3 wheels!

With all the fuss of two new wheels George – the gerbil who did not care for wheels- became a wheel addict as well! So that left Little Bear without a wheel again! So I dug up another of my old Wodent Wheels. I am so glad they have a huge living space. You should see the action of spinning when all 3 are in the wheels. It makes us dizzy!!!

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I am so happy we have these active gerbils. They seem to hardly sleep. They are up all night like a hamster which is odd. I tried taking out the wheels to train them to sleep at night but it did not work. Instead they would make the worst angry racket!

They are up often during the day as well. I love these guys so much. They are so full of personality. I mean really spunky.

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Put in the Wodent Wheels

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2 of my trio are wheel addicts. This is new for me because my last two gerbils didn’t know what to do with a wheel and only chewed them. But this trio of gerbils are nothing like my last pair. In any way! It is like all I expected has been thrown out the window. Not in a bad way though. Just different!

These guys were a cinch to train. They are health foodies. They do not want “treats” like yogies. They eat up veggies and fresh fruit like their lives depend in it. Among other things my last pair were different about.

These fellas aren’t big chewers. Lennon and Mercury would go through so many toilet paper rolls i had to enlist family everywhere to save up and send me their stockpiles. Still was never enough to chew. These guys are less burrowers and more into their flat desert side of the tank. Anyway, so i decided to get rid of the metal wheel which i hate for so many reasons and put in two Wodent Wheels from past hamsters and they LOVE them. I mean absolutely love them. Even George the non-wheel gerbil sometimes gets in and does one lap here and there just to try it out. They love the game of hopping into the holes. And out of them. They make a game of choosing the higher holes to leap in. And Mr. Petty Paws my speed demon gerbil can go much faster and safer in these wheels. He and Little Bear both prefer the 8 inch as they can make it go faster. The 12 inch is a little slower as it is more to push. But i only have one 8 inch WW. But they will use the 12inch when one is occupying the 8 and so this is a good thing. They were beginning to not share the metal wheel and I knew I had to have at least 2 wheels in there.

So far they are not chewing the plastic. Not even George who is not a wheel fan really. But if I were to notice they were doing that I’d have to take them out. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Busy!!

20140715-172226-62546695.jpg I feel terrible that I am letting my blog go to the wayside. Our move is approaching quickly and just so much other life related things but I miss my space here!! All my critters are well. The gerbils bin was not safe enough. As their substrate got higher they were reaching a curve and groove at the top and gnawing on it. I broke down and got a Really Useful Box for a cheap $14 dollars with Amazon points. Normally for this size (64 litre maybe? I cannot remember!) it is about $26. Not bad for such a well made, thick and sturdy box. The inside is smooth and flat with no grooves for the boys to gnaw on. I hadn’t planned for the topper (a cage top to a small commercial cage) to fit so perfectly on top of the lid. As if it was made to sit there. This is smaller than the last but they have slowed down a lot. ( I will have had them for 2 years in September I think) It will do well for our travel over halfway across the country and for the limbo before and after the road trip. My sweeties before the cage change.

 

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Fixing the door to the Topper

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The mesh I used for my Gerbil Topper was the 1/4 inch grid. It’s not as strong as 1/2 inch. I didn’t use 1/2 as I didn’t want them to be able to get their muzzles through it and start chewing habits. However, due to the need for them not to slip through the door and sides of the entrance I use spring loaded hooks and the tightness was causing the mesh to begin bending. And the door was floppier as well. I just became unhappy with it and did not feel it was secure enough. I was always afraid the mesh would eventually break causing the hook latches to come attached and therefore come home to missing gerbils. Ugh. The thought horrifies me.

So, I bent a section of 1/2 mesh in half and put the hard plastic borders around it (Totally blanked on what those are called! – The red things around the frame) and attached it. It’s so sturdy that I only need two spring latches opposed to the four I needed with the other door. And the way I folded the piece makes it a little difficult for them to get their muzzles through. And even if they could this mesh is very strong so they couldn’t gnaw through it if that’s even possible or desirable for them to try to do. It looks cleaner to me. I’m pleased.

*Other additions – I took the two sides off the burrowing box and flipped over the little steps and turned it into just another shelf for them to climb on. In the middle is just free space with no walls. Only walls are on the sides facing and the back to stand it up.

October 2013 Cages of the Rodents of Hammy Happenings Tour!

Alrighty! October’s Cage Tours of all my rodent babies. And of course – pictures of my rodent babies! All of these pictures were taken today and tonight except the one of Bob. The picture I took of him tonight wasn’t so great. But I had taken the one I posted a few days or so ago and love it.

OKAY THEN! So!

Let’s start with Penny. Ladies First! She had been taking a nibble at her chews.

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Penny is in a Marchioro Kevin 82cm Cage. I purchased this cage for $119 at PetStore.com but it is also available at ThatPetPlace.com. It usually ranges between $119-$134. In the United States it’s one of the best sized cages you can get for any species of hamster but especially Syrian’s. It has 7mm bar spacing so ideal for as big as Syrians to as tiny as Mice and Chinese Hamsters.

Up Next! Bob having a moment beneath the toad stools

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Bob is in the Ware Luxury Rabbit Cage. It retails a bit over $100 bucks. I got mine used for $20. It has 1” bar spacing so it needs to be meshed for hamsters. This is an awesome cage. It has casters and opens from the top and a large front door. The tray slides out for easy cleaning and then slides back in. I wish I could find another just like this for Penny. The height is much less scary than the Mamble which I had her in before. It’s long and narrower so it takes up less space without sacrificing footprint.

Now Strawberry as he lounges in his space pod.

strawberry space pod sb cage collage

Strawberry is my eldest hamster (I think!). He’s a hybrid Cambells/WW or “Russian” hamster. He has slowed down. Looks great. Healthy. Eating and such. But really not very active.  I have plenty for him to do now. And I love his “retirement” cage. A Grreat Choice Pet Home for Small Animals cage from Petsmart. It’s 24 inch long, 15 inch wide, 14 inch tall. Below the RSPCA guidelines for a dwarf hamster cage. It’s suitable for a retirement cage for a dwarf and honestly, it depends on the hamster. Strawberry has never liked large cages. I’ve tried. He has been really happy in here so far. I find it easier to interact with him and get him out and check on him in this too. And it’s easier to make a jungle gym for him in there. He loves to climb though I can tell he’s struggling with it nowadays. The high base is ACE for my little digger. He has epic tunnels going on around the entire cage.

 

Gabriel’s Turn! He likes to meditate and other business in his sand box.

gabriel sand gabriels cage collageMy Chinese hamster is also older. In fact he probably is older than Strawberry but I will never know. He is adopted with barely any known history. I’m his 3rd and final home! He is in the FOP Gabbia Tamburino Linera Natura – a hybrid of a tank and cage. I had hammocks and suspension ladder toys and the like going on in here and other cages I tried putting him in – he had no interest. Today I decided to leave the top grill off (the grid lid) because he cannot climb out. This gives me better view of him from above and I don’t have to meddle with lifting it up and putting it down (it’s loud because it needs a handle). Anyway, he prefers his environment low to the ground and with plenty of hideouts. He does like to climb driftwood and such. I go with a forest floor type of habitat for him.

Finally, for the hamsters –  the Roborovski’s Snow & Patch! Having their nightly sand bath.

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patch sand

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The Roborovski brothers were separated due to my ignorance. I began with them together when I brought both home from the shop. I had one wheel. Multiple platforms. One house. If you are to keep your robo’s social due keep in mind – no platforms. A home and toy for each. Two Robo’s = two wheels, two food bowls, two houses. Or some will say better to have no houses but instead numerous hide outs. By the time I realized my mistake it was too late. They were drawing blood. Snow reminds me of this whenever I see the sections taken from his ear by Patch’s past nips. So, I did a DIY cage out of a book shelf that a neighbor was throwing out. It was a dollhouse style bookshelf. I simply put vinyl tiles down for the floor. Contact paper along the walls. And made a partition that is removable for clean out. It’s also vinyl and is attached from the inside with heavy duty velcro. They cannot climb out. I forgot the measurements but it’s as long as Bob’s rabbit cage and a little narrower in width compared to his. It’s the most space they’ve ever had and it’s easy to clean and fun to and easy to watch them. They’ve never been happier!

Last but not least: My Gerbil’s Mercury and Lennon! Waiting patiently for their treat. They also give me kisses!

gerbils posinggerbils cage collage

My gerbils have sampled many a layout/aquarium. I had them originally in a tall 28 gallon. Then 20 long. Then a 110 qt Bin cage. And finally a 40 long. Then I DIY’d a topper to put on top. I change around their set up every time I clean out. I have large pieces of drift wood I trade out each time to keep it fresh. Various tunnels and bridges and such they bury down into the bedding. You can barely see the current drift wood I put in there. It was a smaller piece than usual. In the topper they have water bottles, a sand pot where they do all their business. A Gnawsome hut to chew on and they prefer to snack within with the treats I give them. The topper has 2 floors. Or two separate “lofts” where I put their food dish. Or just for a perch and look out. They are pretty spoiled methinks. They are worth it. My little daytime buddies!

And that is the October 2013 cage tour of the Rodent’s of Hammy Happenings!

Gerbil Topper Improvements

The gerbils have two new ramps in the topper. No more having to use bulky not really ideal methods for them to get to the topper and to the 2nd floor of the topper. They love it. And it makes my topper look more sleek and pro. Takes up less room for them as well.

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So a little while back I ordered two metal ramps that are actually replacement parts for a commercial tank topper for gerbils from critter-cages.com. Overall, I am happy with the seller. I would order from them again. They give a 10% Military discount too which is a kind gesture.

My cons are only there is no email notifying of receipt or acknowledgement of order and or of shipping. However if you register with them you have access to your account which will reflect the process of your order. Also when I emailed customer service I received a prompt and courteous response. Shipping isn’t really fast but reasonable. Good prices but the shipping cost is a wee high but as stated on their site that is the way they keep their items priced lower. So, it’s not truly a beef with me.

The selection is awesome. I saw so many parts I would love to order for my DIY cages and such. My friend Kerri got her front panel to make a bin cage door from there. A replacement panel for a commercial hamster cage.

I also got a replacement ramp for Bob’s converted rabbit cage. The true part for. The cage. I got that cage cheap and used and it was missing that ramp. It fits great in there and now he can climb to the shelf that came with the cage with ease.

Gerbilarium clean out and plans

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So, I found that dollhouse on the trash pickup curb and took it in to make something of it but in doing that saved this background and used it as wallpaper for the gerbils topper. LOL. I think it’s cute! Originally the function was only temporary to keep their mess within the topper and not over the side onto the floor in the back.

I haven’t bought a rotary tool yet or attained acrylic glass sheets which I plan to soon to make a barrier on the lower half of all sides of the topper to keep it tidier.

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Now I kinda love it.
Also I added back the hanging hay holder. Make them work for their hay for while. Love these darlings.

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Then later today I decided to try a homemade hammock out of jeans. I figured it would be harder for them to chew up if they decide to and if its a success I can have a jean hammock sewn well and sturdier.

And I added their suspension ladder bridge from Bobby’s Bunny Boutique placed in. I can’t wait to see them climb around on these. Right at this time they were snoozing when I put it in.

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Get this suspension ladder bridge from Bobby’s Bunny Boutique!

I get asked this often so I will take this opportunity to answer as I just did this big clean!

How long does it take to clean their gerbilarium?

The larger the space and deeper the substrate and whether you supply a litter pan/box/pot for your critter to do all their business in – the less cleaning is required.

My gerbils go wee and poo in aragonite sand that I keep in a high sided metal pot. I change this sand out every couple days.

They also sometimes use the cardboard squares I place in there for them to chew. So when I see they have I replace the cardboard. This is spot cleaning. Something that should be done daily or semi daily.

Monthly I do a full clean.

Gerbils do not wee much. They are desert rodents and drink little and wee little. They are also very clean animals. So they do not have much of a smell (I have a sensitive nose and notice only a smell in their litter pot). Mine go mostly in their pot. When I scoop out their substrate I never notice poops. I am not saying there isn’t poops in the main substrate but for a month and two gerbils the fact I haven’t seen any is telling that they go mostly in their pot and that is changed semi daily.

With a full clean monthly I remove most everything from the topper. I sweep with a little hand broom the cardboard and tissue they shred up there and nest with inside their summer home in the topper. In the winter they sleep “downstairs” in their burrows. But I have noticed that when it is warmer they nest in a wood house “upstairs” to keep cooler. This is why I am an advocate of the big tank and topper extension for a gerbil set up.

I place my gerbils in a box to play in with tubes to chew and hide in while I begin to clean.

I vacuum the topper out with the hose attachments and remove it and then wipe it down with a cage cleaner chemical safe for animals. then go over that with a warm wet cloth to wipe the residue of the cleaner away. then dry it with paper towels.

Then I remove the driftwood and platform out of tank and begin to scoop out most of the substrate and then vacuum out the remaining bit. I use a cleaner to wipe out all the residue left in the tank and repeat same process as the topper.

I wipe all around the outside of the tank too.

I replace their driftwood and platform and add a semi deep layer of substrate (shredded aspen by Native Earth) and hay so they can shred and thicken their burrows. In the hotter months I put less substrate. In the winter I put at least 8 inches of substrate.

On goes the topper and I replace all their items in there. Add more cardboard and toilet paper rolls and treats in there before putting them back. Then I hand feed them their most favorite treat so they have a positive experience after all the upheaval.

Then I vacuum my floor all around the area.

All this process from start to finish including vacuuming the floor I have found takes an hour at least.

But this is only monthly. Therefore really not bad at all.

The semi daily spot cleaning as well changing out water in their bottles takes 5 minutes I think.