Bob is Festive for Halloween!

Hammy pic of the day. Bob is enjoying the decor. We’re all a little nervous about Frankenstorm on its way here in Eastern Maryland. But we’re all prepared. I have my little hammy supplies stocked up and I have carriers ready just in case we had to evacuate for some reason. But I’m sure we’ll be all fine!

Hammy updates


Bob is back downstairs and now Patch is on the dresser of my bedroom. And I do love his company at dusk and dawn. I am late to bed, up often all night and early rising and so now I get to go to bed watching and wake to see a crazy active Robo.

What about Bob?! Well, his cage is on a new stand. We missed him all day while he was upstairs. Maybe less time around our sounds wasn’t good because he went back to being startled by my attention in the evening.

I have a hammy playpen set up for Bob down there so we can get him out everyday safely. Neutral territory. From more research I am stressing him out because he is probably very territorial in personality and will never like my intrusion in his habitat. Because once he free roams he isn’t at all miffed with me. And so we need to work on bonding on new curious ground daily. I am going to find a way to always make time for it. Also he needs to get daily time in his ball.

Strawberry is getting daily ball time again because I set the timer on the stove to remind me that he’s out and to not leave him in too long. We do 15 minutes. I see a big difference in Strawberry’s activity level now that he has not only a bigger cage but also more outside time. Also he also will get playpen time!

I plan to bring Snow up to our room too. Just have to make room! Oh, I am always worrying over these hammys!

Taming the Hamster

Bob sure does love a peanut!

I searched through the Hamster Central forums for how to get a hamster to warm up to you when it seems they just go back and forth. Bob is the moodiest creature I’ve ever known. Once again he was getting a little reclusive with me. So, then I saw a bit about the “bathtub training method” and this involves getting in your bathtub with your hammy (without water in it, duh) and setting it up of course before hand – and letting them free roam in there while you talk to them. This gets them familiar with your smell. Your voice. And as well gives them a positive experience of free ranging it with you there. Then they will make their way over to you and you continue to do this for several days in a row.

What makes me sad is how MUCH I want to spend time with my Bob and Strawberry. (My two Robos could care less if my hand EVER comes into their habitat – that’s just how that species is – they are the fish of the hamster world – for watching to enjoy instead of cuddling). But I just cannot spend the time with them that I want to. I always have a 2 year old or an infant vying for my attention. And there is chores. I have to keep my house up. I have to get dinner on the table. I have to bathe and I have to attend to the hamsters cages as well. A lot of this just results in hamsters in their balls and that is the extent of free ranging for them. And that doesn’t involve interaction from me.

Strawberry came to me tame. He wasn’t tamed by anyone at the petstore. He was just already tame in nature. He naturally enjoys me. I think we bonded immediately at the store. He’s “that” hamster. The one you have every so often that is intensely special? Yeah. So, though I don’t get to play with him one on one as much as I would if I didn’t have two little humans that need me more – he stays tame. He stays the same. Doesn’t run from me. Runs TO me. Lets me cuddle and seems very content with being held in my hands for good periods of time. Perches on my shoulder and plays in my hair – that sort of thing. So, Bob being moody and nowhere near like that makes me so sad!

So, today my husband was off work because he is working tonight as a favor. Long story. Anyway, I was able to get the free time to get in the tub with a little set up of my son’s bathtoys – a ship with shapes for windows big enough for Bob to climb in and out of. And I grabbed a toilet paper roll that had been set aside for the Robo’s (and Bob actually squeezed through that thing! He’s all hair that guy – looks way bigger than he really is I realize now). And I had a towel in there set up like a mountain. And I sat at the end and he just really enjoyed himself. He warmed up super much to me.

Not to mention I always have his favorite treats so he associates my voice and hand with something pleasant. He’s getting now to where he’ll come up to my hand to take a treat. But he can still be moody about that.

I’ve only had him since mid-August. I’ve read Syrians can take up to 3 months to really tame. Probably if you have a busy life with only a wee bit of time to spend with them one on one.

A lot of people get pets and have no time to spend and they just sort of give up and not think much about it. But I YEARN to play with my hammys so bad. I feel so sad about it. It’s something I want to do more than my hobbies. I want to spend time playing with my hamsters more than I do drawing, or writing, or reading.

Now that is just plain sad. Because I COULD have more time with them if I sacrificed blogging or other internet ventures but the thing is – it’s not just my schedule. My hamsters have THEIR own schedule. So, my free time isn’t exactly THEIR free time you know?

BUT I’m making progress. I’ll continue to update on it.

PS – I could kick myself that I forgot to have my cell phone with me in the tub. I wanted to take a photo of the process but I was just so excited to have free time (with my husband wrangling the kids) with my hamster at a time where he was coming up to me in his cage being social and friendly – that I just didn’t even think about things like documenting with photos! I just wanted to play!

Bob’s Kevin 82 is a hit!

(You have to excuse the cable ties sticking up. I haven’t clipped them yet since attaching the wheel base to the top of the cage. And I have yet to unpack my dresser mirror – it’s still in a box behind the dresser and cage. Maybe this weekend. Bob might like his reflection in a mirror behind him!)

I LOVE the Kevin 82 Mouse Cage by Marchioro! Yes, it is expensive. It’s one of the what ….(?) 3 (!!!) adequate cages for hamsters sold in this country?? So, I know I don’t have much choice anyway. But I do not regret it and it’s perfect. Perfect size for Bob and for me. He absolutely acts so much more friendly to me again probably due to being in a cage that is less wide open and he’s in my bedroom now so all day long he’s in the quiet instead of the boisterous sounds of my boy and baby.
But the point is – today I came up to his cage and opened the door and he walked right up to me! He hasn’t done that since I had him in a 20 gallon tank. Where he genuinely is happy to see me! I really think I had a stressed out hamster on my hands and now I’m getting that inquisitive, sociable hammy friend back! And I feel comforted by him in my room. Makes me feel young again – that little girl with her hamster. Or that teen girl with her mice. I was a happy girl with a pretty much happy childhood and it brings me back to a good time in my life. Not that my life isn’t good now but with all the stresses and all the demands on me right now my hamsters – just cuddling one – takes all that away if only for a few minutes.
Well, sure. I have to get used to his nocturnal noises now. But he’s not all that loud. I have a 2 month old waking me up every couple hours to 3 hours anyway.

Well, I got this cage from Petstore.com. And the very next day I saw it for 22 dollars less from thatpetplace.com. I contacted Petstore.com who has a Low Price Guarantee for pre-purchase but they were absolutely awesome and kind and gave me a refund of 22 and odd change back for the difference of the cage in comparison to their competitor. And still shipped it right away. It got to my doorstep a couple days after ordering it.

Then I was researching online for safe paint and ways to color Wodent Wheels. I bought my Wodent Wheel for very cheap from Petdiscounters.com but I couldn’t choose the color. It’s whatever in stock which for the price I paid was half less than where I’ve seen anywhere else when you add shipping and etc. It was a black and burgondy wheel that I just hated the look of but love the actual wheel and of course what is important is Bob loves it. But in my searches I found a place to get the Wodent Wheel replacement pieces for cheap and also very cheap shipping! I was able to order Hot Pink front and back panels and a light blue track. He even was sure to put in the Hot Pink wheel with the light blue sticker on it to match with the track. And he shipped it super fast. I highly recommend him if you have a Wodent Wheel and need replacement or want a makeover. He sells the hardware pieces too – the washers and clip. Just not the stand. So you can’t construct a full wheel for cheaper than buying it put all together. It would be so much cheaper if so.

I am very visual and I like to have things look cute, pretty, cool. It means a lot to me to love how something appears even if it’s for a pet! You should see my boys’ rooms! So, I’m strangely giddy about my girlie wheel. Bob, poor Bob. He’s not girlie. He’s very much my little fuzzy boy Ham …but he doesn’t care his wheel is Hot Pink! Maybe he prefers pink too!

I do wish I had taken these pictures while he was awake this afternoon but I didn’t think about it until after he nestled in to sleep! Gah! There is tomorrow!

He loves his corner hammock. Loves to get a treat through the bars from me while he’s looking out and chilling.

Bob is in that mound over there. He built that up. I am going to make him a cool house I have pictured in my mind – out of craft sticks soon because his other house takes up so much room.

Bob only pees in his sand box which is a ferret litter pan with Chinchilla sand inside. Saves me from having to change out his substrate much! He’s such a clean little critter!

 

 

Downsizing Bob. For a good reason.

The Marchioro Kevin 82 Mouse Cage

I ordered this cage today after discussing it with my husband for a week. It’s been me that has been apprehensive. It was expensive. It seems ridiculous to get another cage when I have such a great one already (The American version of the Mamble). But I am super excited to get it. I know I said I’d rather a hamster of mine have more space than they need than less than they need but this cage is I think JUST right, safe  size for a Bob. 32 inches by 20 inches by 14 or 15 inches in height. It has shelving but if I don’t like it I have plenty of my own platforms. It’s not too high but it’ll fit his 11” Wodent Wheel and I believe it will fit his Flying Saucer 12” fine as well.

Downsizing from the Mamble to the Kevin is a must in my opinion. And this is why.
1. I think he had a fall in the Mamble. One of the hammock hooks was askew from where he’s been chewing at them while up in them. I found that after I saw it like that – from that day forward he was not really into going up the platforms like he did before. He was acting stressed out. He’s alright physically though and I can say that with surety now as it’s been over a week. No limping or obvious signs of pain or injury.

2. He is getting more and more feral like. When I first brought him home he was cuddly and curious and so inquisitive and really into us. Since being in the huge cage he’s withdrawn more and runs from us. Once I catch him gently he’s fine with me. It’s like …”OH, alright. Have a feel then!” But he didn’t used to be like that! He used to come right to us and want to have attention. He used to come up for a treat before the hammock episode as well but now I have to hand them to him near a hideaway.

So, there are few Syrian appropriate sized cages in this country. The Mamble or AKA Ferret Kit 100, Kevin 82, and some other cage from FOP site – another Italian made cage which is more like a plastic aquarium cage which I wasn’t at all interested in. I chose the Mamble originally out of the few because it was a lot of space for the price. But ultimately, the highness of it – just too high. Makes me nervous he’ll fall again. That he’s fallen quite a bit and I didn’t know it.  And it’s disconnecting us from our hammy.

My husband just said “Get another cage. Just do it. It’s worth it.” He says this also because he knows I *WILL* have ferrets again one day and that cage is super appropriate for ferrets.

I also wanted to move Bob upstairs to my room and place his cage on my dresser. A not so high dresser. This is to give him silence during the day (my 2 year old is so loud!) and to be able to spend more time with him in peace at night when I go to bed earlier. I think his stress lately is more than just the cage – which since the suspected fall he seems to use very little of. He mostly just hides away or goes to his wheel and then rush back to his house and eats inside it. A big change from how he used to be.

I digress again – to be able to fit him in my room he’ll need a smaller cage anyway.

So, there we have it. I expect to receive it sometime this week or early next. Petstore.com delivers pretty fast in my experience.

I’ll be sure to take pictures as soon as I get it and set it up. Oh, I adored that Mamble. It’s a fantastic cage. Just wasn’t working for Bob. *sigh*
It’ll have a critter to house again one day. I’m sure of it.

Now – this brings us to the question of : Why not a Bin Cage oh Bin Cage maker woman?”

My wrists are shot. It’s taking forever for them to not feel achy. I am bound to have arthritis due to strong genetics so it might be very early signs of that. Also weather change. And maybe some carpel tunnel from computer usage. But though I LOVE bin cages I dread the thought of making another. That 2nd one I did took it all out of me. It’s not THAT hard if you have fancy tools to use. Like electric saws and such. But for me it was a bit of labor.

Also, I just really wanted a cage for Bob. A sturdy cage. Bars. I can attach his ledges and such to it. *shrugs* I’m particular and peculiar like that. But to save money I would have gone the bin route. I adore my bin cages… and stacking is so great for space-saving. But Alas …I need a break!

I have a good husband. He knows I don’t spend much on myself. The kids yes. But not me. So, this might be for the pets but in extension it’s for myself as my hammys are my sweet, little, furry, therapy friends.

Pretty Cages off the Web

 

This set up is for the ratties of Melissa Crosby! More pictures >>here<< If I was a pet rat I’d LOVE to call this home! What a cage! How colorful!!
I’ve been meaning to start doing this. To post all the cages I find that I just adore! Especially, as I haven’t unloaded a lot of images of my hammys from the SD Card and iphone yet.

 

 

DIY Bin Cage (double deckering it too)

I did a quick DIY page for the blog  >> here << because when I saw a the picture of the bin of another (where I got this idea from) for the first time all I could think about was wanting to make one very much like it and was shy about asking how. So, maybe someone is on the fence about bin cage making or has no idea about this alternative and so perhaps my page will inspire and help that person.

My only issues with this double decker is that in the future (which I hate to think about but the thoughts slip in there) is that this could only work with Dwarfs. Crittertrail tubes are too small for Syrian Hams. I’d have to come up with another option of connecting if I were to house a Syrian in it years down the road. Which is more likely I’d get another Syrian than another Dwarf. As much as I love my Strawberry and he’s the one I’m most bonded with – I don’t know if I’d get another Campbells Russian again. If I did I would seek out a breeder instead of going the Pet store route which is difficult also here in the States – and try out a pair of same sex littermates instead of just the one.

Anyway, hopefully my Strawberry will live an amazing 3 years. If I could be so lucky.

He is so happy to be reunited with tubing. He always loved his tubes. I took them away from him for awhile as he seemed to be getting fat and I was afraid he’d be stuck. But he seems to fit just fine now. And he so adores going up and down. I also have tubes connecting his bottom platform to the ground of his bottom bin.

The space seems a bit overkill for him personally. He’s a lazier hamster. But I’d rather have more than not enough. Especially, as I don’t get to spend as much time with my hamsters as I’d like. They don’t get as much outside time as they’d benefit from most likely. So, at least I can feel comfort knowing that they have more than enough space in their own cages.