Post by happyhappy on Dec 31, 2021 10:05:05 GMT -8
I’m wondering how much gerbil owners spend per month/year on their gerbils. I want to be sure I can afford to give them the best life possible, so if you wouldn’t mind sharing your gerbil expenses that would be great!
Please specify what kind of food and bedding you use as well.
Post by LilyandDaisy on Dec 31, 2021 10:59:28 GMT -8
Food: I had fed mine various different foods at different times. Usually, whether I'm buying a seed mix such as Rodipet or Bunny, or mixing my own, it works out that I'm spending about £8 per 500g. It's hard to estimate how long 500g lasts me because I don't measure or weigh out my gerbils' food, I just put some in the tank when the last lot is gone. Mine don't seem to eat as much by weight as the feeding recommendations on the bags would suggest. When I had four gerbils, 500g of food would last me about 2 months or perhaps a bit less. I scatter food over the topper shelves usually rather than on the bedding so I think I get less wastage that way. So for two gerbils that would be £25-£30 per year on food. That doesn't include treats, fresh food etc but I don't spend a lot on those. Buying a lot of pet shop treats will be more expensive than just buying sunflower seeds or mealworms in bulk.
Bedding: I buy Fitch bedding in 20kg bags which costs £40. To fill a gerbil tank takes maybe 12 or 15kg? Around every 6 months I do a big clean where I replace about 2/3 of the bedding. I also add hay but that's quite cheap, £3-4 per cleaning. So for one tank for one year I probably spend up to £40 on bedding. I have a topper and the shelves are used as a toilet, which means my bedding stays really clean and that affects how I have to change it. If you have a smaller tank and/or no topper, it will need to be changed much more often and you may end up paradoxically spending more overall than if you had a bigger tank. I'm thinking of switching to hemp next time I do a big clean which may cut my bedding costs in half.
Toys and accessories: This will be highly variable depending on your choices of accessories and how much you buy. If you choose nest boxes made of thin wood, you might be replacing them every few months. If you choose the solid birch log houses, they will last years. I've reached the point where I had lots of very durable accessories such as grapevines, birch logs etc and don't need to buy much on a regular basis. Cork logs need replacing semi-regularly. You can give hay and cardboard for very little cost, or you can get all the pet shop chews such as willow balls which are excessively expensive and last 5 minutes! I probably spend £30-40 per year on accessories for one tank. If you're setting up a new tank and you don't have anything already, it will probably be more.
Sand: Not too expensive. Perhaps £10-15 for the year.
Veterinary care: This is the big one! Lily cost me about £250 in vet and medication expenses throughout her life (I had her from a pup), all in her last 3 months. £250 is really not too bad and some have paid much more, especially if investigations or surgeries are involved. Daisy should have cost me £40 for one appointment but for some reason I wasn't charged. I had two appointments back-to-back, one for her and one for Lily and they only charged me for one. She's still alive and might cost me more yet.
Storm I had from about a year old and he only saw a vet once, when he was put to sleep, and that cost £120 because it was on a Saturday night. Rocket cost me about £50 throughout her life and I had her from a year old too. With another pair, one never had to see a vet at all and the other cost me £150. It will vary by country and area though so you could contact some local vets to find out their prices.
Vet expenses are often clustered within a short space of time so it's a good idea to put money aside throughout your gerbils' lives for that eventuality. Gerbils don't usually get ill during their first two years but in their third year there's a good chance they'll need to see a vet at some point.
I'm not sure how expensive tanks are normally or new, because I can usually get a good deal by buying them used or on a dollar per gallon sale. I have gotten mesh lids for twenty gallon long tanks for about $30, but you can also make one fairly easily out of hardware mesh and wood.
The water bottles I get are about $15, but you can get cheaper ones. I get the Oasis ones because they look nice and come with a metal shield, they're plastic.
Food bowls usually cost less than $5, I don't get a specific brand just whatever kind of ceramic one the pet store has when I want one.
With wheels it really depends on what kind you get and how fancy it is. I only have mesh ones, but I don't think anyone on here will recommend mesh.
I get ceramic hiding houses so they will just chew other wood and I don't have to keep replacing it. I don't remember how much it cost because I got them a long time ago.
That kind of stuff you usually only have to buy once though, unless they manage to destroy it.
For food I get the Kaytee Forti-diet for gerbils and hamsters, it's about $5 for three pounds. With my eight gerbils, it lasts about a month. If you have less gerbils it will last longer though. I'm not sure how long it would last with only two gerbils.
Treats that I give them are mostly little extra bits of fruit or vegetables, or sunflower seeds. I get my sunflower seeds unsalted and shelled from Kroger, about $10 for 7 ounces. I break the sunflower seeds in half and use them for training.
The bedding I use is mostly the Kaytee Clean and Cozy, which I get for about $15 for what the bag says is 50 liters (that's just how much it's supposed to expand to, but I'm not sure it really expands that much). I recently got Old Dominion hemp bedding, which was about $25 for 6.6 pounds. I mix it all together and they have a great time. Not sure how often I buy it because I didn't remember to keep track.
For toys I mostly just give them sticks from outside (washed in hot water and frozen) and cardboard left over from other things, so it's free.
I live in the US, so when I write $ I mean US dollars, and some of the stuff might not be sold in other countries
I've only had my current pair of gerbils since summer 2020, and haven't needed the vets with them yet, previous gerbils were decades before! (see my sig).
I buy Erin's ark food, and a 1.5kg bag costs me just under £18 delivered, with my 2 boys this lasts about 3.5 months (I feed them 7g/day each currently).
For bedding (substrate technically), I use Ecoshiv which is Hemp bedding, I just bought another bale the other day, this cost me £20.55 delivered for a 20kg bale.
1st bedding change I did after 2 months, but I realised it could go longer, so I now change it about every 3 months, and I change nearly all of it when I do (which is about 1/2 the tank's volume, so about 150 lts, a little over 1/2 a bale), although I do put a thin layer of their old bedding across the top. Even at 3 months it's still ok, so I could easily go to 4 months I think, dust is more the problem (possibly from the card they chew??), it doesn't smell bad. Actually, just realised the change I will be doing today or tomorrow will have been nearly 4 months.
My boys wee up on the tank's ledges, so I clean that daily, and poop in the sandbath (sieved daily, changed every ~10 days) and on the platform.
Looking at my sand orders, I order them about every 4 months on average I think, the trouble is they keep sending me bags which get cut by the couriers! So they end up sending me a free one later on , so I end up with about 1 + 3/4 of a bag or more per order! lol. Oh, they're 5kg Chinchilla sand, £5.50 from Zooplus.
I've bought 2 wooden huts, the pine one from zooplus was £5 which I bought in summer 2020 (still sort of in one piece, though some edges have been chewed back ), the birch (nail less) one was £? (can't find invoice) , 2 grapevine branches were £10 each! A couple of pet puzzles were £10.50 (and used only twice! ), Living World Eco Plus Water Bottle 177 ml ~£10 (just bought a 2nd one for £7!), 3 coconut shell huts £10, 4 bendy bridges about £26, pine hide (1/2 a small log hollowed out) £8.50, hollowed out pine and birch log (don't know cost), and 2 hollow cork logs ~£5ea., 10.5" tictac solid metal wheel and stand ~£70, and later a 12" whl+stand about £70 again! (I had to split my gerbils). I usually buy hay from Tesco's, which cost me £3 for a small bale (1.5kg) of meadow hay, think I'm just about to open the 3rd one.
Think that covers most of the extras! Many of those are one off buys.
Thank you all so much! I really appreciate that each of you took the time to help me out.
I’m in the United States, so it’s pretty much paper or aspen bedding here. I’m planning to go with aspen unless there’s a reason paper is better besides the fact that some gerbils are allergic to it?
It seems like gerbils will be a good fit for me, so I found a bonded trio of six month old females I am trying to get out of a risky situation, one black eyed white, one brown with chocolate points, one orange. I don’t know the actual names of the colors but they sure are cute and in need of a home.
Hello! I live in the US as well so hopefully I can help you a bit more since Europe has different products over there than us.
One of the most important things is the tank. Try to find a used tank or get one on sale, it will save you a lot of money. I originally bought my gerbils a 29 gallon tank with a 10 gallon topper, and they lived in that for a year. In total, that was around $60. My tank was on sale for $29 so that saved me a lot of money. Bigger is honestly better cost wise. When they started chewing at the topper excessively, I decided to get them a new tank which I bought a few months ago. Now they live in a 55 gallon tank, that cost around $100. My advice is buy a big enough tank from the start, even though it seems like a lot at the time, it will save you money. If I had just gotten a bigger tank from the start, it would have saved me $60. You will also need a lid. You can either buy or make a lid. I have bought every single lid I have used, mine is hinged which is super helpful as I no longer need to take off the whole lid to access my gerbils. I also use clips to make sure it stays on but to be honest these are unnecessary.
The second thing you need is bedding. There are many types of bedding you can get. Avoid cedar and pine bedding. These are toxic to gerbils. Just for cost reference, I used a little less than one bag of paper bedding for the 29 gallon tank, and I use 2 now for my 55 gallon tank. I changed the 29 gallon tank around every 1.5 months, and I change the 55 gallon tank around every 3 months, even them I do not do a full bedding change. I recommend mixing a paper bedding with aspen and hay. I have tried 4 different brands of paper bedding. I started with Kaytee clean and cozy. Usually this is on some sort of sale but I am using full prices for all of the costs, this bedding is $33.99 for an 85L bag. This was the softest of all of the beddings and it held burrows fairly well. I will warn you that the natural colored bedding has a warning that it is known to the state of California to cause cancer and reproductive issues. Basically everything has this warning but I would stay clear of this color of bedding. I believe it is because of the type of wood in it, the white bedding does not have this warning. Next I used All-Living Things natural colored bedding. This is $24.99 for an 85L bag. I always prefer brown bedding since white bedding gets extremely dirty looking and colored beddings have dyes in it that I try not to use. Then I used Pet Supplies Plus paper bedding, these pet stores aren't as common as PetCo and PetSmart but if you have one near you, it's a great store. The bedding was a little rougher than the previous options but it is a great bedding that's cheaper and comes in larger quantities. It is $42.98 for an 184L bag. The current bedding I use is Carefresh. I was skeptical at first since it has a much rougher texture and it doesn't pack down as much. I got a coupon for a free bag (and since won a contest for 5 more bags ) To my surprise, it holds burrows better than any other bedding I have tried and it keeps hides up on the surface much better. It is $21.99 for a 60L bag but I recommend buying the twin pack if it is still available, you get 2 60L bags for $39.99, right now it is on sale for $29.99. As for wooden beddings, like I said, don't use cedar and pine beddings. Pine is safe if it is kiln dried but I still avoid using it. I haven't tried many brands of aspen beddings but I use the All-Living Things brand for $8.79 for a 41L bag or $17.99 for a 141L bag. Hay is another great addition to your bedding. I have used 2 different brands of hay. The Kaytee timothy hay is a bit harder and I like to use it to fill up my gerbils hay dispenser. I use the Kaytee brand, a 24oz bag is only $6.79 and it lasts quite a while. If you are adding a lot to your bedding, one container should be enough, I let my gerbils pull it out of the dispenser and do what they like with it. The Vitakraft sweet grass timothy hay is softer and better to use as a mix in for bedding. it is $6.99 for a 28oz bag. I'm pretty sure that this is the exact hay I have used but I no longer have the bag. There is one specific type of hay that is actually a grass that shouldn't be used but I will have to update on the specific type as I can't quite remember.
Toys, chews and hides are next. Gerbils need a lot of things to do so that they don't get bored. Cardboard is most gerbils favorite chews so start saving up cardboard rolls from toilet paper and your egg cartons (make sure to remove any labels.) It really depends on the person and gerbils but these are the various things that I have bought for my gerbils. Hides are very important, I have found that a clean mason jar is one of my gerbils favorites. Coconut hides are also amazing since you can hang them to prevent them from getting buried. They are around $10 each. Most likely they will chew the ladder but as long as it isn't too high they should be able to get into it. Cork logs are a great natural hide. They can get expensive and range between $30 and $40. Beware they can and most likely will get chewed, I still have mine after 6 months but it definitely has been chewed quite a lot. Woods are another great option. The prices range depending on the wood you buy. I have a cholla wood from PetSmart and a grapevine wood from Amazon. A great decoration is wood slices, it took me quite some time but I found safe birch slices from Etsy with free shipping to the US. I got the hay dispenser I was talking about earlier is from PetSmart, it is a bit overpriced but my gerbils love it.
A good wheel is key. You should get at least an 8 inch wheel but bigger is preferred. You can get metal, wood, and plastic wheels. Plastic wheels are most common but they can get chewed if your gerbils are plastic chewers. Wood wheels look very nice but they can be hard to clean and they get chewed even more than plastic wheels. My gerbils are on the smaller side so I have a small Niteangel wheel. The Niteangel wheel is great because you can make the wheel taller or shorter based off of your bedding height. Metal wheels are the most durable but also the most expensive. TikTak sells metal wheels but I'm unsure if they ship to the US. You may want to build a wooden platform to keep the wheel on, Niteangel also sells platforms made specifically for their wheels and you can get stilt extenders as well.
A sand bath is usually recommended for gerbils. Some choose to keep it in their enclosure full time, others keep it in for short periods of time. I keep mine in full time on a wooden platform. I use childrens play sand and bake it at 350F for 30 mins and then sift the rocks out. This is a great low cost option, you can get a 50LB bag for $5 at Home Depot. I keep their sand in a pie dish I got at Walmart for cheap and sift it every night replacing it around once a week.
Forage mixes and sprays are great for providing your gerbils with enrichment. I get am herb mix from Walmart made by Rosewood but I am currently searching for a better option. I always keep sprays for my gerbils. You can get millet sprays and oat sprays for cheap at PetSmart. I buy the ones for birds since you get so much more for so much cheaper than the ones made for hamsters and they are the same thing. I haven't used it but they also sell oat sprays, I bought mine on Etsy but I will try those when I run out. Sorghum and flax sprays are great as well but also harder to find. I bought mine from a great Etsy shop but they were a bit pricey. Just make sure you look everything up first, this shop is made for hamsters and some things aren't safe for gerbils. I do know that the leaf mixes aren't safe for gerbils so definitely avoid those.
Food is the most important, I make my own mix but there are great options to buy as well. It cost around $40 to get all the ingredients for the food mix but I did have to buy more than I needed of most so I only have to keep buying a few ingredients and I freeze what I do not use. I use this recipe by Fins and Whiskers. I don't know much about food mixes you can buy already made. I'm pretty sure that Higgins Sunburst is a good option but I am not 100% sure about this.
Other things you will need is a water bottle. I would but a glass one, when mine broke I bought a cheaper plastic one and they immediately chewed it and I had to buy yet another water bottle. I got mine from PetSmart. I hope this helps, I hope I didn't leave anything out
Last Edit: Jan 1, 2022 22:13:19 GMT -8 by PipSqueak
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Just a couple of notes, with plastic bottles, you can use those if you make a shield, the easiest option being from wire mesh.
Avoid cedar and pine bedding. These are toxic to gerbils.
I know you clarify this later on, but perhaps you should add 'some' before pine bedding, as some of them are ok at least (see this great article for a detailed look into it ).
Btw, you reminded me about getting Millet sprays, I'm sure my boys will thank you for that . I bought 500g for £6.50 from ebay, it wasn't the cheapest, but it's being sold by an animal charity that includes re-homing small mammals.