Breeding and Raising Babies

Stop and Consider this Before Breeding Hamsters
  • Pet stores only buy from a very limited number of reputable breeders
  • Female hamsters can have a litter of 4 to as many as 15 babies.
  • You might end up with offspring that have genetic defects or mental illnesses

Why You Shouldn’t Breed Your Hamsters

It’s Hard to Sell HamstersLitter Size can be LargePossible Hamster Birth Defects

Selling

Before you consider breeding your hamsters, stop and consider the follow. Whether you want to breed them for your own enjoyment or to sell the babies for supplemental income, there are a lot of logistic and barriers to entry. First and foremost, forget about breeding with the thought of selling to pet stores or even online; it’s very unlikely that you will be able to sell them fast enough and there’s little to no chance of selling them to your local pet store. Pet stores only buy from a very limited number of reputable breeders. There are also likely laws regarding the sale of hamsters in your your state or province.

Litter Sizes

If you want a new hobby and are considering breeding babies, realize that female hamsters can have a litter of 4 to as many as 15 pups. Do you have enough space to take care of a hamster litter of babies when they grow into mature adults? Do you have a handful of friends or family that are willing to take a baby? Additionally, if you don’t separate the males from the female ones, or, completely separate them if they are Syrian hamsters, after 40 days they too will begin breeding.

Litter Sizes Per Breed Type:

  • Syrian and Golden: 4-12
  • Campbell’s: 8
  • Winter White: 4-6
  • Roborovski: 3-5
  • Chinese: 4-5

Birth Defects

Finally, if you don’t know what types you should breed with each other, you might end up with newborns that have genetic defects. These babies can be eyeless, toothless and will likely die within two weeks after their birth. Both dwarf breeds and Syrians can have offspring with genetic or mental illnesses.
Genetic Defects and Mental Illnesses:

  • If you breed two Campbell’s with the mottled gene, they have ruby red eyes and pinto like markings, you will get infants that are all white, eyeless, possibly toothless and will die in a matter of two weeks.
  • A Syrian that is roan in color with a white belly has the┬árecessive anophthalmic gene. If you mate two of these together, you will get all white newborns that are eyeless and will die in a matter of two weeks.
  • When you pair two hamsters that are closely related (small gene pool), you might get babies that have mental illnesses. These OCD like behaviors include repetitive actions like constantly pacing back-and-forth or uncontrollable back-flips.

hamster pupscare for a baby hamsterbaby hamstersNewborn hamsters are naked and blind at birth and will depend fully on their mother to survive for the first three weeks.

Breeding Babies

In the wild, the mating season is between spring to early fall. In captivity, the artificial lighting may allow them breed year around. During the mating season, males will seek out willing females. When a female is in estrus and she is willing, she will go into the lordosis; mating will then occur. Females are ready to mate for a 12 hour period every four days. When mating occurs, it’s very brief and shortly afterwards, the female (syrian breeds) will become aggressive to the male. This is why you should only place a male Syrians in with a female counterpart for a short time. If they don’t mate before 15-30 min, it won’t happen and you should separate the pair.

The gestation period, the time from mating to birth is extremely short; 16 days for Golden Syrians, and 18-20 for dwarf types. During this time the mother will begin eating (need) a lot of protein hamster foods as well as collecting soft bedding and build a birthing nest.

The birthing process happens in about one to two hour with a baby coming ever fifteen to thirty minutes. After each one is born, the mother will lick it clean. However, if she feels a threat, she will likely eat them as a very normal natural defense mechanism (called kronismus). This is why it’s so very important to leave the mother and her nest alone during the first week or so after giving birth . Do your very best to keep it quiet in the room where your cage is at and only go into the cage to fill the food dish and water bottle. We suggest stocking it up so you don’t have to fill these for several days.

Only the mother Syrian will take care of her young but male dwarfs, especially robo dwarf hamsters will help keep the young hamsters warm when the mom is away.

Raising Baby Hamsters

Day 1: Infants are naked, blind, weigh less than two grams and very vulnerable. They will begin to nurse immediately.

Day 4: They will have doubled in weight, their fur will become visible and their ear canals will begin to open.

Day 6: At this time the week old will begin to crawl around the cage.

Day 10: They begin to blindly crawl out of the nest and start snacking on solid foods

Week 2: The eyes of the hamsters will now be open and the youngster will be able to see fully

Month 3: The mom will nurse her young for up to the third month and then begin to lose interest.

Month 4: At this time the mom will abandon them but still tolerate them in her habitat for a short while longer.

Day 40: 40 days after birth, a young hamster is now sexually mature and able to reproduce.

Baby Videos
Baby Eating
Cuddle Pile

Orphaned or Abandoned

Usually a mother will have maternal instinct and allow this to happen. However, sometimes a mom will ignore her kids and leave the nest. She may return to eat them later. If you find that your mother is not going to be a good mom, you might need to find a surrogate or hand raise them yourself.

Hand raising newborns is extremely difficult and you should consult a vet or specialist on how to be successful at this. It will require a special baby formula, a tiny syringe and the ability to feed them at every hour of the day and night. It’s better if you can get another female to raise these abandoned kids. This is not easy either. If a mom smells a pup that is not hers, she will eat it. Your best bet is to first clean the baby hamsters to remove the scent of their old nest and then cover them in the other mother’s nesting material to mask the scent. Next lure the mother out with a treat and carefully place the orphaned pups into the surrogates nest. Let them take on the scent of her offspring for as long as you can keep the mother busy. It’s hit or miss if the mom will accept the other pips. Adding more than one or two abandoned babies will make the chances for success even lower.

Baby Hamster Pictures By: 95129912@N00, hapinachu and badlydrawn
Author: Tim Winter

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26 comments

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  1. sean says:

    after the male dwarf hamster is separated from the new mother, can the male and mother be put together again after the pups are weaned?

    1. admin says:

      Yes, you can put a male and female dwarf hamster together in the same cage.

  2. Denise says:

    At about what time should I start tameing the babies Iheard that the right time is at 3weeks from when they are born but im not so sure

    1. admin says:

      Three to four weeks is a god time to start. Just make sure to leave the newborns alone for at least several weeks though and let the mother care for them.

  3. Mary says:

    Yeah hi its me again and on april 26 Jill my hamster had her first litter of4 and they didnt even last a day my aunt told me that the baby hamsters died because jack(my male hamster) got jeleous that jill put all the attencion on the babies so jack killed them on may 26 6 baby hamsters were born one didnt make it and as soon as I saw the babies I took jack and put him in seperate cageand now the hamsters have a week I think the advice that my aunt told me about putting jack in a seperate cage worked maybe this could be oome advice for some haster owners out there what do you think thxs for listening

    1. admin says:

      yeah, with a males hamster, it’s best to keep it away from the babies. The male might feel threatened by the competition and kill the babies.

      1. Mary says:

        can i put boys in a cage with boys

        1. admin says:

          If they are dwarf hamsters, otherwise they will need to be separated when they get a bit older.

  4. lilyana says:

    My male robo hamster bites other hamsters in there noses, why is that?

    1. admin says:

      Sometimes, hamsters, even dwarf breeds don’t get along. Take a look at this post on fighting for some insight on why it bites.

  5. ASBE says:

    Why is my Hamster afraid of me?

    Every Time I try to pet my Hamster it just runs away. Please Reply ASAP.

    Tnx 4 ur time

    1. admin says:

      Be patient and read this post on how to hold a hamster

  6. Pamela says:

    Hi, yesterday I adopted my hamster, a female black bear and she is about 8 weeks old. She constantly paces in her cage, does this necessarily mean that she has a mental illness or could there be another reason for this?

    1. admin says:

      She might be bored, she might need a larger cage or she might still not be comfortable in her new home. Provide her with enough toys to play on and keep her mind thinking and curious. It doesn’t necessarily mean it has a mental illness.

  7. Bob says:

    can i take my winter white darwf hamsters babies out at month 3 plz repley soon as possible please and thank you

    1. admin says:

      If the are no longer nursing off the mother, yes, you can remove the babies. 3 months is about the right time. Winter whites can live together though but to avoid breeding, you will want to separate the boys from the girls.

  8. theresa says:

    um yes my hamster showed no sighn of prengecny and im worried about if she will eat the babies

    1. admin says:

      She will likely only eat the babies if she feels threatened. It’s best to stay away from her cage for a week or so. Don’t look inside the nest, only fill the water and food dish.

  9. adib says:

    how do i know my panda bear hamster is pregnant?Because its body is getting bigger and it eats a lot of food beginning 7 March(Malaysia time).Pls reply immediately.

    1. admin says:

      If she begins to build a nest, it could be a sign she is pregnant. If she starts hoarding food, that too can be a sign of a pregnant hamster. There is also a chance that she is just getting fat from eating a lot. If her belly looks like a bulge and not in the same way an obese hamster might look (fat all over), it’s a good sign she is pregnant.

  10. Ellioet says:

    As I am typeing this I have a brand new Pregnet hamster in the pocket of my jacket. (I’m not entirly sure shes pregent, and I feel her trying to build a nest in there with pocket lent/Paper scarps.)
    I didn’t know where I should post it so I dicided here, but I’m very un-certain of how her “Giving birth” will go. I know they will be panda Hamsters and Golden hamster .

    Anyway I just bought her yesterday, and already we have a bond! She loves to eat carrots and climbing, and as I have said earler posts on this site I had, a different Hamster (Bagel) Had passed away of age.

    Anyway is there any advise you can give me? I put her in a seprate cage and put the Wheel a little higher. I don’t know how it will go, but still I’d like advise of takeing care of the Babies.

    1. admin says:

      Basically, you need to let the mother hamster do all the work. let her build a nest and keep her fed well. when she gives birth, let her be. if you stress her out, she might kill the babies as a defense mechanism. Follow the tips on this post and you should be fine.

  11. ADIB says:

    can i breed my albino syrian hamster with my black+white syrian hamster?

    1. admin says:

      I’m not entirely sure. breeding two albinos can lead to baby hamsters with genetic defects and it could be that your black and white hamster might have one of those albino genes too. So I think that could mean that there is a greater chance that you will have some babies that will be unhealthy and probably die. I’d ask around a bit more since I’m not an expert on breeding. Best of luck.

      1. adib says:

        Correction:black+white syrian hamster is panda bear hamster so albino syrian hamster+panda bear hamster.Can they breed?

        1. admin says:

          Yeah, I’m not entirely sure if you can or not. Here is an article that talks about not breeding two hamsters with white bellies. It’s a bit confusing but might be helpful.

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