For the domesticated gerbil we tend to replicate their diet like they’re in the wild and it is by giving them dried food mixes with small amounts of fruit and vegetables. Dried food mixes can be pre-packaged mixes which are usualy sold in pet stores or you can prepare a homemade mix yourself.The recommended daily intake for a single gerbil is approximately one tablespoon or 10-15 g of their food per day.
Note that gerbils can be picky eaters and tend to first eat what they prefer more and leave the rest of their food or partially eaten seeds in the bowl. Make sure that you add no more food to the bowl until its empty so your gerbils has all the needed nutrients to stay healthy.
Try to check on that at least once a day, so your gerbils don’t run out of food.
Your gerbils food intake should vary. By that you will make sure that your gerbil recieves enough nutrients to stay healthy and you can prevent boredom (you can also spread a bit of seeds on their bedding, they like to forage for their food).
If you’d like to give them treats along their staple diet, make sure to give them in small amounts and only a few times or once per week.
If you have an intention to breed gerbils, you can add smaller and softer seeds to newly weaned pups and also a bit of extra protein and fat to benefit the mother so she can produce milk for her pups.Most scientist, breeders and keepers recommend that a gerbils staple diet should contain in general a given percent of fat and protein that works well with Mongolian gerbils:
–Bred adults: Fat (7-9%) , Protein (15-16-18%)
–Non-bred adults: Fat (5-8%) , Protein (12-15%)
–Adults older than 2 years: Fat (3-5%) , Protein (10-12%).
From the information above you can see that a gerbils diet varies over its lifespan. A younger gerbil which is more active needs more fat than the older one. Too much fat can lead to obesity and high colesterol which can result in a heart disease or strokes. It can also cause sterility in females, because the fat sorounds the ovaries.
But as you can see fats should never be completely left out of their diet. The optimal amount of fat is 3-8% which you can see above, and it’s depending on a gerbils age and whether it is a pet or for breeding.
As for fat you have to watch out for the amount of their protein intake too. If you give a younger gerbil a diet with less than 15% protein content it could result in slower growth. But diets with too much protein content (20%+) can cause serious healt issues, so be carefull when choosing their food (always read whats written on the back of the package).A best way to tell how well your gerbils diet is, is to watch them. If you notice that your gerbil is getting thiner, you can add a bit of protein and fat to their diet by giving them sunflower seeds, larger nuts, and some treats. If you notice that your gerbil is getting fat from a certain diet, you can just add some extra protein and fibre to it and reduce their calorie intake by giving them some alfalfa pellets.