Chinchilla - Feeding

What do pet chinchillas eat?

Chinchillas should be offered good quality grass hay ad-libitum (available 24 hours a day). Pellets or concentrate foods should be given as a minimal quantity in addition to the hay (unless breeding or in very cold weather and kept outdoors). If a concentrate mix is used this should only be topped up when all parts are eaten (or, better still a pellet used) so as to avoid selective feeding. Any necessary changes in diet should be done slowly over several days to decrease the chance of gastrointestinal problems (tummy upsets).

Do I need to give my chinchilla vitamins?

If kept indoors an activated vitamin D3 supplement should be given.

Can I offer my chinchilla treats?

sipper_bottle_72As a rule, chinchillas don't require treats, although fresh fibrous vegetables and fruit (e.g. carrot, apple, pear) are quite acceptable in small amounts. Raisins are a particular favourite and, as such ideal for training purposes - however, they are not a dietary 'staple'. Commercial chinchilla treats are also available now, though avoid sugary or chocolate treats. As with all treats it is important not to allow them to become a significant part of the diet. Do not offer any 'human' food without checking with your veterinary surgeon first.

What about water?

Water should be left in the cage 24 hours a day. Most owners choose to offer water through a sipper bottle hung in the cage. Check it whenever you change the water (at least daily) to make sure the sipper tube has not become clogged with food.

Used and/or modified with permission under license. ©Lifelearn, The Penguin House, Castle Riggs, Dunfermline FY11 8SG

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