Roborovski’s get a cage makeover

I needed some serious cheering up in the hammy room. I go in there and someone is noticeably missing.

So I picked up from last night when I was interrupted from cleaning the bookcase cage for the Robos due to one being AWOL as discussed in the previous post. Ahem!

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I am glad Snow distracted me because last night I would have done humdrum. Tonight I did color. I gave them a toy and hide out change out too. So far they seem pretty impressed. Gave them a little excitement in their life.

Snow’s up close :

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And Patch’s:

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Random Ham Pics & Discussion

So, I have some random ham to post. Last night a few of my lovelies were up and out and about. Penny took her slice of yellow bell pepper I placed in her cage and ran back into her igloo. Since the weather change she’s been antisocial a bit and lazy. When I put her in the play pen she does nothing in there but run to a corner and try to dig out. I worry about her a little. She is otherwise healthy but just has been a bit strange lately in personality. We might have to make a vet run at some point. So, no pictures of her from last night. She’s not been active until really late at night. Very unlike her but once again – I think it’s possibly a seasonal thing. And she’ll acclimate probably soon. IF not I might have to figure out how to make room for the Mamble again. Because perhaps she is becoming unhappy with a smaller cage. I don’t know. She seemed more than happy before. I don’t want to react too soon about it. But I’d like to rule out everything.

Bob on the other hand is uncharacteristically active. Not that he’s lazy anyway but more so than usual. Hyper almost. He just loves his obstacle course play pen time. When I come in the room he’ll be running fast on the wheel and then an abrupt stop. He pokes out like “Do I hear my human?” And rushes over to me when I open the door. I love all my hamsters but Bob is my bond-ham. He truly loves nothing more than to sit and be stroked gently in my hands. He kisses me. And he is drop dead gorgeous. My Bobby Boy. I do not know what I will do when he’s gone. UGH. But he’s so healthy and spry and gorgeous that I feel I have a long time yet with him!

Order of events – “Do I hear my human?”

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“Oh, yes, I DO want to come out to see you!”photo 4

“Look at me go!”photo 5

Strawberry since being put in his Grreat Choice cage has been super active. He loves to monkey bar all over the place. This is the first cage he’s ever been in where he can do that all over. He started out in a Critter Trail when I was new. And those have plastic tops. And then the bin cage only had sections that were meshed on the lid. And then tanks and the tamburino cause it to be difficult to get to the mesh lids due to the slick sides. So, now that he’s in a true cage he has been going full monkey. I walk in there and attempt to coerce him out but he’s too busy dangling and showing off. He does still love to get out but it’s like he has this thing where he has to make it to the door entrance in the most creative monkey like way possible. I’m so pleased by the cage and how he has responded to it.

Last night he was furiously working on his slice of yellow bell pepper when I came back in to visit.

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Gabriel is as CUTE as ever!!!! I put a wheel back in his Tamburino along with the Flying Saucer. He prefers the Silent Spinner to the Wodent Wheel. He goes back and forth to the FS and the SS every few minutes. He isn’t urinating as bad in them as he was before. He is going a lot more in his sand box thankfully. He goes through moods with that I’ve noticed.

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The Roborovskis! Well, I don’t have pictures as they bolted like Roaches when I flipped on the light last night for some reason. They don’t always freak out by the ceiling light being abruptly turned on but I think it depends on shadows. Anyway, the other night I had Bob in his playpen which is near my bed in my room. I keep it separate from the hammy room so I can chill out and do my think some nights while the hams get exercise and adventure. I read or I am on the laptop. Etc.

Well, I saw a flash of light in the corner of my eye and for a moment I thought “Oh no! Bob got out of the playpen!” But right there just hanging out on the floor beside my bed was SNOW. I have never had an escaped Robo before. Or dwarf in general. SO, I was taken aback. I hopped down and scooped him up and inspected his habitat and it was one of his seesaw toys! It had been worked against the partition and was stuck in the substrate. He was able to crawl on top and easily scale the partition. He is on the top shelf of the bookcase cage. So, for him it was a little bit of a fall. But he wasn’t harmed. He was acting normal but a little freaked by this “freedom” of open space. What really amazes me is that when my hamsters DO get lo0se – and only Bob and Penny ever have. Penny once and Bob a couple times – it has been very short lived and they are usually either coming up to me or are exactly in the first place I look.

Bob will come up to me when loose. When he was injured on his fall from escaping he chirped at my feet (in pain and fear). He knew I was his person and that I’d make sure he got better. Penny isn’t as bonded to me like that as Bob. But she wasn’t far. She was right where I thought to look first.

Snow ran from the hamster room. Across the hall and into my room and ran right up to my bed! How lucky is that? I doubt he had been out for more than a minute or two at most! Hamsters have less than stellar eyesight but their sense of smell is really strong. I wonder if I am familiar enough a scent to lead them to me! Hah!

But yes – lucky or not – that wasn’t an awesome experience. I do NOT like my hamsters or gerbils getting loose. It’s a terrible feeling. So much could happen to them. I have a small dog. I’m not sure how great she is at catching things or if she would. But I have a feeling she would given the chance. And then there are tiny crevices all over the house that aren’t safe options for them. I could go on! So, grateful I’ve not had escapees so drastic that I’ve had to make traps and sit up all night listening for sounds.

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.

snow sand

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!

Ginormous playpen

I hope I haven’t just started something I can’t keep up. I have to put this all up every night! That isn’t quick!

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We finished setting up the “den” which is what we currently are using the spare room for. We have the Wii and Netflix set up so we can watch movies when the kids are asleep and I get to also enjoy the hams.

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I also did a little haul at Petsmart which is beside Michaels. I found sales! And cheaper things.

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The edible perches were only about 49 cent a piece. I got the last 3. One isn’t pictured. The metal scoop wasn’t on sale but I have needed that for a long time so I went ahead and already pleased with how much faster and efficient I can clean their sand boxes out!
The hay was only 1.17 for the bag so I got the two left. That hanging grass matt I have wanted for Penny’s bin. I have it hanging like a hammock. She likes it and hasn’t destroyed it yet. The ladders will probably come in handy once I put backing on them so the hams can’t slip through.

I am going to take some pictures of the hams set ups for August soon. I have put even more in Gabriel’s and Strawberry’s cage and Bob and Penny’s have been rearranged. Now I need to focus on the Robo’s.

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!

Let’s get back to normal!

For the last several weeks my hubs has been at a school for his job. This has left me with more work than usual. And usually it’s a lot more than you’d think. So, I’ve let so much go to the way side. This blog. Even time spent with my creatures. :*(

They’ve not had much playpen/free range time at all in almost a month. But now that my hubs is out of the school I hope that everything will go back to normal. Tonight seemed to bode well. The kids went down much earlier like they used to! So that helps. So, tonight I did get all my hammy loves (minus the anti-social Roborovskis!) into their play pens.

I have missed them so much. I had family come in for a weekend last week and to make room for them in the spare room I moved out all the hams and put them in my bedroom. Well, in that process I had switched out wheels for Flying Saucers as they are much much quieter. No random food or poos tapping and bouncing about all night as they run! On a FS that stuff flies off! But some hams were noisier than others. I never knew Penny and Strawberry stirred for the most part – unless I came up and looked. Bob is one busy fellow all night long! I would NOT have guessed this.

Having my hams in my bedroom like this showed me a whole other side to them that I wouldn’t have known.

Now I have Bob’s home back in the spare room. As well the Robo’s and Gabriel. But I kept Penny and Strawberry in my bedroom! I just came to appreciate having hams in there. At least a couple! I chose the most silent though I might put Gabriel in there as well. I haven’t decided.

Being that they all have Flying Saucers in their cages I now keep the wheels in the play pens. They seem to appreciate the wheels again for a short while but overall I have realized how much my hams prefer the saucer toys. I’m not sure why but it wasn’t instantaneously. I used to switch them out and sometimes have both in the cages at the same time. I’d see them choose back and forth when they had them both. And when I’d put the wheel back in and take the saucer out to switch it up weekly I found they were happy to have one or the other back. But the last time I had both in I found they were all starting to prefer the saucer over the wheel almost completely. And even were more stir crazy when left with only the wheel in the cage. So, that is interesting.

I do have plans for Penny’s bin cage to have one more level. A 66 qt bin that is small length wise but taller and can house a 12” wheel. I can do the same for Bob’s cage actually. The door that opens at the very top can be removed and the same type of bin put there as a loft. It’s not something I’ll do soon but in the future it’s possible.

Here is a little video compilation of them. The play pen for Strawberry and Gabriel is the base of Penny’s old ferret cage.

And I snapped pictures of the set ups for those not watching videos. I have 3 storage bins overflowing with random toys and “toys” …meaning objects I use as toys for hamsters. I like to switch things up. I’m always on the look out for things that can be used for play pens. Especially since I have 3 play pens to fill at the same time as I have 3 hams out at the same time. I’d like to have a forth pen so I could have the four out at the same time but I haven’t come up with something I could fit yet!

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I am at a loss with Penny. Of them all she gets the least time out now. I am not sure what has happened but she has become very destructive in a play pen or when she was free ranging in the spare room. She will wander about for a little while but then will find a corner and dig and dig and dig.

Even with digging boxes she ignores them if in the play pen and prefers to dig the carpet. She’ll dig the fleece up until she reaches carpet and then goes to down on carpet.

I am considering getting a bin filled with some sort of substrate she isn’t familiar with that she can dig in. And that be her play pen I guess. I need to ponder on it awhile. I think she seems to be most destructive when she’s in heat. As tonight she was most definitely.

Bob’s rat ball

Another great item to use for travel as well daily use is the rat sized ball for the Syrians. Bob is getting the hang of it. I can see this working really well in and out of hotel rooms whenever we are on the road. While the dwarfs can be in a dry bathtub for free range exercise the Syrians need a bigger space in my opinion. This helps!

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Many Syrians will need a much larger ball than the standard Syrian hamster ball. If you have a big Syrian then a rat sized ball of 11.5 inches is safe as they won’t be arching their spine which just like too small a wheel – can damage their spine.

Here is a video of him – I can’t embed video with the iPad app.
bob trying out his rat ball