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Gerbil declanning questions

Discussion in 'Rodents' started by scaradee, Jun 12, 2021.


  1. scaradee

    scaradee PetForums Newbie

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    Hello!

    I have a couple of questions about gerbil declanning. I’ve had my older gerbil girl since December. Sadly her bonded partner died from illness shortly after. I manage to find her a new partner in mid-January. I did the split cage method for 2 weeks and they bonded without problems. At the time of the introduction the older girl was around 12 weeks old, the new one around 6-8 weeks old. Naturally the older one became the dominant one.

    They’ve been living together without issue since then. Then one evening 2 weeks ago I noticed that the older one started chasing the younger one around the cage. It didn’t last for very long and they slept together that night. A few days later the chasing started again. It lasted longer and when she wasn’t being chased the younger one seemed to desperately look for a way out of the tank. I decided to remove her from the tank to give them both time to cool off. The smaller one slept in a small spare tank that night. I swapped them over a couple of times the following day so they wouldn’t forget each other’s scent and then the next morning I carefully reintroduced them and monitored them throughout the day. After some initial butt-sniffing they were fine. This was a week ago. I put the ‘fights’ down to the younger one reaching adulthood (she’s now a little over 6 months old) and challenging the social structure of their clan, and I’ve been keeping an eye on them in case of further problems.

    Yesterday I got home from work and immediately heard squeaking from the tank. The older one had a small but bloody wound on her nose and was hiding in the candy jar I use for their sand bath, the younger one was squeaking at her from just outside the jar. I immediately took the older one to the vet. She’s back home in a separate tank.

    I know these are clear signs of declanning and I’m lucky it didn’t escalate further while I was out. My question is, should I give up on them being a pair or should I give them one more try via a lengthy split cage trial? My instinct is to not put them under any more stress by forcing them together, but it also breaks my heart to think I haven’t tried everything. What would you recommend?

    Furthermore, if they do have to live apart, how quickly would you introduce new partners? By coincidence I recently noticed that a local charity was looking to rehome a lonely 11-months old girl. Should I try adopting her and putting her with the younger one?

    I know the older one needs to heal properly before I can attempt a reintroduction or an introduction of a new gerbil. If she can’t return to her former partner, should I try with another young gerbil? I’d hate to see her running into the same problem again once the potential new gerbil reaches adulthood and decides to challenge her. Would an older girl or a neutered boy be a safer option?

    Any help would be much appreciated!
     
  2. ForestWomble

    ForestWomble PetForums VIP

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    Hello. Sorry to hear about your girls, once blood has been drawn I'm afraid that's it, you can't risk putting them together again.

    As to introducing them to new gerbils, I really don't know, maybe see how they get on separately and if one or both show signs of being unhappy then look into doing intros with new gerbils, but if they are fine I'd leave them be.

    I had two boys who had a fight earlier this year, sadly lost one and I did what I suggested above, I left the remaining boy on his own and so far he is doing really well and is perfectly happy as an only.
     
  3. scaradee

    scaradee PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for the advice! Good to know my instinct of not putting them together again was right. They're both still quite young and I don't want them to be lonely for the rest of their lives, but I guess I'll see how they get on over the next couple of weeks.
     
  4. ForestWomble

    ForestWomble PetForums VIP

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    Your welcome :)
    I understand, it's hard to know what to do, maybe they just didn't get on with each other, but they'd be happy with a different gerbil, or maybe they'd be happy as onlys, it's hard to know what to do after a fight that bad.
    Girls are harder to put together and are more likely to declan apparently, I hope what ever you decide it works out OK.
     
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