Can gerbils eat broccoli? How much and how often?

can gerbils eat broccoli

Many family dinners include broccoli nowadays not that the kids are happy about it but the rise of awareness about a healthy diet, so it is very convenient and tempting to share some with your gerbils. but can gerbils eat broccoli?

Gerbils can eat broccoli, and unlike humans, they seem to actually like it, However, this vegetable should always be given in very small quantities, especially because the florets contain isothiocyanates, which can cause gastric irritation in gerbils.

Do gerbils like broccoli?

We’ve all had to finish a plat of broccoli to get dessert before just because it’s healthy, all kids and half the adult population seems to agree that broccoli is not the number one choice for a snack or a meal but things are quite different for gerbils.

Gerbils seem to like broccoli and they just love to gnaw on it and would not have enough, it’s the texture and the crunch they love best about it.

In general gerbils like all crunchy food, and broccoli is one they prefer, and they’ll prefer it over other vegetables and fruits but they should be given broccoli in reasonable amounts.

Do gerbils eat broccoli in the wild?

Gerbils in the wild will eat a mixture of grasses, roots and bulbs, seeds, and leaves. They are foragers and will dig through undergrowth or soil to find the food they need.

Broccoli is not part of the gerbil’s natural diet in the wild that’s why it needs to be fed to gerbils in small quantities because their digestive systems are not used to it.

The gerbil’s main diet is the seeds mix other fruits and vegetables like broccoli are only supplements to make sure their diet is well balanced.

The healthiest and safest seed mix we recommend ad use for our gerbils is the Oxbow Garden Select Fortified Food for Gerbils (check the current price on Amazon).

Is broccoli safe for gerbils?

is broccoli safe for gerbils

In reasonable quantities broccoli is perfectly safe for gerbils, in fact, it has plenty of good nutrients that will help complete and balance the gerbil’s diet.

However, the broccoli florets contain small molecules called Isothiocyanate, which are present in all cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, or kale

That’s why it’s very important to portion broccoli to your gerbil properly. Too much of the Isothiocyanate in the florets can cause nausea, gas, bloating, and diarrhea especially if your gerbils are not used to it.

Gerbils are well known for their sensitivity to change stomachs, and they often get diarrhea with any sudden change in their diet.

If your gerbil eats a significant amount of broccoli, the upsets could become severe or cause significant health problems or even death. 

How much broccoli can gerbils eat?

Like we mentioned earlier the gerbil’s main diet is the seeds mix, vegetables and fruits are only snacks they need to keep a balanced diet.

No more than a bite-size portion of broccoli is what a gerbil should have, they can be used as small treats to interact with your gerbil.

How often can gerbils eat broccoli?

The gerbil’s diet is mainly seeds and that’s what he should have every day, other fruits and vegetables including broccoli should be given as snacks once a day to keep his diet balanced.

To serve that purpose your gerbils should have broccoli once a week with other fruits and vegetables to get the most nutrients his seeds mix could lack.

Is broccoli good for gerbils?

Broccoli is a rich source of multiple vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Cooked broccoli may lose nutrient composition, but broccoli is a healthy addition to your gerbil’s diet whether cooked or raw.

One of broccoli’s biggest advantages for gerbils is its nutrient content, it contains a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other bioactive compounds.

These nutrients will cover most of the gerbil’s needs and make a great addition to his diet reducing the need for other supplements. Many of the nutrients in broccoli including calcium, vitamin K, and phosphorus are necessary for maintaining healthy bones.

Can baby gerbils eat broccoli?

Baby gerbils from the age of 0 up to 3 weeks feed exclusively on their mother’s milk, gerbil teeth are fully grown at the age of 3 weeks when they start gnawing on some solid food.

However, even at the age of 3 weeks gerbils still feed on their mothers’ milk along with adult food but that includes seeds and food they’d usually feed on in the wild.

Once they start gnawing on solid food you can introduce fruits and vegetables like broccoli up until they’re weaned, in fact, young gerbils can have a relatively larger portion than adults.

All in all, baby gerbils grow up really fast and they are fully weaned at the age of 5 weeks so it only takes a month before they start feeding on regular adult food including broccoli.

Broccoli nutrition facts

can gerbils eat broccoli

This part is for the geeks who want all the nutrient data in broccoli :

Betaine0.1 mg
Choline18.7 mg
Folate63.00 mcg
Folic acid0.00 mcg
Niacin0.639 mg
Pantothenic acid0.573 mg
Riboflavin0.117 mg
Thiamin0.071 mg
Vitamin A623.00 IU
Vitamin A, RAE31.00 mcg
Carotene, alpha25.00 mcg
Carotene, beta361.00 mcg
Cryptoxanthin, beta1.00 mcg
Lutein + zeaxanthin1403.00 mcg
Vitamin B60.175 mg
Vitamin C89.2 mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)0.78 mg
Tocopherol, beta0.01 mg
Tocopherol, gamma0.17 mg
Tocotrienol, alpha0.04 mg
Tocotrienol, beta0.00 mg
Vitamin K101.6 mcg
Calcium, Ca47.00 mg
Copper, Cu0.049 mg
Iron, Fe0.73 mg
Magnesium, Mg21.00 mg
Manganese, Mn0.210 mg
Phosphorus, P66.00 mg
Potassium, K316.00 mg
Selenium, Se2.5 mcg
Sodium, Na33.00 mg
Zinc, Zn0.41 mg
Proteins and Aminoacids
Protein2.82 g
Alanine0.104 g
Arginine0.191 g
Aspartic acid0.325 g
Cystine0.028 g
Glutamic acid0.542 g
Glycine0.089 g
Histidine0.059 g
Isoleucine0.079 g
Leucine0.129 g
Lysine0.135 g
Methionine0.038 g
Phenylalanine0.117 g
Proline0.110 g
Serine0.121 g
Threonine0.088 g
Tryptophan0.033 g
Tyrosine0.050 g
Valine0.125 g
Phenylalanine + Tyrosine0.167 g
Methionine + Cysteine0.038 g

Can gerbils eat broccoli when it’s turning yellow?

If you’ve ever noticed broccoli turning yellow in your fridge, you’ve probably thought twice before eating it and as a responsible pet owner, you’d also hesitate before feeding it to your gerbils.

Broccoli tends to age pretty quickly after harvest so broccoli that is turning yellow is usually not rotting but instead simply wilting and deteriorating.

Yellowed broccoli can be fed to gerbils but it has a strong and bitter flavor to it that gerbils may reject. You must also note that yellowed broccoli has also lost a lot of its nutritional value especially some important vitamins that were once present. 

Given that the reason why we choose to feed gerbils broccoli is the nutrients to provide a balanced diet, so if most of the nutrients are gone anyway, there is no point in feeding it to gerbils.

Ways gerbils can eat broccoli

Gerbils would most likely prefer raw broccoli, but you can diversify their diet and feed them boiled or even cooked broccoli.

Can gerbils eat raw broccoli?

Gerbils can eat raw broccoli and it’s their favorite way of consuming it due to its crunchy texture, so if you have some you’d better give it to them raw.

You need to make sure it’s cleaned well from pesticide residues since gerbils can get diarrhea from eating toxic substances even in small quantities.

Can gerbils eat boiled broccoli?

Boiled broccoli is also great although it does lose some nutrients but gerbils can eat it, and you should always make sure they get reasonable amounts.

Boiled broccoli is almost the same as raw, it’s just has a much softer texture.

Can gerbils eat cooked broccoli?

Gerbils can eat cooked broccoli but without added spices that could cause serious issues to gerbils, their digestive system is very sensitive.

Can gerbils eat dehydrated broccoli?

Dehydrated broccoli is even crispier than raw broccoli and it has less water, but it has a higher concentration of nutrients, that’s why the potion should be smaller than raw broccoli.

Broccoli parts gerbils can eat

The broccoli plant has multiple parts some are edible others aren’t so what are the parts that a gerbil can eat?

Can gerbils eat broccoli leaves?

Theoretically, gerbils can eat broccoli leaves and they do have some nutrients in them but there is no point in doing that.

Gerbils can eat a great variety of fruits and vegetables including broccoli so vegetable leaves are not really a preferred snack for gerbils.

Can gerbils eat broccoli stalk?

Gerbils can eat broccoli stalk, in fact, its crunchy texture makes it appealing to them, it is rich in fibers so it would make a nice healthy snack.

Can gerbils eat broccoli florets?

Gerbils can eat broccoli florets and they are the most appealing part to gerbils, and it’s the most nutritious part of the plant.

Broccoli florets are the part that contains the isothiocyanate so you need to be cautious how much and how often you feed it to your gerbils.

Conclusion: Can gerbils eat broccoli?

  • Gerbils can eat broccoli as a treat to supplement their original diet which is seeds mix.
  • Gerbils can eat broccoli in reasonable quantities once or twice a week.
  • Gerbils can eat raw boiled and cooked broccoli without the seasoning.
  • Gerbils can eat all the visible parts of the broccoli although the leaves are far less appealing to them.
  • Baby gerbils from the age of 3 weeks can gnaw on broccoli as well.
  • Gerbils like broccoli due to its crunchy texture.
  • Broccoli is safe and good for gerbils.

Other foods gerbils can eat