Chinchilla feeding

Keep your chinchilla supplied with fresh food and water. Food bowls aren't the most practical as they can get knocked over and also risk being covered in droppings, so it's best to use a raised feeder. Water should be provided at all times in a bottle with a metal spout — attach this to the outside of the cage with the spout positioned through the mesh so they can access it. The bottle being on the outside of the cage prevents your chinchilla from trying to chew it. You can add vitamin supplements to their water which will keep their vitamin levels up and help maintain good health. 

Your chinchilla will need a constant supply of grass and hay which is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system and healthy teeth. You can also give your chinchilla other foods and treats, but keep these to a minimum, allowing just a teaspoon per chinchilla per day.

They tend to enjoy vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash and celery, but introduce these slowly to their diet to avoid upsetting their digestive system. Vegetables to avoid include broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, peas, spinach and asparagus. Fruits tend to be quite high in sugars so if you do feed your chinchilla some fruit, it has to be in very small quantities. Always chop the food up into small edible pieces for your chinchilla. 

It can be easy to overfeed your your chinchilla too, so try your hardest to keep their portions to a minimum.

You can feed your chinchilla commercial treats from time to time, which are available from most pet shops. Pellets designed for chinchillas will be full of nutrients so it's good to feed them a small amount each day so they are getting all the essentials that they need to keep fit and healthy. Again, try to avoid sugary foods, nuts and seeds, and when you do have suitable treats, place them in different areas of the cage so that your chinchilla has some fun trying to find the tasty treats. 

Chinchillas eat their droppings

If you see your chinchilla eating his droppings, fear not, this it completely normal. Because a chinchilla's main diet is plant-based — plants are harder to digest — their bodies have adapted and they will eat their droppings after it has passed through their system for the first time. They are then able to absorb all the good nutrients the second time round, and digest the food properly.

Pet care advice