Haven’t been active on here in quite some time but now that I’m refining my research for my new gerbil mixes I thought I’d get some second opinions. I’m sure a lot of you don’t know as I’m more active on Hamster Hideout but I have a moderately successful hamster food business on Etsy (RobinsGourmetFood) and I’m planning to expand to gerbil foods quite soon.
So, I suppose I’ll just list my questions out!
1. If you have a look at my mixes you’ll see I have both Fortified and Gourmet mixes. For hamsters finding the fortification component was simple enough since I’m used to that whole world, but for gerbils I’m still a little new to things. I know Higgins Sunburst is a common recommendation, and it is in the hamster world too, but it contains hay pellets, which a lot of hamsters don’t like. I figured gerbils would be the same? If so, are there any other foods you’d recommend?
2. Protein content. In high quality mixes like the ones I plan to provide, a high protein content is basically a given. Right now I’m looking at 16.4% for the adult mix and 18% for the young mix. I know from my research these are fine values, but since many in this community follow the 12-14% rule for adult do you think there’d be a lot of backlash or a lack of sales because of it? I’m really not sure how to reduce it further without removing crucial components but I also don’t want to discourage people from buying a higher-quality mix.
So sorry if this comes across as advertising spam lol… in hindsight it sort of looks like that haha. They’re all genuine questions I have though to ensure this all works out. If you’d like some more info on my mixes don’t hesitate to ask and I’d be happy to provide some numbers!
Homemade mix provider; check out robinsgourmetfood.etsy.com! I’ll be releasing gerbil mixes very soon.
Post by LilyandDaisy on Jun 27, 2021 15:45:44 GMT -8
Hello Robin! So nice to see you over here!
My gerbils seem to like Science Selective pellets. I feed them as a supplement rather than a main food but for extra fortification in a main mix, they'd probably be what I'd go for. Gerbils don't tend to like hay pellets but Science Selective is grain-based.
I've recently been formulating my own homemade mix and can say that it's nigh on impossible to get less than about 15-16% protein in a whole ingredient diet that is balanced in other ways. When I researched the various protein recommendations the 12% protein thing seems to ultimately trace back to egerbil.com, who cite only "most authorities". So I have no idea where it really came from, how it was determined, and what kind of foods "authorities" were feeding to get this recommendation. Lab studies (which have their own limitations of course) give anything up to 25% for growing gerbils.
I also found that the evidence for harm from a little too much protein is really rather limited and disputed in humans, and I couldn't find any information for gerbils. It's probably better to err on the side of a little extra protein than too little, particularly in growing gerbils, or you risk deficiencies. One major issue with lab studies is that they mostly focus on growing animals, and are based on whatever promotes the fastest growth, which isn't necessarily relevant to long term health or the needs of adult and elderly animals.
Another limitation with lab studies is that to ensure standardisation they often use extruded diets or lab blocks where the only variable is the one being studied, so in this case, crude protein, and levels of other nutrients are controlled. In real life, if you decrease the protein content of your mix, you're also going to be decreasing various amino acid and vitamin levels, and probably also fat levels, which will in turn impact on how balanced it is, so crude protein is not the only thing to think about. Personally I don't think it's possible to have a 12% protein diet composed of whole ingredients that also provides adequate nutrition.
Thank you for the fantastic response as always daisy!
Unfortunately, I don’t think Science Selective’s gerbil pellets have made their way to the States yet. Any other decent options?
I've been using the hamster pellets as the gerbil version can be hard to find here. They seem very similar:
Gerbil: Protein 17.0% Crude fibre 4.0% Fat content 6.0% Inorganic matter4.0% Calcium 0.8% Phosphorus 0.6% Hamster: The UK website gives these values: Protein 19.0%, Crude fibre 5.0%, Fat content 5.0%, Inorganic matter 5.5%, Calcium 0.8%, Phosphorus 0.6% But my bag gives: Protein (min) 17.0%, Crude fat (min) 3.0%, Crude fiber (max) 8.0%, Moisture (max) 11.0%, Calcium (min) 0.6%, Phosphorus (min) 0.4% I suspect the discrepancy is simply down to differences in labelling laws and the product is the same, similar to the Harry/Hazel Hamster food.