Author Topic: Chinchilla diet info  (Read 1638 times)

Offline meetimarco

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Chinchilla diet info
« on: May 15, 2012, 11:39:22 AM »
Hey guys.

#1 Is chills n quills down? I can't get it to load.

I live in a small rural town in West Texas and have recently gotten a job at our local nature center (closest thing we have to a zoo). We just took in a chin that the owners could no longer keep and she is being fed a diet of horrible gerbil food. Most everyone I work with is a herp person and I am one of 2 mammal people on staff. I have never owned a chin myself but am looking for a proper diet to feed her. I know Mazuri and Oxbow diets have already been suggested. Anything else I can give her? We prefer to create our own diets here vs giving prepackaged, so if there is anything I can create that we already have on hand that is fresh I'd love to do that. (something like Suebee's mix for rats?). We have unlimited Timothy hay on hand so that will be added immediately.

Also we would LOVE to incorporate her in our education program which involves her being held by our coordinator and being touched/petted by kids (they dont get to hold her). She did great the first couple of days but is now protesting being picked up. You reach in to get her out, she squeaks at you and darts away. She has never offered to bite, but I know it's only a matter of time till she is fed up and bites one of us. If she does bite, my director (who didn't want to keep her to begin with) says we must rehome her. She is a darling little girl and I'd love to keep her. Any ideas on training tips and treats for her? Lately I've just been getting her out and letting her hop around on my lap and chair. I am currently working on an area we can block off for her to run around in after hours. She came with a large hamster ball, do they even like that? We put her in it only once and while she was cute hopping around in it, I'm not sure we'll keep it up.

Any help would be marvelous, thanks!
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 11:47:10 AM by meetimarco »
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Offline applecavy

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Re: Chinchilla diet info
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2012, 12:58:52 PM »
They need that base pellet diet, Oxbow is best I believe, and as you said, unlimited hay.
You want to avoid all processed sugars and fruits.

Vegetables are great treats, as are apple woods sticks. They really love rose hips.

Most chinchillas are not cuddly animals, but they are rarely (at least the ones I know) aggressive.

Offline RattiesSix

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Re: Chinchilla diet info
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2012, 01:52:01 PM »
Off the top of my head (I have owned chinchillas. My two boys passed of a really fast working virus not THAT long ago, so all the information I have should be up to date.).

You'll want a good pellet. Oxbow is good, Tradition, Mazuri, and Purina Rabbit SHOW Chow are all completely acceptable foods.

You'll want a free fed hay, not alfalfa but you can give alfalfa as a treat. Timothy makes a good base and you can add Oat, Orchard, and Brome.

Chew treats are a MUST for chinchillas. Lots of wood (Safe woods I used regularly are pecan, pine, apple, willow, grapevine, etc.). Pumice is also awesome. Cardboard.

Chinchillas do not have the constitution to handle fresh foods like fruits and vegetables. Or even dried ones. Because their guts are so so sensitive, there are very few treats you can use with them. And you should never over treat, no matter how they beg. One small treat per day is the rule. A tiny piece of shredded wheat with no added sugars, a rosehip or small pinch of crushed rosehips, some chinchilla places sell certain horse cookies that you can crush up and give a tiny piece, a few pieces of rolled oats.

Applewood sticks make MUCH better treats than food, though. I used tiny twigs for treat time and they would happily chew all the bark off. They got much more excited over those than any food.

Chinchillas are DEFINITELY not cuddly animals. They don't generally love to be picked up and if you're doing something they dislike, they will let you know by barking. You can keep trying to push her, but I suggest backing off and doing things she is comfortable with. Start with petting her in the cage. Then rewarding her by a handful of fresh hay, refilling her food bowl, using your one treat daily allowance, or giving her an applewood twig.

Are you giving her dust baths? They require these. Blue Cloud Dust is the most recommended brand. Never use sand.

Chins n Quills is now Chins n Hedgies: http://www.chins-n-hedgies.com/forums/index.php And they are EXTREMELY helpful.

Never use exercise balls. Chinchillas are extremely prone to overheating and those balls do not allow for airflow, and are also not good on their backs.

Offline meetimarco

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Re: Chinchilla diet info
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2012, 10:41:07 PM »
Thanks guys. We'll just stick to pre made food for her, already okay'd it with my director. We're going with the Oxbow formula. I'll work on getting her some applewood sticks and rose hips. My director is not big on getting treats for the animals but if it can help with training, I might be able to convince him. He did see me giving her scritches tonight and said that she was being cute, so that's a plus!

And yes she does have dust baths. How often should we allow her a bath? She had one available for about 4 days straight and then she dumped it over (was on the top shelf and has now been moved to the bottom). But since the dumping it has been empty for about 4 days and all she does is sit in her little bath house until the evening when she comes out for food and scritches.
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Offline RattiesSix

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Re: Chinchilla diet info
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2012, 11:41:30 PM »
A bath a day for 20-30 minutes is fine. Or every other day, but don't leave the house in there, don't want her to get dry skin. Also make sure you're not leaving plastic items in there as chinchillas are prone to bloat and impaction. All toys and shelves should be metal or wooden.

Oxbow also sells hay, so you'll be able to get that brand hay for her as well.