Eggs are about as natural a product as you can get.
If you’re thinking about treating your pets then natural products are usually the safest foods to choose.
But it’s always good to check whether certain foods are actually good for an animal’s health.
Especially for little animals like gerbils, who could easily be overfed the ‘wrong’ types of foods.
In this article, I’m going to look at whether gerbils can eat eggs. What the benefits and risks of eggs are and how much egg a gerbil can eat.
I’ll also answer a few frequently asked questions like whether gerbils can eat eggshells and egg white.
Gerbils can eat eggs. Gerbils are omnivorous which means they eat a range of plant and animal-based foods. Eggs make a great treat for a gerbil and have lots of health benefits, but there are also a few health risks if you give your gerbil too much egg.
Firstly, let’s look at the benefits of eating eggs, then we’ll examine the risks, what kind of eggs gerbils can eat and how much they can eat.
Health benefits of eggs for gerbils
Most of these nutrients come from the egg yolk.
Gerbils can eat both cooked egg yolk and white but they shouldn’t eat raw egg white.
I’ll talk about raw egg white later in the article but for now let’s look at all the benefits.
This is the vitamin that you’re parents told you would let you see in the dark, the one packed into carrots.
Well, it’s also abundant in eggs and it really does help support eyesight.
It is also great for young gerbils as a vitamin A deficiency can actually stunt growth. On top of that, it helps to support god immune and cell function.
You may not have heard of it but Riboflavin is also a vitamin found in eggs (Its other name is vitamin B2).
It will help your gerbil maintain an effective metabolism to get the most energy out of its food.
Another one of the B vitamins (B9), and also known as folic acid.
This vitamin also helps with a gerbil’s metabolism and supports the integrity of their cell membranes.
A folate deficiency can lead to cell structures weakening.
Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)
The last of the B vitamins on this list, vitamin B12 also known as Cobalamin.
This one is important to maintain a healthy nervous system and good cognitive function.
It’s also important for good intestinal health and the growth of red blood cells.
This mineral is vital for the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin.
Those, in turn, are responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
A trace mineral, Selenium is essential for the proper function of the thyroid gland and immune system of a gerbil.
It has also been credited with a range of other benefits such as acting as an antioxidant and improving joint health.
Created once the fat of the egg has been broken down into fatty acids.
This is then absorbed by the blood and helps maintain healthy skin and coat, creating that nice shiny fur.
Fats are important in a gerbil’s diet but of course, too much fat can be a bad thing.
Health risks of eggs for gerbils
Eggs are a pretty great treat for your gerbil.
They have lots of health benefits and only small health risks, but it’s still worth understanding the dangers of overfeeding your gerbil on egg.
Eggs contain quite a lot of calories relative to their size.
If you were to feed your pet gerbil egg on a daily basis, even in small amounts, they would be very likely to gain excess weight.
That’s the main reason eggs should always be considered as a treat for a gerbil, rather than as part of a standard diet.
Biotin deficiency (from raw egg white)
This is only an issue if you’re feeding your gerbil the raw white of an egg.
That’s quite unlikely as it’s going to be a messy way to feed your gerbil, but it’s worth knowing about because it can be dangerous.
The raw white contains a protein called Avatin. Avatin binds with Biotin, preventing your gerbil from absorbing it and leading to a Biotin deficiency.
Impacts can be anemia, dry hair or coat, skin lesions and lethargy.
Once the egg white is cooked it’s perfectly safe.
Can gerbils eat eggshell
Gerbils can eat eggshells and they are actually a very good source of calcium.
The sharp edges of an eggshell could be a choking hazard or may even cut the inside of your gerbil’s mouth.
One option to avoid that is to grind the eggshell into a powder and add it to their food.
Can gerbils eat boiled eggs
Gerbils can eat boiled eggs and they are a great source of nutrition.
The only danger is weight gain if they had them too often so just give it to them as an occasional treat.
Gerbils are also able to eat the eggshell of a boiled egg.
It’s important you allow a boiled egg to completely cool before giving it to your gerbil.
Eggs retain heat quite well so let them rest after cooking for a good while before giving to your gerbil.
Can gerbils eat raw eggs
Gerbils can only eat the yolk of raw eggs. The white of a raw egg can cause biotin deficiency so it shouldn’t be given to your gerbil.
Raw eggs are very messy so I would recommend not feeding them to your gerbil in their cage.
It will get tangled in their bedding and can be a pain to clean up.
It’s best to offer your gerbil a raw egg yolk outside of its cage.
Can gerbils eat fried eggs
Gerbils should not eat eggs that have been fried in oil.
The added oil will not be good for your gerbil’s health and the excess fat can lead to weight gain.
To get the same effect, you can bake a sunny side up egg in the oven with no oil.
That gives the same effect but is perfectly healthy for your gerbil.
Like a boiled egg, just make sure it has cooled down before giving it to your gerbil.
Another word of warning, if the yolk is runny I wouldn’t give it to your gerbil in their cage. Cooked, runny yolk is difficult to clean once it has cooled.
Can gerbils eat scrambled egg
Gerbils should not eat scrambled egg if it has been made with butter, milk or any other added ingredient such as salt.
That rules out most scrambled eggs as it’s usually cooked with other ingredients.
You may think that things like milk are ok because they are natural but gerbils are lactose intolerant so it won’t do their digestive system any good.
You should avoid scrambled eggs unless they have literally just been cooked using the egg alone.
Can gerbils eat poached egg
Gerbils can eat poached eggs.
Again you just need to make sure the egg has cooled down after being cooked.
You can add a little cider vinegar to the water, that will help to bind the egg, but cider vinegar is also really healthy for your gerbil to have now and again.
How much egg can a gerbil eat
Despite all their nutritional benefits, there is a lot of fat in eggs and eating too much can quickly lead to weight gain.
You should only feed your gerbil egg as a treat occasionally. I would recommend no more than half an egg per week.
That way they will get all the nutritional benefits but shouldn’t suffer from weight gain.
A final note – All gerbils are individuals
In general, eggs are great treats for gerbils, just don’t feed them too much and watch out for the raw white and they will get lots of health benefits.
However, some gerbils will be more sensitive to certain foods than others, and just because most gerbils can eat eggs with no problems doesn’t mean your gerbil definitely will.
Older gerbils especially can be more prone to digestive issues.
So, whenever you give your gerbil a new food, including eggs, monitor them for a couple of days to see if you notice and symptoms of digestive problems.
They are quite hard to spot in gerbils but two you can see are diarrhea and a noticeable decrease in their activity levels.
If you are at all concerned then I would recommend you stop feeding them eggs and find another treat for them, egg might just not sit well with their stomach.