Reproduction and breeding of the hamster: what you need to know before.
Think twice before you start a hamster reproducing
Many people with a nice companion want to have it reproduced. Often also, when we have a male and a female, we would like to “try”. It is in man’s nature to seek to understand, to discover… Except that here, we play with lives. In this article, on breeding, you will find many questions to ask yourself before you start.
The parents must be in good health, not carrying genetic defects (which are not necessarily visible from at first sight), to have the correct age and stature to be a parent, It’s much more than just putting a male and a female together.
Making a litter to “introduce children to life” is also not ideal. The hamster being a nocturnal animal, baby hamsters will also be more active in evening and at night. In addition, unlike other rodents who easily accept the intrusion of human. Female hamsters are more aggressive and possessive, touching their babies can have disastrous consequences (female eating her babies) and she often makes her nest well out of sight.
The child will eventually see little of everything that is happening and will not get the experience that it might have with it.
Remember that babies from four weeks of age should be separated by sex, then at six weeks it will be necessary to start to place them one per cage (about ten cages to be planned).
Namely, that baby hamsters do not place themselves easily, it is also necessary to take the time to find good families, and don’t give them to the first people to come! Finally, there is a budget to be taken in account for the veterinarian, in case of complication.
In short, it is preferable to leave breeding to experienced breeders. But if you want to live the experience of a litter, you can also inquire at a breeder and see to establish a trust relationship that would allow you to live a litter with the assistance of an experienced person.
You may also have purchased a female in a pet store, which happens to be pregnant (which often happens when males and females are mixed in the same cage).
Not any hamster can reproduce, and parents must be carefully chosen. Reading and knowing a little genetics before starting is not superfluous, and this helps to avoid disasters (babies deformed, etc.). This will also allow you to have predictions about the babies to come (colors, markings…).
The female: she must be at least three months old for show type hamsters (which are therefore taller and often evolve more rapidly) or by at least four to five months for pet store hamsters (Needless to say, it is not recommended breeding an animal hamster, as the lines are not selected, it is very likely that they are carriers of genetic defects). For a first litter, it is worth It is better to plan it before the female is one year old, for a second litter you can go up to fourteen months.
It should not be too thin or too big, in either case it could greatly complicate the gestation. It is preferable for the female to be larger than the male to avoid any concern about calving.
The male: it is better to avoid males that are too young; the best thing is to start around six to eight months. Beyond of sixteen months, reproduction becomes more delicate, sperm count is lower and lazier, and this can eventually lead to less healthy babies.
In all cases, parents must obviously be in good health, in good physical condition, and with a good character.
If you have only one female, you will need to find a male to lend, to a friend or to a breeder.
If you have bought a female already pregnant in a pet store, she will be very young and you will have to be particularly attentive to the care provided.
In a farm, the choice of breeders is probably which take the longest time. It is necessary to study the genealogies, because the physical is not the only factor that comes into play (hereditary diseases, behavioral problems, etc.). It should be known, for example, that aggressiveness, being territorial or hormonal problems is partly transmitted with hastily.
Conduct of the meeting
The two hamsters must be placed in a neutral place (playground, sanitized cage), ideally the male first, and then the female after a while. Never put the male in the female’s cage, it can be attacked. The female is in heat every four days, so it is necessary to try every evening until the protrusion. It will not usually be in heat during the day, you have to wait for twenty hours, sometimes a little later on.
The two hamsters will find each other and feel each other. If the female is not in heat, she will more or less quickly attack the male (some females attack immediately, others try to escape before).
Always bring a cardboard box, or bowl, to separate them. Once in a fight, they form a ball tightly, then you will have to insert something between the two animals (your fingers would not survive).
A bowl, turned over on the female, usually does the trick (with habit, one notice the warning signs and avoids fighting).
If the female is in heat, she may run away a little before stopping, with her back arched and tail. Lifted in the typical “lordosis” position. If the male loses interest in her, it will resume her activities.
The young male sometimes has difficulty understanding how it works, while an experienced male will try to immediately protrude it. If the male is too small for the female, or does not know how to do it, it arrives that it bites it and it clears it, but usually that doesn’t lead to a fight.
A minimum of seven projections must be left to ensure fertilization. The projections are short of a few seconds, and then the male comes down and washes. The female, if it is not too long, remains calm.
In dwarf hamsters, the heat is not visible. The mating ritual lasts much longer, because they are animals with a gregarious base, which will first have to get used to each other before they reproduce.
Gestation of the hamsters
Gestation is normally about 16 days, but varies from female to female between 15 and 18 days. After the tenth day, the female’s belly will begin to round out. Around the fourteenth day, he will look like a golf ball. Some women make their nest from the beginning of gestation. Others make them very late. You should make sure to provide more material for the nest than usual (toilet paper, lint).
Start gradually to increase the seed ration and especially increase its protein intake (via, for example, dried insects). You will change his cage for the last time around the thirteenth day of gestation so that she can rebuild her nest well before giving birth.
After that, don’t change it again before the babies will have 14 days old. She can continue to go out until the thirteenth day. For the few last days of gestation, leave her alone.
Don’t forget to have a cage adapted for young babies, who can easily pass through the bars (very high bin, or plexi cage). You can remove the wheel until the next cage change, it will avoid turning it into a nest (we see it regularly) or losing interest in its babies to make the exercise. Do not use a small house, or a very large one. Avoid wooden houses and prefer to use plastic, although ideally, a large nest in the litter box is more effective.