Breeding any hamster is not difficult, you just put a male and female together they have babies and you sell them... right?
No wrong... breeding is not something to take lightly. It isn't something to do to make a quick buck, because it is very time consuming and costy.
Before considering breeding your Roborovski hamsters there are so many factors that need to be considerd such as; do you have the room to have multiple cages? Do you know how to sex and seperate the pups when they come of age? Have you got enough money to take your hamsters to a vet if any such complication arises? Have you done indepth research on the breed and would be able to know what to do of the top of your head if a complication arises?
When you start breeding your hamsters you must first make sure you bought your hamsters from a breeder. Buying from a pet shop is ok if you want a pet, but when breeding you need to know asmuch family history as possible. Also, you need to make sure that the two hamsters you buy are from completely different bloodlines/families as inbreeding will produce weaker pups as a result.
Ok so you have considered the above, time to move on...
Roborovski Hamsters are seasonal breeders, which means they mate during a certain time of the year. Roborovski hamsters usually breed around Sping and Summer. This is believed to be because daylight is longer.
Female Roborovski hamsters enter their oestrus cycle every 4 days and remain fertile for 12 hours within this short time, mating and pregnancy can occur. A female can have a litter every 4-5 weeks because they are able to get pregnant immediately after giving birth so it is recommended that the male Roborovski is removed from the cage before the pups are born.
If you want your hamster to have a second litter the male can be left in the cage as he is a good father and helps raise the pups. If you decide to allow the male to stay in with the female to have a second litter it is then highly recommended to remove him before the second litter is born (around the 19th day) as a third litter straight after two pregnancies can be hard on your female hamsters body and health.
When removing the male before a second litter, it is a good idea to remove the pups with him making sure they are not relient on their mother. It is also said to leave one pup from the first litter so the mother isn't lonely, and then remove the last pup when the second litter is born.
The big question... Is my hamster pregnant?
It is not easy to see if your hamster is pregnant as they usually don't show untill they are nearing the very last days before birth, even then that is usually only when having large litters.
The female will banish the male from the nest a few days before the birth and will allow him back after a few days after the birth, don't be alarmed... the males make great fathers.
The females nipples become more visable when pregnant so this could be a sign that she is expecting.
If you suspect your hamster is pregnant clean the cage straight away because once pups are born you will not be able to clean the cage untill the pups are 2-3 weeks old. When cleaning the cage be careful incase pups have already been born. However pups are usually vocal so you should be able to hear them anyway, but still be careful. Clean the cage quickly so your pregnant hamster doen't become stressed, and also provide extra bedding for the nest.
Another tip is to remove the wheel incase your pregnant hamster falls off resulting in dead pups.
It has also been reported that pups have been born inside the wheel which is highly dangerous for the pups, the mother may decide to run in her wheel which will kill the pups.
Safe bedding is also important and one to avoid is Nestledown Bedding. Although described as a safe, non-toxic, non-irritant, non-allergenic bedding, it has been reported that this bedding is unsafe for pups and has sufficated a whole litter. For further bedding information please go to the Bedding page.
It isn't a good idea to handle your pregnant hamster as she could become stressed which isn't health for her or the pups. So leave handling to a minimum.
When your hamster is pregnant it is natural for you to worry and become protective of the mother and her pups when they are born.
Your hamster will look after her pups when they are born so it is highly recommended that you do not go near the nest and interfere, if you do she may reject the pups and even eat them so no danger can come to them. Never handle the new pups before 2-3 weeks after birth because if the pups smell differently she is very likely to reject them and consider them intruders because she relies on her sense of smell.
So it is best to look after the mother by giving her extra protein foods such as boiled or scrambled egg, soya and bread soaked in LOW FAT milk before and after the birth.
Roborovski hamsters have the longest pregnancy of all other breeds, which is 20-22 days but has been recorded to reach 28-30 days by some sources.
Your Roborovski hamster will give birth to her pups every couple of minutes and between this time she will be active walking around her cage. Sometimes she may give birth to her pups around the cage... do not panic, after the last pup is born she will collect all her pups and put them into her nest which she will prepare before the birth. Any mess made during the birth will be neatly cleaned up.
The pups will be born blind, they will have no fur and will be pink all over.