Feeding your chinchillas

What should I feed my chinchillas?

  1. Constant access (all day and night) to good quality hay or grass – this is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and a healthy digestive system
  2. Commercial chinchilla nuggets – follow the packet guidelines on how much to feed. The approximate daily intake of nuggets for an adult chinchilla is 25-50g.
  3. Fresh greens – around a teaspoon a day per chinchilla

Don’t feed muesli-type mixes like this (see picture below). Chinchillas leave the bits they don’t like, which are the bits containing fibre. This means they don’t get enough fibre. Lack of fibre is linked with painful dental disease.


Image showing muesli-type chinchilla feed

Which vegetables can I feed my chinchillas?

The lists below show some greens that are safe to feed, and some that aren’t. The list isn’t exhaustive. If you’re not sure whether you can safely feed a certain plant or vegetable to your chinchillas, ask your vet for advice.

Safe
Unsafe
Carrot
Asparagus
Celery
Broccoli
Potato
Cabbage
Pumpkin
Lettuce
Squash
Peas
Sweet potato
Rhubarb and rhubarb leaves
 
Spinach

Can I give my chinchillas fruit?

You should only give small quantities of fruit because it is high in sugar. Apples, blueberries, grapes and raisins are suitable in small amounts.

Is it alright to feed chinchillas “muesli”-type food?

Muesli-type mixes shouldn’t be fed. Chinchillas leave the bits they don’t like, which are the bits containing fibre. This means they don’t get enough fibre, and lack of fibre is linked with painful dental disease. Seeds and nuts should generally be avoided in a chinchilla’s diet.

How can I safely introduce new foods to my chinchillas?

Suddenly changing the food you give your chinchillas can upset their digestive system, so always introduce new foods gradually over at least a week, unless your vet tells you otherwise.

Can I feed my chinchillas treats?

There are natural treats available from pet shops and pet supermarkets which your chinchillas will enjoy and are good for their teeth and digestive health. Avoid sugary treats, such as ones made with honey, as these can cause teeth problems, stomach upsets and obesity.

My chinchillas are eating their droppings, is this normal?

It is normal for chinchillas to eat some of their droppings. This enables them to digest their food properly, so don’t be concerned if you see this.

Water for your chinchillas

What’s the best way to provide water for my chinchillas?

Chinchillas need constant access to fresh clean drinking water from a suitable water bottle with a metal spout.

I think one of my chinchillas is drinking more than usual, is this important?

If any of your chinchillas start to drink significantly more or less than usual, this can be a sign of a medical problem so you should make an appointment to see your vet.

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