Have a Very Hammy Christmas!

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Bob is not doing well. He’s old and he’s losing strength in his legs. But he is such a survivor! He keeps on trucking. Keeps himself well groomed despite it all. And still drags about the cage (took the wheel out) doing activities very slowly. He is blind now I think. He’s still keeping that robust appetite. It’s pretty much a thing where I could expect to find him crossed over to Rainbow Bridge tomorrow or a couple months from now but I cannot imagine it will be much longer. I just hope it won’t be before Christmas if it has to be soon. He’s my heart ham. I just cannot imagine him gone.

Weeks ago Patch passed. I have yet to do his memorial post. I just couldn’t do another one at the time. I’ve been going through some other personal things and that on top of it was just not priority since it seemed just another somber thing to tack to the life list. I will in time post one for him. Just not right now. He did, however, pass peacefully from his old age. He was curled up as if sleeping.

Gabriel and Bob have a very spoiled Christmas this year. Wicker balls, hay tunnels, Foraging and Sun Salads, Millet Spray and Fox Millet. And Wheat Grass which I just set up and put by the window so it will begin to grow!

I went ahead and gave Bob a couple of his presents – the wicker ball and the hay tunnel. I wanted him to enjoy them now just in case.

Because Bob has been slowing down drastically I’ve been giving him much more fruit and vegetables than normal to ensure his hydration. He gets greens everyday. Either fresh uncooked collards, kale, mustard greens, parsley, cilantro, baby spinach, turnip greens, brussel sprout, or broccoli. A carrot as a non-green sometimes. And at a separate time of the day either a small slice of Strawberry, or Kiwi, or a cranberry, blueberry, or apple slice. And then I give him some sort of soft protein. A pinch of plain scrambled egg, or baked chicken usually. A portion of egg shell as well when I boil an egg. I’ve not resorted to baby food or anything yet since he has no issues with chewing. In fact he chews a lot more than ever before on his hay mat and wood bendy bridges and loo rolls because it’s one of the few activities he can still manage to busy himself.

Gabriel in his older age has become even less skittish. He still doesn’t appreciate being handled much. Clicks and does this vibrating thing when he is picked up. A Chinese Hamster sort of thing I imagine. But comes up plenty to beg for his veggie treats. Or he’ll run about his cage in a pattern. Through every tunnel and in and out of every shelter, across every bridge, up his drift wood and then back to his paws on the window of his Tamburino staring with those big mousy eyeballs at me. He is so adorable. I feel like he and I have this very strong mutual understanding and respect thing going on.

I cannot believe I am down to two hammys. Two rodents. I will have two more gerbils but I want to build a much better topper. Wood framed and much better meshing with a nice door and plexiglass shields around the bottom sides to prevent a mess. I am also interested in possibly using plexiglass and sealants and such to make my own “tank” for the bottom. A custom shape and size. Being that in American we cannot purchase a “gerbilarium” like they have overseas I will have to just improvise. It will be a fun project for the future!

Hope you all have Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!!

I’ve been terrible at responding or keeping up with things here but I’ve just been a bit buried under issues. But hopefully this will turn around!

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And we are back online and settled someplace new!

Bob

Sleepy Bob. He’s getting up there but still seems so healthy and most certainly handsome. The older he has become the more glorious his long, satin coat has become. He is my special heartham.

So, we just did an over 2,000 mile drive. Moved halfway across the country. From East Coast to far West Texas! We drove through several states that had 100-102 F temperatures. And oh the humidity! So, on any stop my husband (driving his separate vehicle) would lock his doors with the engine running to keep air conditioning on the fuzzbutts. What little we stopped.

It was so hot that even my energetic little humans didn’t want to stay outside of the nice air conditioned vehicle long. The drive did take us 5 days. And in all of that the hamsters and gerbils were amazing through it all.

Instead of water bottles while the vehicles were moving I gave them hunks of cucumber and apple and celery for hydration. At stops I’d put their bottle back in. And then we stayed in pet friendly motels. I always recommend La Quinta. Though sometimes we had to stop at Best Westerns and the like who have a fee but usually do allow pets. La Quinta allows our furry family members in the rooms without a fee.

I made the bathtub an obstacle course so the furries could get some adventure. All of them seemed to take the vibration of the vehicle, the constant assault of new smells and sounds, and in and out of motel rooms with stride. I’m so proud of them!

Now they are all settled in here in El Paso. And none seem worse for the wear. Though my two robo brothers are definitely becoming more feeble. But that has nothing to do with the trip.

bob's house

Bob is back in the Kevin 82. I do not have a place to put the 40 gallon tank. Bob gets hotter easier than he used to so I wanted to put him in something with alot more ventilation. Bob has always loved this cage. He acted like he was greeting an old friend once I put him in there. For travel he was in a 105 qt Bin cage. So, I know he was pleased to be out of that. And for those I know who are curious  – that beautiful, wild looking quilted hammock was made with TLC and skill by Rittles N Bittles on etsy! Go visit her page!

Gabriel

Gabriel, my Chinese hamster, is back in the Tamburino. He has never been keen on bigger cages. But when I clutter it with a lot of hideaways and climbing toys that he can tunnel under and climb upon he seems right at home. He spent hours awake playing in every inch of his cage once I put him in. I’ve never seen him do that before. He must have been thrilled to be out of his small travel cage as well.

gerbil

My gerbils Lennon and Mercury are still in the smaller gerbilarium I made them. I am brainstorming something bigger for them but as for now they seem content in this.

patch

My Roborovskis Snow and Patch are becoming feeble and slow. Age has come to them. They mostly sleep now. They had trouble climbing around too much and seem to get lost or confused if they are too far from their house. So, they are in 64 qt bin cages. Bins without lids pretty much. Since they can’t climb out and to let in plenty of air flow. They certainly are happy to be in something smaller but not as small as their travel cages were. snow

 

I will take pictures of all my little guys soon to post. It feels good to be back online and settled somewhere new. And we are SO thankful we didn’t lose any of our rodents on such a long, extremely hot, journey.

Bob and the TP

The kids enjoy watching Bob a lot now that he is downstairs. He comes out surprisingly a lot these days. I gave the boys shredded toilet paper to put in there for him and a toilet paper roll and they had a ball watching him pouching it for his nest.

 

I had the camera tilted on this last video thus the sideways angle.

Bob’s natural set up – Petsmart haul

For several good reasons we left our doggie Chloe with my parents. But oh do we miss her! My elder son was just becoming fond of feeding her and brushing her. So, to help him transition we moved Bob downstairs and set him back up in the 40 gallon aquarium and now my son feeds him and helps change his water and gets to see him whenever he comes out to drink or eat during the day. It has really helped. It would be nice to be able to keep Bob in this tank for the travel for the move but hopefully it won’t be too long a limbo. 

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I was so excited to get this house from Petsmart today! It is from the National Geographic line! It’s so darling. They have two different sizes in the store. This was the larger one and it’s perfect for a Syrian hamster.

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I have wanted one of these Cork tunnels for a long time. And I happened to find one on clearance! I was beyond excited by this stroke of luck! It’s a really large and nice piece too. Bob loves it. Excuse the reflection of a colorful kid toy on the aquarium glass.

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Right now I don’t have a natural looking container to use for his sand box. It has to be very high back because he backs up high to wee. So, I camouflaged it somewhat with rocks for him to wear his claws down on and driftwood.

 

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Lastly, I found this metal water bottle hanger on sale. It looks great for the natural look and works well. A good haul from Petsmart today!

Bob’s Bin Cage – preparing him for our big transition.

As I posted before my family and I will be moving from Maryland to Texas in the late summer or early fall. Between now and then we have a lot to do so one of the first things I got out of the way was the bin cages for all the hamsters and the gerbils. Bins take up less space and travel safer. I had to go smaller for everyone. But I have to be able to fit them all in our vehicles and hotel rooms for up to or over a month.

I posted the Gerbil’s bin with topper. Now this one is Bob’s. He is my long-haired, satin cream Syrian. He is approximately 16 months old. Based on my guestimation he’ll be 2 years old in July.

Periodically I change-up his toys but right now he has a suspension ladder, one customized hammock lovingly quilted by Rittles N Bittles on Etsy, two platforms – one of which is also a house. And a space pod hang out. His 11” Wodent Wheel, and a wooden ladder to reach one of his platforms.

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Under one of his platforms is his litter/sand box I made out of a plastic ice-cream container. I cut out a section for him to hope in. The rest remains enclosed and there is no top to it. It’s long and plenty of room for him to move about but narrow as well so it doesn’t take up as much space as his corner litter pans always did. I also have his water bottle in a ceramic holder from Petco because the velcro kept coming unstuck on the sides and his bottle would fall. I got tired of that.

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It’s a 110 QT Sterilite container. It looks smaller than it really is. But it’s definitely smaller than what he has always had before. But he seems alright about it. Of course once we actually travel I’ll be taking a great deal of things out for his safety. And putting them back in place once we arrive at our final destination. For now though I have it set up to give him more space and more to do.

October 2013 Cages of the Rodents of Hammy Happenings Tour!

Alrighty! October’s Cage Tours of all my rodent babies. And of course – pictures of my rodent babies! All of these pictures were taken today and tonight except the one of Bob. The picture I took of him tonight wasn’t so great. But I had taken the one I posted a few days or so ago and love it.

OKAY THEN! So!

Let’s start with Penny. Ladies First! She had been taking a nibble at her chews.

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Penny is in a Marchioro Kevin 82cm Cage. I purchased this cage for $119 at PetStore.com but it is also available at ThatPetPlace.com. It usually ranges between $119-$134. In the United States it’s one of the best sized cages you can get for any species of hamster but especially Syrian’s. It has 7mm bar spacing so ideal for as big as Syrians to as tiny as Mice and Chinese Hamsters.

Up Next! Bob having a moment beneath the toad stools

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Bob is in the Ware Luxury Rabbit Cage. It retails a bit over $100 bucks. I got mine used for $20. It has 1” bar spacing so it needs to be meshed for hamsters. This is an awesome cage. It has casters and opens from the top and a large front door. The tray slides out for easy cleaning and then slides back in. I wish I could find another just like this for Penny. The height is much less scary than the Mamble which I had her in before. It’s long and narrower so it takes up less space without sacrificing footprint.

Now Strawberry as he lounges in his space pod.

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Strawberry is my eldest hamster (I think!). He’s a hybrid Cambells/WW or “Russian” hamster. He has slowed down. Looks great. Healthy. Eating and such. But really not very active.  I have plenty for him to do now. And I love his “retirement” cage. A Grreat Choice Pet Home for Small Animals cage from Petsmart. It’s 24 inch long, 15 inch wide, 14 inch tall. Below the RSPCA guidelines for a dwarf hamster cage. It’s suitable for a retirement cage for a dwarf and honestly, it depends on the hamster. Strawberry has never liked large cages. I’ve tried. He has been really happy in here so far. I find it easier to interact with him and get him out and check on him in this too. And it’s easier to make a jungle gym for him in there. He loves to climb though I can tell he’s struggling with it nowadays. The high base is ACE for my little digger. He has epic tunnels going on around the entire cage.

 

Gabriel’s Turn! He likes to meditate and other business in his sand box.

gabriel sand gabriels cage collageMy Chinese hamster is also older. In fact he probably is older than Strawberry but I will never know. He is adopted with barely any known history. I’m his 3rd and final home! He is in the FOP Gabbia Tamburino Linera Natura – a hybrid of a tank and cage. I had hammocks and suspension ladder toys and the like going on in here and other cages I tried putting him in – he had no interest. Today I decided to leave the top grill off (the grid lid) because he cannot climb out. This gives me better view of him from above and I don’t have to meddle with lifting it up and putting it down (it’s loud because it needs a handle). Anyway, he prefers his environment low to the ground and with plenty of hideouts. He does like to climb driftwood and such. I go with a forest floor type of habitat for him.

Finally, for the hamsters –  the Roborovski’s Snow & Patch! Having their nightly sand bath.

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patch sand

robos cage

The Roborovski brothers were separated due to my ignorance. I began with them together when I brought both home from the shop. I had one wheel. Multiple platforms. One house. If you are to keep your robo’s social due keep in mind – no platforms. A home and toy for each. Two Robo’s = two wheels, two food bowls, two houses. Or some will say better to have no houses but instead numerous hide outs. By the time I realized my mistake it was too late. They were drawing blood. Snow reminds me of this whenever I see the sections taken from his ear by Patch’s past nips. So, I did a DIY cage out of a book shelf that a neighbor was throwing out. It was a dollhouse style bookshelf. I simply put vinyl tiles down for the floor. Contact paper along the walls. And made a partition that is removable for clean out. It’s also vinyl and is attached from the inside with heavy duty velcro. They cannot climb out. I forgot the measurements but it’s as long as Bob’s rabbit cage and a little narrower in width compared to his. It’s the most space they’ve ever had and it’s easy to clean and fun to and easy to watch them. They’ve never been happier!

Last but not least: My Gerbil’s Mercury and Lennon! Waiting patiently for their treat. They also give me kisses!

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My gerbils have sampled many a layout/aquarium. I had them originally in a tall 28 gallon. Then 20 long. Then a 110 qt Bin cage. And finally a 40 long. Then I DIY’d a topper to put on top. I change around their set up every time I clean out. I have large pieces of drift wood I trade out each time to keep it fresh. Various tunnels and bridges and such they bury down into the bedding. You can barely see the current drift wood I put in there. It was a smaller piece than usual. In the topper they have water bottles, a sand pot where they do all their business. A Gnawsome hut to chew on and they prefer to snack within with the treats I give them. The topper has 2 floors. Or two separate “lofts” where I put their food dish. Or just for a perch and look out. They are pretty spoiled methinks. They are worth it. My little daytime buddies!

And that is the October 2013 cage tour of the Rodent’s of Hammy Happenings!

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.