It all began in June of 1995 with one "Teddy Bear" hamster named Grey. He lived in a small wire cage on the desk in my bedroom until I found a 10-gallon aquarium with lid and accessories at a garage sale for $1.00. Grey was the best hamster I have ever had, he was so calm and laid-back. I now know, from what I have learned about colors and types of hamsters, that Grey was a long-haired sable Syrian hamster.
Then one day I decided I wanted another hamster. My second hamster was an albino Russian dwarf named Bonkers (and he was bonkers!). I didn’t like Bonkers very much because he always bit me. I had to scoop him out of the cage in a cup and once he was in my hands he was fine.
In September of 1996 I bought my first female hamster. Chloe was a black-eyed cream banded, short-haired, female Syrian, except one of her eyes was black and the other was red. Here are a couple of pictures of Chloe with her first litter (Yes, I know I was using cedar bedding... I must have ran out of pine, and I used cedar for my bunny at the time. I know better now!).
In September of that year I decided to breed Grey and Chloe, and on September 26, 1996, 9 babies were born. I kept two baby boys… Irie (because he was "iridescent" looking), a black-eyed cream satin male and Bandit, a sable banded male. I kept Irie and Bandit together in the same cage until they were about 4 ½ months old. Then I cleaned their cage one day, separating them while I did it, and when I put them back together, they fought. Bandit wound up loosing an eye because of it. This is why I would never recommend anyone trying to keep two Syrian hamsters together… I found out the hard way. The first picture here is of the whole litter of babies... Irie and Bandit are the two climbing on the stick, in the upper right-hand corner. The second picture is of Irie and Bandit in their "house" before the big fight occured.
In November of 1996 I brought home a 4th hamster. She was a dark, black-eyed cream, female Syrian, named Sable. Sable was already full grown when I got her and shortly after getting her, I bred her to Irie. On December 4, 1996, she gave birth to a litter of 11 babies. Chloe also had a second litter just a few days before Sable. Unfortunately this is the only picture I have of Sable with one of her litters. I know you can't really even see her, but I wanted to put it up anyway.
Later that month, Belle was added to my fast-growing hamster “collection.” Belle was a red-eyed white, long-haired, female Syrian. I eventually bred Belle to Bandit a couple of times the following year. This is one of Belle's litters from October of 1997. I don't have any pictures of Belle, but I wish I did.
In March of 1997 my dad changed jobs and we moved from West Michigan to Southeast Ohio. Before we moved, I gave Irie to one of my neighbors. I had also accumulated a second male dwarf hamster, and I ended up giving him to a friend from school. We moved 6 hamsters to Ohio with us (not to mention a rabbit, a bird, 2 fish, 2 aquatic frogs, 2 cats, and a dog!)… Grey, Chloe, Sable, Belle, Bandit, and Bonkers, the Russian dwarf!
Shortly after we moved to Ohio I decided I hated it there. My parents and I finally agreed that I would move back to MI and stay with a friend until I was finished with my junior year of high school. Before I went back I had to give Sable and Bonkers to a pet store downtown. My mom was nice enough to take care of my other 4 hamsters for me while I was gone.
I returned in June and continued breeding every so often. I found a very nice pet store nearby that I sold babies to when I had them.
In August of 1997 I bought another female Syrian who I named Nestle. She was a very dark golden color with short hair. I bred her to Bandit in September and she had 12 beautiful babies. I ended up giving her away shortly after that because I thought I had too many hamsters (If I had only known where I’d end up!)
Grey died in December of 1997 of liver failure… that was a very sad day.
I got Nugget in August of 1998, and Patches in December. Chloe died sometime in between, but I still had Bandit. Bandit died shortly after Patches had her first litter at the end of January 1999.
Here's Nugget and Patches in December of 1998, shortly after I got them.
This is Bandit in December of 1998 also, about a month before he died.
So I was left with just Nugget and Patches. I didn’t keep any babies from Patches first litter, but just a few months later, someone decided they didn’t want the baby they had taken, so I took him back. This was Petrie. I found a another new home for Petrie a few months later, and recieved him back AGAIN just before his 2nd birthday. I don't know what was so wrong with him, he was such a sweetheart!
This is Petrie
I did keep two babies from Patches’ second litter though, Biskit and Checkers. Biskit was suppose to go with me to MI to live with one of my friends, but she decided she didn’t want him. I had fallen in love with him in the mean time, so I kept him and found a new home for Checkers.
Here is Checkers (left) and Biskit (right). I later gave Biskit to one of my very good friends.
I also had gotten Grizzly, a long-haired umbrous golden male, in July of 1999, right around the time that Patches’ 2nd litter was weaned. I bred Grizzly to Patches in September and I kept Cinnamon, a golden dominant spot female, from that litter. I also kept Scarlet, a golden banded female, from Patches’ 4th, and last litter, but I later found homes for both of them.
Here is Grizzly (top left), Cinnamon (top right, as a baby), and Scarlett (bottom).
You can now see Patches, Nugget, Petrie, and Grizzly on my Memory page. Also, Cinnamon and Biskit can be seen on my Past Hamsters page.
In August of 1999 I got started with Russian dwarfs again. I had no idea they came in so many wonderful colors!! I did some research on them first, and finally came home with 3 wonderful new faces one day… Tiny, Nibbles, and Bianca. Tiny and Bianca were from the same store and they were suppose to be 2 boys! I found out later that one was a female, and decided to get a different male to pair up with her for breeding (that was Nibbles). A week or two later I got Peanut and paired her up with Tiny for breeding.
Nibbles and Bianca right after I got them. I gave Bianca away, and Nibbles died early in 2000.
Tiny and Peanut also right after I got them. Tiny died in March of 2000, and I found a good home for Peanut.
I have to thank Ann, formerly from Heavenly Hamsters, and Linda from AAA Hamsters for all the wonderful advice and information they gave me while I was getting started, and of course the beautiful hamsters I also purchased from them! Lorraine Hill, and her Complete Hamster Site, has also been a great guide for information on breeding, genetics, and colors.
If you would like to see some of the hamsters that have been part of Woodview Hamstery, click on the links below:
In Memory Of...
And that's how Happy Critter Hamstery (later renamed Woodview Hamstery) started. And after 7 years of breeding and raising hamsters, in September of 2003 I decided to stop for a while. However, I hope that I can continue to help other hamster owners and breeders with the knowledge I have gained since my start in this wonderful hobby.