The Snooty Agouti
"Where every bite is a delight.."
A handsome silver nutmeg enjoys a veggie.
Many of our friends visiting The Snooty Agouti website have asked us what and how we feed our gerbil family. While there is a wide variety of healthful commercial foods that gerbils will enjoy and various ways in which to serve gerbils their food, Snooty has prepared this info in answer to our friends. This is not a recommendation but merely an overview of what we do at The Snooty Agouti. Experiment with your gerbils' diet…that's part of the fun!
Any gerbil will tell you that when it comes to food (and toys!) variety is the spice of life. In fact, variety is one of the cornerstones of a healthful gerbil diet. Like humans, gerbils require a nutritionally balanced diet which includes, but is not limited to, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fiber, and vitamin supplements to ensure proper development of …what else…claws, bones, teeth etc. Like ourselves, moderation is also important: an overabundance of one type of food is likely to bore and weaken the gerbil making him/her prone to illness and disease. For example, gerbils "love" sunflower seeds which are high in fat content. While these are healthful when given in moderation, when given in excess over the long term, they can be harmful to gerbils since, in part, gerbils in the wild do not have a diet rich in fat. One possible result of excess sunflower seeds may be digestive problems resulting in appetite loss and inactivity.
Two lilac gerbil actors pretending to be inactive...
Is important in a gerbil diet for roughage and vitamins and minerals. But be careful: since gerbils are natives of arid climates, in the wild gerbils generally do not come in contact with abundant sources of water. They rely on the food they ingest for their water needs. An over abundance of moist vegetable matter could cause diarrhea or other gastrointestinal problems. Given their natural constitution, veggies, and fruits, are given regularly but sparingly. We offer small portions of veggies or fruits no more than three times a week. We wash the veggies then, using a paper towel, pat then dry.
Water is always available. Vitamin water is available four days a week.
A beautiful nutmeg eyes the water cooler...
All food stuffs should be carefully stored to avoid spoilage. We keep dry foods in air tight plastic containers at all times. As you can see, gerbils are always excited about the prospect of a fresh meal!
Some gerbil keepers prefer to prepare one complete meal "mixture" blending some of the foods we list below with commercially prepared foods. This is quite practical and makes feeding simple. We prefer to keep our foods separate and prepare a different mixture every several days. This is more time consuming but we enjoy it and we feel it helps prevent diet boredom. It is simply a matter of preference…one method is not necessarily better than the other.
Friday night's dinner... ala carte.
It is quite common (and recommended) that the gerbil meal be served in a special feeding bowl or cup. Among other things, this tends to limit the food from being spread around the habitat and also helps insure that the food will not become tainted with gerbie waste such as urine. We serve gerbil cuisine on a flat, square food "plate" we make from a small piece of manila folder. We fold all four edges up slightly to slow spillage which will occur as the gerbils eat (see photo above). This allows several gerbils to feed simultaneously without bothering their neighbors (see photo below). We always place the food plate in the same location each feeding. We've observed that this often results in less hoarding and spillage. The plate is changed each day and excess food removed. If the gerbies are given enough chew materials they tend not to dessimate the plate.
A beautiful red fox and lilac buddies dining (before dessimating plate... :)
A molting polar fox pup enjoying a midnight snack...
"Ok... Ok... haven't you ever seen a dark eyed honey gerbil eat before?"
We observe our gerbils regularly each day as they eat. We want to know who is and who isn't eating since this often is one clue to who is feeling well and who isn't. Observation also tells us what the gerbies enjoy!
Eat everything, will ya...we're being observed.
"Do you dine in this burrow often?"
(molting nutmeg and polar fox pups)
At The Snooty Agouti, we try to provide our gerbil family with a variety of foods…and on a rotation basis. Following is a partial list of some of the cuisine served at The Snooty Agouti.
Commercially prepared food (we call "meal"). We use LM premium vita-vittles.
wheat germ, cracked corn, rolled oats, finch seed (premium, also good for pups)
doggie biscuits, millet (not sprayed), alfalfa, corn flakes (no sugar), cheerios, bran and wheat flakes,
carrots, beets, broccolli, spinach, apple, celery, raisin and popcorn
Here is a plate consisting of (left to right): meal...rolled oats...finch seed...wheat germ...millet and cracked corn.
And it's...dinner time at The Snooty Agouti...!
(Can you guess how many habitats are being served tonight...?)
Experiment and have fun with your gerbil's cuisine. Be your gerbil family chef.