Smaller than the smallest: how to take care of baby hamsters

It takes gentle hands and tender hearts to take care of the smallest version of a hamster. Before he can develop into my vahana, this infant hamster must survive. They come into this world deaf, blind, hairless, thin-skinned and mighty vulnerable. Let me guide you through caring for these babies.

Isolation tradition

There is no salvation for those who disturb the nest. For two days, leave Mama hamster alone with her children. If you don’t leave her alone, face her wrath! This divine feminine will turn hostile and agitated after giving birth, in extreme states of anxiety she might even abandon or kill her own babies. In worst cases, if you must meddle, don’t handle the infants directly, use a spoon. The cage is a temple to Mama hamster’s name. Refrain from cleaning it for the first two weeks. If there’s a very wet spot, you are allowed to spot clean it as long as you leave the nest undisturbed. Keep them in a 20-21 degrees Celsius haven.

First supper

As I am nourished by the goodness of your souls, your hamster family needs adequate food and water. Give them a diet enriched with high fat and protein content. Replace the water bowl with a shallow dish or the young hamsters might drown. If you’re using a sipper bottle, keep it low enough for my sake. When the babies are a week old, begin to scatter their food in the cage, to encourage them to explore.

Special cause

If for a higher reason I have called away Hamster Mama and she’s no more, you’ll need to know how to care for her orphaned babies. Shred up toilet paper and create a nest for them. Put a heating pad under the cage so they’re warm enough. Monitor their weight gain and general growth. Give them Lactol or powdered baby formula, any other milk will not be suitable for their developing stomachs. Keep your vet on speed dial.

Mama knows best

I watch over everybody, but two guardians are better than one. If you can find a surrogate mother, all the better! But be careful. Wipe off any residue from their birth and your scent, so the new Mama sees the babies as her own litter. Wipe the infants gently with a dry towel and material from the new nest. Keep the mother away while they wriggle into their new environs. Once their scent is successfully disguised, introduce them to their new mother. However, remove them from the cage, if you see any display of hostility from her.

Older and wiser

The exile is over. After two weeks, you can start cleaning the cage. Deposit some shredded toilet paper on the side so Hamster Mama can rebuild her nest. You can start handling them now and get them used to a human’s touch. But beware small hamsters are quick like thunder. Start weaning them and put them in different cages. Keep the male and female hamsters separate or you might have grandchildren at your hand. Certain breeds like the Syrian hamster need a room of their own. If you see a hamster picking too many fights, distance them.

Parenthood is a noble gift and not a punishment. If you need to put the baby hamsters up for adoption, I will understand. But ensure you have good homes for these little ones. At five weeks old, baby hamsters will finally turn into adults. At this point, I offer my unconditional thanks and blessings.

“May you have a cage to yourself,

Abundant food and water

Infant fragile hamster

In humans that don’t handle

I place my trust

Keeping warm is a must”