How To Handle Hamster Babies?

No matter you intentionally bred your hamster ( although that is not advisable except you are really experienced and know what you will be facing with) or you got a hamster litter by accident, it is very important to know how to handle hamster babies.

I am sure that the first thing that crossed your mind is to help your hammy with delivery and the babies. Don’t do that ! Most of the hamsters are solitary creatures and when it comes to pregnant hamster or hamster that has just become a mom, the word ”solitary” has even greater sense.

But there is plenty of things that you can do for your hamster and her babies. After some time, you can also handle the pups but it is crucial to know the answer n the following questions:

What you can do? When you can touch them and how should you touch them? Do you need to feed them? What if some pup dies? Can hamster baby cry? When it is time to separate them from their mother? What will happen if you don’t do that?

If you would like to discover answers on these and some other question related to hamster babies keep reading our article.

The Size of Hamster Litter

Hamster babies are born 20-30 days after mating. They come to this world blind (eyes are closed), deaf (ears are also closed) and without any fur or hair. At birth, they don’t have all teeth but they have front ones ( incisors).

One hamster mother can have from 3 to 24 pups in one litter ( the maximum number depends on the hamster breed – Syrian hamster can have up to 24 pups but Dwarf up to 13 babies). The average litter size of a fully mature female is about 7-10 pups. When female is really young, barely mature, litter can be smaller, 3-4 pups.

Hamster Mother Can Eat her Babies, Why Is This Happening?

First thing you should know that not all mothers are the same. Rodent mothers generally ( and hamsters are rodents) are not so careful nor emotional towards their young ones.

There are certain reasons why the hamster mother thinks that she has to eat her baby. It sounds like a scary movie but it is reality.

  • If hamster mother is stressed for any reason ( sudden or loud noise, presence of other pets near the cage- dogs/cats, if you are around the cage constantly and checking her and the babies ) she might eat her babies
  • If some pup is ill or unlikely to survive she will eat it
  • If you have touched the baby and left your scent on it, the mother will eat it
  • If the litter is too big and the cage appears to be small resulting in lack of space for the mother, she will eat some of them.
  • The hamster mother also can eat her pups by accident, she could bite them too hard in order to move them from one point to another in the cage
  • A female hamster can also eat her pups as she feels very hungry after she gave birth but that can easily be prevented by supplying her with plenty of food. Bear always in mind that food should be rich in proteins as mather that is eating a pup as a result of being hungry is caused by a lack of proteins in her diet
  • The higher temperature in the room could also result in lower milk production which could cause the death of the pups( mother eats them) Keep the air temperature between 65-75 F which is considered to be the adequate temperature for hamsters.

What If Some Pup Was Born Dead, Should I Remove It From The Cage?

If the mother doesn’t eat the dead pup, yes you should remove it. It happens that a certain number of pups born dead but usually the mother eats them. Sometimes she cannot handle them all so she just moves them aside. You will probably notice a dead pup as it will not be moving at all and will be different color comparing to alive pups which are usually pink

In that case, you have to act. In order to distract your hammy, you can offer her some delicious treats. That could be some porridge or some vegetable and place it as farther from the dead pups as you can.

While she is enjoying her treat, take a clean spoon, rub it in dirty bedding ( to catch some of their scents) and take the dead pups out. You can bury them. You can do the whole thing while the mother is sleeping as well but in any case, you have to be super careful not to leave any trace of your scent anywhere, especially on alive babies as that could jeopardize them.

Also, note that male hamsters should be removed from the cage even before pups come as hamster fathers tend to eat their babies.

Do I Need To Feed The Hamster Babies?

Although the hamster mother does this job as she usually nurses her babies for 2-3 weeks, you should start leaving the solid food for babies 10 days after their birth. Some seeds such as wheat germ cereals would be a good option, just sprinkle them around the nest area. Also, small seeds such as millet or even the whole sprig of millet would be a nice treat for both mother and babies.

You can also offer hamster pellets, hard-boiled eggs, small amount of fresh fruit, nuts etc. But always bear in mind that anything you give your baby hamster needs to be in small pieces/chunks. I found that the size of food you are giving to the baby hamster needs to be the same as the size of its ear!

But if you have to take care of the pups abandoned by their mother or their mum died then prepare yourself as this is really a time-consuming commitment. Also, you should know that pups younger than 8 days have a very low survival rate but it’s worth trying anyway.

How To Take Care of Orphan Baby Hamster?


Taking care of orphan baby hamsters is not only about feeding but let’s start with this. The main food of baby hamsters for the first 10-15 days is milk, of course. As their mother is not around, you need to find a replacement for her milk.

The majority of hamster owners suggest Lactol formula as the best solution. This milk formula is produced and sold as a powder. Lactol is originally made as food for kitten and puppies but it has good nutritional values for hamsters as well.

A good alternative to Lactol is KMR or any other milk solution that has been formulated for kittens. Unlike Lactol, KMR comes in a liquid state – ready to use so you just need to warm the milk on 90 F. Use rather a stove than a microwave ( there is a risk that the milk will not warm evenly in a microwave)

In case you cannot find Lacotol, baby milk formula will do the job. In both cases ( Baby milk or Lactol ), for preparation, you just need to follow the instruction from the package. Mix the powder with sterile water, heating the milk to 90 F . After you cool down the mixture, you can start feeding your baby hamsters.

Avoid cow’s milk though, it is not good for baby hamsters. Although adult hamsters can take a very small amount of it, baby hamsters will not benefit from cow’s milk. The amounts of proteins and fat in cow’s milk are not matching those in the hamster’s milk.

For feeding, you can use either eyedropper or syringe ( without any needle) or feeding wick. It is extremely important to be super careful while holding the pup in your hands and feeding it. Hamster pups are very fragile and any, even light squeeze can hurt them.

If you use eyedropper or syringe, remember to squeeze it gently in order to make a drop hangs from the tip and not squirt a drop directly to the baby’s mouth. If the drop hangs then baby can suck it or lick it but if you squirt the milk to the baby’s mouth you will create great pressure to its lungs. Baby hamster is not able to handle this pressure and can die because of this.

The amount of milk needed depends on the hamster breed. Syrian babies need more milk than other breeds. First two weeks feed a Syrian baby hamster with 1 milliliter of milk, 12 times a day around the clock. After two weeks you can increase the amount of milk and give them 2 milliliters 8 times a day.

Dwarf hamsters are smaller so take smaller amounts of milk. You need to feed Dwarf every 30 minutes with 2 drops of milk. You can give 3 drops of milk when the baby is a little, less than two weeks old and than after two weeks of age feed your Dwarf with 1/2 milliliter every hour. Notify that one baby feeding lasts for approximately 10 minutes.

After your hamster babies are three weeks old you can start weaning them from the milk. To do this properly, cut the amount of milk you are giving to pups by half for a day or two and then stop giving them milk totally.

Once you start giving pups solid food, baby hamster still needs your help. Put a small chunk of food near their mouth and let them take it. If you give hamster pellets, first soak them into the water to soften them a bit.

Of course, don’t forget the fresh water supply every day, it is essential for hamster’s well being and good health.

Pee and poop

Maybe you didn’t know but baby hamsters need help in order to pee and poop. Their mother usually licks the bottom area and stimulates them to do the job but as their mum is not around, you have to jump in. Of course, licking the bottom of baby hamster is not an option but fortunately, there is an alternative.

You can use a cotton swab, soak it in water and then remove the excess of water. Take the pup and gently rub the bottom area with a wet cotton swab for 10 seconds. This should help a pup, encouraging it to pee and poop. It is necessary to perform this action every two hours for the first 10 days, after which the pups should be capable to manage pee and poop by themselves.

Another thing about poop. You might have noticed that your adult hamster eats its own poop. Although it seems disgusting, it is quite normal for hamsters.

They usually have two different types of poops, day and night poop. The one they eat is night poop. This poop is rich in vitamin B12, this is practically the only way to take this very important vitamin. Besides this vitamin, poop contains some other essential nutrients. Because of this, it is important to put a clean tissue under your baby hamster and to collect any waste it drops while in your hands.


The two most important things when it comes to hamster baby environments are clean and dry bedding along with perfect air temperature. Hamster babies are extremely sensitive and cannot cope with even minimally wet bedding. Their lungs would collapse and babies would most probably die of pneumonia. So make sure their bedding is 100% dry all the time.

Regarding temperature, babies will spend most of their time in the nest, trying to keep the body temperature on an adequate level but you need to help them by keeping the room temperature at 70 F. If it goes over 80 F pups will suffer from heatstroke.

Does Baby Hamster Cry?

No, not like a human baby. Hamster babies do produce some sounds when they are frightened or in pain but it is more like screaming or squeaking.

How Long Does It Take for Newborn Hamster to Open the Eyes, Ears, to Get Some Hair, to Move?

Hamsters babies develop very quickly. This is expected when we know how short is their lifespan.

The first change that you will notice is pigmentation on their skin, starting to show 5 days after they are born.

The second change is about their teeth. Although they are born with front teeth, others come out about 7 days after birth. At the same time, you can notice some hairs on their small bodies.

Somewhere between 10 and 14 days of their lives, pups will start to move on their own but they are still blind.

Between two weeks and 17 days, their eyes start to open and their ears will show up slightly after that.

When they turn one month, they look like an adult hamster just in smaller size.

When Can I Touch Baby Hamster?

You can touch your pups when they open their eyes and are at least 2 weeks old. One of my friends who has several Dwarf hamsters told me that before I handle the babies for the first time, I should move the mother out of the cage. The good idea is to put her in play box with some toys and treats to keep her happy and busy. Then you can start touching the babies but at this stage, you shouldn’t move them out of the cage.

When they are about 3 weeks old, you can let them wander around the cage and explore the ”outer area”. This is the right time to clean the cage for first time after the pups were born.

When Should I Separate Pups from Their Mum?

After they turn 3 weeks try to detect the gender. No matter which breed you have it is important to separate your hamster when they are 4 weeks old. This is the time when all hamster breeds are weaned from mum’s milk (although their mum will start discouraging them to nurse when they are 10-15 days old but they will persistent and continue to nurse for another week or so). The pups that are weaned from milk are ready to be separated.

If you have Syrians, they all need to be in separate cages as they are very solitary and territorial creatures. In case you have Dwarfs the situation is a bit different as you only need to separate the hamsters according to the gender. Males in one cage and females in another.

This is also a perfect period to start taming your pups or that will do someone else in case you have found another home your hamster babies.

If you haven’t had experienced with pups so far, bear in mind that more hamsters require more space in the cage. Also, 4 weeks old hamsters are still smaller than adult hamsters so toys should be adjusted to their size.

For example, get some tubes that are not too long and don’t have any blind corners. Houses and boxes in the cages should have at least 2 or even more exists to prevent one hamster to trap another one.

If you didn’t have several hamsters in one cage until now ( in case of Dwarf) you should observe them how do they get along. If they are able to eat, sleep and play together, they are ok but if you notice that some hamsters are fighting or some hamster appears bleeding or injured then you should separate them immediately.

Final Thought

Hamster babies are very tiny and cute creatures. If their mum is around you won’t have much work but if she is not then prepare yourself for a hard task. The good thing that this doesn’t take long, as hamster babies grow really fast.

I hope you have found plenty of useful information in this text to help you handle your hamster babies in the best possible way.

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