The hamster gestation period is the number of days that it takes for hamster pups to be born after fertilization. Normally, the gestation period for hamsters ranges from 16-30 days depending on the breed. Through the period of time that your hamster is pregnant, as well as during and following the birth, there are some specific things you should do to ensure the health of the both mother and her pups.
First let's discuss the various gestation periods depending on the breed of hamster that you own. The shortest hamster gestation period is just 16 days for the Syrian hamsters. This particular species has a gestation period that is quite accurate so if you happen to see the fertilization first hand, you can count on your pups arriving 16 days later.
The Russian dwarf hamster is pregnant for 18-21 days, the Chinese hamster for 21-23 days, and the longest hamster gestation is with the Robo hamster at 23-20 days. For all of the hamsters, you will notice the female's abdomen gets significantly larger at about 4 days before the birth.
The males should be removed from the cages after fertilization if they are Syrian hamsters. With dwarf hamsters, the males can stay with the mother because they tend to be very helpful when the litter is born. You will want to keep a close eye on them and make sure they are not aggressive towards each other. If you notice any problems, you can slide a clear divider (mesh) between them until things calm down.
If you want to continue to breed the hamster pair in the future, you should not take the male out because it might be hard to get them back together again. Do note though that some hamsters can start mating again at about 24 hours after birth. If you are not quite ready for a new litter so soon, try the divider method.
While the expectant mother is pregnant, it is important to provide her with a clean cage and plenty of food and water. The cage should be cleaned out daily and be sure to note any changes in her behavior. It is recommended to keep a notebook of daily activities in case you might need to show it to a veterinarian at some point.
For food, you can continue with the normal feedings but also add some additional protein. This can include foods like tofu, scrambled eggs, vegetables, or cheese. One thing you do not want to include is milk. There is a theory that giving milk helps the mother to produce milk but this is absolutely unnecessary and should be avoided.
You can continue to take your pregnant hamster out of her cage for playtime and cuddling up until the birth. You might notice she is not quite as active and may be more inclined to snuggle than run around in her hamster ball.
After the birth, it is best to leave the mother and her pups alone. In fact, handling the pups could cause the mother to kill them and cannibalize them. Do what you can to keep the cage clean and, of course, continue to offer plenty of food and water. After about two weeks, you should be able to handle the furry little cups and do a more thorough cleaning of the cage.
You should do additional research on hamster gestation for your particular breed of hamster to learn more about your hamster's behavior.
Source by Liz Andrews