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Chinchilla Care - Chinchilla Food

A chinchilla's diet consists of hay, chinchilla pellets and water. Timothy hay or timothy/alfalfa mixed 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 (see Health).

Some of the best pellets made on the market are Mazuri, Alderpark, APD, 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 4 months past the mill date, you are best to find a fresher bag. Pellets only last 6 months before they lose all their nutritional value. At 4 months, is approximately when the pellets begin to lose their nutritional value. Free feed pellets for your chinchillas. Some chins will eat more, and some will eat less.

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.

Treats for chinchillas can be dried rosehips or a very mild herbal supplement. Supplement is not only healthy enough to be given as a treat(like 1 tsp. a day) to young ones, but is okay to give to adults daily as a treat. 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. 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. I personally only 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(i.e. pellets) 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.

I also feed my chins a mixture of herbs and treats each day. I mix up the measured amount of each herb and such for them. Giving too much of some herbs can make a chinchilla ill. In my mixture I have dried rosehips, barley, oats and other herbs. It is a very healthy treat(when given at 1 tsp. per day).

If your chin is also in need of extra weigth gain, try pounds plus or critical care(by Oxbow Hay Company)..

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