Gerbils & Hamsters/Gerbil

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Question
My gerbil just had babies and I am nervous about it ---- I am not sure on what to do I have read that I need to remove father and then I have read not to so I'm really confused ...I also was told to remove dad if I didn't want any more babies --well I am scared to remove him cause I'm scared I will remove mom instead on an accident cause they so said dad will warm babies while mom is up moving and I'm no sure which is female and which is male cause they were give to us ?? Please help ?? Please email responses to  thank you

Answer
Hi Mandy

Thanks for your question - I'm sorry for the late response.

The problem with keeping males and females together, as you have found out, is that they mate - and often when a female produces a litter, they will mate again the same day and as she is extremely fertile then she could fall pregnant immediately.

It should be pretty clear by now which one is the mother as the babies should be feeding from her - although hopefully dad is doing his job and keeping a close eye on them.

How old are the babies now?  What type of cage/tank are they in?  Male gerbils are fine with litters - they won't attack them.  The longer the male is in with the babies and mum the more chance you have of mum becoming pregnant again.  However, one way around this to try and temporarily divide the cage.  If it is possible to do this - i.e. block off the top tier, or put in a divider (ideally a wire screen), providing both sides have access to water and food, this would allow the male to remain in the cage, but not get close enough to the mum. Then when the babies are 4 weeks old you should sex them and any males in the litter can live with dad, and the females can stay with mum.  Obviously dad and any boys will need a cage of their own.  By dividing the cage, the dad will still be able to smell the others and vice versa, this means that when you put the boys in with him there shouldn't be any problems.

If you have separated out the male, and want him to live with any males in the litter, then don't just assume you can put him in a cage with them when they are 4 weeks old.  What you need to do is swap bedding over for a few days so that their scent is on everything, then put them together under careful supervision, otherwise they will fight.

I hope this helps you.

Regards
Sheila

Gerbils & Hamsters

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Sheila Adby

Expertise

Syrian hamsters are my specialty, however, I have kept Campbells,Winter Whites and gerbils in the past. I can advise on most subjects associated with hamsters, including housing, bedding, feeding, handling, new borns and catching escapees. I have had some experience of various health problems with hamsters and can offer my opinion and advice on basic health issues, however I am not a qualified vet and therefore cannot recommend drugs etc. My website is www.thehamstersite.com

Experience

I have been keeping hamsters and other small animals for more than 12 years. My favourites are Syrian hamsters and I foster litters and 'difficult' hamsters for a rescue centre. My job is to tame hamsters ready for re-homing, which is extremely rewarding. I also enjoy looking after new litters and raising the pups. I have co-written a book on hamsters with my local vet and have a website: www.thehamstersite.com

Publications
Hamsters in Sickness and in Health - Sheila Adby and Dan O'Neill ISBN186163218-5 (Capall Bann Publishing)

Education/Credentials
Educated to A Level standard in the UK.

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