Cheeks and Squeaks has always striven to be a respected part of the ethical breeding community. From our early days, we worked hard to learn all we could from many experts, and have picked up a lot of their wisdom (as well as ideas of our own) along the way.
First and foremost, our goal in breeding these animals is to contribute to the breeding and show community with our animals and our knowledge, and to contribute to the specie as a whole by continually improving on our animals.
To speak to our breeding stock, we want to stress that all of our hamsters are pedigreed. This means we know each animal's ancestry for 2 generations at minimum. We promise to never use pet store or rescue animals in our lines because of this strict standard we have set for ourselves. While breeding pet store stock is not inherently bad, it's simply something we choose not to do. You can ask us for any animal's lineage at any time and we will happily provide it to you!
Additionally, we will never breed animals that are known to have health concerns, inheritable defects, or poor temperament. No matter how pretty or tempting, it's simply not worth knowing that the pets they produce may be substandard. We only keep breeding animals that are known to be healthy and naturally friendly. While we can't guarantee that all their pups will inherit their personality, it sure sets everyone up for success--and that makes it worth it.
We also practice conscientious breeding. We know our animals inside and out. Each pairing is chosen with guidance and care. Our mothers are treated as the little fertility goddesses they are; during pregnancy and nursing, they enjoy fresh, nutritious foods that encourage strength, boost lactation, and supplement energy. Mothers are not bred before the age of 4 months or after 1 year, and they are never bred more than twice (most mamas only carry one litter, actually!) After our hamsters have retired from breeding, they either stay in our homes or are adopted out to trusted friends, where they are loved and cared for into their golden days.
We firmly believe that we, as breeders, need to exemplify the highest standard of care. We keep all of our animals in cages that meet, at minimum, 450 square inches of unbroken floor space. Most of our hamsters reside in modified Critter Nation cages that provide almost double this minimum at 800 square inches. All of our animals get tons of stimulation, from both human contact and cages stuffed with toys and activities. We mimic natural grooming behaviours by providing sand baths, we mimic natural nesting behaviours by using Kaytee Clean and Cozy bedding and other highly textured options, and we mimic natural foraging behaviours by practicing scatter feeding. To maintain proper health, we use only the highest quality of food; Harlan Teklad 8640 for hamsters under one year, and Harlan Teklad 2018 for hamsters over one year. This is supplemented with Higgin's Sunburst for dietary variety. We chose this food under the recommendation of many experts in the hamster community, and we believe it to be the very best.
Cheeks and Squeaks Hamsters has written and follows the California Hamster Association Breeder's Code of Ethics, as well as IHANA and Ontario Hamster Club's ethical codes.
We want you to hold us to the same standard we hold ourselves, and we promise to meet or exceed it. We take our work incredibly seriously and hope that that allows you to place confidence in us.
If you would like to learn more about our ethical beliefs, here are a few articles that explain our thoughts very well.
Cheeks and Squeaks Hamsters
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Xoxo, Tony & Erin