Tuesday, 9 June 2015

New Friends

It has been a tough year for the gerbils, Mr Nibbles and Milky Joe. His Nibs unfortunately contracted a tumour on his stomach, he kept it clean and bits fell off of it and he seemed to be coping well. Milky stopped chewing at wood and so his teeth grew too long making it difficult for him to eat, he lost a lot of weight. We now take him monthly to the vet to have them ground down - ouch! He's back to full fitness thankfully. However, just over a week ago Mr Nibs had a bad day and it had obviously got too big for him on the inside. Poor fellow passed on. Have to say it hit me pretty hard, I miss him, he was cool.

The quandary then was what to do about Milky. He was on his own aged two and could live another couple of years. Gerbils are sociable animals so we decided to try and get him another pal. Research revealed it would be sensible to get him a young male to nurture and that it would take some time to integrate them. Our previous provider had females only so we tried a few of the local Pets-at-Home and came across a solitary 'male'. The member of staff was 99.9% certain it was male although Josie spotted the flowers on the dangling thing in the cage, there were footballs on the empty cage below.

At home we had them in separated parts of the gerbilarium and then let them run about together under supervision for 15-20 minutes for a few days. Until, wouldn't you know it, 0.1% becomes 100% female and Milky Joe thought his luck was in. Poor chap, had to deprive him of that pleasure, did not want a whole new family.

So, it was then what do we know with madam? Returning her seemed harsh, she is pretty and full of character. But then we'd still need a pal for Milky, plus one for her too, oh dear! Pre-loved website had a gerbil breeder just down the M3 in Aldershot. I gave her a call and she was full of info suggesting that it might be as well to get 2 young males for Milky to adopt to avoid more separations down the line. From 2 to 1 to 4 and then 5: easy.

A trip on Sunday saw us meeting prospective chums. Milky was good with all the tiny 6 week olds. We quickly had two selected and ready to join the Horahousehold. Madam had other things on her mind. Maybe she was in heat, perhaps she was pregnant from her time at the shop when they thought she was male? Or just perhaps she's a pyscho gerbil. Whichever it is time should tell but she did not accept any of the prospective friends introduced to her. So she's still alone. We will wait a week, maybe two and then try her again, otherwise she may just have to go it alone poor thing.

We'd originally called her Creamy Baileys but had decided that was a male name and indeed suits one of the new youngsters better so she's also had to go through a deed pole name change. She's now to be known as Precious Lily-White. Milky's other new bud is grey/silver, so he's Old Greg. Here are the boys, in all their glory!

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