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Normally, when a mom hamster gives birth to her pups, she lives to take care of them. She stays in her cage to feed and raise them. Sometimes, she will die or run away, leaving you with her brood of newborn pups. These tiny hamsters need almost round-the-clock care – and milk. You do have some options about the kind of milk you feed to them, but you will be very busy.
If the mother hamster escapes from her cage, you don’t have much time to get the milk all those babies are going to need. Call your vet and explain the situation. One of the commercial milk replacers he may recommend is one used especially for kittens. KMR is formulated for kittens, but orphaned baby hamsters can also drink this replacer.
KMR comes in a ready-to-use formula. Open the can, pour a little formula into a plastic bottle and heat it to 90 degrees Fahrenheit on top of the stove. It’s not advisable to heat the formula in the microwave because of the risk of uneven heating. Fill an eye dropper and feed each pup about three drops once per hour, around the clock. On day 12 of the pups’ lives, begin adding solid food to their diet and reduce the amount of KMR to .5 to 1 ml every two to three hours.
A commercial preparation made for both puppies and kittens can replace the mother hamster’s milk. Lactol is produced as a powder. Mix according to the label directions with warm water heated to 90 degreed Fahrenheit. After the milk has cooled, feed the orphan hamsters once an hour. Use an eye dropper or a feeding wick to feed the pups.
While Lactol has been formulated for kittens and puppies, it is also well-suited for baby rabbits and other small, furry animals, such as hamsters.
If you can’t obtain a milk replacer for puppies or kittens, baby formula, mixed with sterile water will provide the nutrients the orphaned pups will need to survive. Buy a can of ready-to-use formula or the powdered form and mix it exactly according to the package instructions. Heat the formula in a small bottle placed into a small saucepan on top of the stove. Bring the formula to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the mixture to cool, then fill an eye dropper or moisten a feeding wick. Feed the orphans once per hour until the babies are 12 days old.
Avoid Cow’s Milk
Cow’s milk has nutrients made just for calves, not kittens, puppies or hamsters. While adult hamsters can drink small quantities of milk, orphaned baby hamsters need milk that matches the mother’s milk as closely as possible. Levels of fat and protein in hamster’s milk are different from those in cow’s milk.