Proving you can’t know it all with hamsters

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:-

Nesgad Litter 20-06-15 - Day 25 g

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 😉

Blue – The latest colour on the block

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.

Protula Litter 07-08-2015 Day 12 a Protula Litter 07-08-2015 Day 13 a Protula Litter 07-08-2015 Day 13 b

Handling Roborovski Hamsters

I often get asked if people should handle their new roborovski hamster and it made me wonder if there is somewhere on the internet that suggests you shouldn’t. Goodness me I shouldn’t have looked!!

So, to right this awfully bad misinformation let me educate you 🙂

I breed and show these delightful creatures and that means I handle them, a lot. They are just like any other species of hamster. They are handled from 2 weeks old, as soon as their eyes are starting to open, and then handled every day until they go to their new homes. The ones I keep for showing have to be handled regularly to get them used to life on the show bench, just like the syrians and the chinese.

Roborovskis are clowns….on rocket fuel. A slow robo is either old or sick. Even the tame ones that we have at the show or on display stands need to be handled over a box, just in case they decide to have a run. They are not pets for small children because they need to be handled by older children or adults so that they don’t get squeezed too hard.

The idea that there are robos out there that don’t get any handling at all because the internet says not to is very sad.

Roborovskis like to be handled, they like to sit on your hand and clean themselves…the ultimate sign of a calm hamster. The best way to handle them is to get a storage box, place some of their bedding in it and ‘juggle’ your robo hand over hand until they calm down. Most do after the intial 30 seconds of ‘lift off’ as soon as they realise you aren’t going to eat them this time.

Naturally, your roborovski will run from you when you first go into the cage but will soon calm down. Handle, handle, handle! That’s the key to having your robo then turn around and inspect your fingers for treats. They are not a cuddly species but that doesn’t mean you should allow them to become feral. All that happens is they live in constant low level stress from being too nervous. You aren’t doing them any favours.

Robos do not cope with stress very well and will squawk at you when they feel unable to handle life. Just keep letting them now that handling is normal, and fine and that you going into their cage is also not a problem. Do it on a routine and they will soon realise that there is nothing to be worried about.

My best advice is to choose a hamstery page, blog or website for information directly from people who breed the species rather than cutesy pages from people who maybe own one or two and then become self professed gurus on them.  Sure, you can have robos from large chain pet stores that don’t like to be handled because they haven’t had any at all, or no positive handling, til they got to you but that is not a species characteristic just a sign of an inattentive breeder or a grumpy individual.

This is where going to a registered show breeder helps. An unhandleable hamster is disqualified from the show, especially if they bite (which robos rarely do) and are usually not then bred from.

I’m hoping to put some care articles/videos up soon to illustrate aspects of caring for these, and other species of hamsters as well as mice.

Happy handling!

Denchlet 13-04-15 - Day 21 a