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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-15-2006, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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Becoming a first time gerbil mommy!

As the title quite clearly states, I'm becoming a gerbil mommy in about 2 weeks!
As I want to give my critters the best of the best, I thought I'd open a thread in which all of you gerbil-lovers can give me some good advice!

I'd like some tips on bedding, toys, food and everything else you think I should know

Bring it on!

orri
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-15-2006, 08:13 PM
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I would suggest an aquarium to keep them in with a well vented top. They like half of an apple or carrot bits for about an hour or three to knaw on but take it out by the third hour but I do one hour. I have only heard three is okay. Also change the bedding out every other week if not every week. Check the water bottle to make sure it still works every day or so and I would make them eat all the food before you give them more so they get all the nutrients. You can supplement their water with some medications but I don't find it necessary. If you have anymore questions you are welcome to ask me or visit my site for any other information.

Christine
Mommy to:
2 cats: Suess and Jezebel
2 horses: Winter and Junior
3 dogs: Panda, Maggie, Snoopy

And the rest:
5 cows, a bull and one mean buffalo

Gone but not forgotten:
Jester, cat
Waffles, dog
Gunny, ferret

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2006, 12:42 AM
 
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Congratulations!
Gerbil ownership is very rewarding and fun.

Tanks are the best housing for gebils, as they are big chewers so it's best to stay away from cages they can chew and hurt themselves on.
Aspen, Care Fresh & corn Cob beddings are highly reccomended. I clean my cages every 3 weeks, gerbils don't drink alot, so they produce less urine and don't get stinky They love lots of bedding to dig in, I don't put in to much b/c I give mine a ton of cardboard to chew, and it adds to the bedding very quickly.

Pairs are always best, but you 'can' keep a three some though they can soemtimes be a bit more tricky. I recommend pairs for all new gerbils owners. Gerbils are super social so they are best off with a same sexed buddy.
If you can, buy a 'gerbil' mix not gerbil & hamster. less sunflower seeds & corn the better. If you cannot find a gerbil only mix (as i don't have here) you can purchase a high quality hamster/gerbil mix and add dry cat food or extra peanuts to increase the protine. In the wild gerbils would eat bugs, you can give them meal worms or crickets as a treat, but not all gerbils know what to do with them :p I mix my own food b/c I have so many gerbils.

Also you can purchase sand or dust bath for them to play in. A solid or mesh wheel is always fun, most of the rodent 'toys' found int eh pet stores are a waste of money, an old Jar or ceramic pot can make a house, adn of course clean cardboard

Here are a few great links,
http://www.agsgerbils.org/Gerbil_Car...ook/index.html
http://www.gerbils.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2006, 01:25 AM
 
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Ok.. I'll give you my basic tips, and you can always PM or IM me with any questions... I'm more likely to answer quickly if ya send me a PM or email...


Housing:

An aquarium, with at least 10 gallons for 2 gerbils. The general rule of thumb is 5 gallons per gerbil, but they surely enjoy more room. I would recommend for a beginner to keep 2 gerbils in a 20 gallon long. The tank isn't too large, but it gives them plenty of room. (I love my 20 gallon longs )


Bedding:

Aspen or recycled paper, like carefresh.. I don't like the paper beddings since I've had a few gerbils develop allergies to them, and they can be dusty when gerbils burrow.


Toys:

Gerbils love running wheels, personally I love the mesh ones and have had no issues with them in the past 4 years I've used them. They can be oiled easily with vegetable oil or baby oil on the axel to prevent squeaking.. A gerbil's favorite toy/activity would be cardboard to chew. I recommend tp tubes and paper towel tubes, and if you leave a little bit of tp on the roll, they'll use it to make a nice warm nest (never buy that store bought fluffy nest material, it's deadly).


Handling/Playtime:

Gerbils aren't the MOST cuddly pets, but to them, they enjoy interaction with humans as well as other cagemates. To them, we make a good playground to crawl on and explore. I like to let my gerbils run around on my bed or sofa or in the bathtub (easiest cleanup for accidents). I have used playpens before, but the shorter ones have often been leaped out of... Gerbils are curious and love to run around and investigate, that's what makes them so endearing and easy to tame, also the fact that they rarely bite is a big plus...


Food/Treats:

I make my own custom blend of bulk grains/feeds and you can see it here: http://www.kimsgerbils.com/Gerbil_Diet.html
For treats I like to give mine dried blueberries, strawberries, sunflower seeds, pineapple, banana chips, and organic cereals like kashi...

More info is on my site as well: http://www.kimsgerbils.com/gerbilinfo.html


Good luck, and feel free to email me if you have further questions...
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2006, 01:27 AM
 
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good luck working with it mine is still a bit testy and ive had her about a month
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2006, 04:54 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all your advice! Really helps!!
One problem though, I have no idea how much a gallon is LOL! Here in Europe everything goes in litres or dimensions!

What I have here is a "duna" cage. Is this a suitable home?
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2006, 06:05 AM
 
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10 gallons = 37.85 liters... The duna should work, I've heard of those being used as long as they don't get ahold of an edge to chew on they work fine. What are the duna's dimensions?

(a 10 gallon which is 20" by 10" by 12" is about 50.8cm long, by 25.4cm wide, by 30.5cm tall)

Hope that helps some
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2006, 06:11 AM Thread Starter
 
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This duna has a floorspace of 40x50 cm. Is this big enough?
I also have one that's 45x70.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2006, 06:19 AM
 
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Yep.. both of those are fine for a pair First is about a 15 x 20 (inches) and the second is about 18 x 30... Both have more room than our 10 gallons.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2006, 06:26 AM
 
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These are my tank sizes.. They are bare (except for gerbils and some bedding) because I was moving them around... No worries, I put back toys, wheels, and food/water shortly after putting them back onto my shelf...

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2006, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
 
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I've decided to go for a glass terrarium with the right dimensions.. I'm afraid they'd munch through the plastic duna..

And your setup looks amazing Kim!
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2006, 07:19 PM
 
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Thanks! Shortly I'll be giving mine a few larger tanks and doing some moving around... Should mean more room for toys, wheels, and burrowing
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cat food, corn cob, corn cob bedding, dry cat food, dust bath, meal worms, pet store, pet stores, sunflower seeds


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