Hamster Pregnancy and Childbirth

If you bring together hamsters who do not know each other for mating, you must ensure that they are not too young: the female must not be less than two months old (dwarf hamster, four months ), because females who have babies too quickly do not have enough milk to feed them and very often tend to devour them (see page 47, Cannibalism). As for the male , he should be at least a month older than the female .

Protected gestation

You will quickly see if the mating was successful. Less, moreover, in the rounding of the female’s forms , which is not evident, than in the modification of her behavior. She stores in astonishing quantities, noses in the nest, removes materials or brings new ones with a busy air. If her house seems too narrow to her, she will go and build a special nest nearby for her litter. Some females are more nervous and fearful than usual.

During gestation you should:

  • Provide enough new materials for the nest.
  • Keep strangers away.
  • Avoid noise.
  • Enrich the diet with vitamins and proteins.
  • Change the litter of the cage just two days before the expected term (never that of the nest I), then leave the female completely in peace, by simply giving her food.

The long awaited day is here

The female must not be disturbed, neither during the birth, nor in the hours which follow. In general, you will notice that she has given birth if you do not see her come out of the nest at her usual time. And if you have a keen ear, you might hear the little high-pitched chirp of baby hamsters. How the birth goes: it usually takes place at night and lasts just over half an hour. The female remains squatting all this time and waits for the cub to appear. She takes it between her paws, releases it from the amniotic envelope with her incisors, and eats it, as well as the placenta. Finally, she cuts the umbilical cord with her teeth and cleans the little one by licking it.

The long awaited day is here

The female must not be disturbed, neither during the birth, nor in the hours which follow. In general, you will notice that she has given birth if you do not see her come out of the nest at her usual time. And if you have a keen ear, you might hear the little high-pitched chirp of baby hamsters. How the birth goes: it usually takes place at night and lasts just over half an hour. The female remains squatting all this time and waits for the cub to appear. She takes it between her paws, releases it from the amniotic envelope with her incisors, and eats it, as well as the placenta. Finally, she cuts the umbilical cord with her teeth and cleans the little one by licking it.

Why does Hamster eat its baby

This is a phenomenon that is not so uncommon in small mammals. In the natural state, this happens especially when too many animals of the same species live in a limited area. Nature thus ensures that there is still enough space and food for all the animals.

The cannibalism of animals that live under the protection of humans can have different causes:

Reproduction too frequently : there should be an interval of at least six weeks between each litter. Protein deficiency: it appears when the mother is too young or when her diet during gestation is not rich enough in protein. Young female hamsters who have not yet completed their own growth have very high protein requirements.

Small or weak stillbirths : when the mother cuts the umbilical cord, she eats the cord to the umbilicus. The fact that it stops there responds to an innate inhibition. When the mother pulls (with some force) on the cord, the baby hamster normally protests with cries. It is these cries that trigger the inhibitory mechanism in the mother. If the cries do not come, because the baby is weak or even stillborn, the mother simply continues to eat.

Change of setting : nervous or fearful hamster mothers can devour their young a week after birth again, if disturbed. Until the little ones are at least eight days old, the hamster caregiver should just change the litter box in the “toilet area”. Do not renew the nest materials until the mother has separated from the young, that is, at the earliest, after three to four weeks.

Take precautions to control the nest

When checking the nest quickly in the evening, to make sure everything is in order – any dead animals should be removed immediately! – it would be good if the mother was not right next to the newborns, otherwise she might be aggressive. If she hasn’t already emerged from the nest on her own, you can entice her with a treat. Do not touch the nest directly. Instead, use a small branch from the cage, the smell of which will be familiar to your mother hamster.

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