I am once again trying to enter into the world of gerbil breeding. My first two attempts did not go as planned, so fingers crossed that things go well this time around.
I am planning on breeding Edgar and Olivia. Olivia was recently transported to me from a breeder in Oregon. She is about 5 months old which as I understand it is prime breeding age. I have her in a split with Edgar now and the size difference is a bit striking. She's a bit more than half his size. She's 58 grams, he's 114 grams. They've been in the split for 9 days but I haven't seen any obvious signs of her going into heat.
So I have two questions for any experienced breeders:
1. Is there a minimum size for breeding a female? She seems small, not sure if she's younger than advertised, a bit poorly from the transport (she was in a critter keeper on the road for just over two weeks), or if she's just a small gerbil. She does fall within the average weight span of a female from what I've read.
2. Is there any harm in a significant size difference between the male and female? I asked in the AGS members group on Facebook since they tend to breed big boys, but didn't get any answers.
I just want to be sure Olivia is safe. I'm admittedly a bit antsy as I've been trying to get a litter since April, but don't want to put her in harm's way.
That does seem very small! I'm not sure about the male/female size difference, but if the female is too small she might not be able to support the pups well or make enough milk. If she's small but not skinny that might still be okay? You could try giving her extra sunflower seeds and peanuts.
Last Edit: Nov 1, 2021 17:14:05 GMT -8 by barryozzy
I did end up putting them together after a couple of weeks in the split, once she got up over 60 grams. The size difference didnt seem to cause any issues with mating. I couldn't find any info on whether or not there is a good "minimum size" for breeding a female so I'm assuming it's not a big issue. Fingers crossed that we get some healthy pups in a couple of weeks! Fingers crossed that Edgar's not infertile lol!
Ok - so all looking OK so far then (Edgars manhood depending).
Well, for what its worth I don't think the exact weight of a female is the issue - it would be her condition moreso - and changes to her diet and lifestyle during pregnancy and then through the period of lactation. I myself have bred with small female as part of an experiment - but they were always bred with smaller males - so not quite your own comparison.
So, roll on litter Number 1.
What colours are they both - have you had a 'guess the pup colours' moment yet?
Thanks Betty, I appreciate your input. Olivia's overall condition seems quite good, she's not underweight, just small overall. I'm trying to feed a variety, Oxbow Garden Select, Teklad, and Higgins Sunburst. Plus fresh food, though she's quite picky on snacks.
Color wise I'm not expecting too much variety. Olivia is spotted Burmese and both of her parents were Burmese, so I doubt there's any recessive p. Edgar is sapphire. As such I'm expecting black and Burmese pups, but the spotting should still make for varied markings, so I'm excited about that.