Do Gerbils Need Hay?: The Ultimate Guide

Gerbils do not require hay in their diet, but providing hay can benefit their dental health and foraging instincts. Gerbils can safely have hay as part of their bedding material.

Do Gerbils Need Hay?: The Ultimate Guide


Why Hay Is Important For Gerbils

Gerbils are small rodents that require a balanced diet to thrive. While they mainly eat seeds, grains, and vegetables, hay is essential to their diet. It provides numerous nutritional benefits, promotes dental health, and serves as enrichment and bedding for gerbils. Understanding why hay is critical for gerbils is crucial for their overall well-being.

Nutritional Benefits Of Hay

Hay is not just a source of fiber for gerbils; it also provides essential nutrients. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins that contribute to the gerbils’ overall health. The high fiber content in hay aids in proper digestion by keeping the digestive system running smoothly. Additionally, hay provides the necessary roughage for gerbils, ensuring healthy bowel movements and preventing common digestive problems. By including hay in their diet, you are giving gerbils a well-rounded source of nutrition.

Hay For Dental Health

The dental health of gerbils is crucial as their teeth continuously grow throughout their life. A lack of proper wear on their teeth can lead to dental problems, such as overgrown teeth or malocclusion. Hay’s coarse texture helps wear down their teeth naturally as they chew on it. Chewing on hay also stimulates saliva production, which aids in preventing dental diseases. By offering hay as part of their diet, you promote healthy teeth and prevent potential dental issues.

Hay As Enrichment And Bedding

Hay serves multiple purposes for gerbils beyond just food. It offers mental and physical stimulation by providing them with an enrichment activity. Gerbils love to burrow and explore, and having a pile of hay in their enclosure allows them to indulge in these natural behaviors. Hay can also be used as bedding material, creating a comfortable and cozy environment for gerbils. It absorbs moisture and provides insulation, keeping gerbils warm and dry.

Choosing The Right Type Of Hay For Gerbils

Gerbils are small and energetic creatures that require a well-rounded diet to thrive. One crucial element to include in their diet is hay. Hay provides essential fiber, aids in digestion, and promotes dental health. However, not all hay is suitable for gerbils. When choosing the right type of hay for your furry friend, there are a few essential factors to consider.

Types Of Grass Hay

When selecting hay for your gerbil, opt for grass hay. Grass hay is an excellent source of fiber and mimics the natural diet of gerbils in the wild. It helps maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract and prevents digestive issues. Some common types of grass hay suitable for gerbils include:

  • Timothy Hay
  • Orchard Grass Hay
  • Bermuda Grass Hay
  • Native Grass Hay

These types of grass hay offer the ideal balance of nutrition and texture for gerbils, ensuring their overall well-being.

Avoiding Alfalfa Hay

While alfalfa hay is often favored for other small rodents like rabbits, it is not the best option for gerbils. Alfalfa hay has a higher protein and calcium content, which is unsuitable for gerbils’ specific dietary needs. Consuming excessive protein and calcium can lead to health problems, such as urinary tract issues and obesity. Avoiding alfalfa hay and sticking to grass hay options for gerbils is essential.

Determining The Best Brand

When choosing a brand of hay for your gerbil, the key is to select one that is fresh, high-quality, and free from dust or mold. Look for reputable brands that prioritize the nutritional needs of small animals. Some well-regarded brands include:

  1. Oxbow Animal Health
  2. Small Pet Select
  3. Kaytee

These brands are known for their commitment to providing top-notch hay products for gerbils and other small pets. Remember to check the expiration date and store your hay in a cool, dry place to ensure its freshness and quality over time.

In conclusion, choosing the right type of hay for your gerbil is essential for their overall health and well-being. Opt for grass hay options such as timothy hay, orchard grass hay, or Bermuda grass hay. Avoid alfalfa hay, as it may lead to health complications. Lastly, select a reputable brand that offers fresh and high-quality hay for your furry friend.

How To Incorporate Hay Into A Gerbil’s Diet And Habitat

Gerbils can benefit from including hay in their diet for various reasons. Hay provides essential fiber, which aids in digestion and helps maintain healthy teeth. Additionally, hay offers mental stimulation and encourages natural foraging behaviors. When feeding hay to gerbils, choosing the right type of hay is essential. Timothy hay is an excellent choice as it provides the necessary fiber intake for gerbils. To incorporate hay into their diet, you can:

  • Place small amounts of hay in their food dish or hay rack.
  • Provide bundles of hay for them to gnaw and explore.
  • Hide hay throughout their habitat to encourage foraging behavior.

In addition to being a dietary component, hay can serve as an ideal bedding material for gerbils. It provides insulation, absorbs moisture, and creates a comfortable nesting environment for them. When using hay as bedding material, consider the following:

  • Ensure the hay is clean and free from dust or contaminants.
  • Provide a thick layer of hay in their enclosure to promote burrowing and nest building.
  • Monitor the hay regularly and replace it if it becomes soiled or wet.

While hay is beneficial for gerbils, there are some limitations and considerations to keep in mind:

  • Avoid providing gerbils with nesting materials that can cause entanglement, such as cotton wool or fluffy bedding products.
  • Make sure to offer a balanced diet that includes a variety of other foods, such as gerbil pellets, fresh vegetables, and occasional treats.
  • Avoid using moldy or excessively dry hay, as it may pose health risks to your gerbils.

Incorporating hay into your gerbil’s diet and habitat provides them with essential fiber, mental stimulation, and a comfortable nesting environment. Remember to choose Timothy Hay as the preferred type and consider the limitations and considerations mentioned above for their health and well-being.


do gerbils need hay
Do gerbils need hay?


Do Gerbils Need Hay?: The Ultimate Guide


Frequently Asked Questions For Do Gerbils Need Hay

Should You Give Gerbils Hay?

Gerbils should be given hay as it provides essential fiber intake and helps keep their teeth healthy. It also serves as bedding material for their cages. However, avoid giving them nesting materials that can become tangled or cannot be eaten.

Provide a mix of hay and woodchips for burrowing and gnawing.

What Kind Of Hay Is Best For Gerbils?

Timothy hay is the best kind of hay for gerbils. It provides them with essential fiber intake.

What Do Gerbils Need In Their Tank?

Gerbils need bedding materials in their tank for digging and hoarding food. Aspen or corncob shavings are good choices. They also benefit from having rough-grained woodchips and hay for structure and gnawing. However, avoid fluffy bedding like cotton wool.

Can Gerbils Live In Hay?

Gerbils can live in hay. Hay provides structure to their caves and something to gnaw on. Avoid fluffy bedding products and give them a mix of rough-grained woodchips and hay instead. This helps with their burrowing instincts and prevents tangling.


Ly every day, but it’s a good idea to provide hay in their cage to play with and use for burrowing. Hay also helps keep their teeth healthy by giving them a natural way to wear them down.

So, while gerbils don’t necessarily need hay for nutrition, it does offer several benefits to their overall well-being. Providing hay for your gerbil is a great way to keep them happy and healthy!