Breeding Basics For Hamsters
Hamsters are easy to breed and boast one of the quickest reproductive rates in the animal kingdom.
Anyone who has entered a pet store will notice there is no shortage of hamsters. There is, however, of shortage of good, safe, permanent homes for them. With this in mind, unless your intention is to keep all of the offspring you produce for the duration of their lives, it is highly irresponsible to pursue breeding them.
Some owners breed hamsters for many misguided reasons including making money or teaching children the facts of life. These thoughts never take into account the awesome responsibility this decision makes. Breeding hamsters is not a wise choice.
Sometimes, unfortunately, accidents happen. This usually happens innocently when the new owner brings home what he thought were two female hamsters. Several weeks later, when those two females become a family of five or more hamsters, the mistake is realized. This information is for that family who suddenly realizes they need a crash course in the care of that new family of hamsters who are now part of their family and thus, their responsibility. This will help the new babies survive and it will also help prevent something like this from happening a second time.
Hamsters have one of the quickest reproductive rates in the animal kingdom. They reach sexual maturity at about two months old. The gestation period is sixteen days.
Hamsters in the wild are solitary and only come together for the purpose of mating. The female raises her young alone.
Breeders of hamsters do the following:
1. They house the hamsters separately.
2. They place a female in estrus with the designated male only at the opportune time.
3. They watch the pair carefully as the female can be dangerous to a male if she's not ready for mating.
4. Once mating occurs, the male is removed from the cage.
5. Two weeks later, the female is ready to give birth. Before this time, the cage is cleaned and replaced with fresh bedding as the cage must be undisturbed for a few weeks.
6. As the due date approaches, the hamster will become restless. This is the signal that the owner should stop handling and playing with her. A day or two later, as if by magic, the owner will notice the new mom and a litter of five to ten naked babies.
7. Hamster mothers don't want interference from humans, so they are left alone to care for the babies. Any interference will bring unneeded stress. She may become so distressed that she will eat her young, so it is best to leave her and the babies alone. As the weeks progress the babies will gain hair and begin to share the mother's solid food. They will not be completely weaned for as much as a
Once the young are old enough, the breeder is faced with the challenge of placing the young animals into safe, permanent homes. While siblings can usually coexist for a while, they are solitary and can become dangerous to each other within the same cage.
The best bet is to contact a local animal shelter, although, they don't all take hamsters. Screen potential owners as hamsters are often used as "food" for other animals in the food chain. Never release unwanted hamsters into the wild as they can upset the balance of nature. If you ultimately cannot place the hamster babies, the other alternative might be euthanasia performed by a veterinarian or a shelter. It is an unfortunate solution, but for better than seeing hamsters go to inappropriate homes or releasing them into the wild to face starvation, injury, illness, and countless other dangers for which they are not prepared to encounter.