As promised, here is my fact-filled hamster pregnancy guide for Syrian hamsters!
(Sorry for some of the repeated info, wanted it all in one place!)
- Syrian hamsters are pregnant for between 15-18 days
- Litters vary from 2 – 20
- Its best to breed females for the first time at 4 months earliest
- The average litter size is 8
- Starts to show after 10 days
- Females should only have 2 or 3 litters in their lives – any more and its considered “battery breeding” and unhealthy offspring can be the result
- Females are sterile after 12-14 months (this means they cant breed again)
- Small chunks of cheese are brilliant snacks for pregnant hammy’s
- Baby hamsters are called ‘pups’.
- Pups are born with teeth
- The cage needs to be in a quiet place, loud noises may stress out a hamster giving birth
- Pups are born in 20-30 minute intervals (this is not exact)
- Babies will be just bigger than a £1 coin!
- Pups are born blind, hairless and deaf
- The nest will most likely be concealed from view, dont worry! The mum is just trying to protect her babies!
- Mummy hamsters will become very aggressive if the nest is disturbed before the pups have opened their eyes
- First time mums may not feel ready to have a litter so cannibalism is unfortunately common
- Weak babies may also be eaten as not to cause suffering (hamsters are very protective and cautious creatures)
- If the nest doesnt smell of the mum (due to human contact and curious fingers) whole litters can be abandoned
- If babies are born in different places in the cage DO NOT TOUCH THEM, not even to put them back in the nest. Mummy will eat them! Just leave her to sort herself and she will take good care of them, collect them up and put them in the nest. This can be expected from first time mum’s as they are learning!
- At around 7 days of age the mummy hamster will take solid food back to the nest
- Pups should be drinking water from 12 days of age (don’t panic if it takes a few days longer – each litter is different)
- By 7 days, pups should have fur
- Baby food (blended mush basically) is perfect nourishment for baby hamsters – leave a small pot full close to the nest
- After 10 days, babies have very good survival rate. Any less than 10 days old, it can be very difficult to successfully raise a litter
- Chunks of apple are perfect treats to leave in the cage after 7 days. These are soft to munch on and hydrating
- After 10 days or so, give mum a break – a quick run in an exercise ball or even holding her for 10 minutes will be plenty. Dont separate them for too long as both sides may panic!
- Pups eyes open around the 2 week mark
- You should refrain from holding the baby hamsters until 2 weeks of age (their eyes should be open)
- Its time to clean out that smelly cage at this time! Try to do it quickly as possible as the mummy hamster may get stressed. This is normal
- Pups should be eating on their own by this stage
When the pups are 3 weeks old and over:
- Male and female babies should be separated after 3 weeks into their genders
- Females can share with mum no longer than 6 weeks
- Male babies need individual cages
- Hamsters are sexually active from 6 weeks of age so the sexing of the babies will be really important at this point to make sure no more litters are produced!
- By 4 weeks old, hamsters are ready to be fully separated from mum, brothers and sisters. Sell them on, rehome them, give them away! Need more ideas on where to put all your bundles of joy? Check out a previous post!