- How to feed chinchilla
- What can not be fed
- Tips & Tricks
- Things to Remember When Feeding Chinchillas
Chinchillas are two species of malt rodents originating from the Endian Cordillera in South America. These animals have very soft fur, large hind legs, tiny front legs, large eyes and ears. Previously, these animals inhabited the territory of Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Chile, but today their colonies in the wild are found only in Chile.
In nature, chinchillas feed on dry grass, leaves and bark of fruit bushes and trees. In the highlands of the Andes, the vegetation is usually dry and for the same reason, chinchillas living at home recommend a diet of dry plants. Their digestive system is designed to absorb most of the dry food offered in their habitats, so the length of the intestine can reach a length of 2.5-3 m, which is quite a lot, given the size of these rodents.
How to feed chinchilla
Today, chinchillas are popular pets, but require special care, so it is best to buy them for experienced pet owners who know everything about the needs of these animals.
Power supply it has a very big effect on chinchilla health, since dental and intestinal diseases are the leading cause of death for these animals in need of a greater dietary sequence than other small mammals. Since the microflora of chinchillas (microbes that live in the intestines and play a critical role in digestion) is delicately balanced, your pet’s health can be seriously affected if his daily diet changes dramatically or if you offer him too much food.
These rodents require a lot of roughage, and their diet should mainly consist of good quality hay along with granules made specifically for chinchillas. Any changes to the diet should be gradual.
How to feed chinchilla at home
Foods specially prepared for chinchillas should contain 16–20% protein, fat 2–5% and fiber 15–35%. Chinchillas have special dietary requirements that are different from other rodents, and their health will suffer if they are not fed quality, specific chinchilla food.
Hay is the main food of chinchillas, and the main component of hay are stiff and fibrous stems and herbs. They provide the bulk of fiber. Without fiber, the movement along the long intestines of these rodents can slow down or even completely stop. This dangerous condition, known as gastrointestinal congestion, is often fatal in a very short time.
In the wild, these animals are adapted to consume vegetation with a high content of coarse fibers, therefore, as a percentage, chinchilla feed should consist of 80–90% hay, 10% granules and about 2% fruits or vegetables. Granules should contain all the nutrients in the correct percentage.
Remember that the granules must be specific to chinchillas and must not contain grains and seeds, milk and dairy products, eggs, waste products, fruits and vegetables. When buying pellets, even if the packaging shows chinchilla, always read the indicated ingredients. Daily number of pellets for adults it is about 30 grams (two tablespoons).
Granular diets are better than a mixture of bulk products. Loose mixes can be balanced, but only if your chinchilla eats all parts of the mix (and chinchillas tend to choose what they like from the mix).
If you decide to feed these animals with a free mixture (with granules, seeds, corn, etc.), then keep in mind that there is a concern that feeding corn may cause indigestion and bloating, although many chinchilla products contain processed corn in as an ingredient. Scientifically, little is known about the ideal diet for chinchillas. Perhaps because corn is starchy and probably pretty much indigestible for chinchillas, whole corn should be avoided as the main part of the diet.
Outside of dry feed, it is recommended to introduce at least 50 grams per day of vegetables and herbs such as:
Some of these vegetables – such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, parsley, celery and spinach should not be given often, as they contain high levels of calcium. In addition to carrots, the rest of the vegetables should be given in a dried state.
Fruit can be given as dessert in small quantities. It can be:
Dried fruits are preferred, as fresh fruits can lead to diarrhea. Do not give citrus fruits.
Sticks, branches are an essential element in any chinchilla diet. Gnawing sticks for these animals is not only a pleasure, but also a huge help in the fight against the continuous growth of teeth.
Make sure that the wood you are using has not been treated with pesticides. In addition, do not give branches of conifers, since they contain tar. Recommended tree of the following species:
These wood species do not contain tar or essential oils that are harmful to these animals.
There should always be water in the cage, which should be changed at least once a day, especially in summer.
What can not be fed
Do not feed wet, musty odor hay.
It is not recommended to give the following products:
Do not give acid fruits and vegetables – lemons, grapefruit, tomatoes, etc. The digestive system of these animals does not cope with high acidity.
Avoid corn, as this will cause bloating, which in most cases is deadly. Corn is also susceptible to mold and fungi during production and storage.
Chocolate is very dangerous for animals in general and can damage both the digestive and nervous systems.
It is forbidden to give meat and dairy food. Chinchillas. these are vegans, and they should not be given anything but plant foods. Otherwise, it will have grave and fatal consequences.
Be very careful when releasing animals from your cage, as many houseplants are poisonous to this animal, especially azalea, begonia, ivy, ficus, oleander, etc.
Tips & Tricks
Chinchillas are active at dawn and dusk, and although they can gradually change their habits, you need to feed them at about the same time every morning and evening.
These rodents are famous beggars, and you cannot indulge their requests, as they can eat almost everything that you give them.
When you feed the chinchilla from your hand, keep in mind that they rely most on the sense of smell, as their eyes are on the sides of their heads, so sometimes they may have trouble finding food or they may accidentally bite your finger.
Fresh or dried herbs – You can offer a small amount 3-4 times a week. Fresh or dried fruits are also offered 3-4 times a week.
Vegetables or greens need to be cut into very small pieces (1-2 pieces 2-3 times a week).
The diet of chinchillas should not be confused with the diet of rabbits, guinea pigs and other rodents.
Grains – you can offer 2-3 times a week about 1 teaspoon.
Since these animals love to eat and nibble everything that they get in their way, and they are very curious, make sure that electric cords, toxic plants, or anything destructible are out of reach.
Things to Remember When Feeding Chinchillas
Fresh hay wood and water should always be available. Water should be fresh and 100% free of chlorine and heavy metals.
A limited number of fruits and vegetables can be given daily, but their amount should not exceed 10% of their total food volume.
Vegetables and fruits uneaten within 24 hours must be removed.
Consult your veterinarian if you are not sure that you are feeding the chinchilla correctly.
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