Q How can I introduce dwarf hamsters that weren't raised together to each other?
or   How can I reintroduce dwarf hamsters that have been separated to each other?

This is a method that I have used successfully on both a male/female couple that were strangers to each other and with a couple that I had separated after the female had given birth to her second litter. After their reintroduction they had a third litter.  (In both cases, this was a male to female pairing.  Same sex pairings have not been tried and may not work with this method, and not all male to female pairings will work with the method.  You must always be very watchful when pairing hamsters.)

This requires two cages, one small enough to fit inside of the other, the small one needs to be a wire (bar) cage that will allow smells and small degrees of touching through the bars. For the larger cage I use a large plastic bin.

Clean both cages, put fresh bedding, food and water in each cage and set them up independently of each other with a wheel, etc. Put one hamster in the small wire cage and sit it inside of the plastic bin. Be sure there is room in the bin for the hamster that gets placed in it to roam at will all around the perimeter of the wire cage. Make sure all the doors and openings of the wire cage are secured so the hamster in it cannot get out or the one in the bin can't get in. Put the second hamster in the bin. They will notice each other almost immediately and will go up to the bars and smell each other and will explore the cages trying to find a way to get together. They may look friendly toward each at this time but don't let them fool you. Do not put them together.

Leave them in this living arrangement for two days. Then take each hamster out and trade spaces. Don't clean the cages, they need to get use to the smell of each other. Leave them in this new living arrangement for two days. On the fifth day set up a clean cage and put the two hamsters in it together at the same time. Be prepared to separate them immediately if there is any fighting. Have a container in your hand that you can put over the top of one of the hamsters if there is a fight. I have used this method without any fights, though they will be leery of each other for awhile. Watch them carefully for several hours. I put mine together in the evening and then sit that cage right by me as I watch t-v or whatever and keep an eye on them. If your hamsters do fight either repeat the method and try again or give up! Introducing one hamster to another is not worth injury to either one.

I cannot stress enough how carefully you must secure the cages so they cannot get to each other during the four days. They should be able to touch noses through the bars and that's all. I learned from experience that if they can get together when first set up this way that there will be a fight that can result in injury or death.
Question and Answer:
Pairing Dwarf Hamsters
by Joyce Sandy
Back to Newsletter Page
Cage inside a cage
Pagoda Birdhouse
Set the smaller cage inside the larger cage. Put one hamster in the wire cage and one in the plastic cage.
This is a pagoda style birdcage that I converted to a 4 story hamster cage.
Checking Each Other Out
The Happy Couple
Checking each other out....
The happy couple