I was wondering if anyone knows how many calories a gerbil requires and if there’s any way to work out specifically depending on activity level and weight? My boy Jared is elderly and on the slim side (80g). I’d like to make sure he’s absolutely eating the right calories. Ive already researched the macronutrients and their percentages and have a good food mix. I’d just like to know the specific calories if possible. Thank you!
I recently picked up that my boys were getting on the heavy side after their weight suddenly shot up over the past couple of months (were last 105/110g ish), after seeing they weren't levelling off I cut their food back, still checking it religiously every fortnight atm!
I'm no expert - but I think all fats and all carbs have the same amount of calories when referring to your GA. So if your food is 8% fat and 10% carbs say - you can work out the calories in that food with simple maths.
So if the ingredients in your food are highly digestible for a gerbil - that is your calories right there: fats x 9/g and carbs x 4/g. By comparing the recommended macro nutrients in all the leading foods and those home-made ones from authoritative gerbil keepers - you can have the ballpark parameters for the different lifestages - and work to that.
However, when making a home-made diet of your own from scratch of course - you macronutrients might only be on paper.
Anything can have fats and carbs in it - but if they aren't digested by the animal you are feeding them too - they are worthless for calories. For example - hair is almost 100% protein and tree bark is almost 100% carbohydrates - however a human isn't able to digest almost any of them as is. So while having them whole in a food can increase your macronutrients on paper - they won't actually make up any of your usable calories. They will make up fibre of course - an essential part of any food - but you can't count their calories.
Interesting topic though - as humans love calorie counting for our own lifestyles - but hardly any info out there on our little ones. Also, dog foods tend to always just refer to the protein levels for different life stages - even though the whole 'hair' thing is contentious. All very strange.
So I would say that the suggestion of weighing your daily food and your gerbils (weekly/bi-weekly) is the simplest way forward by far.