Food Change and Why

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At this point I have been giving the hamsters Carefresh Complete Menu every other feeding – alternating between that and Hazel Hamster. And with that I have added a few biscuits of Science Select Hamster and Kaytee Forti-diet Pro Health Rat & Mouse (that is the one actually better for Hamsters based on the ingredients and nutritional index).

I give the Gerbils Gerri Gerbil.

But my eldest son, with a severe peanut allergy) is getting more interested in the hamsters and gerbils by the month. He’s aging and wanting to be involved so much more. Especially with feeding and helping with cage cleans and such. I haven’t been able to allow him to do much of anything with them and that is sad.

All of this due to the peanuts mixed in their food (Hazel).

So, I have begun to mix Hazel and Carefresh and slowly making the mix more Carefresh and less Hazel and soon I will no longer be feeding them Hazel. For one none of them “love” Hazel. I find so much of it seems to not be eaten. Not just the little alfalfa blocks but the biscuits and pea flakes are left behind a lot.

They all seem to be into the Carefresh and Science Selective (I would never feed Selective alone – not only because it’s overpriced for a tiny bag but it’s not enough for a main diet in any nutritional way – it’s best as a treat to go with feeding time). And the Forti-diet Pro Health blocks seem to go well with at least the Syrians. I don’t think Gabriel (my Chinese hamster) eats hardly anything from the Hazel mix.

Once Carefresh Complete becomes the mainstay I am going to add to the mix. Carefresh doesn’t have enough fat and this is probably due to not having sunflower seeds. I bought a huge bag of sunflower seeds awhile back and will need to figure out what a decent amount is to add in. As well I have a bulk container of freeze dried mealworms. And a jumbo bag of pumpkin seeds. Carefresh complete does have Pumpkin seeds in it but I am not sure if adding a little bit more would be overkill.

The mealworms are added protein and fat. The sunflower seeds fat as well. I just fear knocking it majorly off kilter. Adding the Science Selective and the Forti-Diet blocks I hope will round things out even more.

When the day comes soon that they are completely off the Hazel I will be doing the major cage cleanings. Every inch of the cages are going to be scrubbed and wiped down so well that no iota of residue of peanuts will be left. And my son is going to start joining in on feeding them and helping with cage cleans.

Peanuts haven’t seemed to be a huge hit with the Syrians. Or the Roborovskis and Strawberry. But Gabriel is a huge fan of them. He also loves mealworms.

My son is NOT allergic to almonds. But I do not know what a “bitter almond” is and that I read is poison to hamsters. So I have avoided giving almonds to them not knowing what is safe and what isn’t.

Can anyone clear that up for me? Almonds and hamsters? What is the deal? I would love to be able to mix shaved almonds into their food mix.

Converting a Bookcase to Roborovski Cage

The Roborovskis get their bookshelf!

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As some may remember I found a bookcase style dollhouse out on someone’s trash curb for bulk pick up. I am big on recycling things so I snatch it up. The bottom portion I found to be unstable. There was a crack in the stilt. So I cut it down to just the two shelves and it proved to be quite sturdy.

My son didn’t care for it. I had hoped to make it into his Ninja Turtle lair/ sewer but he prefers the smaller shelf set up I made him for his Transformers so I decided to make use of this for the Roborovskis.

They are the tiniest of the hamster species and aren’t really great at climbing. DIY cages for Robos have a half partition usually for better visual as they most likely aren’t going to become super hams and fly over. So with that in mind I used the spare vinyl tiling I used to waterproof their floor to also make a portion. Also I used contact paper for the walls.

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The measurements are 38 inches in length and 13 inches in width. Pretty much perfect for Roborovskis. I do love my Robos but find they aren’t my type of hamster so after these guys I doubt I’d have more of this species. What I like about this bookcase cage is I can get different materials like acrylic sheets and mesh and vents and convert this to a Chinese hamster set up in the future. Or make the two shelves connect for a two floor cage.

I plan to do more for their set up inside. Not sure how long that will take me. It’s nothing fancy right now. But they seem pleased.

Here is a close up of Snow’s

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And close up of Patch’s

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Gabriel’s Setup August 2013

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Gabriel is in the Marchioro Kevin 82 Mouse Cage. 32.25 Inch W x 20 Inch D x 14.25 Inch H

Since I last posted Gabriel’s cage I have added a suspension bridge and edible perch and a wood arch hideout. Also inside are spoon stairs like what Erinshamsters did for her Chinesy. And like her I hung a cup. He also has a wood shelf and a terra cotta pot, sand box, foraging toy, suspended basket, ceramic acorn hideaway, wood cabin by Rosewood Boredom Breakers from Bobby’s Bunny Boutique, Crittertrail mushroom water dispenser, a hanging coconut hideaway from Dr. Foster and Smith, a Fying Saucer, a Crittertrail Wheel, and a quilted hammock by Rittles N Bittles. Also some brick and rocks and driftwood. A little wood Petco bridge and Petco wood tunnel. And his substrate is Ecobedding crinkle paper.
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Penny’s current setup August 2013

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I have shown Penny’s bin so much lately this felt like overkill. But I am posting them all for the month and making a page for the blog showing them all as this will pretty much be it for changes for a long time. Penny is missing a hammock or two that will eventually exist but it’s in the process of being created. Other than that this is the setup.

Penny is in a Sterilite 110qt double decker. size per each bin is 34 5/8″ L x 18 3/4″ W x 12 5/8″ H
87.9cm L x 47.6cm W x 32.1cm H.

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She has a Space Pod, woven hanging grass mat, a hanging bendable bridge and a couple wood ledges like Bob has. Also a Wodent Wheel Senior and a wood platform I made for her with non-toxic paint. On the top level I had a thin layer of crinkle paper substrate. I plan to add hot pink crinkles next cage clean!

Excuse my toe in the background ! Oops!
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When I lift the lid the bendy bridge and the space pod are of course gone as they are attached to the lid. Here you can see her sand pot and pink igloo. Also a ceramic food dish with lovely damask like patterning.

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The bottom bin is piled high in Kaytee Clean and Cozy. I got the white on sale but keep looking for the purple paper to go on sale. When I get it I will really make it color pop full of girlie ness! Also a pink plastic shelf attached and a bendy bridge for stairs for her to get to the 2nd floor with ease. A high back sand litter box and a couple cardboard tubes.

I keep it simple for the bottom and busy on the top.

I added decals (wooden ones from Michaels). The heart with crown is definitely to signify Penny Lane the Princess.

I am a girl that loves color. Rainbows. And yes an Army Wife is certainly allowed to be a fan of PEACE. And I also am big on equal rights. So all the explosion of rainbow goodness is coming atcha!!

Strawberry’s cage August 2013

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Strawberry, my hybrid Dwarf, has been in much bigger cage set ups. One which he was in a good few months and I found that he would sleep more and do less. I finally returned him to the 105qt Sterilite bin cage ( Product in Inches (L x W x H): 32.13 x 19.13 x 13.75) I had made for him originally a long time ago and he has been back to his ole self ever since.

This was my first bin cage I ever made after falling in love with Marquelle’s cage. It’s still my favorite in looks.

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He has some corner hammocks from eBay. And a quilted hammock by Rittles N Bittles. A pink igloo and a couple terra cotta pots where I sprinkle a lot of his food. A radish ceramic food dish from Petsmart that I also put some food in. I sprinkle treats in the hammocks. He has a suspension ladder toy from Bobbys Bunny Boutique that he loves. A wood tunnel from a toy I also got from Bobby’s.

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He also has a sand bath in a plastic take out container base and some wood chews. A petco wood bridge and a forager hanging toy from Dr. Foster and Smith where I put his meal worm treats. A 6.5 inch Silent Spinner and Medium Flying Saucer. He prefers the Flying Saucer. And a piece of driftwood that I found on the beach last year. I cleaned and sun dried all the wood first of course.

As with all my hams I use crinkle paper bedding by ProEarth or Carefresh. I added some Oxbow Botanical hay recently even though it gets our allergies a bit. I run an air purifier in every room so that helps.

Lastly I have various textured rocks I cleaned and placed in there. Keeps his claws down and climbing enrichment.

Bob’s cage tour for August 2013

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So as of now this is Bob’s set up. He is in a rabbit cage by Ware which I got used for $20 dollars and covered the wide bar spacing with sections of 1/2 inch grid mesh. I secured the mesh to the frame with cable ties. Though I took these photos last night and today I finished snipping the white cable ties and replacing with dark red cable ties which are also skinnier so it looks cleaner and less tacky. I had only got half the cage done by last night. I have hated the original ties I used and am so glad I finally redid it.

Also I used a doubled up screen mesh and attached it from the inside of the front door so it wouldn’t interfere with the latching mechanism.

The dimensions in inches are: 41.5”W x 17.5”D x 26”H
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I made the wooden mushroom platform with wood dowel rods and wood plaques from the craft store and used kids nontoxic paint to make them look like mushrooms. I then covered it with a paint water proofing sealant.

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Also I have a Senior Wodent Wheel 11″ and several plastic shelves and Rittles N Bittles custom set of quilted hammocks for more space and enrichment.

He has a hanging coconut hideaway which is his favorite toy ever and several wood ledges and an edible perch which he thinks is absolute fun to use like an obstacle course. A blue small igloo house, a space pod (which i just realized isn’t actually in there right now. I switched it out for awhile) a bendable bridge, tissue box, fleece tunnel, and a couple high back litter pans with sand for a potty. An earthenware food dish and a bird ladder which I plan to cover the back of for no slip throughs. A hanging bell toy he likes to make jingle.20130819-213628.jpg

I use ProEarth or Carefresh Crinkle paper substrate. I initially used it exclusively for Bob as he is long haired and it was the only substrate I had ever found that didn’t stick in his skirt. Now I use it for all my hamsters and my gerbils because its the least dusty and least allergenic of substrates. My son has severe allergies and asthma and I found that aspen irritated all our noses. The nests the hams can make with wads of this crinkle paper are amazing so I think we are all happy.