How to Breed Syrian Hamsters

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Have a valid reason for breeding Syrian hamsters.,
Consider how you will enact your plan.,
Avoid breeding closely related hamsters.,
Buy an unrelated male and female hamster.,
Make sure that the hamsters are about the same age.,
Provide the hamsters with comfortable environments.,
Move the cages together after a week.,
Introduce the hamsters when they come of age.,
Determine whether the female is in heat.,
Do not place the hamsters together when the female is not in heat.,
Place the hamsters in the same cage when the female is in heat.,
Supervise the mating process.,
Separate them when they’re finished.,
Make a record of the date.,
Observe the female for a week.,
Figure out when she will give birth.,
Watch for physical changes in the female.,
Provide her with nesting and bedding materials.,
Prepare the cage for the birth and babies.,
Do not handle the hamster close to her due date.,
Don’t disturb the new mother or her babies.,
Continue to care for her after the delivery.,
Begin feeding the babies about one week after birth.,
Check for healthy development in the babies.,
Clean the cage at two weeks.,
Adjust the cage for the babies.,
Check the babies’ two-week development.,
Determine the babies’ genders at around 3.5 to 4 weeks.,
Separate the males and females once you determine the genders.,
Double check the babies’ genders.,
Get the babies used to human handling.,
Line up customers early.,
Sell the hamsters.,
Separate females after 2-3 months of age.

You should have a clear plan in place about what you’re going to do with all these babies, and be prepared with enough space, money and resources to house them all yourself in case your plans fall through. Some options include:

Keeping them as pets
Selling them as pets (though it’s not likely to bring in much income)
Giving them away to good homes;
, You might think “I’ll just give them away to good homes,” but that’s likely going to be harder than it sounds. Think hard about your market before breeding, or you’ll have more hamsters than you have customers.

How will you advertise your hamsters? Good places to start include online, in the newspaper, and at the pet store.

, If you already own some hamsters from the same family, you don’t want to breed them together. When you allow brothers to mate with sisters, or fathers/daughters or mothers/sons, you create an inbred line of hamsters. Inbred lines can suffer from genetic flaws. For healthy hamsters, avoid inbreeding at all costs.

, If your current hamsters are related or if you don’t yet have any, talk to several hamster breeders about where they get their stock. You only need one male and one female to get started. However, buy them from different suppliers to ensure the two breeding animals are not closely related. It is almost always a poor idea to buy breeding hamsters from chain pet stores. Pet stores treat their hamsters quite poorly and many get their hamsters from dirty, cramped, locations. Their baby hamsters, if chosen from a commercial pet store, is likely to suffer from mental and physical and fatal deformities, will almost always have poor temperament, and have a very ugly coloring.

You might also contact a hamster breeder directly., Hamsters can start breeding as early as two months of age. However, it’s best to let them grow to 4-6 months before breeding them. This improves the chances of a healthy litter.

, This means cages of a good size that are at the very least 450 sq. inches or larger. Since many commercial cages are too small, you may have to do a small DIY. You only want them to breed when you plan for it, so buy each its own hamster cage. Keep them separate unless you are actively trying to breed them. Keep the cages in the same room, but not close together. In each one, place:

A food bowl with high-quality food. The best hamster food by far is the Harry/Hazel Hamster mix.
An inverted water bottle
Exercise toys
Anything else you think will make them feel more at home

, This will allow your male and female to see and smell each other. Let them introduce themselves, but don’t put them together yet. Another way to let them get to know each other is to put them into separate exercise balls. While you’re watching, let them roll around in their pods, smelling each other and interacting safely.

, Once your hamsters are at least four months old, you can introduce them to each other in a third, neutral cage. If the female attacks the male, she is not ready to mate. Get him out of the cage as soon as possible to avoid injury.

, You can’t mate your hamsters if the female isn’t going to be receptive to the male. She could go into heat every 4-5 days, though, by this age.

Gently stroke the female on the bottom. If her tail goes erect, she’s in heat.
That means she’s ready to mate with the male.

, Hamsters are territorial animals. If they don’t want to mate, they’ll likely ending up fighting instead. This could lead to injury, or even death. Check the female every day until she’s in heat before placing them together.

, Either gently place her in the male’s cage or put both hamsters in a neutral third cage. Don’t put the male in the female’s cage, though, as she will likely fight him to protect her territory.

, If all goes well, the female’s tail should go erect, and the male should mount her more than once. This may last for around 30 minutes, and the male will likely clean himself between attempts.Be watchful for fights, even if the female seems receptive.

, You’ll be able to tell when they’re done because they will seem suddenly disinterested in each other. When this happens, move the female back into her cage.

, An important part of breeding hamsters is keeping good records, so you know what to expect. Either mark mating dates on a calendar or write them down in a notebook.

Hamsters hibernate when the temperature dips below 50°F (10°C). They will not breed at that temperature., Sometimes, a hamster’s behavior changes noticeably when she gets pregnant. Note if she’s being strangely quiet, cleaning herself more, or eating and drinking more than usual. Another common sign is an instinct to gather up large nests. If you see these telltale behavior changes, she is likely pregnant.

, Syrian hamsters usually grow and carry their babies for 15-18 days before giving birth. Look up the date on which you last mated your hamsters and add 15 days to it. That is the earliest likely due date for your new litter.

, You won’t be able to tell she’s pregnant for sure until just a few days before she gives birth. By ten days after the mating, you should be able to see her belly swelling clearly, just like with human pregnancies.

, A pregnant female will have a natural instinct to build herself a big nest. Give her extra bedding materials like paper towels or bathroom tissues so she can shred them up for her nest.

You might also offer a safe (non toxic, no ink, not sharp) bedding material like Pennine “Curl Up” Hamster bedding., Make sure you’ve cleaned the cage five days or so before the due date, and that there is extra food and bedding in the cage. Prepare ahead of time so you don’t disturb the mother and babies for the first week after birth.

, You want to keep her as calm and relaxed as possible. Keep her environment quiet and soothing — dim or remove bright lights. Keep curious pets like dogs and cats away from her as she gets ready to deliver her babies.

Hamsters usually give birth without problems if you wait until they’re old enough to mate (4 months).
The birth will likely happen at night when everything is quiet.
Litters can be as small as 4 or as large as 16 babies., Female hamsters sometimes eat their own babies if they get stressed out. It’s very important to keep the environment as calm as possible. Though you might be eager to play with the babies, give the mother space and peace for their safety.

At first, the babies will look pink and hairless. They are born with their eyes closed.

, While you don’t want to disturb her, you do still need to make sure she has everything she needs in her cage. For the first week and a half to two weeks or so, discretely refill the mother’s food bowl and water bottle.

You don’t need to provide the babies with anything at this point. They’ll get everything they need from nursing.

, Scatter small portions of broccoli, grated carrot, wheat germ, or tofu in their nest for them to eat.The mother will also store food in her cheek pouches, and bring it back to the nest to feed her babies.

, A week after birth, they’ll start to grow fur. You should just be able to tell what colors they are. The pups will also start making little noises at this age. One or two adventurous babies may leave the nest, but don’t worry if the mother picks them up in her mouth and puts them back.

, Enough time should have passed by now to let the mother settle into her new role, so you can give the cage a much-needed cleaning. It’s also your first opportunity to handle the babies, which is an important step in socializing them to humans. By handling them at two weeks, you make them more comfortable with human interactions.

Get your hands “dirty” with the scent of the used litter before touching the babies. This prevents the mother from rejecting or attacking them later.Move the hamsters into another cage one by one.
When cleaning the cage, avoid completely destroying the nest.
Hamsters will usually have a “toilet” area in the cage. Concentrate your cleaning there, and leave the nest more or less intact.
Of course, if the nest is soaked or filthy, go ahead and replace it with fresh materials.

, While cleaning the cage, make a few changes to transition them into adulthood. Add a second food bowl to the cage. The mother’s water bottle will be too high for the babies, so place a second one at a lower position. You could also place a raised platform under the mother’s bottle so the babies can reach it.

Don’t lower the mother’s water bottle to the babies’ height because then she won’t be able to reach it.

, At this age, the babies should have all their fur and be running about independently. Though they were born with closed eyes and ears, they should be starting to open up now.

, This can be a tricky process. Look at the distance between each hamster’s anus and genital opening. The distance on a male will be longer than the distance on a female.By four weeks, the males’ testicles should also be noticeable, as should the nipples on the females’ bellies.

, Hamsters have a lot of loose skin, and you can hold them by the scruff of their necks or by the loose skin down their backs. Don’t drop them, though, and be ready to return them to the cage if you start to lose your grip.

, Not all hamsters mature at the same rate, so you have to make sure you gendered them correctly. For a few days after you separate them into male and female cages, keep checking gender every day. You might notice testicles one day that you didn’t see before in a cage of baby “females.” If so, switch the baby to the correct cage.

If you are unsure about the sex of your babies, take them to your vet or an experienced hamster breeder for help. You want to avoid accidental breeding of siblings.

, Place your hand in the cage so they can smell it, and let them climb up into your palm if they want to. You can also scoop them up with a small cup and start gently petting them on the back.

The babies will be ready for their new homes after 35 days of age., Don’t wait too long to start looking for people to take your hamsters, because 35 days goes by fast. Keep your customers updated as the hamsters approach 35 days in age, so they can prepare their own homes.

, Make sure you send them off to reliable homes with families that will love them. Provide the new owners with information on hamsters and hamster care. You want the babies to have the best new start you can provide.

, If you keep any of the babies, know that the females are highly territorial. While you can house adult males together as long as there’s enough food and space, adult females are terrible roommates. When they reach 2-3 months of age, separate all females into their own cages.

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