them but if you are familiar with any of these brands, that would be great :)

LM Farms: Bonanza Gourmet Diet for Hamster & Gerbil

Oxbow: Essentials Hamster & Gerbil

Kaytee: Fiesta Max Hamster and Gerbil Food

Health Diet: Hamster Gerbil Seed Mix

Royal Cuisine: Hamster/Gerbil Mix

Martin: Little Friends - Hamster and Gerbil Food

The Kaytee, Oxbow, or LM is not suitable. Could you list the %'s of the other brands (protein, fiber, fat)?

Can you order online? Hazel Hamster is a good mix, and so is Vitakraft Vitasmart (if you add in a high-protein lab block), CareFRESH Complete Menu, Mazuri Hamster and Gerbil, etc.
 

jessieisabel

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The Kaytee, Oxbow, or LM is not suitable. Could you list the %'s of the other brands (protein, fiber, fat)?

Can you order online? Hazel Hamster is a good mix, and so is Vitakraft Vitasmart (if you add in a high-protein lab block), CareFRESH Complete Menu, Mazuri Hamster and Gerbil, etc.

I don't have time to wait for an order online unfortunately. If I can't find suitable food at that store, I might have to pick one up at petsmart while I wait for an online order. Ugh, I hate pet stores. I'll post the info for the others though!
I've heard that sunflower seeds are necessary in their food, is that true?

Health Diet (this one sounds too low in protein, and there's barely anything in it)

Guaranteed analysis:

Crude Protein 10.0% (min)
Crude Fat 4.0% (min)
Crude Fiber 4.0% (min)
Moisture 14% (max)

Ingredients:

Small Dent Corn, Red Milo, Safflower, Soft wheat, Oats, Oilseed Sunflower, Striped Sunflower, Hard red Wheat, Mineral Oil

Royal Cuisine:

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 18.0 % (min)
Crude Fat 5.0 % (min)
Crude Fiber 5.0 % (max)

Ingredients:
Ground corn, wheat middlings, dehulled soybean meal, fish meal, soybean oil, calcium carbonate, cane molasses, dehydrated alfalfa meal, salt, DLmethionine, L-lysine, menadione dimethylpyrimidinol bisulfite, vitamin A acetate, cholecalciferol, pyridoxine hydrochloride, magnesium oxide, biotin, dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate, riboflavin, vitamin B-12 supplement, folic acid, nicotinic acid, thiamin mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, manganous oxide, zinc oxide, ferrous carbonate, copper sulfate, zinc sulfate, calcium iodate, cobalt carbonate, sodium selenite.

Martin - Little Friends

Guaranteed analysis:

Crude Protein (min.)
17.0% Crude Fat (min.)
5.0% Crude Fibre (min.)
14.0% Crude Fibre (max.)

Ingredients:

Dehydrated Alfalfa, Wheat Shorts, Soybean Hulls, Soybeans, Ground Corn, Whole Ground Wheat, Soya Oil (preserved with Rosemary Extract, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Lignin Sulfonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, L-Lysine, Brewers Yeast, Vitamin E, Ascorbic Acid (a source of Vitamin C), DL-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Mannan Oligosaccharide, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Rice Hulls, Iron Sulphate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Niacinamide, Mineral Oil, Copper Sulphate, Folic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, Biotin, Selenium, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Iodate, Cobalt Sulphate
 

jessieisabel

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Also another update on the hamster: they still have the one I was looking at earlier! They're unsure of his/her age and gender. As far as I know, he/she is a dwarf hamster :)
 

ZipBonBoo

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I'm not sure what to tell you about the food situation. I'd post on a hamster forum.
If you didn't know already, Campbells dwarf and hybrid dwarves are prone to diabetes, so you should research that a bit if you haven't already. Robo or Chinese hamsters are fine, however. I believe Winter Whites aren't prone to diabetes either, but if you're in the US then unless you buy from a breeder, its highly unlikely the dwarf is not a hybrid.
 

jessieisabel

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I'm not sure what to tell you about the food situation. I'd post on a hamster forum.

I just did, thanks! Hopefully I'll get an answer soon.
The diabetes thing is why I'm so concerned about what food I buy actually! I can buy one on their list of foods for syrians and robo's. Other than that, I can't find anything good enough. Hopefully that one will work

They've informed me that he/she is a russian dwarf. So likely a hybrid dwarf as I can't see a pure campbell being in the shelter.
 

Photolove3

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Jul 26, 2014
Messages
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I know you've gotten a lot of opinions on this and I don't have a hamster personally but this one you tuber I watch has one (and an adorable bunny) and I think a lot of her information is really good! She has a really goo tutorial on making bin cages and on how to make hamster cages out of ikea furniture which is really neat (and they looks super nice). Her youtube account name is ErinsHamsters. She also has a lot of product reviews about like wheels that make less noise and stuff.
 

labgirl5

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390
I don't have time to wait for an order online unfortunately. If I can't find suitable food at that store, I might have to pick one up at petsmart while I wait for an online order. Ugh, I hate pet stores. I'll post the info for the others though!
I've heard that sunflower seeds are necessary in their food, is that true?

Health Diet (this one sounds too low in protein, and there's barely anything in it)

Guaranteed analysis:

Crude Protein 10.0% (min)
Crude Fat 4.0% (min)
Crude Fiber 4.0% (min)
Moisture 14% (max)

Ingredients:

Small Dent Corn, Red Milo, Safflower, Soft wheat, Oats, Oilseed Sunflower, Striped Sunflower, Hard red Wheat, Mineral Oil

Royal Cuisine:

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 18.0 % (min)
Crude Fat 5.0 % (min)
Crude Fiber 5.0 % (max)

Ingredients:
Ground corn, wheat middlings, dehulled soybean meal, fish meal, soybean oil, calcium carbonate, cane molasses, dehydrated alfalfa meal, salt, DLmethionine, L-lysine, menadione dimethylpyrimidinol bisulfite, vitamin A acetate, cholecalciferol, pyridoxine hydrochloride, magnesium oxide, biotin, dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate, riboflavin, vitamin B-12 supplement, folic acid, nicotinic acid, thiamin mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, manganous oxide, zinc oxide, ferrous carbonate, copper sulfate, zinc sulfate, calcium iodate, cobalt carbonate, sodium selenite.

Martin - Little Friends

Guaranteed analysis:

Crude Protein (min.)
17.0% Crude Fat (min.)
5.0% Crude Fibre (min.)
14.0% Crude Fibre (max.)

Ingredients:

Dehydrated Alfalfa, Wheat Shorts, Soybean Hulls, Soybeans, Ground Corn, Whole Ground Wheat, Soya Oil (preserved with Rosemary Extract, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Lignin Sulfonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, L-Lysine, Brewers Yeast, Vitamin E, Ascorbic Acid (a source of Vitamin C), DL-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Mannan Oligosaccharide, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Rice Hulls, Iron Sulphate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Niacinamide, Mineral Oil, Copper Sulphate, Folic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, Biotin, Selenium, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Iodate, Cobalt Sulphate

Health Diet is much too low in everything and has little variety, Royal Cuisine is low in fibre and you don't really want corn as the first ingredient as it's more of a filler ingredient. For the Martin one it is too high in fibre, and it is like Oxbow in the fact that it is pellet-like - hamsters need variety and seeds in their diet, as they are foraging animals. As I said, I'd recommend getting Hazel Hamster, Vitakraft VitaSmart hamster (with a protein lab block), or CareFRESH Complete Menu Hamster from PetSmart. What size cage would you get? Similar to guinea pigs, pet store cages are much too small for hamsters. The minimum size for one hamster is 360 sq. inches, but bigger is ALWAYS better. I'd look at trying to get a 40 gallon breeder tank, which offers ~720 sq. inches of space. Also, avoid cedar and pine bedding with hamsters, as they can cause serious respiratory issues. Paper-based beddings like CareFRESH or Kaytee Clean and Cozy are great bedding, but avoid scented versions of the Kaytee. You don't want to use compressed pellets as they are hard on a hamster's feet and are not an appropriate substrate for burrowing.

Also, the recommended percentages for hamster food is shown below:

Protein: 17-22%
Fibre: 8-10%
Fat: 4-6%

As already stated, I highly recommend Hamster Hideout Forum. They are very knowledgeable about answers and quickly answer a wide variety of hamster-related questions. :)
 

jessieisabel

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Health Diet is much too low in everything and has little variety, Royal Cuisine is low in fibre and you don't really want corn as the first ingredient as it's more of a filler ingredient. For the Martin one it is too high in fibre, and it is like Oxbow in the fact that it is pellet-like - hamsters need variety and seeds in their diet, as they are foraging animals. As I said, I'd recommend getting Hazel Hamster, Vitakraft VitaSmart hamster (with a protein lab block), or CareFRESH Complete Menu Hamster from PetSmart. What size cage would you get? Similar to guinea pigs, pet store cages are much too small for hamsters. The minimum size for one hamster is 360 sq. inches, but bigger is ALWAYS better. I'd look at trying to get a 40 gallon breeder tank, which offers ~720 sq. inches of space. Also, avoid cedar and pine bedding with hamsters, as they can cause serious respiratory issues. Paper-based beddings like CareFRESH or Kaytee Clean and Cozy are great bedding, but avoid scented versions of the Kaytee. You don't want to use compressed pellets as they are hard on a hamster's feet and are not an appropriate substrate for burrowing.

Also, the recommended percentages for hamster food is shown below:

Protein: 17-22%
Fibre: 8-10%
Fat: 4-6%

As already stated, I highly recommend Hamster Hideout Forum. They are very knowledgeable about answers and quickly answer a wide variety of hamster-related questions. :)


Thanks so much for your help!

I'm going to pick up the care fresh food tomorrow :) I'll be using care fresh bedding too.
We're actually making a bin cage! The size depends on which store we go to, it will either be 20"x 30" (600 sq inches) or 29" x 18" (522 sq inches).

I joined hamster hideout a few days ago, it seems good so far! Hopefully I'll like it as much as I like this forum, haha.
 

jessieisabel

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Peanut is home!! We will be making the cage tonight. For now, he (at least I think peanut is male) is in the cage the shelter was holding him in.
We bought care fresh food, care fresh bedding, a little igloo hidey, an 8" wheel, and some chew toys :) Off to home depot for bin cage supplies!
Pictures will be up once Peanut has a more comfortable home :)
 

Banshee

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Yay! I cant wait to see the little guy!

You might want to wait a week before moving him to the bin though... just to keep it low stress on the little guy :)
 

jessieisabel

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Yay! I cant wait to see the little guy!

You might want to wait a week before moving him to the bin though... just to keep it low stress on the little guy :)

Unfortunately, the cage the shelter had him in was absolutely tiny, the wheel was unsafe, and they had cotton nesting material, so I moved him out as soon as we had the bin. I don't want to stress him out but I'd like to keep him safe :)

I'll post pictures very soon! (Possibly on a new thread)
 
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