Frequently Asked Questions
How long have you been breeding?
As of this writing (2017), we've been breeding for a little over a year and a half. March is our anniversary!
However, we started learning long before we started breeding. We were also lucky enough to start with great breeding stock and knowledgable experts helping us--we wouldn't be there without them!
Do you breed dwarf hamsters/mice/rats too?
Nope, we stick to Syrian hamsters only. We think it's a pretty rare person that is knowledgable enough in multiple species to breed them well. We don't think we could do it!
Do you work with other breeders?
Yes, indeed! Julianna at Strong Brew Hamstery is our mentor, and we work alongside Moxie Hamstery (retired) and Sweet Tooth Hamstery (retired) as well as Zika Hamstery and Holmden Hill Haven. We also occasionally get advice from Linda Price of AAA Hamsters (retired).
Are you a part of the California Hamster Association?
We ARE the California Hamster Association! Together with Melissa and Amy of Sweet Tooth and Moxie, we keep the California Hamster Association alive. We host several hamster shows per year and attend the OC Pet Expo annually. We'd love to see you at one of these events!
Are all breeders like you?
Unfortunately, no. If you don't end up adopting from us, we urge you to do your homework and find another breeder you trust. There are lots of people out there that breed for the wrong reasons! If you need help evaluating a breeder, please visit this article from the California Hamster Association.
Where are you located?
Erin is located in Orange County and Tony is located in Ventura. We meet in the middle to cover LA County, usually using Griffith Park as our common ground. Tony occasionally travels a bit north and can meet with adopters in that direction if previously discussed.
What is your adoption fee?
See our adoption packages page!
What is your adoption process?
Please visit our adoption process page!
Do you have a storefront?
No, we don't! We run this shin-dig out of our very own loving homes. That's why all of our hamsters receive tons of love and attention!
Can I come visit the hamsters?
Sorry, but no. For our personal safety, we only conduct business away from our homes. Additionally, our baby hamsters are fragile and we can't have lots of people touching them because of their tiny, new immune systems. We conduct all reservations through photos, videos, and recommendations.
Can I adopt a hamster right now?
Unfortunately not. Because we love our hamsters so much, we take the time to breed them with kindness and compassion. We wait until they're ready and we know that all the babies will have homes to go to. To do this, we maintain a waitlist. So fill out our application and we will add you to it!
Can you ship me a hamster?
Rodents, and all mammals, can only be shipped via air. The cost is prohibitively expensive, and it does take a great deal of time and planning. For this reason, we do not ship hamsters except to other breeders we know and trust.
What cage/food/wheel/bedding should I use?
For great cage ideas, check out our cage page!
Bedding is simple--just use something safe. If you want to use wood, aspen is the only safe option. However, we prefer paper bedding such as Kaytee Clean and Cozy (our fave!), Carefresh Ultra, or similar products.
Do I need a sand bath?
Well, do you want cage cleaning to be easy or difficult? Sand baths are not only used for grooming, but also encourage the hamster to urinate. Your hamsters comes home from our house knowing that sand is their potty, which allows you to keep the cage much cleaner. It's up to you--you can read about how weuse and prepare sand here!
What's this bump on my hamster's hip?
Don't worry! All Syrian hamsters have scent glands on each of their hips. They use them to mark their territory using pheromones that are odorless to humans.
Why does my female freeze and/or smell sometimes?
Female hamsters go into heat every four evenings! During this time, their tail will go up and they will "freeze" for a minute or two if their back is petted. They might also emit a musky smell, sometimes described as "skunky." Don't worry, she is perfectly healthy and normal--and most importantly, it will be gone tomorrow!
How long will my hamster live?
On average, hamsters live one and a half to two years.
Where do you get your hamsters?
We got the bulk of our current breeding stock from Linda Price of AAA Hamsters when she retired. We also brought in some hamsters from Zika Hamstery and Holmden Hill Haven. As of 2019, we have imported hamsters from Germany, Netherlands and the UK.
Can I have a hamster that looks just like Bernard/Hansel/my old hamster?
Hamster genetics are complicated and while we know what to expect from each pairing, we don't know exactly what the pups will be. For example, if Bernard or Hansel had been a girl of the same color, they would have had much shorter hair and wouldn't be the "floofy" hunks we all know and love. Unknowns such as this and others keep us from being able to guarantee everyone's ideal hamster.
Additionally, if you want a pet that looks just like your old hamster that has passed, we may or may not be able to do that. If your hamster was one of the colors that resides in our lines, it's a possibility. However, if your hamster was a purple polka-dotted long haired female with a striped tummy, we're going to have to say no just because we don't have those genes at play (the same goes for any color we're not currently working with) (;
I'm thinking about breeding. What would you say?
Stay at the "thinking" stage for a while. Really consider the commitment that breeding hamsters takes. Believe it or not, we lose money on every litter between food, adoption kits, vet visits, and all of the little purchases. We do this for the love of the animals. If you can come to terms with that, then you might make a good breeder. Spend time reaching out to us and other established breeders. Make sure you are running with the right crowd--those who have love and ethics at the core of their mission, not "cute babies" or greed. This is a tough job but we do need more dedicated folks in the hobby. We would be happy to help you in any way we can.
Here are some great articles we think will help you!
Can I breed my Cheeks and Squeaks Hamster?
No, please don't. All of our animals, with the exception of some males that are adopted on breeding contracts, go home because they are not breeding quality. If you are looking for breeding animals, be open and honest with us. We would rather point you toward our best options than have you breed an animal that should not have been.
What are your current goals?
We are constantly working toward black and chocolate banded tortoiseshell rex. We also are trying to improve our type and create broader head shapes and blunter noses.
What happens to your older hamsters? Can I adopt one?
Perhaps! We've never adopted out our retirees, but we might be open to it. Shoot us a message and we can chat about it! Otherwise, they will remain in our home as cherished companions.
What if I can no longer keep my Cheeks and Squeaks Hamster?
We know that life happens. If at any time in your hamster's life you find yourself unable to care for your hamster, just contact us. We will work out a solution that is best for both you and the animal. Sometimes that means short term care, other times, that means the hamster stays with us or goes on to another home. Whatever the answer is, we will find it together.
What does it mean to be a part of your breeding program?
Males that are a part of our breeding program may be asked to come back to us every so often. We do this with your convenience in mind. If a weekday pairing is going to be best, we will ask to pick up your male on a Saturday or Sunday and return him the following weekend. If we can schedule a weekend pairing, we will just borrow your little guy overnight. Sometimes, this means a super fun pizza-and-ice cream party in our homes where you can see the inner workings of how we do things. Whatever is best for both you and us, we will work it out!
Do your price your hamsters based on color or rarity?
Nope, and frankly, we think that idea is really lame. There is no such thing as a "rare" color. Sure, it might be uncommon to see a rust hamster in a little town on Krypton, but that doesn't mean it is rare. It also doesn't take any more money, time, or expertise to breed a certain color or coat type--just the right genes. We firmly believe that truly exceptional animals should be held back for breeding and that all others should be allowed to go to great homes with no barriers, such as price, in the way. If you'd like to learn more about our stance on this, this article explains it beautifully.
I've seen pictures of the hamster, Love, on your page. Are you breeding hairless hamsters?
I've seen pictures of the hamster, Winnie/Wilbur/Wyatt, on your page. Are you breeding hydrocephalic hamsters?
Never! Love was a rescue that we pulled from a pet store because hairless hamsters are so misunderstood. It's a common misconception that hairless animals do not suffer--they do. Hairless hamsters in particular have issues with skin sensitivity, temperature fluctuations, and increased risk of other illnesses. The major problem is that females cannot lactate. Unfortunately, some people see hairless hamsters as a quick buck and buy them from pet stores so they can breed more and sell them--they do not understand that the babies will slowly die of starvation because the mother cannot provide milk. For all of these reasons, we do not condone the breeding of hairless hamsters.
Winnie, Wilbur, and Wyatt are all pets only. We keep them because they have special needs that often go untreated in the average home. They stand as ambassadors of ethical breeding because their deformities. Without breeders like us and our friends, pet mills would take over and continue breeding sick animals like them.
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