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What do you think the hamster cage minimum should be?


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Poll: What do you think the hamster cage minimum should be?

What did you think the hamster cage minimum should be?

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#1 Chewy & Me

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 05:08 AM

Hello :veryhappy: I just wanted to do this poll to see what you guys think. Feel free to leave a comment. I personally chose 650 as an absolute bare minimum, though bigger is always better imo!




#2 IsAnyoneThere

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 05:53 AM

The problem with stating a numerical "minimum" is that people will aim for that, like it's a thing to aim for that will make them tick the box for being an adequate hamster owner. As soon as we start quoting numbers, people start sticking to them, and that's harmful. So, you said 650 was your absolute bare minimum... so what if someone had 648 sq in? That's below your minimum, is it enough? You either say, "NO! that's TOO SMALL! the MINIMUM is 650!!", or you say, "Weeeeeeeeeeeelllll, 648 isn't FAR off 650, so it's fine...." ... in which case how far down do you go? Someone saying "I've heard the minimum is 650 so I'm aiming for this cage that's 640, that's close enough, right??" 

 

The "minimum" is an awful idea, it either makes people super-militant over what exact numbers someone's cage is, or it gives people something to aim for rather than actually being a minimum.

 

By definition, minimum = the lowest possible. It's not something you strive towards then pat yourself on the back for reaching.... and far too many people were using it in this way.

 

So personally, I don't agree with trying to set a numerical minimum at all. As soon as you do, people will "aim" for it and use it as an excuse for <lousy> care.

 

Just my 2 pennies.


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#3 Chewy & Me

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 06:16 AM

Very true, I was just asking for opinions on your personal idea of a minimum

#4 Rosemary12Aspen

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 06:46 AM

The problem is, a "personal minimum" is still a numerical minimum. I no longer have a "personal minimum" because, as IsAnyoneThere explains, the idea of a minimum cage size is harmful. (Whether it be an "official" minimum or just a series of personal minimums that get spread around through the community.)

 

The aim for a cage is to try and simulate the hamster's natural environment, so it needs wide open space filled with: deep bedding that can hold burrows, a wheel that works and does not cause an arched back and/or damage to the feet, a variety of places to hide and places to nest, loads of chew toys and puzzles, maybe some tubes and (safe) climbing toys, etc.

 

Maybe a 360 square inch bin cage can fit all the bare necessities for a Robo hamster, but it isn't a good cage if the hamster is unable to engage in normal relatively stress-free behavior: and it is definitely not an ideal cage by any means. The same goes for a 450 sq inch cage, and a 500 square inch cage, and a 600 sq inch cage, and an 800 square inch cage.

 

 

While some hamsters are less likely to show stress in, say, a 600-800 square inch cage: that does not guarantee that all hamsters will be okay in those cages. Quoting a minimum around might give to-be hamster owners the idea that, even if they have access to a larger cage option, they would be fine going with a smaller option and should just ignore the many benefits of going "above and beyond".

 

(I say "might", but that has already definitely happened numerous times. It happened all throughout HH's "official minimum" days and it is so saddening to look back through posts from back then sometimes.)



#5 Chewy & Me

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 09:15 AM

I agree with that too. ,

#6 FloorCandy

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 08:42 PM

I've been thinking maybe it's also the type of cage. I've been working on a setup with two bins, stacked, the top one upside down. The whole bottom bin would be for digging and burrowing. Since I'm moving soon, it wont be out of the design phase for a while, but I think instead of size we need to focus on accommodating natural drives and behaviors.

You also have to know the hamsters personality. Some want to run around and climb over and under small tubes and objects. Some would be happy with almost no floor space, but a huge deep pit to burrow in.
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#7 PumpkinSpiceLucy

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Posted 16 September 2018 - 04:12 AM

I've been thinking maybe it's also the type of cage. I've been working on a setup with two bins, stacked, the top one upside down. The whole bottom bin would be for digging and burrowing. Since I'm moving soon, it wont be out of the design phase for a while, but I think instead of size we need to focus on accommodating natural drives and behaviors.

You also have to know the hamsters personality. Some want to run around and climb over and under small tubes and objects. Some would be happy with almost no floor space, but a huge deep pit to burrow in.


I love this idea for a bin cage!

Sometimes I do wonder if we should talk more about what a hamster needs in their cage, rather than the size of the cage. I think size has been talked about so much and people get defensive, but for new owners or people looking to upgrade, maybe it would be nice to talk more about what supplies you need. So a decent sized sand pit, an appropriate sized wheel, at least 3 different hides, so chew toys and space to still move around, as well as talking about bedding depth - listing all this would make it clear what sort of size cage you’d need for all that without even mentioning size.

Just a thought though :)
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#8 FloorCandy

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Posted 16 September 2018 - 05:19 AM

I love this idea for a bin cage!
Sometimes I do wonder if we should talk more about what a hamster needs in their cage, rather than the size of the cage. I think size has been talked about so much and people get defensive, but for new owners or people looking to upgrade, maybe it would be nice to talk more about what supplies you need. So a decent sized sand pit, an appropriate sized wheel, at least 3 different hides, so chew toys and space to still move around, as well as talking about bedding depth - listing all this would make it clear what sort of size cage you’d need for all that without even mentioning size.
Just a thought though :)


Good point, a supply list so to speak, and end it with "plus a cage that can comfortably contain all of the above" is better than a number minimum.

#9 Hippophile~

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 07:47 AM

IsAnyoneThere and Rosemary12Aspen's views on the whole minimum cage thing are quite interesting. You bring up good points that I agree with.

 

Now I try to keep above 600 sq.in., or about there. I don't have a set-in-stone minimum cage size, but I aim for 600 + for a dwarf.

 

One thing I want to mention, though, is that in the poll, you don't mention dwarfs or Syrians...Just hamsters? That way, I'm going to have to go with my dwarf minimum, as there is no option for a Syrian's minimum (Mine is around 800 sq.in., preferably 1000 +.). So I'm going to have to go with 650 sq.in. in the poll because (a) that is what Eleanor has, and (b) because that is pretty close to 600, but 560 is less than my minimum, so hey :)



#10 Taxonomist

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 12:52 PM

So...what exactly do you mean by "minimum"? Because that's a huge part of the reason this is such a heated debate. As much as we'd like it to be universal, the term "minimum" can mean different things to different people.

Is the minimum the smallest cage a hamster can survive in? That is, the smallest cage that won't cause premature death?

Is the minimum the smallest cage a hamster can do reasonably well in? That is, the hamster won't necessarily be super-enriched, but it will be content enough to not have any serious behavioral or health issues?

Is the minimum the smallest cage a hamster can truly thrive in? That is, a size that allows the hamster to be completely happy and demonstrate all of its natural behaviors?

I don't know that I would say that any one of those is more correct than the others. I mean, you could argue that the first definition implies that merely keeping a hamster alive is acceptible husbandry, and the third is more of a recommended size than a true minimum. But you can see how it would end up being a confusing issue, especially at the more extreme ends of the spectrum!
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#11 TheMetallicaHams

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 08:57 AM

I don’t think it’s as clear cut as it first appears because as Taxonomist has already said, the term minimum can mean different things to different people.

My own interpretation depends on the circumstances but generally speaking I would have a different standard for permanent living than I would for a more temporary accommodation such as one used in transit or as a hospital cage. From my experience, accommodation for just one night at a hotel stopover may be smaller than what many people define as the minimum (have you ever tried taking a Hamster Heaven on a bus or a train on your own?) but that’s not to say that they should necessarily be used for longer periods of time. I’ve looked after unwell hamsters, under the care of a vet, for whom it may actually be more detrimental to their welfare if their cage is too large.

I think that it is difficult to give a precise answer without knowing how ‘minimum’ is defined.