All three girls gave birth as expected. Over the next few weeks I’m hoping to do a sort of breeders diary to give people an idea of what’s actually involved in raising these guys. My aim is to bridge the gap between those who think that multiple litters are horrendously time consuming and those who think they are very easy.
The reality is in between the two. Assuming the timing is right you can raise multiple litters without too much extra hassle. There’s not a lot of difference between one, two or three at the same time. But when you put in a degree of effort for one litter then you do have to plan in advance how to achieve this times two or three extras.
The hardest part, for syrians, is anticipating how many temporary cages you need for the youngsters when they get old enough to split up. The point at which they fall out with their siblings is hard to predict, as is the size of any litter. But the nice thing about hamsters is that they usually aren’t too difficult to rehome, especially when they are quality animals that are tame, healthy and good looking. This is why it’s worth putting in the extra time.
Contrary to popular opinion, mostly expressed online, a good breeder can breed multiple litters and across different species, assuming that they put the time in. I am not expecting to do much but eat, sleep and breathe baby hamsters for the next 6-8 weeks. In terms of profit. There are easier ways to make this small amount of money. The money we make is really more of a token towards the cost of raising them and to discourage those looking for a freebie. I like the idea of being the same price, or cheaper that major pet store chains as you get so much more for your money.
I’ve had to go all out and pair up everything I have to avoid losing lines as females get older. I’m hoping that I’ve got enough litters on the way to take my various bloodlines into 2016.
My own fault, in a way. I’ve had a crisis of career over the previous couple of months, so haven’t been 100% focused. I mean, if I were to get a full time job outside of the house then how would I have time for my breeding.
In any case, I’m happy with my two part time jobs that fit in quite nicely but it means I’ve looked at my list and had a bit of a panic. It’s the wrong time of year for prolific amounts of babies.
But if I wait til spring then half my girls will be retired so here I go. My list of expected litter on the website is the longest it’s ever been! I’ve got spare baby boxes coming out of my ears and disappearing under an increasing stack of baby food/kitten food/kitten milk.
I’m ready! Hopefully they are too. And, if I’m lucky, I’ll have time to make some videos although I’m not promising anything.
With hamsters, sometimes the only way to truly know what other colours they carry is to mate them with a hamster who is a different colour. To illustrate my point, I mated my black girl Nessie to a cinnamon boy Gadwin. Cinnamon is recessive, so is black. If I get doves, it means that boy parents carry each others colours. i.e. Gadwin carries black and Nessie carries cinnamon as you need two of both of these genes in one hamster to produce this colour.
I was expecting goldens but suspecting cinnamons as Nessies dad Dougal had thrown some funny honey babies before. Lo and behold I got this:-
Hmmm, very orange for a golden? I jest, this is a cinnamon girl. This mating proves Nessie does carry cinnamon. Sometimes pedigrees can’t tell you everything and this is why we test mate to prove purity in lines that shouldn’t have anything in them. Recessives can carry a loooong way 😉
Hopefully due to grow up big and strong, the survivor from my latest litter is a blue. Out of two black parents carrying this new ‘dilute’ gene, this little girl is very special to me. Ideally I would have like a boy that could have more than a couple of litters, but I’m happy to take this.
Her mum and dad will be paired again at some point to see if I can get more blues out and possibly males too. I’m very excited as this colour is lovely.
Not standardised just yet, the gene is being experimented with by a couple of hamsteries. Namely Norwood Hamstery, Laura Lovatt and now Tuftyfluff Hamstery here in the UK that I know of. They are possibly more. The dilute gene seems to have different effects on different colours so this process may take a while.
In the meantime, I’m happy to work with it’s effect on blacks and it would be very interesting to see it’s effect in chocolates too. I’m currently working towards a few different goals although ultimately a good black is still my most important aim.
Just a little over 2 weeks old now, I hope you enjoy the photo spam you will be forced to see over the coming weeks.