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Chin Diet & Nutrition Anything to do with the diet or nutrition of a chinchilla - post it here!

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  #1  
Old 05-11-2017, 07:47 AM New Zealand
AsSaSsinR92 AsSaSsinR92 is offline
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smile First time chinchilla owner...feeding guide

Hi,

I'm getting a chinchilla (hopefully real soon). I'm waiting for the breeder to text me for pick up once he/she is weaned, so when s/he is 8-10 weeks old (maybe wee older). I was hoping if you lovely expert folks could help a newbie out with feeding questions. I've done some research (still researching), these little cuties are have a very delicate digestive system, so I don't plan on feeding mine foods with high sugar intake. However, I read that dried rosehips are considered a daily safe treat (max. 3 per day), they're rich in vitamin C & fiber and dried chamomile flowers are safe too, they make them relaxed and de-stressed. Does the rosehip has to be whole? or cut (powder-like) should be fine too?

I also have Alfalfa and Western Timothy hay on the way. I'm a suppose to feed the little one Alfalfa hay daily then switch to Timothy at a specific age? Also, can I mix a little bit of both hay, maybe more of Alfalfa since it's beneficial to kit.

I appreciate you answering my questions. Just want to provide a suitable care for my new pet, given I haven't owned one before :-)

Thanks,
Heath
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Old 05-11-2017, 12:59 PM Canada
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Amethyst Amethyst is offline
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Until the chin is 6 months you really don't want to be giving any treats, they need to be just fed good food so they can grow. Make sure the pellets food you are feeding is just pellets too, no added colored pieces or other junk food. Aside from needing a low sugar intake, you also don't want to be feeding the chin any thing too fattening. No nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, animal products (hide, meat, bone, dairy, eggs, etc) and obviously, no human food.
Once the chin is old enough, I would say one rose hip at most a day, not 3, or one other treat, my guys don't get treats everyday though, more like once or twice a week. It depends on the chin's preference what kind of rose hips to get, some chins like whole rose hips others prefer crushed, which are like little chips not powder. Some other ideas of safe treats can be found on Fuzzies Kingdom site, it's a US site but has a lot of good info on natural feeding and should give you some ideas of safe natural treats to feed and how much.

Good "treats" for young kits would be a different kind of hay then you normally feed or a specific part of the hay the chin likes (for example some chins love the fluffy top parts). Some chins also like hay cubes, if its not what you normally feed it can be something you can hand them as a "treat". Chew sticks are also something that should be provided daily anyway, and a variety of different wood types really helps keep them interesting, and there is no limit to how many they can have.

For a kit you want alfalfa as the primary hay, it's high in calcium and other things which they need for good growth, but some timothy is good too for the added fiber. Once it is older though the added calcium can cause issues depending on what you feed. For an adult (over a year) you want the opposite hay as you have in the pellets. So for example if you have alfalfa based pellets, you want timothy (or other grass hay) as your primary hay you feed.

One other thing that people seem to get backwards, hay is actually the chin's primary diet (roughly 75%), pellets are supplemental to the hay. So you do need to make sure the chin eats it's hay, some chins are picky with the hay though, so you may need to deal with a lot of waste. It seems most chins like a mix of hay, so say timothy with some alfalfa, or timothy and another grass hay (meadow, orchard, oat, etc), or a mix of all of them if you want. Each type of hay also needs to be chewed slightly differently which wears the teeth down differently (meaning a more even wearing down of their ever growing teeth) so it's good to offer a variety.
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Old 05-11-2017, 04:37 PM New Zealand
AsSaSsinR92 AsSaSsinR92 is offline
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Thank you so much for your thorough explanation :-) I was about to start giving her/him treats every other day, but I won't now since it's best to stick with a low sugar intake for the little ones.

Just to double check, it's safe to feed baby kits any kinds of grass hay as long as alfalfa is the primary supplement until s/he is one year old?

I've bought Oxbow Essentials (seems nutritional enough), should I be feeding my chin 2-3 Tbsp or 2 Tsp a day?

Thanks again for the tip, was very helpful!
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Old 05-11-2017, 05:49 PM New Zealand
AsSaSsinR92 AsSaSsinR92 is offline
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I was planning on feeding my chin treats every other day, but thank you so much for the warning :-)

Just to double check, it's safe to feed a kit any grass hay with alfalfa (being the primary supply) until s/he is one year old?

I ordered Oxbow Essentials pellets, it seems of a good quality. How much pellets quantity should be given to kits and adults, is it 2-3 Tbsp (20-30g) or 2 Tsp per day?

I was also wondering at what age should you introduce an exercise wheel to chins? I read that exercise wheels are important for them, I ordered a 12" (30.5cm) wheel. I can't seem to find a website that tells you when to introduce it to them or when to upgrade to 14-15" later on.

I do plan on letting the little cutie out of the cage for some play time at night regularly, but I'm I suppose to do that after we get acquainted lol.

Thanks again for the tip, was very helpful :-)
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Old 05-13-2017, 08:24 PM Canada
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Yes it's safe to feed grass hay too, but make sure they eat the alfalfa (which is normally not a problem as it's more tasty then grass). Then at about a year switch to primarily grass hay, and some alfalfa can be added.

You shouldn't restrict the food, chins don't normally overeat and a kit needs all the food it can eat. I like to measure how much I give per day so I know how much they ate and that they ate. If the food bowl is empty I put more scoops in, but most adult chins eat about 2 tb of food a day, some more some less. Once your chin is full grown you will learn how much your chin eats so you can put that much food in the bowl per day. Another benefit of measuring out the food is it leaves less exposed to the air to go stale, and less waste if the chin decided to throw the food.

I think I already answered your other questions in your other thread. Basically 12" wheel is too small for a chin, chins shouldn't have a wheel before 6 months, and ideally no playtime until 6 months. You can play with the chin inside the cage and hold it though, once it lets you.
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:35 AM New Zealand
AsSaSsinR92 AsSaSsinR92 is offline
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Thanks Amethyst
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