Chinchilla and Rabbits have different dietary needs. Even Rabbit pellets may be lacking in the nutrition that a Chinchilla needs. Basically, a rabbit needs to eat a diet designed for its needs, and a Chinchilla needs a diet specifically for them.
The question is not IF the Chinchilla would eat the rabbit food, he definitely would. The point is the food is not designed for a Chinchilla’s needs. One issue that is found is that many pet stores and local feed marts do not carry Chinchilla pellets, however, that doesn’t mean it is okay to give your Chinchilla rabbit pellets.
The reason is obvious for those who have tried to find the proper Chinchilla food. Rabbits are, by far, the most popular pet of the two. If there is no demand for a certain product the business is not going to waste its money purchasing it. It would be a foolish economic error. No demand means no supply.
Your Chinchilla may be part of a certain classification of animals, but this does not mean that foods for other animals in the larger classification are appropriate for the Chinchilla.
The major portion of a Chinchilla diet should be a good quality type of hay. Timothy hay is most often recommended as the hay to feed your Chinchilla. Orchard grass is just as good for the Chinchilla, just be sure that it is orchard grass and not weeds that you are feeding the Chinchilla.
Timothy hay or Orchard Grass should be approximately 80% to 90% of the Chinchilla’s daily diet.
Pellets are highly recommended. They are made to supply nutrients that a Chinchilla needs but often cannot find in most hays and grasses. When you have decided that it is a Chinchilla you want as a pet, research online so that you will have all the items that you need for your Chinchilla.
If your local pet store or feed store does not sell foods designated for Chinchillas specifically, order them online. There are many websites that do sell the necessary Chinchilla products.
The only way to say it is to be blunt, Chinchilla pellets are made specifically for Chinchillas, just as cat food is made for cats, rabbit food for rabbits and dog food for dogs. Make sense? You see, Chinchilla, are not any other type of animal other than a Chinchilla, why would you feed it food designed for another animal.
Chinchillas are from the rodent family. Rodents have a sensitive digestive system. These sensitive digestive systems may react negatively to foods in certain combinations. In other words, too much sugar in the food is going to make the Chinchilla very sick, for that fact, too much of anything can make the Chinchilla sick.
The Chinchilla’s stomach is small, and the digestive tract is sensitive, as is the stomach. This is why foods that are not designed for Chinchillas should not be fed to a Chinchilla.
Chinchillas need fibre, they need protein and they need a way in which to file their teeth down. When the teeth are kept down this avoids ill health and dental issues further down the road.
Rabbit treats are another food item that should be avoided when it comes to a chinchilla. The Chinchilla pellets, just like all things Chinchilla, can be ordered online through a variety of animal websites or shopping sites.
Just a quick bit of a suggestion, Timothy hay can also be ordered online. If you decide to order online for food and the pellets, keep track of the food and allow enough time for delivery. This is done to prevent running out of food and not having anything to feed your Chinchilla.
When you visit a pet store, be sure that you do not fall for a sales pitch of rabbit food that is the same items as Chinchilla food, it is not. They are just trying to make a sale, and it would be at the possible cost of your Chinchilla if you fall for the line.
Please, keep in mind, even in an emergency, feeding your Chinchilla rabbit foods, rabbit pellets or other rodent supplies not specifically made for a Chinchilla is going to cause health issues or worse for your Chinchilla. Be responsible and plan ahead to be sure that you always have the items that your Chinchilla requires.
What you will find when you adopt your Chinchilla from a reputable breeder is that he or she will make these same suggestions in regards to feeding your Chinchilla. Online stores are generally the best option and it will avoid frustration and the cost of gas money if you drive all over looking to find Chinchilla food or to go home empty-handed. Plan ahead, it is the healthiest option for your new pal.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruit and vegetables should seldom if ever, be given to a Chinchilla. These can cause diarrhoea and other serious stomach and digestive tract issues.
When a Chinchilla is given fruit, it should be dried fruit. The fresh and watery fruit is what will cause digestive and intestinal issues.
Some of the dried fruits and vegetables that are okay for a Chinchilla to eat will include:
- Green Apples
A Chinchilla may also have some bread, a small amount, and a small amount of potato. There is one list online that tells you that lettuce and cucumbers are okay. I would not follow that list. The professionals state that lettuce is too watery, and we know that cucumbers are the same. When it comes to diarrhoea in your Chinchilla, adding extra water may not be the smart move.
Even when considering the fruits and vegetables on an approved list, these items should only be given in very small amounts and very seldom. As a treat, a tiny amount will be enough, and then only once a week or once every two weeks.
It is far wiser to stick with the recommended Chinchilla diet for the majority of a Chin’s life.
It is always wise to remember that your Chinchilla and the diet should contain nothing except Timothy hay, orchard grass and Chinchilla pellets. Never any foods made for rabbits.
You will notice that when you are at a pet store, many of the food packages will include a picture of a Chinchilla on the front. This is false advertising unless it is specifically just for Chinchillas. The Chinchilla does not share a diet with any other animal and if you are told so, speak with an exotic veterinarian first.
As mentioned earlier, this is simply a sales pitch so that the company will make more money. Most pet stores do not sell Chinchilla food. It is not heavily in demand and therefore they will not keep the product on their shelves. For the company, this would be a loss of income to do so.
The clerk may tell you that a package is a certain formula that is designed for both the rabbit and the Chinchilla. This is honestly not possible as the two have very different needs and also different digestive systems.
The Chinchilla diet is filled with roughage for fibre, and low in sugar and treats. When a Chinchilla is in their natural living habitat, you would find that they eat a lot of bark, berries and fruits. The wild Chinchilla has developed a stronger digestive system to accommodate the available foods.
Fats are also considered a negative for the Chinchilla. Fats can damage the liver of a Chinchilla and cause serious health issues.
Before we leave, water is another highly important aspect of the Chinchilla’s daily diet. They must always have clean and fresh water to drink. For this, a water bottle that hangs in the cage is best. The Chinchilla will learn to push the bead in the spout in order to obtain the water.
The water must always remain fresh.
The sugars in many treats, which would include fruits and vegetables, are difficult to break down in the Chinchillas digestive system. This leads to serious health issues and possibly a much shorter life span.
Stick with the suggested diet plan given to you by an Exotic veterinarian. They have been educated to keep animals healthy, they are not going to tell you falsehoods just to make a buck or two for the employer.
As you are perusing the many pages of information online in regards to what a chinchilla can eat, what they may eat, as well as what they should not eat; be sure that you are reading from a trusted source.
A trusted source would not be a pet food store that just wants to make money. The trusted sources are easily identified by.org; .edu or by an actual veterinarian site.
When you shop for Chinchilla foods online, be sure that you have been given the names of the brands, or have a list of the ingredients that should be in the food. Do not purchase the product if it contains more ingredients than the information that a licensed and registered breeder has given you or information directly from the Veterinarian.
Again, do not fall for the sales pitch of a picture of a Chinchilla on the packaging itself, especially if other animals are in the photo. A Chinchilla has a different dietary need than a rabbit or other rodent, do not be fooled–for the sake of your Chinchilla!