Caring for pregnant hamster and her babies
When housing males and females together, mistakes can be made that result in a female hamster becoming pregnant because young hamsters can be tricky to properly sex. You might check on your female one day and be shocked to find that she’s not by herself and has a litter of babies because some females may not exhibit pregnancy symptoms or become excessively large until the very end. It can be difficult, but also rewarding, to raise a litter of hamsters!
Make your pregnant hamster comfortable
There are steps you can take to help lower stress and risks to the mother and the babies if you are aware or as soon as you learn that your female hamster is pregnant. It’s important to take this time to set up a home for her and the newborn hamsters since hamster gestation can last anywhere from 16 to 22 days depending on the species. For the baby to be delivered healthy, it’s crucial to make the expectant mother as comfortable as possible. Reduce her stress and the possibility of conflict with other hamsters by separating her from any other hamsters.
To increase the new mother’s comfort and sense of security, nesting material should be added. When the infants are six weeks old, if you do not intend to keep them, they should be growing quickly and independent enough to move to their new homes. Both store-bought bedding and household items like shredded paper towels or newspapers can be used as nesting material. While pregnant and nursing, mom should consume a high-quality, high-protein diet. Including extra protein sources like boiled eggs and chicken in meals is also good for pregnant hamsters and their developing babies.
Caring for the new litter of babies
Although smaller or larger litters can occur, the average litter size is 6 to 10 babies. The mother and new babies will benefit from additional privacy for the first week after delivery. You should keep your distance from them at this time and engage in only what is necessary to give them the care they require. Stress reduction techniques for the new mother include partially covering the habitat or putting it in a room with little activity.
If the babies need to be moved during this first week, gently picking them up with some of their bedding will help lessen the scent you put on the babies and the likelihood that mom will reject them. A healthy nursing mother up until the babies are weaned is essential for the babies’ growth and health as syringe feeding orphaned baby hamsters frequently fails.
After the first two weeks, you can gradually begin handling the babies to accustom them to human contact, but be cautious when doing so because the mother might become overly protective and try to bite. Always be aware of her body language; if she shows signs of being overly upset by your interactions with her family, it’s best to leave them alone and give it another go in a few days.
Weaning baby hamsters
Around 10 days old, you can start serving food that has been softened with water. Babies of dwarf species should be kept apart from their mothers and the other genders until they are three weeks old in order to reduce the likelihood of fights or unintentional breeding. Babies are typically weaned onto solid foods at this time. By the age of five weeks, Syrian hamster pups should be separated. Once they are no longer together, you should continue to keep a close eye on their behavior and eating patterns to make sure they are thriving and weaning properly. To lessen the possibility of a new mother feeling insecure and leaving her babies, this is particularly crucial.
If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on food, toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!
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