Creating a Home for Your Dwarf Hamster
The Largest of My Setups
Your Dwarf Hamster's Home
As my first article stated, I prefer a home for my dwarfs such as a fish tank or hamster cage without bars. Simply for neatness, and better unobstructed viewing. A cage with bars will put you on a never ending cleaning mission.
The Bottom of the Cage
When I first started with dwarfs, I used the fluffy bedding material that looks like packing material. You see it in blue, pink, white, and rainbow packs. It was okay, but I much rather prefer to use aspen wood shavings. Do not use pine bedding. It can harm your dwarf. The aspen bedding I use is "oil free" and also helps absorb the minor odors. It also looks neater in the bottom and makes your dwarf more visible. To me, the fluffy bedding material I mentioned, looks dumpy in the bottom of the cage. A $3 bag of the compressed aspen lasts me for at least a couple months, so it's not expense at all.
Since dwarfs are rodents, their teeth are always growing and they do have the need to chew in order to keep their teeth trimmed down properly. Be sure to have some sort of hard item for them to gnaw on. My dwarfs seem to prefer the log you can buy with the food inside. Then when the food is gone, just leave the log in the cage for them to chew. You'll find they start chewing on other things in their cage, plastic, etc if there is nothing else for them.
Another Cozy Sleeping Item
In addition to the bedding for the bottom of the cage, I sometimes buy the cottony bedding for the areas they sleep in the most. While the package may seem not to contain much, the dwarf know how to "tease" the cotton and fluff it up to many times the volume of what you put in the cage. I usually pull off some just smaller than a baseball, and in no time, the dwarfs fluff it to almost overflowing in their sleeping area. They have their definite ideas of how they want it, and where they want it.
I've heard both good and bad things about these, but my dwarfs have no problem with them. I sprinkle about 1/2 cup in with the aspen shavings in the bottom of the cage, and under the material where they sleep. This really helps with controlling any odors.
My dwarfs also seem to know what the pellets are for. In the area they use as a bathroom the most, they actually shred the pellets into a powder and then pee in the powder. No mess and no stink. Pretty smart for being little guys, or all girls in my case.