- General feeding guidelines
- How to feed chinchilla?
- What can not be fed chinchilla
- Pregnant Chinchilla Feeding
- Feeding Newborn Chinchillas
One of the most important criteria for proper animal care is a balanced diet. It is ignorance or non-observance of what is possible and what is impossible, and how to properly feed the chinchilla, the gastrointestinal diseases characteristic of the species are caused. And they are the cause of 50% of cases of death of pets.
The nature of the nutrition of domestic individuals is not much different from wild: they are phytophages, that is, herbivorous mammals. Although, in the wild, representatives of the species do not disdain animal food, in particular insects. In general, the ration of the animal is very similar to the menu of ordinary rabbits (see All about caring for chinchilla).
General feeding guidelines
Animals that live in the wild are not picky about food: they prefer to eat the bark of trees and shrubs, seeds and fruits of plants, legumes, cereals, herbs, and even cacti.
Wild mammals eat very little, but nevertheless their diet is high-calorie and balanced, rich in fats, carbohydrates, healthy proteins and many vitamins and minerals. This also applies to how to feed chinchilla at home. The diet should be: balanced, high-calorie, contain vitamins and minerals.
- It is necessary to feed the pet once a day, preferably in the evening, closer to the onset of activity: from 18 to 20 hours.
- The bowl is filled with the amount of food that is calculated for the animal per day.
- Chinchillas have many individual specialties, including different food rates. To find out how much food to give exactly to your chinchilla can only be done in a practical way, checking whether the rodent ate everything before the next feeding.
- For a healthy adult, a serving per day averages 25-30 grams (1 – 2 tablespoons without a hill) of concentrated feed and plus the same amount of hay as ballast. The latter is an extremely important component of the pet menu at any time of the year. Without hay, the animal will die quickly.
- The product must be fresh, smelling pleasant, with greenery and not moldy.
- The best hay for rodents is legumes and cereals containing alfalfa, clover and other legumes.
Usually these animals get used to the food that they received from birth, so when purchasing a pet, check with the previous owner than he preferred to feed the chinchilla. For some time, feed the usual food, smoothly moving to a new type of food. A sharp change in diet will negatively affect the health of the pet.
Of great importance is the choice of dishes for food. Bowls for rodents are hanging and floor. The best option is a ceramic floor bowl. Necessarily heavy, so that the animal would not overturn it and use it as a toy, driving around the cage.
Do I need water
Many believe that the rodent does not need water, since it receives the necessary amount of liquid from food: greens and fruits. This point of view is fundamentally wrong. In all processes that occur in the body of a living creature, water plays a paramount role. Using snow to drink a mammal, some people mistakenly think, is also irrational. If only because the body of the animal will spend a lot of resources on the process of warming cold water, which can also provoke a cold in him.
In the season of herbs and vegetables, the need for water decreases, in winter it increases. Also, this process is affected by air temperature and humidity in the room. Especially greatly increases the need for water in females waiting for offspring. Sometimes they drink twice as much fluid as before pregnancy. In older individuals, the need for water, on the contrary, is reduced. Many rodents aged 7 years and above sometimes really have enough fluid from succulent feeds. But this does not mean that the drinker can be cleaned as unnecessary.
Old animals also drink, just less. In the cage of the animal there should always be a drinker with fresh clean water. Preferably bottled or filtered. The optimum water temperature is from 15 to 18C˚. You need to wash the drinker and pour clean water into it daily, before each feeding. In addition to baking soda, it is not recommended to use any detergents to wash the drinkers.
How to feed chinchilla?
These include hay, nettle brooms, which are collected during flowering plants, young shoots and seeds of pine, branches and bark of oak, willow, linden, aspen, cherry, apple, and other fruit trees. Twigs are not only useful for digestion, but also contribute to grinding off rodent teeth.
Ready-made balanced food is a fairly convenient option for a pet, it can be ordinary and granular. In the first, grains and other components are present in whole form, and in the second in the form of compressed granules – small green or brown sticks. The composition of such granules includes bran, limestone, grass and fish meal, yeast, salt, barley, oats and a complex of vitamins and minerals. In addition to the finished feed (70% of the total diet), it is necessary to feed the pet with a grain mixture and cereals (30%).
Granules are more economical than conventional packaging: an animal cannot get particularly tasty ingredients out of feed, ignoring the rest. When choosing a finished food, pay attention to the presence of delicacies in the composition – raisins, dried fruits, nuts. There should be as few as possible. Most of them are usually not to the rodent’s taste, therefore it is better to choose goodies individually.
From time to time, you can feed your home chinchilla with balanced foods for rabbits and guinea pigs. But food for other rodents is contraindicated to her.
A cereal mixture can be made independently from several cereals, seeds and legumes. The main and grain mixture in the diet of a mammal should be mixed in a ratio of 1: 1. Of the crops will be useful:
- Millet – the presence of red varieties with a high carotene content in the menu is especially desirable, unfortunately, animals do not particularly favor them.
- Barley – due to excessive hardness, it can be given only to adults and in a crushed form, otherwise it is difficult to crack.
- Oats (oatmeal, oatmeal) – can make up to 75% of the whole grain mixture, a very healthy cereal containing healthy proteins and fats, has a positive effect on the digestive tract of the animal.
- Corn – rich in carotene and vitamin A, but it should be given carefully so that there is no bloating. Animals love to gnaw on the sweet young ears as a whole, but at the maturity stage, it is better to feed the corn in the crushed form.
- Wheat (wheat bran) – contains a lot of nutrients, including vitamin B.
From cereals, you can cook friable cereals without sugar, salt and other additives. Such dishes are very useful for babies chinchillas.
Also concentrated feeds include:
- Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, watermelon, zucchini, flax seed and thistle spotted) – they can make up to 20% of the mixture. All seeds must be raw, fried for the digestion of rodents is deadly. Pumpkin seeds are very useful for representatives of the species as a prophylaxis of parasites. Flax seed should be given in small portions, as it is a natural laxative.
- Legumes (lentils, beans, green pea pods, beans, peas, soybeans) – offer rodents in a crushed state, can make up to 10 – 15% of the mixture, can not be given in pure form.
- Nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, etc.) – raw and peeled, 1 – 2 times a week as a treat. Chinchillas are best used in small quantities, hazel is especially useful, it is better not to give pine nuts at all. They are too fat for the digestion of the animal.
- Cereals (barley, buckwheat, rice) – give in raw form.
- Corn flakes – unsweetened and without additives.
- Weed seeds.
- Dried bread – useful to mix with grated raw carrots.
- Vegetables – give small pieces (tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, sweet bell pepper, pumpkin, Jerusalem artichoke).
- Fruits – apples, pears, bananas, figs, peaches, apricots, dried fruits.
- Berries – strawberries, strawberries, barberries, cranberries, raspberries, rose hips, hawthorn, red and aronia, grapes, currants, raisins.
- Greens – nettle, burdock, lemon balm, bird highlander, currant and raspberry leaves, horse sorrel, plantain, ginseng, parsley, strawberry leaves, clover, dandelion, lettuce, calendula and hibiscus flowers, natural dry tea leaves (without flavorings and other additives) , buckwheat, juniper, timothy, sorrel, goat, bluegrass, coltsfoot, chamomile, cornflower, yarrow, rose petals and hibiscus, flowering cherry and linden, as well as tops of carrots, pumpkins, peas and Jerusalem artichoke.
Can make up no more than 5% of the diet, are intended for feeding pregnant and lactating females, these include:
- Skimmed or skimmed milk.
- Cottage cheese.
- Yogurt and kefir.
- Meat and bone meal.
Vitamins and Minerals
In the cage of the British chinchilla must always be mineral-salt rings or mineral-salt stone. They are necessary for the harmonious development and normal digestion of the animal. Vitamins are usually given to young animals, pregnant or lactating females and individuals recovering from a serious illness. In other cases, a properly balanced diet remains the best source of vitamins and minerals. The appointment of vitamins can only be done by a veterinarian, taking into account the characteristics of a particular animal.
What can not be fed chinchilla
– It is not recommended to give cabbage, except kohlrabi, potatoes, citrus fruits, mushrooms, beets. Plant tops should be entered on the menu with caution, it can cause bloating. Herbs are not washed before feeding, but slightly wilted. In no case should you give wet food. It is also forbidden to give rye, eggs, cheese, chips, rolls, poisonous herbs – clover, bleached, lily of the valley, euphorbia, bindweed, lilac, buckthorn, elderberry, rosemary, maple.
Pregnant Chinchilla Feeding
Feeding a female waiting for cubs is not much different from the diet of other individuals. First of all, experts recommend increasing the protein content. The female can start to drink more, eat a little more food. But feeding a future mother is not worth it, it can lead to obesity. It is important that the following foods are on the rodent’s menu:
Herbs such as thyme, lemon balm and mint should be excluded from the diet of a pregnant or lactating female.
Feeding Newborn Chinchillas
It will not be necessary to feed the newborn chinchillas until around the age of 8 to 10 weeks. They feed first on the colostrum of the female — the first 3–5 days, and then her milk. After that, the female independently accustoms the cubs to the usual food for the species.
If for some reason you have to feed the crumbs on your own (the mother died during childbirth, there are more than three puppies in the litter), it is recommended to use lactose-free milk formulas for children from birth (Similak, Nutrilon, Agusha, Hipp-1, NAN and etc.). They can be purchased at any pharmacy. To prepare the mixtures, the instructions on the packaging should be strictly followed. You can also use baby cream or milk powder, for example, for kittens – Kitti Milk, or puppies – Puppy Milk. They are bred in a ratio of 1: 6 with hot water and cool. Since animals have a delicate digestive system, a few drops of espumisan must be added to the feed mixture. If the babies have diarrhea, you need to drip a drop of hilak-fort in your mouth before each feeding, and additionally add a decoction of medicinal chamomile.
Feeding is carried out using a 2 ml syringe, possibly insulin, without a needle. For safety reasons, it is better not to use the pipette; the cub may gnaw it. First, “chinchillas” are fed every 30-60 minutes, after 1.5 weeks – once every 2 hours, then even less often. 3 weeks after birth, children can be offered special granules for young animals and skim milk in a drinker.
The drinker should be outweighed immediately after giving birth so that the puppies reach it. Pets should have free access immediately after birth, they begin to eat it already from 2 to 3 days after birth. The normal weight gain for a baby is 2 to 4 grams per day. If artificial feeding was correct, then by 2 months puppies should weigh no less than 200 grams.
The nutrition of the female chinchillas after childbirth remains the same as it was during pregnancy. The female also needs a large amount of protein, including from animal feed. The feeder and drinker should be positioned closer to the nest with the offspring, so that it is easier for the nursing mother to reach them.
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