Runt of the Litter
Caring for a baby runt hamster. When a hamster has a larger than usual litter of pup's there may be one that is undersized, under nourished and weaker than the rest of his litter mates. This is known as the runt of the litter.
These runts may or may not survive into adulthood. Litters can vary from two or three young to as many as ten or more. The runts are usually bullied and pushed away from the feeding area by the stronger of his litter mates and unable to compete for the chance to nurse and therefore his survival. This can result occasionally in the death of the pup. Due to its small size the runt of a litter faces obvious disadvantages, including difficulties with competing with its nest mates for survival and possibly rejection by the mother. Even with domestic animals runts often face rejection by the mother and in some instances because the runt is taking too long to mature she may kill it.
When a runt is singled out and placed under direct care for hand rearing and feeding they can eventually overtake their litter mates in size and weight.
The pups are normally weaned by 21 days, after this time there is a great possibility if the pup is left with it's litter mates and mother it may not survive due to the fact that it is taking too long to mature.
In this video Click Here To view: The runt was taken away from the litter at 21 days old and placed under special care for hand rearing. At 21 days she was very small and under weight for her age. Once she was on her own she began to flourish very quickly and started to put on a bit of weight. At 6 week old she is coming along nicely and about 8 times her initial runt size. At 8 week old she is normal weight and size for a hamster her age.
It can be seen in this video below which is the runt; these hamsters are of the same age and from the same litter.