Keeping your chinchilla well fed is one of the most important part of your chinchillas health. Also know what to feed them and when to feed them is very important. While some food you may think is helathy may in fact make your little friend really sick. Let me help make sure you are aware of what you should be giving your little critter to keep them healthy. While I am not a vet, make sure you consult everthing here with a licensed vet to make sure your little furry friend stays healthy.
What Do Chinchillas Eat? Chinchillas are herbivores, and therefore their diets are mostly hay and grasses. These are most important to keep their digestive tracts working properly. They should always have good quality hay like timothy hay, alfalfa hay, orchard hay, and meadow hay should to munch on. This can be loose or in cubes.
There are also pellets that you can buy for them and they should get about 2 tbs. of these each day. These should be specific chinchilla pellets and not for rabbits or guinea pigs. Each animal has its own dietary needs and the pellets are designed to contain what they need.
They will need to always have clean fresh water available at all times. There are many things that you can give a chinchilla for a treat and many that you can not give them. I will give you lists accordingly. Chinchillas do caecotrophy, simply put, they eat their poop to extract all nutrients from it. This is normal and not to be discouraged.
What A Chinchilla Can Eat
- * Kale
- * Celery
- Sweet Potato
- Dried Rosehips
- Dandelion Greens
These must be given only in small amounts because of the sugar content in them.
By keeping an eye on your chinchilla’s poop you can see if things are going well with their digestion. Their poop should be hard and dry. You should notice if they start having loose poop or the amount of poop decreases. You will want to talk to your vet and see what the problem is.
Never allow the fresh food to remain in the cage longer than 24 hours. They should only get about a teaspoon of these each day.
What A Chinchilla Can Not Eat
These items are actually poisonous to your chinchilla and should be avoided altogether. Nuts are to high in fat which can damage the liver but are not poisonous.
- Rhubarb including the leaves
- Sunflower Seeds
You should also avoid nuts as they are high in fats. Fats are not good for your chinchilla as they will adversely affect the liver. If you are not sure about something that isn’t listed get advice from your vet before giving it to your chinchilla.
Chinchilla Feeding Schedule
Your chinchilla should always have some hay available. This is not only as a food source but by chewing this they keep their constantly growing teeth worn down. If a Chinchilla doesn’t have enough to chew on their teeth can grow and become misaligned, at this point they could starve to death because they can’t eat.
Pellets should be offered In the morning and at night, 1 tablespoon each time. And the fresh food should be offered in the evening when your chinchilla is the most active.
The roughage that they get from the hay and the pellets will keep their digestive systems in good order. This is the most crucial part of their diet. You can also add vitamins to their water, check with your vet to see if they are needed. There are also salt blocks and wheels that can give added minerals to your chinchilla.
How Much Water Should A Chinchilla Drink?
Your chinchilla should always have fresh water free of chlorine available. They should drink around 2 oz. of water each day. As their diet is mostly dry they will need to get their water from either a bottle or a bowl. Most bottles have marks so you can see how much water they are consuming.
Your chinchilla will drink water from a bowl. However, there is a greater chance of the water becoming dirty and undrinkable when you use a bowl. A water bottle or two is the better way to go. Just be sure to change the water and clean the bottle at least every 2 days.
I will give you some lists of the best and worst foods to feed your chinchilla. And let you know what your chinchilla would be eating if it were still in the wild. Hope you find it a big help.
When it comes to listing brands of food that are the best it is hard to know just which one to list first as everyone seems to have a different idea. So what I will do is list some of the most recommended in no particular order. You can see which one your chinchilla prefers, you can also see what food your vet recommends.
- F.M. Brown’s / Tropical Carnival
- Supreme Petfoods / Science Selective Chinchilla Food
- Oxbow / Animal Health Essentials Deluxe
- Vitakraft VitaNature / Natural Timothy Formula
- Kaytee / Timothy Hay Complete Chinchilla Food
This list will give you a good place to start. Each of them has very good attributes, and it is up to your chinchilla to let you know if he doesn’t like it. And the best place to start is using the very best one that your vet recommends.
Some of these have bits of different nuts which some say to avoid. And some have some fruits in them that I was not able to find on a list of good foods for your chinchilla. You definitely do not want something with dyes and fillers that are not good for your pet. Know what you are getting and what your chinchilla will eat.
Worst Chinchilla Foods
Just like with the best foods these are in no particular order, and this is not a complete list. These are the ones that I was able to find some consensus on.
- Bonanza / Gourmet Diet for Chinchilla
- Carefresh / Complete Chinchilla
- Sunset Gourmet Blend
- Charlie Chinchilla
- Nature Chinchilla Food
- Xtra Vital Chinchilla Food 1kg (68)
Some of these have ingredients that are not good for your chinchilla. It is best to find something that your chinchilla will like eating and has the nutrients that they need. Your vet is still the best place to turn if you have questions about what to feed your pet.
What Do Chinchillas Eat In The Wild?
Wild chinchillas are omnivorous instead of the herbivore that the pet chinchilla is now. There is a number of plants, grasses, bark, nuts, fruits, berries, insects, and even bird eggs that a wild chinchilla will eat. Wild chinchillas have been spotted in trees.
Chilean tussock grass is a needlegrass native to Chile. It has long thin blades and is one of the favorite foods for the chinchilla it is similar to hay.
Turquoise Puya or Blue Puya its flowers are what it’s known for, it forms natural tall bouquets of deep purple-blue flowers. Because of the arid region, some of these plants only bloom 1 time and then die.
Bridgesia Incisifolia is a kind of woody shrub native to Chile. It’s like a short tree, with lots of small leaves and gnarled branches. Its leaves are similar to those of oak leaves.
These are some of the chinchilla’s favorite plants to eat in the wild.
Chinchillas have delicate digestive systems and need to have a diet high in fiber. And there are things you absolutely can not feed your chinchilla. And wild chinchillas have a diet that is different from pets.