2020 updates by Cathy Bickel
Timothy hay is a safe and beloved treat for gerbils. They chew it, shred it, eat it, run around carrying it, and add it to their nests. Did you know that pikas, a high-altitude rodent in the Western United States, cut and dry their own hay for use all winter?
Purchase high-quality hay bagged for small animals. It may, rarely, contain straw mites. Inspect it for quality before using it. A handful of hay can sometimes be a good pick-me-up for a gerbil that seems a bit off. Whether or not it's truly helpful, it’s enjoyable and motivating for them.
Gerbils may also enjoy other types of hay available at your pet store. Alfalfa hay is nice but very high in calories and protein. You may occasionally wish to feed them alfalfa hay as a meal.