Start Up Guide for Hamsters
This guide is meant to help you get set up easier if you have chosen to create your own cage. Clicking on the links might earn a tiny commission for the rescue if you were to make a purchase, but more importantly, these are acceptable products that will enable you to provide a home where your hamster can thrive fully which is always going to be the goal.
Cages: Bigger is Always Better
In the rescue, 50-gallon also known as 200 qt, bin cages are used. These can be purchased at Home Depot year around and during the Christmas season they can be found at Walmart and Target as well.
Some much bigger and absolutely fantastic cages are the Niteangel Bigger World cages which come in 2 types and 3 sizes, of course the biggest sizes offer the best option, but the medium is semi okay. FYI: The smallest size is not sufficiently spaced unfortunately.
A similar enclosure to the Niteangel cages are MEWOOFUN Cages but again, check sizes because this company makes some very small inappropriate cages too. Only the largest should be considered.
Wheels: Silence is Everything!
Niteangel wheels are a favorite here. They are silent and easy to clean plus adjustable so every hamster in the rescue has been given one and I have zero complaints. Nor will I ever use another brand again. For dwarfs I use the 8-inch wheel and for Syrians either the 10-inch or the 12-inch works. Of course, there are many acceptable wheels for dwarf hamsters such as the yellow 9-inch and for Syrians the 12-inch orange Silent Runners by Exotic Nutrition and the Wodent Wheels are all silent options, but these wheels are incredibly difficult to clean! The cost of these are comparable to Niteangel wheels so it really is a matter of preference. I do not recommend Kaytee silent spinner wheels, first they don't last and 2nd they are poorly made and unsafe.
Hide Houses: Hamsters Like Privacy
There are also many suitable hide houses on the market, but multi-chamber hides serve more than just one purpose. You probably have already guessed which brand I am going to list here by now, that's right, Niteangel. If you are going for a natural hamster cage theme, this China based company offers quality products that are easily accessible if you are in the USA. I like to choose hides that have a nice flat surface to set things on because in a hamster cage every square inch counts and utilizing platforms and hides helps use the space wisely.
Tagalong is sitting in her sandbath
Sand Baths: Hamsters Use Them as Potty Places and to Bathe
Niteangel wins again. However, there are some other options such as the bamboo silverware drawer organizer found at Target, sorry no link, but they are easily found. They come in 2 sizes and depending on your cage size you can choose which will fit best. If you want to stick with the Niteangel theme, these sandbaths are amazing! Again, many different size options are available.
Almost any container can work for a sand bath though such as large ceramic bowls, glass baking dishes and acrylic paper trays work. I do not like plastic food storage containers because they are easily chewed so possibly not safe plus, they soil quickly. I also do not recommend tin baking sheets or foil items. To maintain sand and help it last longer it is important to strain it daily or every other day depending on how quickly it gets soiled. I use dollar store strainers and pancake mixing bowls for this.
As for which sand to use, there are many acceptable ones like Zoomed Reptisand. I use the Flukers All Natural Dune Sand, but of course Niteangel also makes a safe sand surprise surprise! Even most Children's play sands is good, but what you DON'T want to use is a sand with calcium, artificial dyes/colors or that contains silica. And one brand created especially for small animals called Tiny Friends Farms is not safe at all and neither is any kind of Chinchilla bathing dust. Rember sand is what hamsters need to regulate the oils in their coats and use as a potty, NOT DUST, which is hazardous to their respiratory systems.
What to Feed? A Diet Rich in Protein, Supplemented With Seeds, Nuts, Veggies and Occasionally Fruit
Hamsters need a mixture of a few commercial foods in order to sufficiently meet their dietary needs. What they should NOT be fed is hay or a commercial diet like Oxbow Hamster Pellets or the Power of 5 from Petsmart which consists of hay as the main ingredient. Their bodies are designed to ingest and make use of protein, but hay passes right through them without being able to absorb nutrients.
Seedmix for all species:
Accessories: Everything Else I Have Used to Create Them a Nice Home While They Wait for Adoption
Everything linked below is what I use to fill in the spaces in the hamster cages I set up for the rescues. They will be living in their cages permanently if not adopted so I spare no expenses when considering what they need to thrive.
Kaytee Clean and Cozy White Bedding
Small Pet Select Brown Bedding
Kaytee Clear Water Bottle
Niteangel 2 Pack Natural Coconut Hideouts
Niteangel Hamster Hideout Tree Trunk Tunnel
Niteangel Creative & Composable Hamster Tunnel
Niteangel Natural Wooden Hamster Mouse Tunnel Tube Toy Forest Hollow Tree Trunk
Niteangel Hamster House Climbing Ladder for Hamsters
More Extra Enrichment
This Playpen is AWESOME it gets a lot of use here!
Carrier for short travel trips
To offset costs of running the rescue I am creating planners, journals and notebooks, linked below, to sell on Amazon. Each one will bring in between $2 and $4 and will go directly into the rescue account.
More are in the making so check back soon and thank you for your support!