Any other healthy treat ideas would be welcome! I use lots of herbs and the occasional sunflower or pumpkin seed, plus normal yellow millet and a bit of fresh food or tiny bits of dried fruit or veg eg carrot.
Post by LilyandDaisy on May 20, 2021 13:48:55 GMT -8
Yes, they can have foxtail millet, or any kind of millet. The bird treat is fine too as gerbils can eat egg.
My gerbils like the Rosewood Harvest Festival (a mix of different herbs and seed sprays). I've bought this from Pets at Home (in store) in the past but I couldn't find it on the website. The flax sprays are particularly popular. It's hard to find flax sold alone so I'm growing my own at the moment.
Mine also get very excited over whole barley grains, spinach seeds, hemp seeds, strawberry leaves and rose petals.
Snap - I buy the Harvest Festival and Pick'N'Fly for seeds varieties - my critters all love them. I too have started growing my own flax, grass and millet as an experiment. Last years millet was a bit thin on the ground though.
I also found that searching individually for things on the PAH website often brings up things that aren't showing in the 'topic' searches? Stoopid interweb...
Also also - I find that I can get Rosewood items special-ordered from (albeit) rare pet shops for WAY less in price that those from PAH and other big chains. I have a network of pet shops I contact for different things to save on cost - it is amazing the variety in price of some things - and how easy they are to get from the pet shop down the road who doesn't actually stock them for a cheaper price than online with someone who does. (It does happen the other way too though - I recently found some egg bisuits online for way less than any on-the-ground pet store could offer.)
Anyway - for example - I get my own Harvest Festival from a nearby pet shop who retail them at £2.99 - but I buy more than 5 at a time (along with other stuff) and they are reduced to just £2 each. Not all pet stores can/will do this - but I have found that persuasive asking along with strategic buying can save me a fortune - allowing my little ones to get more stuff to enjoy. I do however have a big store space in my garage though, to help take advantage of some offers, that I know isn't always an option for everyone.
I have never tried spinach seeds! How long have you been feeding them for? Spinach plants bolt so easily - that could be a great new thing for mine - I usually only feed the leaves and throw out the bolt/flowerhead.
You can buy a bag of sunflower seeds and give that to your gerbils every so often as a treat or some unsalted raw nuts. My gerbils love cashews and walnuts. You can even give them a walnut in the shell and crack it open just a tad bit (I use a meat tenderizer) and have them open it. I buy my gerbils millet from the bird section of the pet stores as it is the same thing as the stuff meant for hamsters and gerbils but cheaper. I bought a bunch of sprays from an Etsy shop. I ordered some black millet, wheat sprays, and flax/linseed sprays. The shipping is expensive. I ordered a big bag of each spray and split the cost with a friend who has a hamster to make shipping a bit cheaper but it didn’t really make much of a difference. The shop is called HammyPalsStore, they are very nice and their products are a very reasonable price. Be careful with any leaves or food mixes since they are a store for hamsters not everything is safe for gerbils. My friend bought a leaf mix from them but it is not safe for gerbils due to many of the leaves being toxic. The millet egg ring should be safe since millet and egg are safe for gerbils but the wood ring inside might be made if an unsafe wood. Since there is no ingredients list you also can’t be sure if there is additives that are not safe.
Last Edit: May 21, 2021 17:10:09 GMT -8 by PipSqueak
Red foxtail millet is a descendant of wild foxtail millet which is part of the gerbils natural diet, below are some notes I made about their natural food from a few papers I read.
Mongolian gerbils mainly feed on the foliage of Artemisia sieversiana (Wormwood, daisey family) and spp, prefered food Wang et al 2011 Salsola spp = multiple species, (Saltwort)., prefered food Wang et al 2011 Setaria viridis (Wild foxtail millet, predecessor of Setaria italica Foxtail millet, a small grain crop) and Leymus chinense (False wheatgrass, wild rye, Sheepgrass(US?), Chinese rye grass) (all above from Ågren et al., 1989a)[correction, it's actually called Leymus chinensis (Poaceae)].
The 2011 wang et all paper is called "Home-range sizes of social groups of Mongolian gerbils Meriones unguiculatus" and is freely available. The Argen et al 1989 paper isn't , but their is a website which has part of it and is linked in my thread discussing cage sizes and declanning.