Update from Gerbil HQ
I know, I’ve been AWOL again – time and health got in the way, but I will make an effort to write more regularly again.
SO last time I wrote about one of new additions, Cinnamon, who had broken a leg and was in isolation, on bedrest, with an axe hanging over her head. I’m pleased to say she recovered well, and quickly from the break and was easily integrated back into the main cage with her two sisters. And all was well. For two days.
And then I noticed she was limping again, and on closer inspection, it transpired that she had another broken leg – this time a back leg. Back she went into her isolation cage, with a dose of painkillers to see how she got on. It took her a little time, but she did recover the use of her leg and get to the point where we could introduce her back into the main cage. And that’s where things got difficult.
Her sisters were clearly tired of her frequent holidays and decided they didn’t want her back. Hardcastle made her life a misery, so that Cinnamon spent all her time hiding in a tunnel, with Hardcastle waiting at the end of it for her to come out. And then Hardcastle attacked her. Drew blood on her leg, back and tail. Bean was very upset. Following all the advide, we removed Hardcastle from the situation and left Cinnamon and Shadow together. This should have been enough, but Shadow almost immediately turned on Cinnamon and took up where Hardcastle had left off. Time for a new plan.
Shadow and Hardcastle went back into the main cage, and poor Cinnamon went back to her isolation tank. I hit the internet and found a cage nearly identical to the large one we already had, and arranged to collect it the next day. Bean decided to spend his Easter money on it (it was a bargain at £10!). Off went went on a 160 mile round trip, stopping off on the way back to buy another female gerbil for Cinnamon to live with.
Stonelaughter modified the new cage – splitting it in two down the middle so the two gerbils could see and smell each other, but not get to each other, and replacing the wire platforms and ladders with wooden ones. Cinnamon and the new friend – Lightning – were placed in there and left to their own devices for 4 days. They seemed quite intrigued and not unhappy about it all. After four days, we swapped them over, so that they would get used to living with the other’s smell. It was fascinating to watch them both rebuild the tunnels and both move their nests to the same spot either side of the division. Four days later, we removed the partition altogether and held our breath.
And they got on! And that was a weeka go, and they are still getting on! Cinnamon seems like a different gerbil – she *looks* much happier and they both play together, sleep together and do all the things gerbil friends should do! Bean is very happy about this outcome.
It has also helped him love Hardcastle and Shadow again – he was very angry with them for what they did to Cinnamon, even though he knows it was just natural behaviour. But now Cinnamon is well again, and clearly happy, he seems to have forgiven them. They are happily getting on with their life together too.
Don’t let anyone tell you keeping gerbils is easy!