How many children do you have in your family? How big is your house? The more children you have, the more space is required. If there are too many people in a small house, everyone will feel uncomfortable. This is also true with hamsters. Once you decide to breed hamsters, you have to ensure that you can easily find new homes for the babies, or you will need to get enough cages to house the litter. Before you start breeding, you can talk to local pet shops or to friends, relatives, and co-workers to determine if they are willing to take some of the baby hamsters.
Cross breeding you should not be attempted. For instance, if you like Syrian hamsters, you will need to breed two Syrian hamsters. What if you only have a female or a male? This is not a problem. You can find another owner of a hamster of the same breed. Ask around your neighborhood or you can also ask for references from friends and acquaintances. Talk to the owner of the hamster and you can breed them with the agreement of sharing the load when it comes to finding homes for the babies!
The Syrian hamsters are more of the ‘isolated’ type and will want to live alone or in pairs. The dwarf hamsters are different. In fact, you can keep several dwarf hamsters (of the same sex) in a cage, and they will tend to live harmoniously as they grow up together. Remember that once you’ve determined the gender of the hamsters, you will need to keep them in separate cages – one for the male and one for the female. You see, when the hamsters reach the ‘mating’ age, you can see how things unfold naturally.
To prevent cannibalism, you need to breed the females when they are already 4 to 6 months. It’s not ideal to breed hamsters over six months old because birth complications can occur. In the case of the male, the ideal age for breeding is 2 to 3 months old. Here’s another fact, the female becomes sterile when she reaches 14 months! So if you want to breed again using the same female, you can do so but try to space the births 3 to 4 months apart.
Some females get pregnant within several days of giving birth, but this is not ideal because it will only shorten their lives. This is because the female’s body is not able to recuperate. In most cases, the female can produce two litters at certain time intervals, although there is a chance when she can produce more than that.
When breeding the Syrian, the female is really aggressive and so you will need to introduce the male when they are in season. Watch out for the scent that is usually given off at night by the female. This is the sign that she is ready to mate. Otherwise, the male can get killed. You need to learn about the oestrus period of the female which can last for 4-18 hours beginning at night. Learn the scent and know how it smells.
Feed the female with foods that are high in protein during her pregnancy. After giving birth, your task is to avoid upsetting the mother, and refrain from disturbing their cage. In other breeds, like the dwarf hamsters, you won’t encounter many problems because these creatures are more sociable.
Good luck and happy hamster breeding!
By Marc Stonebright
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