Welcome to Dashing Hamsters. I created this website back in 2005, initially to have a place to share my love of hamsters. Throughout the years I have come across a lot of information that just often doesn't match up. Care standards and information are outdated, and these little creatures are misunderstood by many. So I decided to make this website as more than just a hamster lover's website, but a hamster website for modern owners who are looking for up to date advice on how to care for and understand their beloved hamsters. On DH you can learn about hamsters, see some cute pictures and read through a hamster filled blog.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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.

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