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Forum Home > General questions concerning your hamster > Sticky: Reasons and Prevention for Fighting. UpDated!

TinkaHams
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Posts: 809

Since one of the most common questions on the forum seems to be about hamsters fighting, I decided to make this thread. I hope no-one minds. It just seems easier to refer to one page with possible reasons and how to help prevent fighting than to keep typing it over and over again. :)


Things that can cause agression,

  • Moving house. - This can be from moving from pet shop/breeder/preivous owner to your home. I'm not sure why this happens but have seen that this can be the case. When i moved my pied pair started fighting rather quickly and again when I moved for xmas I noticed again that three of my girls that had always got along started to fight. But as soon as we came back they settled down again. I would say it could be due to scents inthe air but still unsure. - Theory.


  • Upgrading cage - When you get another cage you excitedly set it up with fresh bedding and clean water and new toys and place your hammys into the cage happy and excited to see them explore but later they start to fight and your left wondering why? Well it's simple you placed them in a neutral enviroment but after a time they start to try and assert some domiance over each other. Generally it might settle rather quickly but sometimes the fights can be serious. In order to prevent this, I would transfer about half of the old bedding into the new cage, water bottles and old toys then the hamsters, add new toys slowly to see if any fights occur over them. 


  • Tiered cages and connecting houses (like Rotastak), - area's start to belong to certain hamsters, So try and prevent this is better to have a  larger flat cage with little or no tier, this is one of the reasons I like vivariums, fishtanks and bin cages. :)

  • Wood chip/shaving bedding, - this will come as a shock to most people, but I myself have seen proof, I use Aspen or Cork bedding one day my shipment of bedding was late and I was forced to use woodshavings, my two male hamsters started to fight and I had to part them, next day Aspen arrived and i changed the cage and they were fine again. I believe it has something to do with the woodchips holding but NOT locking thier scents Meaning although we can't smell it they can as they are closer to it and increasing the chance of aggression.
    I recommend Aspen bedding as mine can last up to 3 weeks without changing (I change every two).

  • Wheels, - Number one fight prone area, you preferable need a wheel for each of your hams as once they start running they dont like being stopped and will fight others for the use of thier wheel. Also remember that wheel favouritism has a chance to become ugly remove the wheel and wash in HOT water and mild bleach and allow to air dry and see if that sorts the problem you may need to consider replacing it. 

  • Food bowls - This is another major one, these are like tiers they create an area of dominance, making the "alpha" hamster sit and eat most of the food and become aggressive when the submissive ones come close. Best way to deal with this is simply remove the bowl and scatter the food around the cage this is also classed as fun and enrichment for your hammies. :)

  • Females in heat - females come into heat every 4 days for 12 days, not only will male robo's fight over the right to mate, plus females put up a fight before they allow to be mated with. Best way to deal with this is to keep only one male in the cage with a female or part the female into her own cage, and keep a female hammy on a different side of the room as the scent from the female in heat will reach a cage next door.

  • Pregant females - If you have a male and female together or have two females housed together who has a male day tripping into thier cage or play area, You might end up with a mum to be, these mother's become REALLY protective of themselves and very agressive  almost certainly towards males and possibley to females alike.

  • Lack of space: A simple and most over looked issue a single robo need at least 10 gallon cage  or a cage by 1.5ft by 1.5ft at the VERY least. I have a large 3ft by 1.5ft vivarium for two, but these are normally filled bu breeding pairs I also have  two large birthing/medical storage bincages which are 62 litres each. What may of been suitable for them as babies might not be suitable still as adults. 

  • Waterbottles - same to the foodbowl, for two hammys one bottle is fine, but for four have atleast two.

  • Lack of food - another over looked reason and yet not common as people generally over feed thier hammies :P  a single robo needs around two teaspoons everyday.

  • Coming of age - as babies hamsters are far more accepting, but as they mature more so in males their bodies will start to change like human men getting testosterone, this increases thier natural aggression. So male pups that got along well as babies will become very agressive as they mature.

  • Energy Levels - I've noticed that two uneven energy levels will increase the risk of fighting. If you have one hyper and one snoozer you will find that one will become irratated with the other fairly quickly. To help prevent this select two hamsters with similar enegry if possible (I know its hard when they are from a pet shop) or choose one that is closer to your current robo's enegry. 

  • Natural aggresion - some hammys just arent team players. and will prefer to be on thier own. How to you deal with this? Well you could try a split cage method and the other method I've listed below.

http/www.twinsqueaks.com/split-tank.html


TIP - A great split tank guide perfect for make perment or semi perment split cages. Ive seen them done with use chicken wire but they can dig under, climb round and hurt them selves on metal barbs.


http://www.egerbil.com/splittank.html


This is an easier one than  the twinsqueaks one good for those alittle less handy or can find the required tools. Also cheaper and better for less perment split cage.


  • Not being Related. - So you have a hammy and he's pretty happy and you love him and you decide to get him a friend cause you want him to be even happier. 
    So you go and get your new little buddie but your older hamster rejects him. 

This last one is the MOST COMMON problem, hamsters that are related by blood cannot always be housed together its very differcult to introduce a new hamster to another one which isnt related. 

Female are slightly more accepting and most will accept an almost pup type one 10 weeks old etc. 

Males can be alittle more differcult and sadly there are cases where they will attack and try or worse succeed in hurting or killing each other. :(

So how do I stop this?

Well if you can get a new cage, get one this makes it alot more simplier trust me. But most people cannot do this. Place your hamster into its ball or play pen or where you put it when cleaning (Unless the bath cause this is easier done in the bath).  Empty the cage of all its bedding and wash EVERYTHING. Run a HOT, HOT bath till its about 1/4 full and place some mild bleach into the bath tub and start scrubbing (use gloves as the water should be really hot) clean the;

Inside walls (to the top)
Corners (really well)
Outside walls (top and bottom)
Water bottle and holder (Q-tip to clean the metal spout)
Sand dish.
The  wheels (take it apart too)
Houses (even wood ones - I also say treat wood with child safe varnish)
Toys.
If you have loo rolls time to throw those away, so save up some fresh ones :)

After cleaning allow to air dry and then go over with a towel to make sure completely dry. Then pack in the bedding with two/three handfuls of treats mixed into the bedding and then add the water bottle. Place the more SUBMISSIVE (generally the new one) hamster into the cage and leave for ten minutes. Then add the second. Remember No toys, wheels, no houses nothing but bedding,water and hamsters.

Thier may be boxing and small amount of chasing that is fine as long thier is no over agressive action, biting, rolling onto backs, or furry balls. Any of these and part and try split cage. Should it go well after 10 minutes start to add toys one at a time, the idea is to see if a toy starts any agressive behaviour, If fighting occurs after a placing of a toy remove toy, rewash and try again later. Wait till they are calm again and carry on adding toys and houses etc. you can start or end with wheels, I find it better to end with them. 
If the same agressive action keep reoccurring with the same toy even after many washes you may have to replace that toy/wheel/house with a different one. :)

TiP - When starting this method have some peanuts or pumkinseeds to hand and scatter into the cage should thier seem to be mild fighting if they stop and start eating thats good if not Badbad and Go to Split-cage method.

Should this fail try the split cage method, split cage is the final chance I say. if after 2 months they still fight using split cage then you have to decide to have two cages or use a perment split-cage. 

If you have anymore tips feel free to add them :)

 Edit; This was my 400th post!! YAY!

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September 19, 2011 at 7:18 PM Flag Quote & Reply

tae
Member
Posts: 359

This is very interesting! I bet you worked a lot to write this! And thank you for writing this thread as this will help many people.

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September 19, 2011 at 8:45 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Penelope
Member
Posts: 12

Quick question:

"Female are slightly more accepting and most will accept an almost pup type one 10 weeks old etc."

 

(Sorry if i sound stupid XD i haven't been a Robo owner for  very long. About a year, which isn't long to me XD)

but is that completely true? I have no reason to say its not, but better safe than sorry. My hamster Rita, had 7 babies yesterday (adorable little babies 8D) i am quite sure that at least one of the pups is female. So i was wondering, when she's older of course, if i could move her in with her older sister, who is 3 months old. I dunno if it would be safe, or smart XD but the only way to find out is to ask. Do you think her sister might accept her? and what age would be best for moving her in? Should I wait until she is 10 weeks, or would it be wiser to try earlier or not at all?

Sorry if this is in the wrong spot, i just thought it would be appropriate to post it here. If need be, i can make this into a seperate topic if this doesn't belong here

 


October 12, 2011 at 4:50 PM Flag Quote & Reply

The Weaver
Moderator
Posts: 1018

You would probably have been better asking the question in a separate thread but it doesn't really matter.

 

You will probably have more success if you put them together when the pup is still young, say three weeks old after she is fully weaned.

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A DEEP THINKER WITH A SHALLOW MIND

October 12, 2011 at 7:36 PM Flag Quote & Reply

TinkaHams
Moderator
Posts: 809

Updated first post.

And Yes penelope, if you place them in sooner they easier it will be to bond. If your concerned about it, start with play dates in a neutral area :)

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Made by me please dont use without permission. :)

I'm a  Moderator! If you need help, or have a question, feel free to contact me!

October 16, 2011 at 10:39 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Salt & Pepper
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Posts: 24

Thanks for posting! Really useful :)

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February 1, 2012 at 3:05 PM Flag Quote & Reply

princess scants
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Posts: 35
thank you intresting and helpful xx
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March 6, 2012 at 1:47 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alex
Moderator
Posts: 397
  • The other reason- May sound stubid - Is they might be fighting over the commen stuff... EG: if you have only 1 wheel to share they will fight about it- and might bring blood. It's best that when your getting two hamsters to have two wheels, two waterbottels ( If you want to may also have two woodchips and other toys- but there not needed. I dont think it will cause a fight )
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Alex x

♥Ginger♥


February 18, 2013 at 6:34 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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