Features of feeding. First of all, chinchillas belong to herbivorous rodents. But unlike their close relatives, guinea pigs, these animals eat very little. At the same time, indefatigable energy and chic fur require a large consumption of nutrients. Food for them should be high-calorie, contain a lot of protein and carbohydrates. It so happened that in their natural habitats the vegetation is sparse, food is not easy to obtain, but at the same time it is nutritious and varied. Therefore, in captivity, the diet of chinchillas should contain a sufficient amount of grain feed, as sources of high-grade proteins and carbohydrates, grass and hay should also be present. They have the so-called semi-concentrate type of feeding (what concentrates can be found in the article "How to feed a rabbit?" )
Chinchillas, sometimes, are finicky in eating food, they try the new food with caution, and the old often get fed up with it. Therefore, it is desirable that the diet for them was not only nutritious, but also as diverse as possible. It’s good when the menu has a wide range of products. It is rare to see that chinchilla greedily pounce on food. Most often: eat a grain, come up to you, look thoughtfully, eat a nut, jump on a cage, eat a grain It is important that there is always non-perishable food in the cage: grain, hay, delicious granules. If the animal is provided with a good spacious cage so that he can actively move, let out for a walk, and not give a lot of fatty foods and treats, then he will not have obesity. Chinchillas are very energetic animals!
When choosing a diet, it is necessary to take into account the characteristics of the biology of chinchillas. Like all herbivorous rodents and rabbits, they have sensitive digestion. Firstly, because of the longer intestines (see Article “Ball with ears.” About the biological characteristics of chinchillas). Secondly, herbivores get a lot of the nutrients necessary for their body by processing plant fiber. But, not a single multicellular animal, beginning from a cow and ending with termite (and including our animal), is not able to independently break down fiber in the intestines, because this product is generally difficult to process. And herbivores call for help various microorganisms that do it for them. Animals, in turn, provide them with a reliable habitat and a set of nutrients. In chinchilla, these bacteria live in large numbers in a well-developed cecum. Such a community is called symbiosis. All herbivorous animals are highly dependent on the vital activity of their intestinal microflora. So, for example, and a cow, and a rabbit, and a guinea pig, and our chinchilla, antibiotics can be used inside only if absolutely necessary.
In order for the bacterial population not to decrease, it is necessary that a lot of fiber and easily digestible carbohydrates are present in the diet. The last animal can get from grain feed. As for fiber, we must remember that if for us vegetables, fruits, greens are good sources, then herbivorous animals have slightly different criteria. Therefore, in order to provide the animal with fiber, a bunch of good hay must be in the cage in winter and summer.
For a well-being chinchilla is also important dietary stability. And a person who has arrived in another country and too quickly switched to foods unfamiliar to him may develop a serious digestive upset. Not only the stomach, intestines and immune system adapt over the years to strictly defined food, but also various beneficial intestinal bacteria. They have already learned how to produce the enzymes necessary for the processing of products they know, but here the diet changes dramatically and they do not have time to adapt, their mass death begins. The empty place is no longer occupied by beneficial bacteria, but by pathogenic ones, which always have where to come from, and they adapt much better than useful ones. So, in fact, all the problems begin. Chinchillas are even more than people dependent on the vital activity of intestinal microorganisms, because in addition to lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, they also have fiber-processing bacteria, and for them this development is even worse. Therefore, even if you feed the animal with products suitable for it, but today give one oat, and tomorrow only apples, do not be surprised that he will have problems with digestion.
When purchasing chinchillas, you must also consider these features. When transporting to a new place, it is important to ask the breeder about the nature of feeding the animal and feed it the same for the first two weeks. Then you can gradually, over 3-7 days, transfer to your own diet.
In very nervous animals, diarrhea can sometimes begin even simply because of the nervous reaction of the body. Such diarrhea, if measures are taken in time, passes without any special consequences for the body. In this case, it is advisable to show the veterinarian and serve only good quality hay and oak or willow twigs for a while.
What foods can be given to chinchilla.
1. Rough feed. This is hay, twig feed, tree bark. For chinchillas the most suitable hay. bean-cereal, containing a lot of clover, alfalfa and other leguminous plants. Giving bean in its pure form is not desirable. Hay should be of good quality. Chinchillas rarely eat large amounts of hay, but it should always be in the cage. To ensure that it does not get dirty, there are various feeders for hay.
Dry nettle brooms are very useful and contain many vitamins. For their manufacture, nettle is harvested during flowering and dried in a dry, well-ventilated area.
It is useful to hang twigs of fruit trees, linden, aspen in a cage for grinding teeth. Oak, willow and cherry branches also have fixing properties and are useful for mild diarrhea. They also give the bark of all these trees.
2. Concentrates. These are grain feeds, legumes, seeds, cereals, bran, bread. Ready-made feed for chinchillas can also be referred to concentrates, many of which, in addition to grain, contain other components.
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