Chinchillas are herbivores that eat a high fiber diet in the wild. In captivity, they should be fed a grass/hay/grain-based pellet product. Our suggested feed is Exotic Nutrition Chinchilla Diet with Rose Hips. Rose hips are a tasty and nutritious treat for chinchillas, plus they are an excellent source of vitamin C, support a healthy immune system and help maintain a healthy vascular system. The pellet diet should be supplemented with plenty of Timothy Hay. Grains like oat groats, rolled oats, and wheat can also be given in very limited amounts.
There are many varieties of food available to your chinchilla. Whatever form you choose, try to keep your supply as fresh and consistent as possible. The main diet should include a grass/hay/grain-based pellet product and fresh hay, not treats. Large amounts of food are not required but should be fed free choice. If treats are provided, they should be extremely limited and make up no more than 10% of the diet. Suitable treats for chinchillas are dried fruit and root vegetables like dried rose hips, dried herbs & flowers, raisins, or chew sticks (with no added salts). Avoid nuts and seeds as these are high in fat. Do not offer treats to young (less than 6 months old), sick, or pregnant chinchillas as they can be disruptive to their digestive system.
Since chinchillas are rodents, their teeth are continually growing. They need something to gnaw on to prevent overgrown teeth and other dental problems. A pumice stone, mineral block or chew stick, should be kept in their cage at all times. A high quality hay also helps grind down teeth, helping to prevent tooth disorders.
Chinchillas need fresh water daily. DO NOT USE distilled water on your animals. The nutrients which have been removed are important in maintaining a healthy animal.
If you choose to change your feed, gradually introduce your animal to the new feed for a couple of weeks by increasing the percentage of new to old. Shelf life is extremely important. Most chinchilla food only retains its vitamins and nutrients for about 6 months. Certain nutrients begin deteriorating immediately after milling. Contrary to what was previously thought, freezing the pellets does not increase its shelf life.
Supplementing their diet with a daily multivitamin is recommended in times of illness, pregnancy or calcium deficiency.
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Please Note: Exotic Nutrition is not in a position to provide specific health and care guidelines on an individual basis. Please visit our animal info tabs or consider purchasing a care guide book for additional information. If you have a health or pet emergency issue, please notify your veterinarian or a specialized technician.