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Q: What to feed a Chinchilla?

March 31, 2008 | By Cortney T. | 1 answer | Expired: 2193 days ago

Cortney T.

I have had a chinchilla now for a week. I have been doing resaarch on the intternet but keep getting mixed answers.
Some say not feed a chinny corn, sunflower seeds and peanuts.
Others say it is safe to feed a chin those. I have been trying to do the search on my own but those mixed answers are not helping.

Readers' Answers (1)
Shanna D.
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Mar 31, 2008

A chinchilla's diet consists of hay, chinchilla pellets and water. Timothy hay is perhaps the best kind if you are feeding alfalfa based pellets. Always make sure the hay has no weeds or anything that could possibly kill your chin. Alfalfa is also another alternative, and can come in alfalfa cubes. Best given if your pellets are timothy based. Always ensure the hay is fresh, if it is too dusty or you notice any odd colors to the hay(such as black!) please find new hay. Try to ensure all hay you feed your chinchilla is fresh, as moldy hay can cause internal problems with chinchillas.Some of the best pellets made on the market are Mazuri, Surecrop, APD, Kline Diet, and Tradition or Oxbow. Try to steer clear of any pellets with lots of treats in them. They look nice but could cause more harm to your chinchilla in the long run. Always check the date on the bag, to see when it was milled. If the day which you have the bag is more than 6 months past expiry, its best to get a new bag. Pellets only last 6 months before they lose their nutritional value. The best kind of water you can give to your chinchilla is purified or filtered water. It has no chlorine in it, and no parasites that, otherwise can be found in tap water (please make sure it is spring water when buying bottled or purified, some bottled water may fool you.). If you do use tap water, always boil it the night before giving it to your chinchilla. That is just as good as getting bottled water or filtered. Filtered water is my preference, since it filters 99% giardia out of the water. Some females don't have milk for their babies because of lack of calcium in their diet. As well calcium deficiency leads to other problems, such as hunchbacks, teeth problems, etc...Cuttlebones are best.
Treats for chinchillas can be dried rosehips or cookies like Mrs Pastures cookies. Never give them fresh cranberries or fresh fruits (for fresh fruits only, give in small small amounts and rarely, if you absolutely need to. Chins don't really need fresh fruits nor is it good for them. It can cause other intestinal upsets.). Nuts are often said not to be good for chinchillas, by many ranchers, so please take their advice. A favorite among my chinchillas is dried apples. Fruit yogurt is also another exception that people give their chinchillas. Never give green food, like leafs of lettuce, because this can constipate your chinchilla and make it very unhealthy. Raisins used to be said to be the all time treat for chins, but some caution of this causing renal failure in dogs. So you might want to consider this before giving these as treats. Supplement also can be a great alternative to a treat and yet is healthy for your chinchilla. Never give too many treats to your chinchilla in one day, this can make the chin sick. Give in moderation. give supplement and alternate with wheat germ or rosehips, once every few days. Some people prefer to only give one treat a week, and some prefer to not give treats at all. It is personal preference, but please do not give alot of treat, and realize that what your chin eats is taking up space for good healthy food in their tummies. Giving chinchillas too many treats, is like raising a child on ice cream and candy, which is obviously not healthy. No treats for babies or chins under 6 months of age. If you feel your chin who is quite young needs a treat, a great suggestion is supplement. Most are healthy and you should check the ingredients to ensure they are safe. You can find them with ranchers or breeders or chinchilla stores. Supplement is not only healthy enough to be given as a treatto young ones, but is okay to give to adults daily as a treat.
a mixture of herbs and treats each day. Giving too much of some herbs can make a chinchilla ill. dried rosehips, barley, oats and other herbs. It is a very healthy treat(when given at 1 tsp. per day). Dried rosehips are a good source of vitamin C. give at 1 teasp. per chinchilla a day.

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