What Kind of Hay Do Gerbils Eat?

What Kind of Hay Do Gerbils Eat

You’ve probably heard the theory that gerbils can eat just about any type of hay, haven’t you? While it’s true that these small rodents are fond of various hays, including Timothy, meadow, alfalfa, and orchard hay, it’s not quite as simple as tossing any old hay into their cage.

Different hays provide different nutrients and have different effects on a gerbil’s health. Wondering how to choose the right hay for your furry friend?

Well, stick around, we’re about to get into the weeds on this topic.

Key Takeaways

  • Hay is a staple part of a gerbil’s diet, providing essential nutrients and maintaining a healthy digestive system.
  • Chewing hay helps in dental care by filing down teeth and maintaining proper dental health.
  • Hay provides mental stimulation and serves as comfortable bedding material and environmental enrichment for gerbils.
  • Suitable gerbil hay types include Timothy, meadow, alfalfa, and orchard hay, with moderation being key to preventing digestive issues.

Understanding Gerbil Dietary Needs

To fully understand your gerbil’s dietary needs, it’s crucial to know that hay forms a staple part of their diet. Hay, particularly types such as Timothy, meadow, alfalfa, and orchard hay, provide essential nutrients, maintain a healthy digestive system, and assist in dental care. This range of hay isn’t only enjoyed by gerbils but also keeps their digestive system efficient and their teeth healthy by filing them down.

However, the selection of hay is vital. Opt for dust and mould-free, fresh, and nutritionally balanced hay, with Timothy hay being a good option. Overfeeding hay can cause diarrhoea in gerbils, leading to severe dehydration. Therefore, you should limit the amount given, ensuring the well-being of your pet.

Hay Types Suitable for Gerbils

Diving into the variety of hay suitable for gerbils, it’s crucial to note that their favourites include Timothy, meadow, alfalfa, and orchard hay, all of which provide them with essential nutrients, aid in digestion, and contribute to dental health. Each type of hay has its unique properties and benefits.

For instance, Timothy hay is high in fibre and low in protein, making it a balanced choice. Meadow hay, on the other hand, has a mix of grasses providing a variety of tastes and textures that gerbils enjoy.

When choosing hay for your gerbils, it’s vital to ensure it’s fresh, free from dust and mould, and sourced from reputable suppliers. This is to ensure your gerbils are getting the best quality food, free from harmful substances.

However, remember that moderation is key. Overfeeding hay can lead to digestive issues, such as diarrhoea. So, it’s advisable to limit the amount you give them.

Besides being a food source, hay also serves as excellent bedding material and is used by gerbils for building nests and tunnels, making it a multifunctional addition to their habitat.

Assessing Hay Quality for Gerbils

Ensuring your gerbils are munching on high-quality hay is crucial. You’ll need to look for freshness, absence of dust and mould, a green and fresh appearance, and well-balanced nutrition.

Check if the hay is free from dust and mould, as these can cause respiratory problems in your gerbils. The hay should be dry, not damp or slimy, to prevent the growth of mould.

Observe the colour of the hay; it should be green and vibrant, not brown or yellowish. This green hue indicates that the hay is fresh, packed with nutrients, and hasn’t been sitting on the shelf for too long.

Evaluate the nutritional content of the hay. Gerbils benefit from hay like Timothy, meadow, alfalfa, and orchard, all of which offer essential nutrients and aid in digestion. However, be mindful not to overfeed them, as too much hay can lead to diarrhoea, causing severe dehydration and potential death.

Brands like Kaytee, known for their high-quality Timothy hay, are recommended.

Benefits of Hay in Gerbil Diet

Incorporating hay into your gerbil’s diet has numerous benefits. One of the main advantages is maintaining proper dental health. Gerbils have continually growing teeth, and chewing on hay helps them maintain a healthy length and prevent dental issues.

Beyond dental care, hay also offers much-needed mental stimulation for gerbils. These small creatures have an inherent need to chew, and hay provides a safe and natural outlet for this instinct. It caters to their curiosity and provides necessary mental stimulation, keeping them active and engaged.

Another significant benefit of hay is the environmental enrichment it provides. It can serve as a comfortable bedding material, allowing your gerbil to build nests and tunnels. Hay is not just food but also a source of fun and comfort, enhancing their living conditions.

Including hay in your gerbil’s diet is more than just an eating plan; it’s a holistic approach to their overall well-being. By doing so, you’re not only serving their dietary needs but also contributing to their dental health, mental stimulation, and environmental enrichment.

Common Mistakes in Feeding Gerbils Hay

While understanding the benefits of hay in a gerbil’s diet is vital, it’s equally important to be aware of common mistakes that can occur when feeding your gerbil hay. These errors can lead to health problems and discomfort for your gerbil.

Below are three common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Overfeeding: Although hay provides essential nutrients, overfeeding can lead to diarrhoea and dehydration. It’s important to monitor the amount of hay your gerbil consumes and balance it with other foods.
  2. Neglecting cleanliness: Hay should always be fresh and clean. Mouldy or dirty hay can cause illness. Regularly check the hay and replace it as necessary.
  3. Ignoring hydration: Gerbils need a constant supply of fresh water. Even if your gerbil’s diet is balanced and the hay is clean, a lack of water can lead to dehydration.


So, remember, your gerbil’s diet ought to include quality hay like Timothy, meadow, alfalfa, or orchard hay. It’s more than just food—it helps their digestion, teeth health, and nesting needs.

Always choose fresh, dust-free, and mould-free hay from trusted providers. Avoid common mistakes like overfeeding or using poor-quality hay.

With the right hay, you’re not just feeding your gerbil, you’re contributing to their overall wellbeing.

Similar Posts