If you have a female hamster who recently had a litter of pups, you may be wondering how to take care of baby hamsters. The truth is, there isn't much that you'll need to do, as the mother will provide all the care they need. However, there are things you can do to help her with the task of raising her babies.
- Provide a clean environment. Syrian hamsters have a gestation period of sixteen to seventeen days, while dwarf hamster pregnancy is slightly longer at eighteen days. A few days before the expected birth, completely clean the hamster cage. Once the babies are born, you'll want to avoid doing anything to upset Mama Hamster. By having the cage as clean as possible at the time of the birth, you can skip cleaning it again until the babies get a little bigger.
- Provide plenty of soft bedding and nesting material. Torn up blank newsprint or paper towels are good. Avoid cloth material, which can unravel at the edges, leaving strings to get tangled around legs. A nesting box of some sort will also be good for giving the mother a private spot for the nest.
- Don't touch the babies! No matter how adorably cute they are, with their little, pink, hairless, wrinkled bodies, you must not touch them for the first two weeks. Mother hamsters are notoriously paranoid, and the slightest disturbance to the smell of a baby hamster can cause her to kill it. That's not something you want to see.
- Give mom plenty of food and fresh water. She'll need all the energy she can get for nursing the pups, so provide her with extra food and perhaps a few treats, such as a small piece of chicken or tofu. The extra protein helps her provide healthy milk for the growing pups.
- After two weeks, you'll be able to clean the cage out. Take mom out first and put her in a separate box or exercise ball. Move the pups one at a time into a holding box. This is a great time to start getting the pups used to being handled. Save a little of the used nesting material to mix back in with the new, so that mom and pups don't get too stressed out with new smells.
- After three weeks, the mother hamster will start weaning her babies. Make sure that you include enough food for them to start eating too.
- At four weeks the baby hamsters will be ready to move off to cages of their own. It's important that the males and females are separated at this time, because even at this young age they'll be able to start breeding. Your baby hamsters are now ready to find a new home.