So, you’ve just adopted a new Gerbil and are unsure where to begin when it comes to their food. Or, you’re just doing research to make sure you are ready for your new addition. Either way, how you are feeding your gerbil will affect its health and wellbeing.
You’ll want to make sure you take the best care of your furry friend to ensure it lives a long, happy life.
How often and how much should you feed a Gerbil?
Gerbils should be fed 3-4 times a day with food pellets that are packed with nutrition. The label on the bag will tell you the serving size appropriate for your gerbil. You can feed it seeds and fruits or vegetables as well. Gerbils enjoy the variety, and it can mirror what they would forage for in the wild. You can enrich the food by burrowing it and having your gerbil find it.
This article will go into detail on what kinds of foods your gerbils like and other ways to care for your gerbil and keep it healthy and happy.
How Often Should You Feed Your Gerbil?
Gerbils eat small meals throughout the day. So, feeding your gerbil smaller meals throughout the day will mirror how gerbils would eat in the wild. Many gerbils also like hoarding food, so multiple meals will ensure that he at least eats some of the food. You should cater the meals to a healthy weight too. If your gerbil is overweight, then change the food or amount.
Gerbils like to hoard food and hide it for safekeeping. Given that gerbils are prey animals, they often will hoard food so that they can eat later if they are concerned with predator animals. A study found that gerbils forage and eat less if a predator is hungry and hunting them. They will remain closer to their den and venture out less for food. Hence, the hoarding beforehand. So, watch out for this behavior, so food doesn’t spoil in their cage.
Make sure to keep their water clean and change it daily. In the wild, gerbils would get their water needs met through their food. However, nutritious food pellets are not filled with water. So be sure to keep their water clean and accessible so they can stay hydrated and healthy. Their water should be changed daily to make sure it is always clean.
Watch out for “fatty” foods that may make your gerbil obese. Foods like sunflower seeds may be a gerbil’s favorite but can be harmful if fed often. Switch to pumpkin seeds that are just as good taste-wise, but better for your gerbil’s health. You can also feed them these more often. You should switch pellets for fruits or veggies to provide variety too.
Also be careful with gerbils chewing on plastic packaging. This is important, so I made a whole article dedicated to it.
How Much Can I Feed My Gerbil?
Give your gerbil multiple meals throughout the day. To mirror their natural feeding patterns, smaller meals throughout the day are better. You can fill a Petri dish with dry food pellets or fresh seeds. Make sure to clean out any old food, so they don’t eat stale or dirty food over fresh food.
Check the food label for how much to give. When you buy a bag of dry food pellets, there will be suggested serving sizes on the bag. Ready those carefully and cater the amount to your gerbil. It may be more or less depending on if you include other foods in their diet. Make sure to watch your gerbil’s weight, so they don’t become over or underweight.
Take small steps when introducing new foods. If your gerbil is used to eating seeds and dry pellets, but you want to give it fruits and vegetables, feed them a little at a time. They could have diarrhea from eating too much at once. Not to mention the shift in taste and texture. Most gerbils benefit from this inclusion, so take it slow.
Make sure they eat enough pellets before branching out to other foods. Dry pellets are formulated to provide your gerbil with all the nutrients they need to be healthy. Make sure they get their daily amount of that food before feeding them seeds, fruits, or vegetables. This will make sure they aren’t missing out on any vital nutrients.
How Can I Make Feeding Time More Fun?
Add variety into their diets. Similar to humans, gerbil can get tired of the same kinds of foods every day. So, incorporate fruits, vegetables, or seeds to entice their interest and excitement to eat. Keep these foods more as treats, so they don’t miss vital nutrients from their dry pellets by choosing treats over healthy foods.
Burrow their food around their cage. Gerbils are foragers, so they are used to digging and finding their own food. Hide treats around their cage for them to find and eat. This will provide enrichment for their mind and help extend mealtime, so they don’t overstuff. It can also give them a way to exercise both their mind and body.
Introduce a new food. Gerbils eat a variety of seeds, herbs, grasses, and fruits or vegetables in the wild. You can recreate this by introducing new foods for them to try. It will excite their interest, and you might find a new favorite treat to offer them or include in their diet. Avoid rhubarb or grapes, as these are poisonous to rodents.
Use various toys or puzzles to hide treats. Gerbils like to forage, so use this to make feeding time more fun. You can put treats inside a chewing tube or stick for them to find or need to reach inside to get the treat. You can help file their teeth and fill their stomachs at the same time!
Other Factors To Consider
Clean your gerbil’s cage two or three times a week. This will help get rid of feces and stale foods, so your gerbil doesn’t get sick. They tend to hoard food under bedding, which can mix with feces and become contaminated. Cleaning the cage often will prevent this. Plus, it gives your gerbil a chance to be out of its cage and get a little exercise.
Make sure you have a lot of gnawing materials for your gerbil. A gerbil’s teeth will keep growing unless filed down. If they aren’t filed down, then eating can be hard or impossible for your gerbil. And this will lead to bigger health issues. Be sure there are a lot of things for your gerbil to chew on in their cage.
You should leave them in the care of a trusted person when you travel. Educate whoever is looking after your gerbil on their eating habits and how much food you feed it. This will help decrease confusion and promote your gerbil’s health. You should also introduce the person to your gerbil beforehand, so they aren’t scared or stressed by the new person.
Recommended Gerbil Food
Here are our top 3 recommended gerbil foods available on Amazon.com:
1. Wild Harvest Hamster And Gerbil Advanced Nutrition Diet (affiliate link)
This is a highly nutritional mix of ingredients that’s made specifically for gerbils and hamsters. It’s a unique mix of ingredients that create an irresistible blend to replicate diets found in a natural habitat and encourage foraging behaviors.
2. Kaytee Fiesta Hamster and Gerbil Food (affiliate link)
This is another highly nutritious blend for your gerbil. The mix comes with different shapes and textures that supports dental health by mimicing natural chewing activity. The mix is also high in prebiotics and probiotics to support digestive health.
3. Oxbow Animal Hamster and Gerbil Food (affilaite link)
Lastly we recommend the Oxbow animal hamster and gerbil food mix.
While this mix isn’t quite as nutritious as the previous two, it’s cheaper which makes it more suitable for owners who might already feed their gerbils various fruits and nuts and only looking for a basic diet formula.
We’ve discussed how often and how much food to feed your gerbil. As well as how to make feeding times more fun and enriching for your pet. Make sure to check the label of your dry pellet food to feed your gerbil the right amount. As well as taking care of its teeth health by providing gnawing materials so they can eat properly.
All in all, your gerbil will be in a happy home if you are looking for ways to make it happy and feeding it the right amount of food. Hopefully, this article was helpful and informative!