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Posted by Taceas on May 05, 2003 at 16:24:35:
In Reply to: a question about feeding live and breeding mice.......... posted by mike_panic on May 04, 2003 at 12:49:57:
I currently breed gerbils for my corn snakes. I have a group of 1:5 in a large wire rat cage. I find the newborn pinks are small enough for problematic feeders and hatchlings, and my corns find the gerbil smell irresistable, even when in shed.
To me, it seems that gerbils are on the same par nutritionally as rats for feeders. They're nice and plump, and it takes a bit longer for the snake to digest, so I don't have to feed 4 mice every week where I can feed 1-2 gerbils instead.
Not only that, but I find gerbils a LOT cleaner and less smelly than mice. It takes 2-3 days before you smell the mouse smell..but with gerbils, it takes a week or more. So I considerably save on litter costs. I just feed them a mix of high grade rat food (currently Oxbow Rodent Maintenence) and low-calorie cat food (currently Iams Weight Control) for the lactating and gestating females. I'll treat them with Cheerios or superworms.
Plus, and when you get to the point that you have too many to freeze or use for yourself, you can generally sell them to pet stores for $5/each or in the local paper. People around here really snatch them up for pets for their children. They're a lot cuter than mice at any rate. =P
While they do tend to have smaller litters than mice or rats (generally 5-6), they are a lot cleaner (smell wise). Just make sure you don't use too much litter, or get litter that is larger than your wire cage as they do like to dig a lot. Plus, they're a recycler for your toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes. =P
Here's a couple of pictures of some of my gerbils and the general idea of my setup:
Male, he's a sweet-heart, loves to be held.
Oldest and dominant female I have.
You can see what a mess they make, especially this female, she likes to build mountains for her babies inside. She has 5 kits right now, bout 3 weeks old.
I guess I'm just weird in the fact that I keep the parents as pets and love them to death, and use the babies as feeders. I you want any more pictures detailing anything in particular, just e-mail me and I'll take some for you. =)