GERBIL DIET: general information
Should make up the bulk of their diet
Budgie seed can be used as the base for the mixture (one containing various millets)
There should always be a higher ratio of flour seed to oil seed
GRAIN & SEED MIX
You can source the ingredients from supermarkets, health food stores and online.
Scatter feeding is best because this encourages natural behaviour and keeps gerbils active
The mix should consist of 70% flour seeds and 30% oil seeds, but
If they are growing, the oil seeds can be increased
1 heaped tsp (5-8g) per gerbil per day is usually sufficient. In general the food should last until the next feeding
Should be offered on a daily basis
A necessary and healthy addition to their diet
You can collect plants providing they haven't been sprayed with chemicals or soiled with dog/bird/other animal faeces
In nature you can collect forage such as dandelion, bramble, plantain & mint
You can dry forage yourself in a dehydrator/oven/in the sun, or you can purchase pre-packaged dried plants
Dried forage is useful if you can't access fresh forage (e.g. Winter or if you live in an urban area)
Fruit may be offered, but only as an occasional treat due to the sugar content
It usually takes a while for gerbils to readily accept vegetables, but offer on a daily basis and get to know what their preferences are
A small, daily serving of vegetables in sufficient
I usually offer fresh herbs with the vegetables. These are often available in supermarkets. You can offer coriander, basil, parsley and more
Some examples of popular gerbil vegetables include bell pepper, celery, cucumber, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, fennel
Gerbils do require a good supply of protein in their diet. They are not true vegetarian, despite the majority of their diet consisting of seeds and other plant sources. Many of the grains contain lots of protein.
In addition, it is a good idea to include the following 2-3 times a week:
Pea & soy flakes contain a good amount of protein
Live insects such as mealworms, may be offered
Alternatively feed dried if preferred
Healthy fats are an essential diet component. I usually offer the nuts chopped up as a whole nut is fattening.
I offer one of the following (per gerbil) daily:
Branches are a great supplement for gerbils. Branches also contribute to the abrasion of their teeth - this is important as they are continuously growing! The branches I feed include apple & hazel branches as these are most common where I live, and can be fed in larger quantities unlike some other branches.
REMOVE NUTS BEFORE FEEDING
In general, I recommend avoiding pet shop treats. They often contain various unhealthy ingredients which may be harmful to gerbils. Some healthy alternatives include the following: