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Road to recovery

Discussion in 'Small Animal Chat' started by Knighterist, Feb 27, 2020.


  1. Knighterist

    Knighterist PetForums Member

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    Lord Marble has recently gone to the best and had xeno dropped onto him. Being a little hamster he was probably very stressed about the whole ordeal.
    I haven't figured out his reasons for scratching and the patch of missing fur. But he's got clean new bedding and all and he had nested in the bed now. He still seems quite not very active today and he just sits and stares off into the distance he doesn't come running over to me to check out what I've got for him. He doesn't seem to have eaten that much either.
    I am worried that the whole ordeal triggered even more problems for him.
    I've left him on his own now and worry I stress him out more but I stress out more about that on my own now.
    How long does it take for the hamster to destress and when should I try bonding with him over broccoli again? :( I miss his little pass on my fingertips...
     
  2. ForestWomble

    ForestWomble PetForums VIP

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    He is very stressed at the moment, how long you should leave him for will depend on him really, when I bring a new small pet in to the home, I tend to give them a week to settle in, but Marble might need longer.
    I did some googling and found this:

    Cage cleaning can be a very stressful and traumatic time for a hamster. (This can be defined or construed as an incursion of their territory by an intruder/predator) Changing the bedding and nesting material can induce a very strong stress response. (These are known as External stressors) Stress can manifest itself in many different ways either psychologically or physically there is no set standard pattern of reaction to stress. The physical symptoms of stress are detrimental to the animal’s well being. Stress in itself is not particularly harmful for short periods, it is when stress becomes persistent and prolonged the symptoms then may become aggressive and severe, and the digestive system is usually the first line of attack. Prolonged stress is a common cause of diarrhea in a hamster. Psychological stress can also cause emotional disturbances and this may inhibit the animal’s expression of its instinctive behavior. Therefore removing, cleaning or destroying the hamsters nest may cause the animal to abandon its' usual nesting site. So it is important to understand the causes of stress and how to minimize it.

    Many new hamster owners without realizing but with good intention remove and throw away everything, including all the bedding, nesting material and any food that has been stored. This is a mistake made by many new hamster owners. A young hamster is not very messy so no cage cleaning really needs to take place for the first 2-3 week after they have been introduced into the new cage. This will give the animal time to become familiar with, and accustomed to their new surroundings. This will also give the animal plenty of time to mark and scent their new territory.

    The nest plays a very important part of the hamster’s environment and is just as important as their food and water. The nest is a place they associate with safety and security and is most probably the cleanest area in the cage. All hamsters are driven by a very strong "nesting instinct," and all are very protective of the nesting site.
    On occasions some new hamster owners may have experienced a hamster that has abandoned or deserted their usual nesting place (the sleeping quarters) seemingly for no apparent reason. This usually happens just after cleaning the cage. Then discover the hamster has deserted his usual nest and made another nest in the tubes, wheel, or some other inaccessible part of the cage. The reason they do this is the hamster has become aware their nest has been disturbed / discovered. A hamster will abandon a nest that "appears" to have been discovered, possibly by a predator, and will go in search of a safer nesting site. Great care should always be taken not to invade their private space too much.
    The nest should always remain untouched until the second or third cage clean takes place. If the nest is destroyed by cleaning or by removing the old nesting material and replacing it with all new material will remove the hamsters own familiar scent. When this happens the nest smells different to them, if it smells any different it gives great cause for concern and will cause undue stress. Because of predation risks the hamster may reject and abandon it as not being safe to sleep there or to use it again.
    When the cage clean takes place on the third occasion, the nesting box can be removed for a light cleaning in the usual manner. In order to buffer some of the stress all the old nesting material should be retained and used again by replacing it back at the nesting site. Using the old material will keep the hamster's familiar scent at the nesting site. A little of any dry food that has been stored in the nest should be replaced, just remove any perishables.
    During the course of any future cleaning of the nest, the nesting material can be changed but it must be done gradually and over a period of time. This can be done by removing about half the old material and introducing about the same quantity of new on each occasion. Replacing the old nesting material will keep their familiar scent at the nesting site. The new material should be placed anywhere in the cage and not in the nest; the hamster will take it to its nest.


    Hamsters are natural hoarders and are notorious for stockpiling their food. They are very possessive and protective of their food hoard. Many hamster owners fail to realize the importance of this behavior. It is a natural and instinctive behavior inherited from their wild ancestors. They will find what they assume to be a relatively safe place to store any food they have collected. This is usually in a corner of their enclosure. A small amount of the hamster’s favourite bits may also be taken and stored in the nest. This food stored in the nest is kept close by for their short periods of awakening during the day and this should be left, or replaced. Any other food that has been stored elsewhere in the enclosure should be retained and put back in the same place that it was found, once the cage has been cleaned. Removing the hamsters’ food hoard completely may cause the animal to become anxious, remove only any spoilt or perishable food. If there is an excessive amount of dry food stored it is safe to remove some of it, but always replace the bulk of it. Failure to replace it may result in the animal marking any food that may be stored in future. Food marking is usually done by urinating on or around it, this is a territorial behavior. The reason they urinate on the food is because something (you) has taken their precious food supply that has been painstakingly stored for future use. As far as the animal is concerned it may have been a predator. So the animal may urinate on it as a warning to them, this is mine! Leave it alone. Some even resort to storing food in their toilet corner in order to keep it safe from scavengers.

    This is from http://www.hammysworld.com/index.php?p=behaviour
     
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  3. Knighterist

    Knighterist PetForums Member

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    I see...So with that mega clean last night he must have been so stressed...Didn't help that I gave more wood shavings today because the wood shavings all settled over night and became a bit thin. I will have to leave him alone for the next week or so. Watch him from far away I guess >_< I'm so sorry I stressed you Marble!!

    Thank you again!

    Edit: just clicked...Does that mean no cage cleaning needed for the next 2-3 weeks for me?! If Marble can live with that, I 200% can!!!
     
    #3 Knighterist, Feb 27, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
  4. ForestWomble

    ForestWomble PetForums VIP

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    Your welcome.

    Try not to worry. You had to do that cage clean as you had to get rid of that paper substrate stuff in case either he is allergic to it or mites were in it, if you'd left it things would be worse in that either (a) he could of been reinfected with the mites or (b) the allergy would just continue, so you did the right thing.

    All you need to do now is to help him by allowing him to learn he is safe, no spot cleaning, no disturbing his bed apart from cage cleaning day (this is for his whole life, never disturb the bed unless its an emergency) and once he is more relaxed you can then re-start the taming process, I know it's upsetting but its the best thing you can do for him.

    When you do the next cage clean, try to keep some of the old bedding and only wash toys that need it (so the ones that are soiled) so to keep as much of his scent around as possible, that'll help him feel more relaxed after cage cleans.
     
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  5. Knighterist

    Knighterist PetForums Member

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    I haven't seen him scratching as much as the other night lately. I made the mistake of disturbing his next from last night tonight by adding more wood shavings...He has moved back to the house now that the [email protected] bedding is there...Maybe he just really likes using that as bedding in the house, saw him raking it all in with his little arms (so cute!). I wont touch his cage except for adding food and changing water.

    If I get tempted, please tell me off!!!

    Also wanted to ask when cleaning you keep his nesting bedding and other materials from rest of cage or just his nesting?

    Thank you again!
     
  6. ForestWomble

    ForestWomble PetForums VIP

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    Yes, it's so cute when they rack things in with their paws :Happy

    Will do.

    Oh sorry, yeah, keep some substrate (the wood shavings) and if you can some of his nesting (the [email protected] paper strips). I try to keep about 25% or there abouts of the old wood shavings, I was never able to save any of the nest but my hamsters seemed to appreciate fresh bedding every week (same as I do really). I found it important to remember where their food store is located so when I'd cleaned out I'd put some fresh food in the store as well.
     
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  7. Knighterist

    Knighterist PetForums Member

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    I am going to have to map out his cage...But at least I have 2-3 weeks to that now! I also guess potty training right now is a no no, though Marble has started peeing in a different corner now...
     
  8. ForestWomble

    ForestWomble PetForums VIP

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    Sorry, what do you mean map out his cage?
    If whatever you are using is not in the cage right now, then yes, leave it for now.
     
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  9. Knighterist

    Knighterist PetForums Member

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    I meant like finding out where he does what and where he hides what...Since I won't be cleaning for 2-3 weeks I thought I'd use that time wisely!
    Should I spot clean at least once a week for the pee corner at least?
     
  10. Knighterist

    Knighterist PetForums Member

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    Aaaaagh, it is 3:30am and he's running on the wheel and I don't know what the wheel is doing that it's making noise!!! Should/can I change it in the morning to the stand instead of attached to the wire cage so it's not maybe hitting the wire cage? (I fear more for my neighbours complaining about me than keeping me up...I hear his little paws and I'm feeling happy that Lord Marble is feeling speedy on the wheel!)
     
  11. Smolmaus

    Smolmaus PetForums Member

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    No harm in that, if you leave the wheel in roughly the same place I'd say he won't even notice. What wheel have you got? A nice quiet one is the best investment you'll ever make lol, I recommend this one 100% of the time.
     
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  12. Knighterist

    Knighterist PetForums Member

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    I got a 22cm one I think...It runs fairly silent on the the stand but I attached it to the cage I think when Marble thunders on it the wheel hits the base tub sides or the wire cage and it makes sound...I ended up putting it back in the stand. He has checked out the stand whilst I was putting it back in...He definitely was much more active last night than the night before, and he ate (heard him rummaging in his bow)l! Which I am most glad about because I was worried he was too stressed and lost appetite and became lethargic.

    A wooden wheel? I saw and heard good reviews on that one. What size should I get and also, in terms of cleaning etc...and...would Marble eat his wheel?
     
  13. Smolmaus

    Smolmaus PetForums Member

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    That's good that he's coming back around to his normal wee self. A good huffing-with-mother session is absolutely necessary after a vet visit!

    Uh I have seen some hams chew the inner cork part but not all of them do. Mine are about 8 months old and not a nibble. I use a sealant called Plastikote (brush-on only, spray-on is not considered safe) to seal mine which might discourage chewing, and Jin will occasionally wee on hers so that stops it soaking in. If you give it a good couple of coats it should be almost wipe-able when you come to clean it but it's never going to be as easy as a plastic wheel. Needs the same size as all wheels, 28cm for syrians, 20cm for dwarfs.

    BUT they are actually silent. All I hear are little feet!
     
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  14. Knighterist

    Knighterist PetForums Member

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    I guess he was very huffed at me as well when I reduced rations of broccoli to only one tiny floret!
    But I am so relieved to hear him on that thing last night though he woke me up.

    I might buy a wooden wheel it seems nice too...Kind of looks and feels a bit more natural in his habitat.

    Lord Marble has set up his fort in the corner of his cage once more...Now armed with more wood shavings than before.

    @forest, I nearly disturbed his bedding! I saw the pee corner and was like...Maybe I should clean that! But I swiftly came back here and checked your clear instructions of no spot cleaning, so I backed the stuffings off his cage after replacing water dish! I'm proud of my quarantine from his Lordship. Yes, Marble is now Lord Marble...XD I think it's fitting since he will be spoiled into becoming a Lordly hamster! XD
     
  15. Tiffanylarkins

    Tiffanylarkins PetForums Member

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    Glad to hear
     
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  16. Knighterist

    Knighterist PetForums Member

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    Can't wait to get Lord Marble to start potty training! :D
     
  17. Tiffanylarkins

    Tiffanylarkins PetForums Member

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    Oh honestly it's the best it may sound weird but it's great I hope he does it when he starts good luck
     
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