Everyone loves babies, and seeing a litter of new baby dwarf hamsters can be a real joy! While it is tempting to pick up one of these little creatures right after they are born, new baby hamster owners need to know some important guidelines that are critical in ensuring the little ones survive past a certain stage and will grow up to be happy and healthy .
The mother dwarf hamster usually carries the babies for 18 to 20 days and will give birth to a typical litter of five or six pups. Some litter sizes can be as big as ten babies, so be prepared!
The first thing new baby hamster owners should know is that handling the babies right after they are born is BAD! It is crucial that owners leave the babies alone with their mother for at least ten days. This prevails the babies from picking up your "human scent" which may trigger the mother to eat the babies. This is the one and only time when you do not need to make any changes or clean the cage daily.
Four days after they are born, the baby hamsters will start to get pigment and three days of that, they will begin to grow fur. To determine when it is a good time to handle the babies, take your cue from the mother hamster. Anytime after ten days should be a good bet because the babies are stronger. Remember, though, that you should still take extra care when handling baby dwarf hamsters as they are likely to be restless and are at risk of falling from your hands. You will find that the more you handle them, the tamer they will become.
About two weeks after birth, the baby hamsters can start to eat regular portions of solid food. This may include fresh servings of oats, oatmeal, wheat germ or small bird seeds. One good diet tip is to feed them small grains because these helps them grow healthier faster. When it comes to liquid, the mother hamster will continue to nurse the babies until they are old enough to reach the water bottle in the hamster housing. Once this happens, the mother hamster will automatically reduce the nursing sessions.
Around four weeks after birth, the baby hamsters should be fully weaned and ready to be moved to their own hamster housing. At this stage, the mother hamster might be pregnant again. A good indication of this is if the male hamster stays with the mom while the babies are still being nursed. If this is the case, then the babies should be carefully removed after 18 to 20 days when the mother has another litter. It is important to separate the babies into two different cages according to gender to prevent incred pregnancies.
When in doubt, remember that caring for baby dwarf hamsters is similar to caring for any other pet. New baby owners should clean the cages at least once a week. If there are many babies and the cages are very dirty, then use your discretion and clean more often. As for food requirements, make sure that all food supply is fresh, including the water source. Baby hamsters need additional care compared with adult hamsters so it is crucial that you check on them regularly.
Once the baby dwarf hamsters live past four weeks, you can decide to either keep all the babies or find new homes for all or a few of them. This is another exciting challenge because you want to ensure the new owners will take good care of your new babies.
Source by Sarah Bitman