How Old Do Baby Dwarf Hamsters Have to Be Before You Can Give Them Away?
Hamster couples do not believe in divorce, and a pair can stay together an entire lifetime. These accommodating creatures share the burdens of bringing up children with the father pitching in in offspring care. But the real fact of the matter is, the mother is quite capable of raising an entitlement litter, even if the father is not around. These little creatures are very family oriented, independent, and responsible animals.
If you have a couple of hamsters, be prepared for a really large family before you can say `Adam '! This is because hamsters begin mating when they are just a few weeks old, and within 24 hours of giving birth to a litter of anywhere between 5-8, the female can conceive again. While you are busy tending to the mother, be prepared for the fact that those tiny babies are growing, and within 18 – 21 days they reach sexual maturity. If you leave them all together, you will have to be prepared for a hamster boom with the parents and the children quickly adding to the litter.
Thus, the best advise is to separate the young ones from the mother after the 3rd week. Any delay in this could result in unwanted conception and related problems. The males and the females have to be kept in separate cages after they are weaned off from their mother.
So, the best time to give away hamsters is when it has completed 21 days.
Some points to remember before breeding:
- Hamsters multiply very fast, and if you are not careful, you could end up with a minimum of 50 hamsters in no time at all. If you started the whole process with the intention of being a breeder, it is important that you identify future owners even before you start the breeding process. Otherwise, you will need to provide home care for the entire bundle, and if you wish to do that without compromising on quality of food or living conditions, then you will be spending a tidy packet of money; not to mention the actual work involved of cleaning the cage, changing drinking water, cleaning out debris and bedding.
- While father hamsters do help out with baby care, Syrian father hamsters have a tendency to eat up the babies. Here, while you wait to give away your new breed, immediately separate the father from the litter.
- Do not touch the babies or the cage. Mother hamsters are extremely sensitive to smell, and any smell can be treated by them as a danger signal. They react to this by eating up the babies. In fact, the cage should also be cleaned only after a good 12 days when there is a new litter inside.
- If there is a dead baby in the cage, remove it carefully without touching the others or the cage.
So, now that you know that the planned or unplanned pregnancy has resolved in a suddenly larger family of hamsters to look after, you can take solace in the fact that it is only for three weeks that you need to provide a home. Ensure that those three weeks are peaceful days for the mother and the babies by providing adequate food and bedding, limited or if possible, no disturbances and a congenial atmosphere.
Source by Chris Short