What chinchillas eat at home

What chinchillas eat at home

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For a long time South America remained an isolated continent, on which very special flora and fauna were formed. South American animals are very different from the fauna of other continents. Chinchillas are no exception.

The digestive system of these alpine animals was formed in a harsh arid climate. Chinchillas are adapted to eating very coarse and dry food and cannot digest juicy food at all. As a result of domestication, the digestive system of animals has changed enough to be able to assimilate high quality hay. Although today the preferred food is dry stalks of cereals, commonly referred to as straw.

And today, at home, the main food for chinchillas is hay. But hay in urban settings is often impossible to find. Chinchilla owners give in to the assurances of sellers in pet stores and buy rabbit feed or mixtures for guinea pigs for the animals. In fact, chinchilla pellets should only be suitable for chinchilla. This animal has a very delicate gastrointestinal tract and a weak liver. The internal organs of chinchillas are often unable to cope with feed for productive animals.

If there are no special granules, the animals can be fed a cereal mixture of flakes of various cereals. The downside to pellets, grain mix, and even meadow hay is that all of these components of the diet are too soft. Chinchilla teeth are adapted to feeding on very hard food and are constantly growing. If an animal cannot grind its teeth, "hooks" form on its teeth, which injure the tongue and cheeks and prevent the animal from feeding.

Therefore, one of the components that can be given to chinchillas in addition to food is the branches and trunks of fruit trees.

Important! Trees should not be stone fruits.

You cannot give:

  • cherries;
  • plum;
  • peach;
  • cherries;
  • apricot;
  • bird cherry;
  • branches of other tree species from the genus plums.

All these tree species contain a significant dose of hydrocyanic acid in the bark and leaves. Under the influence of gastric juices, hydrocyanic acid decomposes, turning into cyanide. Even dry leaves are dangerous. That is why chinchillas should not be given stone fruit branches.

Mulberry branches and trunks are very suitable. It is believed that chinchillas can also be given branches of apple and pear trees. Apples and pears also contain hydrocyanic acid in the seeds, but the concentration of the substance in the branches is much lower.

Important! All branches must be dry.

To grind the incisors, chinchillas are given special mineral stones, but these stones do not allow grilling molars, on which "hooks" are formed. That is why chinchillas must have branches and tree trunks with bark in the cage. Chewing very hard food will grind back teeth.

Eating chinchillas at home - it's better to do it yourself

The diet of chinchillas at home is very different from the diet of their wild relatives. At first glance, it seems that everything is the same: dry grass, dried (fallen) berries, grains of cereal plants. In fact, the domestic chinchilla eats other plants with a different chemical composition, and this creates additional difficulties in compiling a complete diet.

You can try to buy full-fledged pellets from a pet store. But chinchillas, having ceased to be exotic in the apartment, are still little-known creatures for the industry. Therefore, it is easier to find rabbit food at the pet store. Even if you managed to buy food for chinchillas, there is no guarantee that this product actually contains all the ingredients necessary for South American animals. Because of this, experienced chinchilla breeders are forced to compose a diet for their animals themselves and make grain mixtures on their own. And the knowledge of what the chinchilla eats at home will not be superfluous at all.


Chinchillas have very long intestines, in which fiber decomposition and absorption takes place. For normal digestion, animals need a lot of roughage. And the rougher the hay, the better. A chinchilla needs 20 to 30 g of hay per day, but it must be of the highest quality.

Important! The quality of the hay must be carefully monitored.

Mold or the smell of mycelium from hay is unacceptable. Yellow hay means it has been exposed to rain while drying. This means that such hay can be infected with mold. Gray and black hay is not suitable for chinchillas. It is better not to even bring dusty hay into the house, so as not to become infected with aspergillosis, since in fact the dust is mold spores.

Good quality hay should be green and smell good. If there is no hay within reach, it can be partially replaced with grass flour. It is alfalfa dried by a special technology and powdered. A little dry alfalfa is also added to animal diets as a protein source. This is good food for an old individual, but when eating only flour, teeth will not grind, which will lead to problems with the oral cavity. Therefore, if, in addition to grass meal, the chinchilla cannot be provided with straw, it must be given tree branches without fail.

The advantage of hay over grass meal is also that the animal can be provided with a round-the-clock activity. Coarse, low-nutritional hay can be given to animals ad libitum. With the constant availability of food in the free access, the chinchilla will not eat more than it needs.


As a grain feed, special granules can be given. Quality granules will be green. But this color means a large percentage of alfalfa contained in the pellets. The second option is to make the grain mixture yourself. Chinchillas can be fed a mixture of whole grains or flakes. Experienced chinchilla breeders do not recommend feeding animals with whole grains, since sometimes the grain is stored in poor conditions, and when buying on the market there is no way to determine the quality of the product.

Feeding chinchillas with flakes is safer for animals, since during the production of flakes the grain undergoes high-temperature processing.

Suitable for making a mixture:

  • buckwheat;
  • wheat;
  • barley;
  • corn;
  • oats.

You can also add some pea flakes as a substitute for alfalfa hay.

If the animal can be provided with free access to hay, then regarding concentrates there is a rule how many times a day you need to feed the chinchilla with grain feed. Since these are nocturnal animals, the grain mixture is given to them once a day at night. The rate for one head is 1 teaspoon per day.

Important! Leftovers of uneaten grain should be thrown away daily.

The norm is approximate. The exact amount is established experimentally. You can start with a heaped teaspoon. Animals do not need more grain, but if they do not eat this rate, the amount of grain must be reduced.

It is better to underfeed a chinchilla than overfeed. If there is less hay than needed, the amount of grain will not be critical.

You can also add seeds, milk thistle and red millet to the grain mixture. But it is better not to give flax. Linen is believed to improve the quality of the wool, but it also contains a lot of oil. In addition, raw flax seeds contain hydrocyanic acid.

Vitamin and mineral premixes for fur animals are also added to the grain mixture. Or vitamins specially made for chinchillas are added to food. The dosage is usually indicated on the package. In premixes, the dosage is usually based on the number of grams of premix per kilogram of feed for fur animals, as premixes are intended for use on farms.


This is a separate topic, since the manufacturer often claims pellets as a complete diet for chinchillas. In theory, this is how it should be. The basis of the granules is herbal flour. Also, the granules should include grain feed and all vitamins and minerals necessary for the normal life of the animal. If you can find high-quality pellets, we can assume that the problem with chinchilla food has been solved.

In this case, in addition to pellets, animals only need tree branches to grind their teeth. In this case, fruit and berry dressings will serve as a dessert for the animal. Taking into account that chinchillas need to grind their teeth, about 30% of the diet will be tree branches as roughage and delicacies. The remaining 70% of the diet will come from pellets.

Important! You cannot believe the assurances of sellers that pellets for guinea pigs or rabbits are suitable for chinchillas.

The digestive systems of these animals differ from those of chinchillas. In addition, “forbidden” sunflower seeds are often added to granules for rabbits. This supplement helps the rabbit gain weight before slaughter. It is clear that the state of the rabbit's liver in this case does not bother anyone.

Diet supplements

Hay and grain are the main components in the diet of chinchillas. But to replenish the missing elements, animals are given a little bit of dried berries, vegetables and fruits. From berries, rodents can be given:

  • rosehip;
  • barberry;
  • blueberries;
  • hawthorn.

The rates are very small. Rosehip can be given one berry per day, 1-2 barberries or blueberries. Also, as a top dressing chinchillas can be given leaves and branches of blueberries.

Important! In no case should you give fresh, juicy feed.

Juicy food leads to indigestion and diarrhea in chinchillas. Therefore, even carrots, apples and pears are given only dried and no more than one slice a week.

Pumpkin seeds and melon seeds can also be given to animals. The norm for pumpkin seeds: 1-5 per week per chinchilla. It is believed that pumpkin seeds can get rid of worms.

Absolutely not! Provide all types of nuts and oilseeds.

Chinchillas have very weak livers, not adapted to the absorption of fatty acids, which are found in abundance in nuts and oilseeds. When feeding these animals with nuts, they may have a very beautiful skin, but the lifespan will be reduced from 20 years to 5-6 years.

Dry herbs and flowers

Also an additive to the diet of chinchillas. Herbs and flowers are also given dried. From flowers, you can give echinacea and calendula. Dried nettles will be helpful. Nettle contains more protein than alfalfa and can easily replace alfalfa hay. Also, nettle can be given instead of carrots because of the large amount of provitamin A. But it must be borne in mind that nettle has the property of thickening the blood, and in large quantities this herb will have a bad effect on the health of animals. This is especially true for puppy females. Due to the lack of oxygen, which too thick blood cannot supply the placenta, puppies can die in the womb.

Important! In no case should you change the feed abruptly.

If it is necessary to change the feed, a new one is introduced by mixing with the old one and gradually increasing the proportion of the new product. When buying a chinchilla, it is better to ask the seller for a supply of feed for a week, since with a sharp change in feed, the animal may die.


When keeping in a city apartment, this point must be given special attention. Due to the requirements for water disinfection, liquid directly from the tap is not very suitable for chinchillas. Especially in those regions where water is still disinfected with chlorine. Before giving such water to animals, it must be defended in order to get rid of chlorine compounds. And then boil, removing excess salts.

If you don't feel like taking risks, you can buy bottled drinking water at a regular store. Now there is an opinion that such water is even worse than tap water, but there are no chlorine and bacteria in the bottles. In the case of chinchillas, this is the main thing.

To prevent chinchillas from contaminating the water, it is better to use nipple drinkers. Such drinkers are closed on almost all sides, and in order to get drunk from it, you need to move the locking ball.

What should not be given to chinchillas

Even if the pet begs for something from the table, you need to remember that the chinchilla is a herbivore. In nature, they can eat small insects, but this does not mean that they can be fed meat. Therefore, delicacies prohibited for chinchillas include:

  • any animal protein, including eggs. An exception is milk powder, but it is also for chinchillas on a farm;
  • all sour milk products;
  • any flour and bakery products;
  • potatoes;
  • fresh vegetables;
  • beets, even dry, as they have a laxative effect;
  • mushrooms;
  • any spoiled chinchilla food.

The diet of chinchillas is much stricter than that of humans. She cannot eat any food from the human table.


With a little experience, compiling a diet for a chinchilla is not difficult. The main thing to remember is that we give all the treats to animals not for their sake, but for our own sake. Wanting to show your love. The animal itself does not need this and will not be offended if its owner does not experiment with various products.

Watch the video: My Chinchillas Diet (February 2023).

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