A high quality pellet is the staple to any chin diet. We used Mazuri Chinchilla Diet for many years with wonderful success. We also sell Mazuri chin food, which you can find on our Animal Products page.
We have recently switched to Tradition and know many large breeders who use it with great success. We also sell Tradition on our Animal Feed page.
I free feed pellets to my chins. Making certain that feeders are always clean and pellets are fresh.
Other good diets for chins are the Kline diet, which can be purchased through Carolina Chin Connection
If you are going to change a chins feed, please do so slowly, by mixing their old food with their new food over time. This process should take about a month. Chins have very sensitive digestive systems and changing foods too quickly can be detrimental.
A constant supply of hay should be kept in the chinchilla's cage at all times. Hay is important for many reasons. It is a wonderful source of fiber, as well as calcium and protein. With chinchillas though, it is also important for helping them to keep their back teeth from overgrowing and causing health issues. Cube hay will not help back teeth nearly as much as loose hay does.
Timothy, alfalfa and oat hay are all good for chins. Alfalfa is much higher in calcium and protein, which an be harsh on chin's digestive systems, especially if the pellet portion of the diet is alfalfa based.
Oat hay is a good hay periodically, but not as fibrous or nutritious as timothy. We free feed timothy hay from Oxbow to all of our chins.
A basic rule of thumb is that if your pellets are alfalfa based, as Mazuri is, you need to feed timothy hay. If they are timothy based, feel alfalfa hay.
Each type of hay may be purchased loose or in compacted cubes.
I recommend Oxbow Timothy hay which you can purchase through www.oxbowhay.com.
Fresh water should be kept in the cages at all times. I have noticed that some chins drink very little, while other water bottles seem to be emptied almost every day.
The same advice applies here as with food. Different areas have different additives in the water. Switching too quickly could lead to intestinal upset.
All of my chins are only given bottled water, so I advise new owners to switch to tap water (if they are going to switch) slowly over time.
My chins are given vitamin C tablets every morning. Since it has not been proven whether or not chins need extra vitamin C, and since I have been told that excess vitamin C is eliminated from the body harmlessly, I prefer to give it "just in case". I use an all natural children's chewable vitamin C tablet and the chins think they are treats.
I also put a small amount of the supplement that we make once a week. All of our chins love this stuff. You can find it on our Animal Products page.
My lactating females also get cranberry juice mixed 50/50 with water in a separate water bottle.
None of these supplements are given to the kits until they are over 8 weeks old.
Over time we have become very much against giving chins treats. This is done mainly for the humans, not for the chins. Chins have VERY sensitive digestive systems and really do require a very bland diet.
For those who feel they MUST give treats however, they should only be given VERY sparingly and never to a chin who is under 5 months of age. Our treat of choice, if you must is a spoon sized, sugar free shredded wheat. These can actually be give to younger chins if you break them into pieces as well. Other treats include, 1 or 2 raisins a day, rosehips, and a few other items. We really strongly recommend treats not be given, as it can lead to poor eating habits and poor health.
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