Vectis Hamstery and Exotics

Exhibitor and Breeder of Chinese Hamsters, Syrian Hamsters and Duprasi

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Houten Show (Netherlands)

Posted on April 8, 2013 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

I've had a busy but enjoyable weekend trip to the Houten show in the Netherlands. It's held in a large exhibition centre where reptile enthusiasts meet to find new animals and there's the opportunity to exhibit rodents too.

Preparations

I once again decided not to take any of my hamsters to show as I travel by minibus so it's rather a long round-trip, therefore on Saturday afternoon I gave my creatures a final check over and made sure they were all fed and watered (and baby-fooded!). I prepared all the carriers I planned on needing and a couple of extras just in case too, with substrate, bedding, food and a dog biscuit in each. I took a whole cucumber with me to pop in the carrier as I acquired the animals. I remembered the long and tiring journey from last time, so made sure there were plenty of human supplies and snacks in my bag, as well as a travel blanket to make a human nest en route.

Setting Off

With my bags packed and passport located I set off from Southampton at 6.30pm on Saturday to meet the minibus, arriving at the pick-up area in Kent at 9pm. It's a strange experience as we meet at a large truck stop and to get in you have to check in with a man in a kiosk at the entrance which is built for lorries so the window is way above the roof of my car. I wish I had longer arms to reach for the parking ticket! I drove round the lorry parking area feeling very small until I found the minibus and a few other cars of fellow show-goers in a little corner and trnsferred all my posessions on board. There was time for a cuppa and a cheese toastie as well as catching up with the reptile people, some of whom I met last year, before we clambered on board. It was a short trip to the Channel Tunnel for the 11pm train. The trip under the Channel was full of joshing and joking.

The leg of the journey across Europe was much longer though we did have the opportunity to stop and stretch our legs on several occasions, each stop colder and more foggy the later (or earlier, I suppose) it got. I did manage to catch some sleep before we arrived at the exhibition centre at 5.30am European time. The show didn't open officially until 10am, but we had early entry wrist bands, meaning we could get in when the exhibitors were setting up from 7am, so time for a couple more winks of sleep while the fog drifted across the car park.

The Show

The show was quiet at 7am but between then and 9am it got busier and busier. Exhibitors brought in cages of rodents, polystyrene boxes containing reptiles (insulated to prevent them getting cold), and trolleys full of things to buy: vivariums, plants, cage decorations, hammocks... One person's precariously balanced load wobbled round a corner and a carrier of mice fell onto the floor resulting in a 'mice everywhere' episode, though thankfully they were soon recaptured. Pictures of the halls and the wonderful beasties I saw can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.496249330423774.1073741830.253686078013435&type=1&l=ca5ad239c3

It was lovely to get a chance to look around before it got busy and get first pick of what was on offer. I made a good start to my shopping list, picking up a fancy mouse and some pygmy mice for friends. I wasn't having much luck on the Chinese hamster front until I spied a table with some duprasi for sale (a creature I've been wanting to get since before Houten last year, but I didn't manage to find any then). While admiting the 'prasi I peeked at the tank next of them to find Chineseys! I dashed off to find my carriers and soon more beasts were safely tucked away with a Roborovski soon following them. Piccies of my new furry friends can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.497193810329326.1073741831.253686078013435&type=1&l=a4f4edff60

In the rodent section were several familiar faces: UK exhibitors who had also made the long trip, and European exhibitors I'd met before. After a bit of sitting and chatting I had another wander and shopping spree, finding a cool fleece  hammock/platform thing that the acacia rats would like as well as a catnip mouse.

By about 1.30pm I'd wandered up and down and in and out, and my little feet were complaining so I sat in a little corner with a cool drink and checked on the beasties I'd acquired who had settled into their carriers and were snoozing peacefully. I had time for another wander and shop (a wooden hamster toy, some rope, some hamster treats and a pair of lab mice to come and be pets).

Heading Home

By about 3pm European time we were all worn out and shopped out so we packed up the minibus and set off back to the Channel Tunnel to make sure we arrived in good time (in the hopes of catching an earlier train). Last year we stopped at an amazing services in Belgium which sold delicious pizza. This time we had a Macdonalds near the exhibition centre which we munched as the minibus made good progress. I snuggled under my blanket and managed to doze, though I think the small furries got more sleep in the nests they'd made!

Unfortunately the Eurostar had been cancelled earlier in the day causing a big backlog so we spent over an hour at the terminal before getting on our delayed original train which eventually set off at 10pm European time. We were feeling a little grumpy by this stage! We arrived back in the UK at about 9.30pm UK time, and made a final dash to try and get one of the passengers to the train station in time for the last train at 9.43pm. We were cutting it fine, but looked like we'd make it. Until the burning smell. The minibus's clutch had decided to break and the minibus started going slower and slower. Our top speed was 30mph, 20mph and then it finally broke down alltogether just in sight of the train terminal, around the corner from the pick-up area.

A slightly surprised taxi driver came to take us back to our cars. Since the minibus driver was waiting for the breakdown service, he kept my animals in the bus while I travelled back to my car (in a taxi full of humans, snakes, scorpions and spiders!) and I returned to collect them. I had packed a space blanket for extra heat conservation for the furries, but thankfully it wasn't needed.

The next leg of the journey was nice and boring thankfully so we arrived back home with no further excitement at 1am. After checking on everyone, it was bedtime. At last.

The new furries have settled into their new temporary cages in a quarantine area away from my hamster room for the next two or so weeks. Now I need to discover their names!

Oldies and Losses

Posted on February 24, 2013 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (0)

The end of February is almost upon us and the month's theme has been old hamsters and losses.

In the past four weeks I've lost four creatures: two Chinese (Gavroche and Cosmo), one Roborovski (Kiki) and one mouse (Pax). Unfortunately one of the Chinese and the mouse were youngsters, being 11 and 5 months old respectively. As sad as I am when it's an oldie, it seems less fair when a small furry has such a short time. It's at times like this that having understanding friends is invaluable as not everyone appreciates how our small furries can sneak their way into our lives and hearts, and the loss of them can leave a hole larger than their small size.

I'm reminded of my Bella, a golden Syrian hamster who taught me a lot (about demanding female Syrians, pyometra surgery and heart failure treatment) and who died on 4/2/11. I was given a lovely cross-stitch of her which still sits on my mantelpiece as a reminder of a special girl.

I realise that there are now of the 26 hams here, 4 hamsters over the age of two and 7 between the ages of 18 and 24 months old. I enjoy my oldies and am so pleased to have them with me as long as possible. Even though I anticipate more sad times ahead, each hamster (or other small furry) leaves a legacy through lessons they have taught me and others through education online and in person at shows, or in some cases through their children and grand-children.

Enjoy your small furries. I hope they live long and happy lives with you all :)

A New Year at Vectis

Posted on January 21, 2013 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Time flies! It's 2013 already and so many 'baby' Vectis hamsters are now 18 months or older. Some sad times to come, no doubt over the next few months. Still, exciting times to come too as I hope to build on the achievements of 2012 and continue to work towards getting black-eyed white Chinese hamsters more established in the UK. The first Vectis litter of 2013 has already arrived to help with this aim.

My New Year's resolution is to post at least one blog post per month, so keep checking back for updates.

The Hamster (and Human) Room

Posted on December 3, 2012 at 12:05 PM Comments comments (0)

The Hamster Room is now mostly finished  - the new bin cages were made last weekend and the hamsters moved in two weeks ago. All that's left is to hang the pictures on the walls! It's lovely to keep tidy with the laminate floor and much easier to access the hams in their new cages.

Since it's been finished I seem to have moved in too!

New Hamster Room

Posted on November 4, 2012 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

October is usually a busy month here at Vectis as it's AGM season for the hamster clubs. I have been at shows for the last three weekends so am just starting to catch myself up again. Now I'm just a committee member for Southern Hamster Club rather than an official, I have found I have a little more time and have embarked on creating a hamster room.

Week Zero:


Week Three:


Paws crossed it will be finished by the end of the week!


A Challenging September

Posted on September 17, 2012 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

September has been a month of highs and lows in the Vectis household already.


It started out with the promise of baby Syrians and all the signs were good. Lympy grew rounder and was acting pregnant ... but no babies arrived. A trip to the vet and she was diagnosed with a phantom pregnancy. This failed to settle and Lympy became larger and less well. A further trip to the vet and it was clear that the phantom pregnancy had become a pyometra. Lympy was admitted to the vets overnight and had surgery the following day. Thankfully surgery is curative for pyometra but involves spaying the hamster so this has put the Vectis Syrian breeding on hold. Lympy has bounced back quickly from her surgery and is now back on top form, but it has been a trying time.


The high came as Lympy was recovering with the dwarfies topping the table at Real London show. Seven Sisters came second in the normal Chinese class of 9 hamsters and was awarded Dwarf Reserve Best in Show. She received her third Certificate of Merit and is now "Champion Lilliput's Seven Sisters at Vectis". Queensway went one better and won her first Certificate of Merit as well as the normal Chinese class, Dwarf Best in Show and Overall Best in Show! 

Summer Babies!

Posted on July 9, 2012 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (0)

July has got off to a good start with babies in the nest! Raven and Persil: Small but Mighty had a litter overnight between 30th June and 1st July. Raven's keeping them close to her chest so I don't know how many there are, but I expect them to be all normal Chinese. An anxious wait until 14th July!


I'm working on my black-eyed white Chinese and hope to have my first litter where BEWs are a possibility in 3 weeks. Paws crossed for Bonchurch and Ryde. I've also drafted a proposal to have BEW accepted as a natural mutation by the National Hamster Council so they can be shown officially. Getting a standard is still a long way off though.


In my final baby news, I've chosen Olympia's husband - a shorthaired cinnamon rex from Tristar called Reus. I'm going to borrow him and hope Olympia takes to him. I expect cinnamons and goldens from the mating to work towards getting some nice lilacs later on.


Exciting times!

A mixed month

Posted on June 28, 2012 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

June has had it's up and downs here at Vectis.

We had some fabulous results at the three shows, winning the normal and dominant spot Chinese classes at Romsey, Andover and Cardiff! Angel received two more Certificates of Merit, and Eponine won her first. We also came 1st, 3rd and 4th in the show at Cardiff, with Angel winning her second Best in Show.

Unfortunately we also said goodbye to two Vectis residents: LMK Magenta and Lani. LMK Magenta, usually called Genta, was a dark grey Syrian from Mad About Hamsters. She was full of personality and was 22 months old. Lani was a quiet rescue Chinese girl who had been living with a tumour since January. It finally got too much for her at the grand old age of 32 months.

Although neither had their own children, they have played their own part in Vectis Hamstery. The next generation should be born on 30th June - a litter of normal Chinese hamsters from Raven and Persil. Paws crossed for a safe delivery.

Website Updates

Posted on May 11, 2012 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

As a little reward to myself after Hereford's fab results, I treated myself to a website upgrade.You may notice a few adjustments to existing pages, such as correcting of spelling errors and separating various hamster care, show and litter information. The breeding and genetics sections are a work in progress over the next few months. There is also a rehoming application form!

I've added a few more pages, including the testimonials and reinstating this blog and contact us form. If anyone has had a Vectis hamster it would be lovely to hear from you on the testimonals page. I also added a site map as I noticed that the drop down menus are awkward to use on an iPad and I found it very frustrating - I'm sure I'm not the only one! Hopefully Webs will resolve that in future software tweaks, but in the meantime I found a lower-tech solution.


I hope you enjoy the changes. Please use the contact us form if you have any feedback.

Wow!

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

The Vectis hams had an amazing day at the Hereford show. Not only did Angel win the second Best in Show for Vectis in 2012, but Seven also won Reserve Best in Show. Altogether the gang won all three classes that I entered hamsters into! Both Angel and Seven got Certificates of Merit - Angel's 6th and Seven's 2nd.

As a treat, all the show crew had baby food when they were tucked back into their cages, with the rest of the Vectis hams getting it later. My treat was signing up to get more webpages - so the blog has returned! 


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