Chinchilla: food and feed for animals

Eating a chinchilla is a major challenge for some owners. Nature already specifies the food. Chinchilla owners should be guided by what rodents eat in the wild. The animals are not used to a too creative menu. What do we eat today? Chinchillas' diet can also be versatile! - Shutterstock / Ekaterina Krivtsova

If you get your new favorites from the breeder, ask him for a bag of the previous feed. If you try something new later, start with a few "side dishes" and slowly increase the amount. Owners of these cute fellows want to make their chinchillas happy, preferably with delicious, rich feed creations. It is often forgotten where the animals actually come from - namely from the Andes in South America. Feeding as close to nature as possible is the best for the rodents.

Chinchillas are used to certain foods

The rather barren landscape in the Andes provides the rodents in the wild with grasses, shrubs, herbs, cacti, bushes and roots. This often dry vegetable food is rich in minerals and vitamins and very rich in structure - so it contains many raw fibers. The chinchillas' gastrointestinal tract is adapted to this food and processes it optimally. The raw fibers it contains are fiber that rodents even urgently need: they stimulate digestion and keep the intestinal flora healthy.

Chinchilla basic food: hay and water

Since hay supplies these important raw fibers, it is the ideal basic feed. Vegetable substances are relatively low in energy, so chinchillas have to eat a lot of them for a healthy energy balance. It is therefore essential that fresh, clean hay is available to the rodents non-stop. In addition to promoting digestion, animals use hay for dental care. When buying, make sure that the hay is really fresh. If it smells slightly musty, it may soon start to mold and is no longer tolerated by the sensitive herbivores. Make sure to think of fresh water every day: the animals must always be provided, for example in a nipple drinker.

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How to enrich the basic food?

Delicious meals for chinchillas can be conjured up from dried herbs, hay and seeds. All food for the rodents must be unsprayed and untreated. It is best to rummage in your garden to find out whether one or the other wholesome feed can be found. But remember to always wash it off thoroughly. The chinchilla menu allows the following foods:

  • Chinchilla pellets - Special pellets for chinchillas are extremely controversial, but some types or brands are basically not so bad. They just don't taste like every chinchilla and a one-sided diet only with pellets would of course be completely wrong. Chinchillas also want variety on the menu. Above all, they are well suited for mixing with herb mixtures and seeds. When buying, be sure to pay attention to the ingredients and select the product according to the plant components it contains.
  • Dried herbs, leaves and flowers - These are very digestible for the small rodents and can be mixed with both the hay and the chinchilla pellets. Delicious herbs and flowers such as lemon balm, daisies, roses or dandelions or dried carrot herb offer a delicious change.
  • Fresh green fodder - After slowly getting used to green forage, fresh leaves also taste particularly good. Green fodder is more digestible for the creatures of habit, however, because fresh green stuff is hard to find in their home.
  • seed mixtures - Seeds with grass seeds and herb seeds serve as concentrate and are part of a balanced diet of chinchillas.
  • Bark, branches, buds and roots - Chinchillas also find these things in their natural environment. So they are well suited as feed. Unspattered branches of apple or pear trees (but definitely not stone fruit trees!) Are ideal for rodents, just like birch, linden, willow and beech. The buds and leaves are often eaten. Chinchillas also use branches for their tooth abrasion. Herbal roots are also ideal for feeding.
  • Hay and herb cobs - They are a little more expensive, but many chinchilla lovers swear by high-quality cobs and mix them with the concentrate.
  • Selected types of fruit and vegetables - Fruits and vegetables spice up the rodent's menu. However, chinchillas do not get fresh juice food in their natural habitat. The little rascals therefore cannot tolerate too much fresh fruit or vegetables. For example, only add very thin apple slices to the feed (never apricot!). Make sure that the fruit sugar content is not too high. Tuber vegetables such as celery, carrots or parsnips as well as leafy vegetables such as endive and lettuce hearts are also very suitable - but in moderation.
  • treats - Suitable delicacies for in between are dried fruit and vegetable chips, rose hips, rose petals, pumpkin or sunflower seeds and small pieces of carob. But: treats are just treats. You shouldn't be playing the leading role on the feed schedule - at best, treat treats only once a week.

In this video, a black chinchilla eats the young, delicate leaves of the weeping willow:

And these sweet chinchillas include dried vegetables on the menu today:

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