Breeding Syrian Hamsters
Before commencing on any project of breeding hamsters "PLEASE THINK CAREFULLY" What is your reason for breeding? Is it because you love the particular species you intend to breed. Or is it just to see the wonders of the birth (which incidentally is very rare) as the birth usually takes place in the dead of night. Or is it to make that bit of extra cash? Theses are not sound and valid reasons for breeding. Syrian Hamsters are very easy to breed; doing it right is the difficult bit.
Where do you acquire your hamsters that you intend to breed? Pet Shops? That is the first mistake. Pet shop bought hamsters must "never" be used to breed from. Not all or just any hamster should or can be bred from.
Pet shops bought hamsters are to be kept solely as pets, and never to be used for breeding purposes. Hamsters bought from pet shops may carry recessive traits. Since these recessive traits are unknown or hidden it can often produce unhealthy undesirable traits in their siblings. As with recessive traits it can be difficult if not near impossible for a novice breeder to identify carriers.
Most Pet shop hamsters' come from rodent farms, or mills, where they are bred in large quantities. Theses breeders have very little concern about health or temperament issues. They breed for profit by breeding and producing as many babies as possible by using inbreeding or line breeding techniques.
Their females are often kept pregnant without any period of rest between litters. As soon as one litter is taken away the female will be forced to mate again within days. Essentially she is just a baby producing mechanism for them. This is an extremely hazardous situation that can have serious repercussions. Why? Because the Syrian hamsters in captivity to-day have a very low genetic variation, on account of how they were introduced into captivity. Just like all rodents they are prolific breeders, meaning they can produce offspring’s in abundance and at an alarming rate. The serious implications this abnormality can have, genetically, has led to many of these breeders discontinuing breeding altogether, with many shops declining to sell their hamsters'.
Responsible breeders always seek to improve the species.
What is to happen to the young hamster pups the female will produce. She can produce from 6-12 pups per litter, possibly more.
Do you have homes for them ? an outlet ? Pet shops usually have a regular breeder supplying them with hamsters. They will usually stay with their known and trusted breeder or supplier. Most pet shops will not take hamsters from people off the street. Most only keep a limited number of baby hamsters, because hamsters are not babies for very long, and that is what their customers seek.
It is possible you could end up with a lot of babies that you may not be able to house or keep. It is not easy finding good and suitable loving homes for all those baby hamsters even if you try to give them away, this is irresponsible breeding. We don't condemn those who want to take breeding seriously, but be serious about it. Even professional breeders had to start somewhere.
Syrian hamsters have to be separated into single sex cages at the age of 4-5 weeks. They are capable of reproducing even at this very young age. At the age of 6-8 weeks they have to be housed alone: It is at this age their solitary and territorial instincts start to emerge. From here on serious and persistent fighting will occur. Can you accommodate them all, have you got the cages, the time, the equipment, and the space in which to keep them.
If you are unable to cope, house, and supply the love care and attention that these adorable little creatures deserve then "PLEASE THINK AGAIN" before breeding hamsters.
Oestrus: On Heat. In Season. This is the only time when a female hamster will accept the male for mating. Heat generally begins approximately one and a half hours after
dusk on the third day of the oestrus cycle, and ovulation is completed six to ten
hours after onset of psychic oestrus. She should ideally be introduced to the males cage, as females can become aggressively protective of her own territory. Or the mating can be conducted on neutral ground if you wish. If she is receptive she
will quickly assume the mating position, her tummy to the ground, and her tail in the air. Copulation should occur within 2-3 minutes. If this does not happen or the female becomes aggressive then remove her back to her own cage. If copulation does occur then the pair can be left together until such
time as the female, or the male, shows no further interest in mating. This is usually between 20 to 30 minutes. They should not be left together for
any prolonged period of time as fighting will occur.
A Female Syrian Hamster in Season
Once it has been established that the mating is to take place. This should be done about 1½ hours after dark as this is when the female will be at her most receptive.
For the inexperienced breeder one way to establish if she is ready to mate is to gently stroke her back. If she is ready to mate she will freeze and go into what we call the receptive pose (as seen in this Video ) with her tummy to the ground, and her tail in the air.
They can then be left together for about 20 - 30 min's keeping them under constant supervision. This is the only occasion that she will tolerate another hamster near her.
The male will mount for a few seconds only, he will dismount then proceed to wash himself. This procedure may take place many times until the conclusion of the mating.
If you have made a wrong decision and the female is not in heat she will become aggressive with the male almost immediately by her attacking him. Separate them then try again the following evening.
Breeding Syrian Hamsters