Feeding Your Chinchilla

Your chinchilla is a herbivore, which means he eats only plant material. Grass hay should be the high-fiber cornerstone of every chinchilla’s diet. The fiber in hay helps meet the important digestive health needs of herbivores such as chinchillas. A daily recommended amount of a uniform, fortified food provides essential vitamins and minerals not found in hay. Fresh greens are also an important component of a chinchilla’s diet, and healthy treats can be beneficial when given in moderation.

Hay

Your chinchilla should have unlimited access to a variety of quality grass hays. Among many benefits, hay helps prevent obesity, dental disease, diarrhea, and boredom. Since replacing the hay in your chinchilla’s habitat can encourage picky eating, we recommend changing it only when soiled.

Young (less than a year old), pregnant, nursing or ill animals can benefit from eating alfalfa hay in addition to grass hay because of the higher nutritional elements. Otherwise, alfalfa should only be given occasionally as a treat.

Hay Selection

Grass hay should make up the majority of your pet’s daily diet. Offer a variety of hay to your guinea pig to promote optimum health. Since hay is a natural product, each bag will look and feel different. Use our Taste & Texture Guide located on every hay package to determine your pet’s taste and texture preferences.

Oxbow Farm-Fresh Hays and Compressed Hays:

Fortified Food

Providing a daily recommended amount of a high-fiber, complete fortified food will help ensure that your chinchilla receives essential vitamins and minerals not found in hay.

Pellet Selection

Always choose a complete fortified pellet formulated specifically for chinchillas. Our Essentials Chinchilla Food is ideal. 

Avoid:

Mixes with nuts, corn, seeds, and fruit because chinchillas have a tendency to select those tempting morsels over the healthy pellets.

Greens

Fresh greens are an important part of your pet’s daily diet. Greens contribute to hydration and provide important vitamins and minerals, as well as enrichment. Check with your qualified exotics veterinarian for a full list of appropriate chinchilla greens. A good starter list of varieties to offer and avoid includes: 

Offer:

Romaine, bib, and red leaf lettuce

Avoid:

Leeks, chives, and onions

Treats

Treats (including fruits and veggies) are great for encouraging interaction between you and your pet, but they should only be given after basic daily foods have been eaten. Offering too many treats can cause your chinchilla to refuse his healthy, essential foods. It’s important to remember that not all treats are created equal! All Oxbow treat varieties are designed to be as wholesome as they are delicious.