How to Take Care of Hamster Babies – From three weeks of age, the baby hamsters can now be weaned to start receiving solid food. In some cases, due to circumstances of force majeure, they can be weaned even earlier. It will depend on each case.
In this article by myfriendlypets, we explain how to care for a baby hamster and also some advice on how to proceed if you try to get rid of pups that have not yet reached the age of weaning.
Everything you need to achieve the survival of these small rodents here, in myfriendlypets, keep reading:
When to separate the progenitor from her offspring?
After three weeks the small hamsters can and should be separated from their mothers, at the most it could take a week more, because after five weeks of age the hamsters are sexually mature, even when they have not reached their size of adults, and there may be fights to the death in addition to unwanted litters.
The feeding of the little hamster
A three-week-old hamster pup can now be fed, in principle, in the same way, that an adult would. However, we must bear in mind that their incisors are not yet the size they will have adults, much less their abazones (jowls with elastic skin where they store food to transport it). Therefore we must note that if we provide the typical seed mixture that is already prepared, our pet can reject the first days which are larger. Being a dry food, that does not rot or spoil, it is always better to place food by excess than by default and let the hamster hide it in his particular pantry. But we, for hygiene, we will always place the food in the same place, and if possible in a small container.
The hamster can nibble on the food container, and worse, swallow the fragments, with which he could die. That’s why I personally do not like plastic feeders very much and I prefer to use a small metal or ceramic container. Not all hamsters bite their “furniture”, although there is one, and it is better to prevent.
Hamsters need throughout their life to supplement their seed-based diet with fresh fruits and vegetables. When the hamster is not yet an adult he may prefer these foods to the harder ones but we should not let fresh vegetables be the bulk of his diet because they can cause diarrhea.
In addition, hamsters are omnivores, in nature, they eat some insects. There are complete mixes on the market for hamsters that add a small dry meat croquette and avoid headaches. Although the usual is 100% vegetable mixes, which tend to be somewhat low in protein for what is the nutritional requirement of a hamster. The small ration of substances of animal origin can be provided with a dog cookie from time to time, or with a little bit of cooked egg.
Meat, both raw and cooked, is controversial among experts. Some indicate that it incites cannibalism with the offspring, although in other cases it can avoid it. Hamsters also go crazy for fish.
Something very important with fresh foods, especially those of animal origin, is to ensure that the hamster does not hide them, as they rot easily and hamsters are very prone to intestinal infections due to poor food. These infections, in hamsters, are usually deadly even with treatment.
Then we have to monitor and remove the remains of non-dried food that our little hamster may have hidden. We must also take extreme precautions and hygiene in the rare case that our hamster decides to place his pantry right in the corner he had been using as a latrine.
In addition, the hamster must have clean and fresh water at all times, even if it is an animal that drinks little. The most comfortable thing to avoid spills and worries is to use a tube drinker, which dispenses the water slowly in contact with the hamster’s tongue. It should be ensured that the hamster does not leave the tube placed in such a way that it can not dispense the water and that no air bubbles are formed that impede the operation of the sprue.
When a hamster opens a cage, as is logical, it may not find the source of water for the first time. We must bring the tube of the sprue to the snout a few times a day in case you were very clueless and thirsty, after a few days it will no longer be necessary.
Young hamster care
In addition to food and drink, our little hamster will need material to build a bed or shelter. The safest materials for this purpose are the hydrophilic cotton pharmacy or the hair of goat that they sell in some specialized establishments.
The hamster bites and molds the material to form a cave where he sleeps and takes shelter from the cold. But a very young hamster probably does not have that instinct yet well developed and the best thing is that we, with our fingers, create a kind of cave with a hole or a nest with the chosen material and try to have our hamster sleep in it, or covered for that material.
The hamsters must be at a temperature between 18 and 25 ºC, below 14 ºC they can go into hibernation in addition to suffering from colds or pneumonia. In the case of offspring, the optimum environmental temperature is an even more important factor than in adults.
A hamster’s cage must have a bed that will be renewed every few days, depending on the size of the cage, which will keep the soil dry. The materials to be used for this purpose are diverse, from hay to sawdust, although the most comfortable from my point of view is the cat litter, which besides being absorbent is a little deodorant. Of course, we have to use normal versions, not perfumed. In the hypothetical case of wanting to deodorize the cage of a hamster should be made with appropriate products for it because hamsters are very sensitive animals and with multiple allergies.
In the home of our hamster, there must be an exercise wheel or some toy that fits it. When buying the wheel or the cage that incorporates it, we must think about the size of the adult animal. The best are those that can be removed and put and do not have a central axis, although they are plastic and we must ensure that our hamster does not want to eat it. The metal exercise wheels are usually too small for adult hamsters other than Russian, Chinese or Siberian breeds, and many of them incorporate a central axis that may be uncomfortable for the animal.
Anyway, if we can offer our hamster long walks in our house (Be careful if there are other pets!) Or with a special sphere so that it does not hide under the furniture, the swing or exercise wheel could become dispensable. We must bear in mind that we should not overload the hamster’s cage and that there is no cage too big but too small.
Take out a very small baby
Mamma hamsters can abandon their young, even kill and devour them, for various reasons. One of them is because we manipulate the cage and stretch to the mother. It can also happen if the female leaves the cage and when she returns, for whatever reason, she does not recognize the litter.
It is best to have the cage prepared in such a way that in the three weeks from the birth of the offspring, we should only clean the latrine corner and place food with great care. We should not touch the young until they are self-sufficient because our smell could cause the mother’s rejection. We will try not to change the nest for at that time so as not to stress the mother. In addition, we must have the account that the nest or bed should be much larger than usual, before delivery, the mother should have enough material to build it to your liking.
But no matter how carefully one puts in the care of a hamster mother and her litter, sometimes the worst happens and we find that the mother kills her young. In these cases, if the pups have already completed 12 days and already have a capita hair similar to that of an adult hamster, not its first fluff, we can try to finish raising the baby hamsters by hand, as they say.
It is imperative that to achieve this they are incised, even though they are very small and can suck food.
With prematurely separated hamster pups we must take special care not to catch a cold and return them to the nest every few hours if we can not ensure an adequate environmental temperature. One tip may be to place an electric mat just below the cage, separated by a towel, in this way we ensure that they receive adequate heat.
We will also be waiting for them to drink, bringing the sprue closer to the muzzle every few hours. If you notice that they can not drink directly, I advise you to get a syringe without a needle and offer them droplets little by little. It is essential to keep it hydrated. But the difference will be the diet, the important thing is that a baby hamster weaned before time can feed and survive.
Small hamsters should always have small-caliber seeds at hand when they start eating solid. We can select the smallest grains of the mixtures already prepared for hamsters and mix them with mixtures of seeds for birds. But very young specimens will eat especially soft foods: bread soaked in milk (very important), some fruit and vegetables and chopped hard-boiled egg or a bit of cooked ham. You should also be very clear about the prohibited foods for the hamster.
As they can eat semi-solid foods, the bread wet in milk will be removed, although not completely. The milk rots easily and so does the hard-boiled egg and the cooked cold meats. Attention therefore to the hygiene of the cage.
The success with pups weaned before time is not guaranteed and depends a lot on the moment of weaning and on the regularity of the care that we offer to the little ones. My first hamster was weaned at 17 days because the mother became aggressive and killed one of her siblings, and she already ate small seeds of her compound food, it was not difficult to get her forward and that I was a girl.
Before raising, looking for a home for babies
Hamsters are animals that can have litters of up to 14 pups, although the litters of five to seven babies are normal.
If we intend to raise our hamsters before we have to look for good homes for all who could be born. That is, we will have to look for responsible people who wish to have one or more hamsters and take care of them, and explain that depending on how many are born and how many survive, there might not be a small hamster for them. But it’s better to be with the problem of not having good homes for everyone.
In the event that we adopt a hamster female and come pregnant, surprise! The time to look for the responsible human family will be less, and the scare is possibly anthological. That’s how my first hamster came to my life because a friend’s hamster had come pregnant and they could not take care of everyone. And it was a wonderful experience, so much so that I have been the proud mother and human grandmother of many hamsters for many years.