Small animals, when kept as pets, have different needs than cats and dogs.
Pets like gerbils, mice and hamsters require slightly different nutrition than other pets and therefore, their food also needs to be different from cats and dogs.
For small pets, there is specific commercially made food available in the market and though this food is not specifically marketed as food for gerbils, you can find it labeled as ‘gerbil and hamster food’. However, even though their food is usually marketed together, gerbils and hamsters have different nutritional needs.
The food that is nutritious for hamsters is usually very fattening for gerbils. Since the nutritional needs are different for the two animals, attention should be paid to commercially available food so that you do not end up feeding the wrong kind of food to your gerbil.
The commercially available food will have a lot of sunflower seeds.
However, gerbils are mainly insectivorous and sunflower seeds don’t suit them. Therefore, before you give them commercially made food, pick out the sunflower seeds and separate them from the food. You don’t need to throw these seeds away. You can use them later as hand treats for your gerbils.
Gerbils can be fussy eaters and they will usually eat out everything in their bowl, leaving the food that they don’t like. Even when you give them a homogenous mix, they will eat only those treats that they like.
Picking out the sunflower seeds from the food can be a tedious job. Therefore, it is recommended that you prepare homemade gerbil food so that you don’t have to sit with a bowlful of commercial food, picking sunflower seeds from it. Here’s what you can feed your gerbil instead of the commercial mix.
- Gerbils enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables. However, these should be given in small amounts. Though they enjoy eating fruits and vegetables, an excess can cause them to have diarrhea. If you are giving them fresh produce, wash it thoroughly to rid it of any chemicals or pesticides.
- Gerbils enjoy chewing a lot and therefore their favorite food is that which can be chewed for long. Give them foods like carrots, dandelion greens, apples, nuts, broccoli, and berries. You may give them nuts, but use nuts in their diet very sparingly.
- Unsweetened breakfast cereals can also be given to your pet gerbil.
- Chewy raisins and currants along with whole grain bread which is crushed to small pieces can also be given.