Water, Feed, Hay, and Supplements

Offer fresh clean water at all times. Sterilize water bottles in a dishwasher weekly. Clean the inside of bottles, tubes, and stoppers daily. Use distilled water if you are unsure of the bacteria/chlorine levels in your tap water. If you use automatic waterers, flush lines regularly. Chinchillas are far more susceptible to contaminants than people are. Be aware that baby chinchillas can drown in water bowls, so bottles with tubes are usually recommended. Give your chinchilla time to learn to use a bottle if it came from a place that used automatic watering systems or any other kind of watering source. Hang bottles in such a way that the chinchilla cannot chew the bottle or the cap. Chinchillas drink about 2 ounces of water a day, but it varies with age and pregnancy.

Feed an unlimited amount of fresh clean chinchilla pellets. Chinchillas.com recommends Brytin Professional Chinchilla Feed. Freeze any portion that won't be used immediately. Chinchillas eat an average of 2 tablespoons of high quality pellets per day, but this amount can vary. Don't use rabbit feed, or feed that will encourage 'digging' like feeds containing banana chips or seeds, because chinchillas tend to dig through the feed, consuming the 'goodies,' and therefore not getting the proper balance of nutrients. Do not feed chinchillas lettuce or other vegetables. They can have 1-2 raisins or 1-2 sunflower seeds per day, but no more.

Feed a fresh clean grass hay, like western timothy, brome, orchard, or bermuda grass. Make sure the hay is free of mold and any other contaminants. Store the hay off the ground in a cool dry place that rodents cannot get to. Contamination by rats and mice is the primary source of chinchilla diseases. Chinchillas should have loose hay available at all times. Alfalfa, clover, vetch, and other legume hays are not advisable. Legume hays are much to high in protein for a regular part of the chinchilla's diet. Grass hay is readily available and very inexpensive.

Some breeders choose to supplement their chinchillas' diet. If you choose to offer your chinchillas a supplement, feed no more than one teaspoon per day per chinchilla. Ingredients can be found at a local health food store, or at some feed stores. Supplements can also be fed by hand as a treat. To discourage 'digging,' don't mix the supplement with the regular pellet feed.

  • Recipe #1
  • 3 lbs. Rolled Oats
  • 1 1/2 lbs. Red Wheat Bran
  • 1 lb. Rolled Wheat
  • 1 lb. Rolled Barley
  • 1 lb. Wheat Germ
  • 1/2 lb. Flax Seed
  • 1/4 lb. Shelled unsalted raw Sunflower Seeds

  • Recipe #2
  • 2 lbs. Rolled Oats
  • 1 lb. Barley Flakes
  • 1 lb. Cracked Wheat
  • 1 lb. Red Wheat Bran
  • 1 lb. Wheat Germ
  • 1 lb. Flax Seed
  • 1/4 lb. Shelled unsalted raw Sunflower Seeds


If other treats are fed, they should be done so sparingly. Acceptable treats are:

(pick only one per day or so)

  • 1-2 raisins
  • 1-2 sunflower seeds
  • 1 very small slice of apple
  • 1 very small slice of dried apricot (make sure they contain no sulfites, most do)
  • 1 dried cranberry


You can feed a couple raisins to help alleviate constipation, or part of a plain shredded wheat biscuit to help alleviate diarrhea.

 

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