Hamster Breeding? I NEED HELP!
Posted 10 March 2013 - 10:43 PM
My friend wants to breed her hamsters because baby hamsters are cute and floofy and she needs money (selling them will get her money). I keep telling her it's a bad idea, but when she asks why, I say "I don't know.." So can someone give me a few reasons why it's a bad idea? She says there are tons of people looking for baby hamsters and her hamsters are apparently healthy. She also knows a lot about hamster pregnancy etc. She said it would be a learning experience for her (gain more knowledge on hammy care). She really wants to breed her hamsters.
Another thing is she says there are tons of websites on the internet saying stuff like "how to breed your hamsters" and "making sure you're ready for hamster breeding". I'm not on her side at all and I know it's wrong and I wouldn't do it but why is it bad??
Please help and answer me!!!
Posted 10 March 2013 - 10:58 PM
So You Want to Breed?
At one point in a hamster lovers life one wonders what it would be like to see some cute little hamsters running around, some dream of being breeders and others just want to breed their hamsters. If you haven't thought these things yourself then you've likely come across another hamster lover that does. Breeding however cannot be taken so likely, even if they're hamsters, they are still living beings and they deserve much consideration to be put into this idea.
First of all take the time to answer these questions and do so honestly:
1. What if you can't find homes for the babies? Can you keep 10+ hamsters? Syrian hamsters are going to need their own cage and dwarfs could end up fighting needing their own cages as well. Keeping in mind that the recommended minimum of 360 square inches of floorspace per hamster. That's a lot of room that will be taken up.
2. Can you afford that many hamsters? Food, substrate, cages, toys, supplies and vet costs aren't cheap and with that many hamsters you're going to need quite a bit.
3. Can you afford the time for all of those hamsters? Cleaning the cage, interacting with each own, providing them with out-of-the cage time, any special needs that they may have, etc.
4. Say you do have to keep all of the babies, what if they have some illness or disease that pops up due to their genetics. That's 10+ hamsters that will need the vet. Not cheap. Even if their genetics are good, many other illnesses can take hold of hamsters and they go downhill fast. Not cheap at all.
5. What if the female culls (kills) her litter for some reason? Can you handle that emotionally? Even if her litter is gone she needs you to care for her and you cannot hold anything against her.
6. What if something goes wrong? Can you afford to take the mother and her litter to the vet on a moments notice?
7. What if the mother dies? Can you handle that emotionally? And can you spare the time to feed the babies yourself? They feed every couple of hours and it is not easy to keep them alive. Can you handle it emotionally if the whole litter died too?
8. Do you have homes lined up at all? Not just your friends and family members or strangers, but people that are willing to put effort into researching and caring for their new pets? Do you have the time to find these great owners? And are you willing to take them back should anything go wrong?
9. How long have you been researching? You must be prepared for anything that comes up. Understanding how breeding works is only part of it, you must also understand their genetics and be willing to work hard to produce quality animals that only benefit the species. It's not just colours and temperaments, but also for health.
10. Do you know the genetic background of these hamsters? If not, then how can you ensure that the babies will be healthy? Pet store hamsters are often not quality specimens and should not be bred from. If you do not know what could pop up in the litter then you could be bringing in a litter of babies that could suffer dreadfully. Don't believe me? Please check out this thread, it provides many examples: Things to Consider Before Breeding.
11. Why do you want to breed? Is it because you want to see cute baby hamsters, you want your hamster to 'live on', your friends/family want hamsters, you want to experience the miracle of life, you want to make money or any other reason then wanting to help create healthy, well-bred animals to better the species. Then perhaps you are not ready for such a thing.
Breeding should not be taken lightly. There are hundreds of hamsters that need homes everyday. By breeding you are taking away homes that those hamsters that already exist could have gone to. Please consider separating them, much more research should be done if you are serious about breeding. But if you want to experience the miracle of life, than go google it, I'm sure there's a video. If you want more hamsters then go adopt. If you want to see baby hamsters then wait until you are ready to do it right.
*Note: I do not advocate casual breeding, it is best left for those that are willing to put their whole heart and mind into the matter. Adoption is indeed the best option."
"A Closer Look at Breeding
If you are considering breeding your hamsters, then read on.
Breeding hamsters, or any animal for that matter, is not a decision that should be taken lightly and without serious consideration and research before making any decisions. By breeding animals you become solely responsible for their very life, this is no minor responsibility. For those thinking “it’s just a hamster”, please take a second to look at your own opinion. Why would you even consider breeding hamsters if they are “just hamsters”, breeding is hard work, it is time consuming, can be emotionally draining and also quite costly. If you don’t truly have a passion to work with hamsters and consider them “just hamsters” than you might want to put this idea out of your head for the time being.
Reasons for Wanting to Breeding
If you truly want to breed then consider the reasons why you want to breed. There may be multiple reasons, but it is certainly worthwhile to take the time to consider your reasons and then write them down. If your reason(s) are along these following lines:
o I want to get the experience of breeding hamsters.
o I want to see cute babies
o I want to see the miracle of life
o My friends/family want hamsters or I want more hamsters
o I want to make money
o I want my hamsters to live on in their children
o I read that hamsters should breed at least once in their life
o My hamsters are in love, it would be cruel to not let them breed
o I want more hamsters of the same colour
Then there might be some issues. Some of these reasons aren’t absolutely negative, however the bottom six points are not good reasons at all, but if any of these points are the driving force for you wanting to breed then I highly recommend that you step back in reconsider breeding. Wanting to experience breeding hamsters, seeing babies, experiencing the miracle of life, etc. are not good enough reasons to want to breed. There are too many hamsters that need homes in the world for such reasons to be valid. While some of these reasons may be reasons to want to breed the ultimate reason for wanting to breed should be something along of the lines of this:
o To better the species as a whole.
This implies that are goals are to breed quality animals with the intention of improving health, temperament and overall improving the species. Many breeders breed for the wrong reasons and it shows in their knowledge of hamsters and in the quality of their animals. Breeders that breed for the wrong reasons are often referred to as ‘Back Yard Breeders’, they are sadly a common phenomenon throughout the world.
A Closer Look at Invalid Reasons for Wanting to Breed
1. I want to get the experience of breeding hamsters: This isn’t exactly a poor reason to want to breed, however it should not be your ultimate reason to want to breed. Adopting hamsters is quite the worthwhile experience, and at the same time you give hamster’s a second chance at a forever home.
2. I want to see cute babies: That’s nice; I would like to introduce you to Google. On Google you can search up all sorts of things, including videos and images of baby hamsters. This is just not a good reason to want to breed, sure they are cute, but breeding is serious.
3. I want to see the miracle of life: there are many videos and books on this subject, why not take the easy route and go for one of those options, they are much less work, money, time and effort. And in the end the message is the same.
4. My friends/family want hamsters or I want more hamsters: This is wonderful, truly it is. If you have people interested in hamsters or you yourself want more hamsters, than help your friends look for hamsters to adopt, or if it’s you than look for hamsters to adopt yourself. Why bring more hamsters into this world when there are so many that need homes already?
5. I want to make money: If this is your reason to breed than you need to look outside of breeding animals. Being a quality breeder means that it’s probably going to cost more than you will make.
6. I want my hamsters to live on in their children: This is a nice thought, but it isn’t a good reason to breed. You could end up with hamsters that end up with genetic issues or other problems if you don’t know their genetic history. Instead taking pictures, spending time with them and enjoying their time with you is the best way to help them live on after death, because then they live on in your memories. Instead of breeding, adopting another hamster in memory of your past hamster is a good way to honour their life.
7. I read that hamsters should breed at least once in their life: This too is not a valid reason to breed for it is simply not true. Hamsters do not need to breed in order to live a healthy and fulfilling life. Not to mention, some people have found that breeding can shorten the life of a hamster (females in particular).
8. My hamsters are in love, it would be cruel to not let them breed: hamsters do not mate for life the way that humans and some other animals do. They will not feel love the same way we do for a mate, in the wild there is a chance that they might never even see each other again. If you do have a male and a female living together then I highly recommend that they are separated for their well-being.
9. I want more hamsters of the same colour: This too is not a valid reason to breed. Genetics are not simple and they do not always work the way one might expect, you could get a whole litter with pups that don’t have the same colour as their parents. Besides colour doesn’t matter to hamsters and it shouldn’t matter to you. Fur colour doesn’t make the hamsters, it’s what’s underneath the fur that counts.
Breeding hamsters is time consuming, it will eat up much of your free time and may impose on other aspects of your life. Consider the following in regard to time:
1. Breeders need to do research beforehand and throughout their venture in breeding. Many breeders spend years researching: how to properly breed hamsters, how to pick quality animals, genetics of hamsters, etc. They must also spend time researching and understanding general hamster care and ailments as they gain experience as a normal hamster owner. Not days of research, not months of research, but years. Not only must the research and learn before breeding, but they must also continue to keep up with new information even while breeding hamsters.
2. Breeders must also put a lot of time into a breeding plan. This plan helps to keep the genetic history of every hamster organized, to keep records in order, to help plan out what a breeder’s goals are, etc. An important factor to consider, and one that might take more than a few minutes.
3. Breeders need to look for homes for their litters. This isn’t as easy as posting an ad and selling them to the first person to respond. Breeders often make up contracts to ensure that their animals will go to a good home, will be returned to them if the owner can no longer keep them, to ensure that the owner will stay in contact and in some cases to ensure that the owner does not breed the hamster. When looking for potential owners, the breeder must look for quality homes with owners that have and will continue to research and understand proper and up to date hamster care, will stay in contact with the breeder, will take the hamster to the vet if required and will over all be a good owner. This is no easy task, good owners are not always available and quality owners in a breeder’s area may disappear with each litter, which is why lining up homes prior to breeding is important. Selling hamsters to a pet store is not a viable option either. A good breeder must be aware of their lines so that they know if genetic issues pop up down the road, selling them to a pet store cuts off contact with owners. Not to mention the breeder then has no control over who purchases their hamsters.
4. If homes cannot be found for the litter than it is up to the breeder to keep and care for all of the hamsters. Hamsters can have large litters, some even being upward of 20 pups, though the average is closer to 10-12 pups. Depending on the species they may need to live separately, dwarf hamsters can live in same-sex groups but the chances for fights breaking out are always possible. That could mean a cage (recommended bare minimum is 360 square inches of floor space) for every single hamster from the litter, including the parents on top of any other hamsters the breeder has. That is time required for cleaning the cages, for feeding the hamsters, performing health checks, administering medication for any ill hamsters and for spending individual time with each hamster. This is time consuming.
5. Breeders must take responsibility for the litter if the mother dies or rejects the pups. This means spending over two weeks constantly feeding and caring for helpless pups. They must be fed every hour and care must be taken to ensure that they are never too cold and that they defecate properly. This can mean missing school, work or other obligations that the breeder may have.
6. The breeder must make time to care for ill hamsters. Caring for a sick hamster can take up quite a bit of a breeder’s time, even if the time spent worrying about the hamster(s) is subtracted from the equation.
7. Breeders must take time to stay in contact with owners that have adopted from them. Breeders need to keep in contact with people that have adopted from them in order to keep tabs on their lines. If health issues pop up that could be caused from genetic issues than the breeder must be aware of this so that effort can be put into putting a stop to that line to prevent further ill hamsters.
8. Breeders need to keep up with general care of their hamsters. Breeders cannot forget that time must be put aside to clean cages, feed the hamsters, care for them and spend time with them individually. They will also need to put aside time to spend time with litters that are old enough to be handled in order to ensure that the hamsters are sociable.
Even consideration about space in your home for all of these hamsters must be thought of.
1. Breeders need plenty of room for their hamsters. They need room for the various supplies required for hamsters, they need room for adequately sized cages (recommended bare minimum is 360 square inches of floor space) and room to move around in general.
2. Breeders must consider the optimal place for where to ‘set up shop’. The room must be quiet, free from disturbances, temperature controlled and large enough to provide enough room for everything.
3. If homes cannot be found for the litter than it is up to the breeder to keep and care for all of the hamsters. This means the breeder needs cages for every single hamster. Considering the average litter is about 10-12 pups that is 10-12 cages that a breeder must provide space for on top of all the room needed for other hamsters and their supplies.
Breeding hamsters is not cheap, nor will it be a thriving business. Breeders must expect this hobby to cost them money, rather than make them money. That means that the reason to breed to make money is not only a poor reason to breed, but one laden in false hope.
1. Breeders must purchase quality breeding stock. Most hamsters are not up to standard to be a quality animal to be bred. This does not make them any less valuable than a well-bred hamster, but these are not the hamsters that a breeder should be breeding. A breeder cannot simply go to a pet store for breeding stock nor should they purchase from the nearest breeder without putting much research into that breeder’s program. In order to find quality stock a breeder may need to travel a great distance to find a quality breeder from which to get their breeding hamsters from. This can be costly not only for the hamsters themselves but for the travel required to actually obtain the hamsters. Breeding poorly-bred hamsters is not an option for a good breeder.
2. Breeders need to purchase food, substrate and nesting materials. Breeders have many hamsters to care for and so things such as food, substrate and nesting materials do not last as long as they do when caring for one or two hamsters. This alone is a costly part of breeding and quality of the products cannot be substituted for a cheaper price,
3. Breeders must purchase cages, wheels, toys and other cage accessories. With many hamsters comes a need for many cages and supplies for the cages. Some breeders even have cages set up for pregnant/nursing mother hamsters, special cages where mating will take place, etc. Supplies for hamsters are not always cheap and yet a breeder still needs to consider the cost.
4. If homes cannot be found for the litter than it is up to the breeder to keep and care for all of the hamsters. This means that all of the associated cost of keeping all of these hamsters fall upon the breeder, along with the cost to care for any other hamsters. Including possible vet bills that could crop up.
5. Breeders must have money out aside when a vet is required. With so many hamsters it should not be a surprise that a vet will likely be required at least once each year, especially as hamsters grow older or if the entire hamstery falls ill for whatever reason.
6. If a breeder wishes to show their hamsters than they will likely be required to pay a club membership. Most hamster clubs, if not all require a membership fee in order to help pay for the costs associated with keeping a club going. Many quality breeders are encouraged to join, yet it is another cost to be considered.
Breeding can take a large toll on a breeder’s emotions, often it is explained as an emotional roller-coaster. The happiness found at seeing young hamsters nursing form their mother can be quickly crushed when disaster strikes. While this does not mean that the breeder be cold-hearted or emotionless, this does require the breeder to not let their emotions hinder their responsibility.
1. Breeders must be able to deal with the death of a mother hamster emotionally. It is going to hurt, but not everyone is able to emotionally handle the death of the mother-hamster from delivery or birth complications when had the breeding not been done, she would still be healthy and alive.
2. If the mother dies or rejects her litter, the breeder must be strong enough to take on the care of the pups. Loss of sleep for the next two and half weeks can also cause emotions to run higher, and yet the breeder must be capable of enduring it for the sake of the pups, even if often times the pups do not survive, which again can be emotionally gruelling.
3. The breeder must be able to handle the emotional strain of the mother culling pups. Sometimes when pups are born with birth defects or if the litter is too large or if the whole situation is too stressful, than the mother will cull (kill) some or all of her pups and will also likely consume them, as in the wild dead animals attract predators.
4. The breeder must be able to accept that there may be genetic issues with their lines. Hiding the fact that there are genetic issues with a breeder’s line, even if it seems embarrassing or if it upsets them, is not an option. Honesty is the best policy, even if it is difficult for the breeder to realize that they have brought lives into the world that may be suffering from genetics issues.
Breeding hamsters is no small thing; it is time consuming, expensive, emotionally draining and all around not an easy task. Breeding hamsters should not be taken lightly, it is a serious thing to consider and only if you are prepared to take on full responsibility and do the required research in order to become a quality breeder intent on bettering the species should one attempt to breed hamsters
Posted 10 March 2013 - 11:01 PM
Thanks SyrianPumpkin(: I'll show her this .
Posted 10 March 2013 - 11:05 PM
I've been through so much heartache due to pups that came from parents that were
from pet stores, their genetics messed up and out the window. I've cried one too many
tears watching the weakest of pups strive only to pass after trying so hard. My best , a
little boy born with only three paws, he didn't make it either. I stayed up all night, making
sure he was warm and eating, he never made it past the night.
Breeding is not a game and it takes a lot of time and work. It's a professional career and
is left up to the professionals that have decided this to be a career, NOT a hobby. I'm a
very supportive person of proper breeders. I'm very much against hobby breeders, like
what your friend is trying to do. It's not going to make her any money. The money spent
to get another hamster to do the breeding , the supplies , the additional wheels, food , etc.
All that money can be saved to be used for what she wants. She's going to be wasting
rather than saving.
There are so many hamsters out there , many from rodent mills , that need a home. We don't
need more hamsters in the world if there are already many in the shelters.
Posted 10 March 2013 - 11:05 PM
Posted 10 March 2013 - 11:17 PM
Posted 10 March 2013 - 11:25 PM
Posted 11 March 2013 - 12:40 AM
Posted 11 March 2013 - 10:18 AM
I'm 100% against breeding, except for the actual breeders who know what their doing. I have ended up with multiple litters of pups from rescueing pregnant hammies in terrible situations. And i've seen many pups die because of not knowing what they were doing when they did it. Tell your friend that she needs to realize she is not only putting the hammies health at risk but her own, What will she do if she does breed and the mama passes away after birth and she is the one up ever night ever hour feedin and checkin on the pups? She'll lose a great amount of sleep, Start gettin behind on school/work, Angry/annoyed because of no sleep, weak.. I know this because i have been there. It's not easy, at all.
Let your friend know all the problems that could go wrong, And how much money will be put into the hamsters when she could simply use that money for whatever it is she's wanting now. Try telling her other ways to make the money like bake sales, yard sales, anything..except breeding. Not a good idea at all.
Posted 11 March 2013 - 01:55 PM
My friend wants to breed her hamsters because baby hamsters are cute and floofy
I must admit, when I read this sentence, I just had to say:
Baby hamsters are anything but "cute and floofy"
Edited by Plushie, 11 March 2013 - 01:56 PM.
Posted 11 March 2013 - 08:51 PM
... up ever night ever hour feedin and checkin on the pups? She'll lose a great amount of sleep, Start gettin behind on school/work, Angry/annoyed because of no sleep, weak.. I know this because i have been there. It's not easy, at all.
I want to second this and really emphasize it too. I did this once with a fostered squirrel... it was probably the most miserable week and a half of school I've ever had. Even with taking shifts with my mom, and her taking Sprint to work, it was sooo stressful. It is beyond anything caffeine could save you from.