Chinchillas: Hay and Pellets

Singapore is a small country with little or no research on animal feeding of small animals much less chinchillas. We pretty much dependent on foreign know-how to care for our chinchillas. Since the internet age, much of these is collected from major sites in English which is very much related to United Stated of America feeding methods for chinchillas. Chinchillas from Europe are comparable to US chinchillas in many aspects, despite major differences in their diet and level of care.

Two of the most critical parts of a chinchilla diets are timothy hay and pellets.

TIMOTHY HAY

Timothy Hay is the main diet of chinchillas. Its fiber and nutrients level is similar to the needs of many small animal. However, these are widely available in different forms and sizes. In terms of quality of hay, APD Gold Hay has its place due to smooth texture, rich of nutrients and nice smell. They tend to be longer in leaves but lacking in the stems. Other brand’s 2nd cut timothy hay tends to have more amount of stem in the hay.  Alfalfa hay can be feed at small amount to young and undernourished chinchillas.

[Singapore] In Singapore, the intake of hay for a typical chinchilla is less than 20% of their diet.  Some of these chinchillas have a slower gut motility in captivity, putting them at a higher risk of gut stasis, a condition which is often fatal. Breeders that uses milk and oat muesli mixture in large amount tends to have weak sensitive digestive system – resulting inability to absorb vital nutrients from pellets.  They tends to also requires ” growth supplements”  make up from different grains and  herbs at specific mixture amount. Over the years, we found many chinchillas faced with higher risk of abnormal growth of teeth after Year 2 . This often develops into painful dental disease, or in extreme cases ‘large abscesses’ around the jaw or eye sockets.

PELLETS

Popular brands are Tradition, Mazuri and Alice Klien (in smaller amount now) are used by US chinchilla breeders/ranches.  In recent year, Oxbow has established itself in the pet business. However as pet pellets, Oxbow tend to be lacking of vital vitamins and minerals for fur maintenance and growth of young.  Singapore is quite fortunate to be able to purchase these quality breeders/ranches feed.

[Singapore] In Singapore, it is very common to find pellets consist of over 80% of chinchilla diet.  As such, digestive system and teeth decay rate tends to be weak and low respectively.  As the chinchilla grew older, their growth were usually stunted and affected by constipation problems.  In such chinchillas too, their weak digestive system tends to unable breakdown quality breeders pellets, to resulting in “soft poo” problem. We find that these concerns are reversible for younger chinchillas.

The trick of healthy chinchilla diet is to increase the timothy hay consumption and reduce pellet consumption to 80:20 formula. Older chinchillas tends to need less pellets. Weak chinchillas also tends to also requires special ” growth supplements”.  Avoid feeding dried oat as in large amount can results in constipation and even death.

Our Motto: Good Chinchilla Diet is the key for healthy and happy chinchilla

Picture below: Chinchillas on Timothy Hay and Mazuri Chinchilla Diet

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