Once you have bought your new chinchilla and you have got it all settled and set up in its chinchilla cage you now face a challenging job of caring for your chinchilla which entails learning all about its chinchilla food and diet.
Naturally in the beginning you will not know what to feed your chinchilla and so this article aims to give you some basic tips and advice on the best diet for your chinchilla.
Most importantly you need to know that chinchillas are herbivores which means they are not meat-eaters. Unlike most human beings chinchillas eat in moderation only eating when they are actually hungry. Certainly don’t treat a chinchilla like a dog or cat where you may feel their bowl with lots of food because overfeeding can actually cause problems with their digestive systems.
Chinchillas are happiest when feeding on seeds and especially hay. A favourite food for the chinchilla is hay-based pellets which are hard and so the chinchilla nibbles and digests fees which also assists in trimming their teeth. You can also put use a into the chinchilla cage as long as it is in a dry condition as hay can naturally go mouldy and musty and develop bacteria.
One of the benefits of feeding pellets to your chinchilla are that they are often infused with minerals and vitamins which really gives a complete diet for your pet, as opposed to putting in lots of different types of food and your chinchilla just picking out the best bits and leaving the rest. In this respect chinchillas are naturally just like human beings at the dinner table!
HOW MUCH SHOULD I FEED MY CHINCHILLA EACH DAY?
The next question we are often asked is how much food to give your pet. We would usually suggest about a tablespoon of pellets because bear in mind that chinchillas are small animals. Many owners naturally feel they are not putting lots of food into the cage that they are being cruel or starving their pet that actually overfeeding and putting too much food is counter-productive and can actually harm your chinchilla.
There are other types of foods you can feed your chinchilla and for the sake of it’s diet it is good to vary the types of food given. Many chinchilla owners like to feed them dried fruits such as bananas, raisins and apples. Vegetables such as carrots are good because they are hard to eat as well and good to the teeth as well as seeds and cereals.
To be very careful what you feed your chinchilla and always think about the natural wild conditions a chinchilla would be living in the mountains in South America. It’s natural diet is very much a low-fat diet with lots of fibre. Treats such as peanuts are all very well occasionally but just that.
The chinchilla likes consistency so when changing brand of chinchilla pet food be sparingly and try obviously sticking to a particular type of food that your chinchilla obviously likes. By all means introduce a new type of food or change to a different manufacture or brand of pet food but introduce this slowly and make sure your chinchilla likes it first.
Popular types of Chinchilla food include: Purina Mazuri, Kaytee, Charlie Chinchilla, L & M and Oxbow.
For feeding times most chinchilla owners like to follow a human-like routine of one tablespoon of pellets in the morning before they typically go to work and on their return feeding their chinchilla another tablespoon of pellets.
As well as pellets it is recommended also to ensure your chinchilla eats a certain proportion of hay as well as this gives it its necessary roughage and fibre.
So in conclusion on this article on chinchilla food and diet you can see that it is critical that you do not feed your chinchilla inappropriate types of food such as sugary treats and meat. We have also learned that overfeeding your chinchilla can be a problem for its health.
The safest and simplest thing to do, is to buy ready-made chinchilla food which contains all the nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that your chinchilla needs to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. In this way you know you cannot go wrong.