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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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!

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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Gabriel cage additions

So I have been trying to come up with DIY toys for the hams. I was so close to buying Penny those 1 inch thick, 28 or 36 inch long rope perches used for rats and large birds. They were on sale on one site and then I found it even cheaper on another but it was still going to be $12 and that is breaking our goal so I refrained but I don’t know how longer I can resist.

For Gabriel I remembered this video on YouTube by Erinshamsters of her DIY cage for her Chinese Hope and the spoon staircase and hanging cup.

I took those ideas though I want to get a wider and cuter cup from the dollar store later.

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I also added 3 more piles of sand to his box and watched him sniff and dig in it for awhile. Ah, ham watching is much more interesting and relaxing to watch than the fish tank.

 

A tour of Gabriels new set up/layout – move to the Kevin 82 Cage

I grew concerned about Gabriel. My upstairs of my townhouse is very hot. At night when we go to bed we crank the air conditioning so that we can be somewhat cool as we sleep. The downstairs becomes an icebox in the process so we have to turn it back and the upstairs just feels muggy. It’s not so hot (does not exceed 80F) that it would kill the hamsters but without proper ventilation I would fear for them. And the only one with the least ventilation is Gabrial as he was in the Tamburino and that is like a tank with only a vented top. No air would work it’s way in there to cool him unless I had him under an air vent or a fan blowing down onto his cage.

Anyhoo ! I moved him into the Kevin 82 which was being stored. No ham was using it. I had given it a try for Strawberry but he wasn’t too pleased. I put him back in his original bin cage and he’s been happy as a lark since. And Bob is in his converted larger guinea pig/rabbit cage. Penny in her double decker bin cage and the robos are now in their own brand new bin cages. So, I didn’t have need of it for awhile.

I was a little leery. It’s a bit more space than the Tamburino. But I set it up as it was in the Tamburino so that wouldn’t be too much a shock. I didn’t change his substrate either for the transition. He seemed unaffected. He went about his business as usual after the move. Mostly running on his Flying Saucer and going from hide away to hide away as he usually does.

But I wondered if there wasn’t more I could do to entice this guy. Make his life more enriching. So, I asked for pictures of Chinese Hamster cage layouts from the lovely folks on the Syrian Hamsters UK Facebook group (they allow people from any country – world wide to join). Most of these people I met through a hamster forum I was once a regular on so it was natural to join as they hold the same standards I do.

I was pleased to get pictures posted of their layouts and was inspired for Gabriel. I haven’t done all I plan to. I need to do some D.I.Y for a few things I saw in their cages I wanted to do for his cage. Like a 3 tiered hanging toy that I just adore the look of! I know I could make it myself with things around the house if I put my thinking cap on for a few days.

Here is Gabriel pic spam. Mostly of his cage changes.

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Gabriel perched on his new shelf.

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At this point he’s a little leery.

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He’s having a nibble in his lovely hammock by Rittles N Bittles from Etsy

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Full cage view

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This is his wheel that came with the Critter Trail cage he came with. I decided to stick it in there for now. It might be a tad bit too small.

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Posing with his beloved Flying Saucer

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Checking out the hanging toys

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Exiting his sand box to explore the brick – which he can burrow under as well as it has arched areas underneath like a tunnel top

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A better view of underneath the shelf and hammock. He has a terra cotta pot for one of two food bowls/eateries and a wooden sand box with stones in it for a more natural look and feel. And of course the drift wood that I found off the beach last year.

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This house and the wooden tunnel were from Bobby’s Bunny Boutique and the Habitrail mushroom waterer is really cool! I love it. I put stones all around it.

Overall, I have learned that Chinese hamsters appreciate a lot of hide away’s. Tunnels and such. They do climb well so I’d like to make that more available for him in the toys I make. Rope toys like what is found in rat cages. I really prefer the Kevin 82 to the Tamburino. The Tamburino is lovely. I like the look of them better than the standard cage. But it’s just so limiting what you can do with them and the ventilation is a problem due to the location of my cages. I’m very pleased to be using the Kevin again!

Introducing Gabriel …

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A few days ago I noticed a post by someone on a local Facebook group I am a member of. They were seeking to rehome a Dwarf hamster. I have 5 hamsters already. And two gerbils. A dog. And a tank of fish. Oh…and I think it counts – TWO children. So, I felt a tug in my heart but I ignored it and moved on. Then yesterday the lady posted a photo of the hamster in question and once again asked for someone to adopt him. I melted. Adorable. ADORABLE. And strangely similar to photos I had seen of Chinese hamsters. So, I took to the hamster groups I’m a member of on Facebook with his photo asking for their expertise in species identification. And sure enough the response was overwhelmingly, “That’s definitely a Chinese.”

Well, I don’t want to sound like a terrible person. It’s not that I dislike Dwarfs and hence I wouldn’t adopt a hybrid Campbells or Winter White. But, I feel I am at full capacity for rodents. I am a little self-conscious about it at times. And of course I have the normal worries a military spouse has …we could be stationed any where next year. It’s possible for it to be overseas but not incredibly likely …but it IS possible. And I’ll cross that bridge if I come to it. But for now the definite situation of the future is we will have to move and possibly far away from where we are now. And I don’t rehome pets due to moves in the Continental USA. But not because it’s easy to travel with animals. It’s not easy to travel with children or animals. No one wants to stay in a confined space. Kids in their car seats or Hamsters and Gerbils in small travel cages. And our van would look like a Clown car when loading and unloading this magnitude of living beings.

All that said – when I did realize it was most certainly a Chinese hamster I just could NOT resist. I have wanted a Chinese hamster for a very long time and here was one needing a home. I discussed it with the husband who shrugged and said, “Well, what is one more?” LOL. I mean, that was an off the cuff comment. He of course realizes each life is special and has a set amount of needs. But it is true that one more hamster would hardly seem like it tipped the scales into animal hoarders…. (does it?)

I set up a bin cage for him today. My son helped with meshing the lid and gluing legs to platforms and filling it up with toys and such. One new notable toy is the hanging ladder toy from Bobby’s Bunny Boutique that just arrived yesterday! And I cannot tell you how much I love that toy! I plan to use the other one I ordered for the gerbils in their topper. (More of a review on the product and the store that I love in another post!)

I decided to go smaller as I have heard that the timid nature of the Chinese likes a lot of substrate to burrow in and a lot of cover and hideaways to hide in and I didn’t want to overwhelm him with a large space when he is accustomed to a smaller space. Perhaps in a month or two I’ll upgrade him but for now judging from how he is moving about this space with ease and comfort I feel it’s just right for him at least for now!

One of the greatest things is that he is already so tame! Chinese hamsters are noticeably different than the other species of hamsters. Not just in some of the look to them but their nature. It’s hard to describe but I notice it already. And the best hammy induced feeling in the world??? Feeling their little elongated tail curling around your finger for balance. I’ve heard of this special Chinese ham facet but now I can tell you …it’s true what they say …it will MELT your heart!

Here is a quick vid of Gabriel settling in and a little view of his bin cage set up.

Time to upgrade my blog header!