Breeding & Raising Baby Hamsters

Word of Caution about Breeding Hamsters

Why You Shouldn’t Intentionally Breed Your Hamsters

  • Selling is hard: Pet stores only buy from a very limited number of reputable breeders.
  • Finding homes: Female hamsters can have a litter of 4 to as many as 15 babies.
  • Bad genetics: You might end up with offspring that have genetic defects or mental illnesses



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Litter Sizes

If you want a new hobby and are considering breeding babies, realize that female hamsters can have a litter of 4 to as many as 15 pups. Do you have enough space to take care of a hamster litter of babies when they grow into mature adults? Do you have a handful of friends or family that are willing to take a baby? Additionally, if you don’t separate the males from the female ones, or, completely separate them if they are Syrian hamsters, after 40 days they too will begin breeding.

Caring for Baby Hamsters

Litter Sizes Per Breed Type:

  • Syrian: 4-12
  • Campbell’s: 7-8
  • Winter White: 4-6
  • Roborovski: 3-5
  • Chinese: 4-5




Selling
selling hamsters

Before you consider breeding hamsters consider the follow. Whether you want to breed them for your own enjoyment or to sell the babies for supplemental income, there are a lot of logistics and barriers to entry. First and foremost, forget about breeding with the thought of selling to pet stores or even online; it’s very unlikely that you will be able to sell them fast enough and there’s little to no chance of selling them to your local pet store. Pet stores only buy from a very limited number of reputable breeders. There are also often laws regarding the sale of hamsters in your your state or province.



cute-hamster

Birth Defects

Finally, if you don’t know what types you should breed with each other, you might end up with newborns that have genetic defects. These babies can be eyeless, toothless and will likely die within two weeks after their birth. Both dwarf breeds and Syrians can have offspring with genetic or mental illnesses.
Genetic Defects and Mental Illnesses:

  • If you breed two Campbell’s with the mottled gene, they have ruby red eyes and pinto like markings, you will get infants that are all white, eyeless, possibly toothless and will die in a matter of two weeks.
  • A Syrian that is roan in color with a white belly has the recessive anophthalmic gene. If you mate two of these together, you will get all white newborns that are eyeless and will die in a matter of two weeks.
  • When you pair two hamsters that are closely related (small gene pool), you might get babies that have mental illnesses. These OCD like behaviors include repetitive actions like constantly pacing back-and-forth or uncontrollable back-flips.

Newborn hamsters are naked and blind at birth and will depend fully on their mother to survive for the first three weeks.

White Hamster with Red Eyes




Breeding Babies

In the wild, the mating season is between spring to early fall. In captivity, the artificial lighting may allow them breed year around. During the mating season, males will seek out willing females. When a female is in estrus and she is willing, she will go into the lordosis; mating will then occur. Females are ready to mate for a 12 hour period every four days. When mating occurs, it’s very brief and shortly afterwards, the female (syrian breeds) will become aggressive to the male. This is why you should only place a male Syrians in with a female counterpart for a short time. If they don’t mate before 15-30 min, it won’t happen and you should separate the pair.

Word of Caution about Breeding Hamsters

The birthing process happens in about one to two hour with a baby coming ever fifteen to thirty minutes. After each one is born, the mother will lick it clean. However, if she feels a threat, she will likely eat her babies. This behavior known as kronismus, is a typical defense mechanism.

This is why it’s so very important to leave the mother and her nest alone during the first week or so after giving birth. Do your very best to keep it quiet in the room where your cage is at and only go into the cage to fill the food dish and water bottle. We suggest stocking it up so you don’t have to fill these for several days.

The gestation period, the time from mating to birth is extremely short; 16 days for Golden Syrians, and 18-20 for dwarf types. During this time the mother will begin eating (need) a lot of protein hamster foods as well as collecting soft bedding and build a birthing nest.

Recommended Bedding
care for a baby hamster

Only the mother Syrian will take care of her young but male dwarfs, especially robo dwarf hamsters will help keep the young hamsters warm when the mom is away.

Raising Baby Hamsters

Day 1: Infants are naked, blind, weigh less than two grams and very vulnerable. They will begin to nurse immediately.

Day 4: They will have doubled in weight, their fur will become visible and their ear canals will begin to open.

Day 6: At this time they will begin to crawl around the cage.

Day 10: They begin to blindly crawl out of the nest and start snacking on solid foods.

Week 2: The eyes of the hamsters will now be open and the youngsters will be able to see fully.

Month 3: The mom will nurse her young for up to the third month and then begin to lose interest.

Month 4: At this time the mom will abandon them but still tolerate them in her habitat for a short while longer.

Note: 40 days after birth, a young hamster is now sexually mature and able to reproduce. It might be time to separate them, especially if they are Syrian breeds.

Separate to Avoid Fights

breeding hamster babies
how to care for new baby hamsters

Orphaned or Abandoned

Usually a mother will have maternal instinct and allow this to happen. However, sometimes a mom will ignore her kids and leave the nest. She may return to eat them later. If you find that your mother is not going to be a good mom, you might need to find a surrogate or hand raise them yourself.

Hand raising newborns is extremely difficult and you should consult a vet or specialist on how to be successful at this. It will require a special baby formula, a tiny syringe and the ability to feed them at every hour of the day and night. It’s better if you can get another female to raise these abandoned kids. This is not easy either. If a mom smells a pup that is not hers, she will eat it. Your best bet is to first clean the baby hamsters to remove the scent of their old nest and then cover them in the other mother’s nesting material to mask the scent. Next lure the mother out with a treat and carefully place the orphaned pups into the surrogates nest. Let them take on the scent of her offspring for as long as you can keep the mother busy. It’s hit or miss if the mom will accept the other pips. Adding more than one or two abandoned babies will make the chances for success even lower.

See How Baby Hamsters Grow Up



Baby Hamster Pictures By: 95129912@N00, hapinachu and badlydrawn

37 comments on “Breeding and Raising Baby Hamsters

  1. It’s best to know how to sex a hamster because some pet store owners lacks knowledge
    I bought 3 male dwarf hamsters from our local pet shop. Then it turns out that one of them is a female and it was too late when I found out. She got pregnant before I could separate her from the males…

    Now I have a total of 12 hamsters… I love all of them though I have to admit, I’ve spent a lot of money on cages, food, toys, beddings, and treats…

  2. Okay so, not exactly sure what type of Hampsters I have but they’ve had babies before and the mother ate them. I think it was because we held the male not knowing the babies were there because the mother was of course caring for them. Now my Hampsters has another set of babies just born yesterday (litter of four) and were not exactly sure how to make sure the femal doesn’t eat them because in 6 weeks the pet shop we got ours from are willing to take them. Any advice for these six weeks?

    • Well, Kerry. I had 2 hamster too. Fem and Male. So idk what to do. I just thougt it would be very dangerous to leave the male with the babies. I bought another cage and put the male in it. It had 5 babies. Two of them has been eaten. I saw 1 only has an head and another only has an body. And theres 3 left. I remember i touched two of the babies. My father advised me that maybe the Fem hamster smell a different smell when the mother was smelling the babies. She thought it wasnt her baby so maybe she eaten them. So i think we shouldnt touch them plus keep the male away. The male will eat the babies too. But the other 3 grew up safely. So when the Fem is taking care of the babies, just put food, water basic things hamster should have and let thr mother take care of the babies. If that doesnt work, u should ask the vet or the shopkeeper what to do.

    • It’s hard to tell until they get a little bit older but the easiest way to tell is to spot the nipples on the underside of the hamster – females have them and males do not.

    • On females they have two holes just like males but females holes will be close together I have pictures of my hansters if u like to see

  3. I’m so glad I have found this site. Our hamster had 6 babies on Thursday. We went away for the weekend leaving plenty of food and water and toilet paper (we have 3 kids so thought the peace and quiet would be good for them). Now I can’t see any sign of them, the mum just sits in one corner and sometimes in another and is not active. Do you think they could be hidden? Should I see them at day 4? Thanks so much for your advice

    • Wait some time before you go looking for them as to not stress the mother. That could lead to her eating the babies as a defense mechanism. If that hasn’t happened already, they are probably just under the bedding in a nest build by the mother. In regards to the mom not being very active, she most likely needs some time to bounce back from energy used during the birth. You can help her by providing her with a few nutritious treats. See this post on hamster food types.

  4. Okay… Soo… My female hamsters gave birth, but I didnt know she was pregnant and Its a school day and Im running late so, I told my dad to remove Gizmo (the male) but he got lonely…. He gained more weight….. He was soooo fat…. He got into diarrhea…. And now my baby hamsters are 1 month old, not with their mom yesterday I seperated them and sooo she got lonely… Can I put them back together? Will they mate again?

    • Yeah, you can put them back together. The mother still may nurse the babies for a few more months. If these are dwarf hamsters, you might be able to keep them together.

  5. I NEED HELP!!!! PLEASE. I have two hamsters that I thought were both female, but I was wrong. One of them was always mean and didn’t like being touched (the dad) while the other was nice and easy to handle(the mother). I was cleaning my cage earlier today and I found three baby hamsters in the bedding. I was shocked to find them, I had no idea she was even pregnant. I changed the bedding quickly and put them back where they originally were and now have the father in a different cage (box). I had to touch the babies to put them back in the cage after cleaning. My first question is how do I know which is the mother and which is the father? Second, how do I know she will take care of her kids? I’m worried my ‘scent’ is on them and she will not take care of them. PLEASE HELP ME.

    • Here is a good post to look at here to determine which is the mom. Once you find that out, give the mom and babies space and see if she starts to care for them.

  6. how to breed a winter white golden red eye and normal winter white? normal was female and golden are male , how bout the babies? is it okay?

    • Unfortunately we are not experts on breeding hamsters and we certainly don’t want to provide you with any inaccurate recommendations. Our only advice would be to not breed hamsters at all.

  7. My syrian hamster gave birth to seven baby hamsters, all doing well for two week or so, then she started to leave them for long periods during the evening, probably all night, as she never stopped on her wheel, then one morning found they had all died, she had eaten one or two of them, totally gutted, then a day or two later, she also died. I read that they might have caught a virus, but I feel lost now, but one did survive and he’s the image of his dad. Not really sure what went wrong.

    • Sorry hear to you lost them all. It’s hard to say but sometime first time mothers don’t have the motherly instinct they need. Her eating them is not out of the norm, it is what they would do in the wild. Her dying was probably due to the pregnancy but again, it’s hard to say. 🙁

  8. hi,i have 8 baby syrian hamster,now they 4weeks old. 1 of them still look like 1weeks old and the others grows normally. can u help me.

  9. Hi, my dwarf hamster just had her babies about a week ago and the babies are at the stage where they can move and crawl. The bedding is so high before she had her babies I tried to remove some but both mom and dad wouldn’t let me which was odd(it came like that because the my mom’s friend gave them to us). But a couple days before mom had the babies we bought a new cage a put the dad in it so the dad doesn’t come in contact. Anyways today when I walked into my room the babies were out of the cage because of the bedding being so high is it okay if I remove some of it because I tried to and the mom didn’t even come close to biting me. I need help asap

    • You should avoid contact with the babies and their nest for another week or so. If you can safely remove some the bedding to keep them from falling out, I guess you can do so. I don’t completely follow how the bedding would allow them to fall out of the cage. Do you not have a top to the cage?

  10. We are not sure how old our babies are they are wondering around and still seem blind but have already got there fur. Any idea as to how old they should be or when to separate them?

  11. Hi!! My daughter’s hamster gave birth to 7 pups. It was 9 days ago. Today we only see 4 pups in the cage. 🙁 I think she ate her 3 other pups and we are really sad about that. Please give us some advice to stop the mother from eating her babies. We still got 4 pups left. I hope they will survive. Thanks in advance.

    • How are the babies doing? Sometimes a mother will eat her young when they feel stressed. Make sure you avoid disturbing the nest and don’t handle them for several weeks.

  12. Hi, 2 months ago I had bought 2 very young hamsters ad was told they were both females. About a month later I figured out that one of the hamsters was obviously a male. I had tried to go to my local pet store where I bought them and asked if I could return them, and they refused. So now I have a pregnant hamster who is due to give birth any day now. I am worried that she will eat or abandon the young since she is still young herself. I have taken the male away (since she became aggressive and bit him multiple times) and I am taking advice from the hours of research I have done. I am very scared and was wondering if anyone could let me know what might happen and what to do in the situation. Thanks!

    • Female hamsters are able to be mothers at a young age so I don’t necessarily think there will be an issue with that. When she gives birth, let them all be. Do not disturb the nest or handle the babies. Give the mother time to figure it out. If the mother doesn’t accept her babies and completely abandons them, you will need to either find a replacement mother ( a hamster with babies of her own) to raise them or hand feed them yourself. The later is a difficult task since they will need around the clock care.

    • Let nature take its course just watch the cage from a distance avoid turning on the light and noise don’t do anything that will make her feel threatened

    • That is not true. Unless something happened to the mother to cause her death, I could understand. My Syrian Hamster gave birth to seven babies. We just separated her babies from the mother, she’s alive and well. Back to her old self! (Anybody want a hamster? lol)

  13. Purchased 2 female Syberian hamsters for my grandsons Saturday, 2 day later, we have babies! Both females are cleaning them and snuggled close together, we are not sure who gave birth. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Don’t disturb them right now. If the mother gets stressed about you handling them, she might eat them. Give them a at least a week before you disturb the nest.

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