In the wild, chinchillas eat a lot of roughage. As a result, their digestion is completely adapted to this. If you give them a rich or fatty diet, they can easily develop serious digestive problems. So choose specially-designed, high-quality chinchilla food that’s supplemented with a lot of fresh hay.
When it comes to chinchilla food, you have the choice between muesli or extruded pellets. Both of these options give your animal all the necessary nutrients in the right proportions. However, if you feed them muesli, your chinchilla needs to eat all the chunks of the mix. If you go for extruded pellets, choose the variant for chincillas with low fat and protein and a lot of fiber.
Do you sometimes feed them a mix? In that case, avoid feeds that contain grains. They all contain too much starch and are not good for the animal.
How much food?
Although chinchillas rarely overeat, it’s a good idea to feed them small amounts at a time. This way you can be sure there are no leftovers that can rot or get mouldy. One tablespoon in the morning and evening works well, but you can adjust this as needed.
Feed the chinchilla food in a small bowl or heavy ceramic bowl. This is the best way to prevent its food from falling on the ground and getting dirty. (But it’s okay if they get a bit of food on their chins).
Hey, give it hay
Even if you feed your chinchilla a diet that’s rich in extruded pellets or a varied mix, you should still supplement with hay so that your pet gets plenty of roughage. Hay keeps its teeth in good condition and ensures that its digestive system functions well.
You can offer quality hay if you wish. What’s important is that you don’t feed it hay that is moist, discoloured, or smells musty. Be careful with alfalfa hay because it contains a relatively large amount of protein.
Chinchillas aren’t big snackers. In addition to their normal chinchilla food, don’t give them more than a teaspoon of extra goodies per day. These animals have a sweet tooth for raisins and dried fruit, but as they contain a lot of sugar it’s best to give it to them only occasionally: three to four times per week max. A healthy alternative are rose hips. They also contain a lot of vitamin C and other nutrients.
You can also make your chinchilla very happy with twigs and branches. Sprigs from an apple tree, for example, are safe and delicious, according to your chinchilla. Finally, make sure it always has fresh water.