Unfortunately one of my gerbils (yang) passed away on Wednesday(24th) leaving her sister yin alone and in a very large tank. She has lots to do and keep her occupied and I am working from home so am able to talk to her a lot. I’m just a little heart broken watching her chirp, squeak and thump looking for her sister. Yin is only a year and a half old so has a long while ahead and I don’t want her to be alone for the rest of her life but I also don’t want to be repeating a cycle every few years of getting a younger gerbil.. I was therefore considering getting two baby girls as young as possible(within reason) and using the split cage method to introduce them. If they don’t end up liking each other I do have another tank so separating them isn’t an issue.
1) How long should I give her to grieve? I don’t think she got to see her sister die but she defiantly knew something was wrong and seems to be more skittish than usual.
2) has anyone been able to pair a young female duo with an older female?
3) what’s the best way of keeping yin feeling secure? As like I said is becoming rather skittish/jumpy whenever she hears a noise or I make a sudden movement/ approach her enclosure.
Post by londongerbils on Jun 26, 2020 10:27:43 GMT -8
Others will be able to give you better advice than I can, but the general wisdom is that pairs are best, as trios often have issues or de clan later on. I have used the split tank method to introduce a pup to a gerbil the same age as your yin, and whilst it took a while and a bit of work, it wAs successful, though it does depend on temperament. I didn’t rush to get her a partner straight away, but I didn’t want to leave it long enough for her to get lonely. I suppose my opinion would be to introduce her to a partner sooner rather than later, but that’s just an opinion. I have a skittish gerbil also, who recently lost her older partner, though I’m introducing her to a neutered male from an animal shelter soon. To keep her feeling secure, I have used lots of hides in her tank, eg tunnels and nests, etc, so she can move around her tank without feeling too exposed.
Yin seems to be getting more and more nervous it seems. I only suggested introducing two babies so that when yin does eventually pass the next one isn’t alone. I was hoping that yin would take more of a maternal role for the pups helping her take her mind of things and to bond more. I’m unsure if this is just wishful thinking. She has only had her sister throughout her entire life but you have got me wondering about bringing in a neutered Male for her! I’m unsure how she would react!
Post by londongerbils on Jun 27, 2020 8:57:16 GMT -8
I totally understand. That’s why I’m not introducing mine to a pup, since the cycle will repeat itself. Two pups is a good idea in theory so they aren’t left alone if Yin dies earlier, but I’ve heard that groups of females can clash later on. For example, if your older gerbil became frail, the two pups might then fight to become the alpha in the group. This is one of the reasons why I chose to go down the rescue route instead with an older gerbil. However, I’ve never tried it before, so perhaps someone more experienced can give their view.
I’ve heard introducing an adult male and adult female is easier than introducing two adult females, though still a bit risky. However, not many adult males are neutered unless they are in the care of an animal charity that does this. Could be worth a look?
I’m not sure how mine will react to a male either, but I’m about to find out!
You have been most helpful thank you so much! I think I have narrowed it down to getting two! I honestly don’t mind having to split them up later I have enough space for them andI can always reintroduce them. I was thinking about breeding with yin but as she’s a year and a half I think it’s abit risky for her first litter! So then I was thinking about a Male for her which could work and I’m still contemplating but I think two baby girls would be good! Unless I can find a neutered Male that stands out!
Just a few comments there luke about you saying you don't mind splitting them up later anyway if they fight - all good if you spot the declan before anyone gets hurt of course. However, if they have started to declan or have had a fight, then you won't be able to reintroduce them afterwards.
A declan is the end for those gerbils - they can't be swung around with apologies and chocolates like us humans.
Many people do do the trio intro with pups and most of the time it works as a clan long term - but there is always the chance it won't - and as you say - as long as you spot it and have a separate enclosure for whichever 2 are still friends to live in (which won't always be the new two) you are all good.
A single neutered male would be great - but they aren't always easy to find!
Good luck either way - and do let us know what you decide...
Thank you both very much for your advise! I believe I have come to my decision. I think two baby gerbils would be good but of course don’t with to come home one day to a blood bath. So for that reason I think I’m going to try and find a neutered Male but like you said they are a tad difficult to find(especially around my area)!! If I was to buy a male and get him neutered, what sort of age should I be looking for?
Ah, there's the difficulty - I would never encourage anyone to get their gerbil neutered.
Surgery is a risky thing - and if you were to even consider it I would only recommend that you find a vet who neuters gerbils for a charity that neuters gerbils - that is the only way you can know that they are any good at it at all and know all the ins and outs of gerbil surgery. Many vets have never even operated on a gerbil, and although they are vets and have operated on other animals - you can never be too sure they have considered the needs of such a delicate animal.
However, saying that, it is totally up to you what you do with your own pets.
Have I just thrown a spanner in the works there now?
Lol slightly! I of course would find the most experienced vet in my area to preform the op(if I went this route) . Yin seems to be doing better recently, until I leave the room then she becomes slightly unhappy I think(her eyes half close and she stays still until I return). I’m in desperate need to get her a partner now. But I’m incredibly indecisive and still don’t know what to do for her! I think a male would be best but I don’t want to breed with her. Neutered males are few and far between here so I think I’m going to go the 2 new baby girl and just watch them constantly! May even get a small camera for my room to monitor them when I’m away.
I'm about to try introducing a pair of baby gerbils to my single female. I too am a bit worried about it. I initially planned to do one due to concerns like yours, but the breeder suggested two so that if Piper rejects them outright the pups can remain a pair. Plus the whole deal when she passes they'll still be a pair, as she's a year and half older than them. I'll always be on the lookout for issues down the line so I can break them up if there is evidence of an impending declan. I could see it coming with my two boys, hopefully I'll be able to see it coming again if it does. If there is a falling out, then of course at least I'll still have one pair and won't need to find new friends for two gerbils. I do wish we had more research on the stability of various clan sizes, it would be interesting and helpful. The premise of introducing two pups to one adult being an issue is that when the two pups enter adulthood they may start challenging the adult's dominance and the adult may not accept this. This could still happen if you paired one pup with an adult. With two pups and an adult you're just dealing with one extra gerbil, an extra personality, an extra chance for someone to challenge the boss. I'm not sure if it's more than just that? Anyway, I'm giving it a go. I hope you find a solution for your girl!
Right, so I have finally managed to find two baby 6 week old girls(ruby and mika). I built a cage divider for my 4 ft tank which yin and the babies are currently in! I only placed them in yesterday evening around 9pm to let them get accommodated to the split and to eachother before I start swapping them around. Yin seemd rather disinterested in the two new babies, she had a little sniff then looked at me kind of disheartened! Ruby and mika seem slightly more interested in yin though! Trying to bite and climb the cage splitter! Also ruby seems to squeak when she wants yin’s attention/to get to the other side! All in all it seems to be working, no one is hurt and no red flags at the moment. I will keep my eye on them and be on the look out for positive behaviours! I eill keep everyone posted
All three girls are doing very well! They are all still in the split tank but are showing very positive signs. For example, they are sleeping In each others nests, small kisses/noseing through the bars and they have now actually had a few proper introductions without a divider in the way. During their first 2 min interaction there was lots of sniffing each other but no fighting or negative behaviour at all! During their second meeting (about 5 mins) they again had some sniffs but at this point didn’t really care about each other! And yesterday they came out for 20 minuites with absolutely no problems at all. They each ate some treats(meaning they feel comfortable enough) and really were not fussed about each other at all! They were all more occupied with looking for a way to escape! Over all I am very happy with their progress and also very happy they seem to be getting along. Today I will be trying a longer interaction in a natural space with bedding mixed from their split in the hope they may have a nap together! I will of course keep people updated! Hope you’re all staying safe
Great that they seem to get on here - especially as you are doing a slightly different split intro to usual.
As you are doing this split with pups, it isn't as much of an issue (as they are so easy going) - but the main point of a split tank introduction is that you use a well-used highly-scented space to introduce them - not a neutral one (ie you need to use the split tank itself).
I assume from your wording that you are taking them OUT of the split tank set up to meet?
The main reason for using the split tank itself is that by doing the split, you are mixing up their scents so they smell of and like each other - so when you introduce them they can only smell themselves. By allowing gerbils to meet in a neutral space you are taking away all the effort of you keep swapping them over in their split tank. And when you introduce them somewhere else, the whole place won't smell of either of them and they won't feel 'as safe' as in their own highly-scented safety zone - and this can reduce the chances of them accepting each other.
Luckily with pups, they don't care where they are and don't care for arguing - so as long as your older female is fine about things you will still be ok.
But if you are ever doing it with adults (or anyone reading this) - it is always best/advised to stay put in the split to increase your chances of them accepting each other.
Just to expand on what I said and to answer some of your points. Their first interactions were in the split cage, the first few times I swapped them over I didn’t allow them to mix I took yin out places her in a carrier and then swapped over the little ones. But after a few days of doing that their first meeting was when I swapped yin over by just placing her in their side and allowing them to mingle for about 2 mins. I then kept doing it like that for a while but decided they should be in a “neutral ground” I should have expanded on this but the space I have allocated them to mingle is a smaller tank with bedding mixed from both sides the “neutral ground” basically meant there is no hide away for them, purely bedding and a few treats encouraging them to mingle. Today I have actually removed the split after yesterday seeing them sleep together and groom each other. I did the same thing by just leaving yin in their side for about 30 mins and noticed that she was not only grooming the little ones but also allowing them to groom her face. That is why I have decided to remove the split for today as I can watch them all day and as of yet there is no issues! They have been together for about 3 hours now. I hope this clears things up and if things are successful what are the first things I should add back to their enclosure?