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Old 08-07-2017, 02:05 PM United States
Strong Chin Strong Chin is offline
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 29
Default Alfalfa after a year old

Hello, our two chinchillas both turned a year old recently. We've been feeding them timothy hay with Mazuri pellets. We would now and then give them some loose alfalfa hay along with the timothy, and we would put a couple alfalfa cubes in, replacing them once they were all eaten (usually a few a week, sometimes less depending on how quickly they ate them).

I sometimes think I maybe played it "too safe" with the alfalfa because of the stories of chinchillas getting stones. I was reluctant to give them TOO much, but maybe I should have given them more, seeing as the more I read about it, the more it seems that chins getting stones can be pretty rare. Our boys have grown, but maybe aren't quite as big as some chins I see, I hope that's not because I was somewhat conservative with alfalfa. I did read somewhere that non-standard colors actually take longer to grow, like up to 18 months? Is this true? Our boys are black velvet and medium ebony.

My main question is, should I continue with this amount of alfalfa (now and then some loose hay, and a couple to a few cubes a week)? Or should I ease off?
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Old 08-07-2017, 02:37 PM Canada
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Amethyst Amethyst is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Alberta
Posts: 1,580
Chinchillas: 2

From what I've found for the most part if you feed alfalfa based pellets, feed timothy hay as the primary hay to balance out the diet, but you can give alfalfa in smaller amounts. Also the stones seem to be more common in chins that either are fed alfalfa pellets and alfalfa hay only, are fed calcium treats/chews, or are genetically predisposed to stones. I give my guys (who are 10+ years old) timothy hay along with another grass hay, and they get a couple alfalfa cubes each about once a week.

Chins with the ebony gene, so both of your boys, can take up to 2 years to reach full size. Also different chins are different sizes too, just like humans come in all sizes, an adult chin could be as small as 400g or as big as over 1,000g. If you know the parents that is the best gauge of how big they should be. Since they are still growing a little you are probably safe to be giving them the alfalfa hay since they can still use the calcium for growing.
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Old 08-08-2017, 08:13 AM United States
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ticklechin ticklechin is offline
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: modesto CA
Age: 52
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I personally think too much alfalfa causing stones is BS internet rumor. Many ranchers feed alfalfa pellets and alfalfa cubes or alfalfa hay since its more consistent, easier to obtain and most often cheaper than timothy hay. You also have chinchillas who are pellet hogs and refuse timothy hay, hence a alfalfa only diet. I asked my vet about stones years ago-she has 100s of chins as clients and she said there is not a single cause of stones and don't worry about too much alfalfa. I have had chins for 17 years, around 20 all together, the three I have now are 13 and 11, they have been on loose alfalfa and alfalfa pellets with loose timothy their whole lives with no issues so I call stones BS without proof.

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Old 08-08-2017, 09:37 AM United States
Strong Chin Strong Chin is offline
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 29

Thank both of you, this is very helpful. Interesting to hear our boys could take up to 2 years to fully grow, thanks for that info Amethyst.

What you're saying makes sense, Ticklechin, and I tend to believe the people who have owned the most amount of chins for the longest- they have the biggest sample set. And experienced people like yourself seem to never have an issue with alfalfa, so I'll continue to feed them some alfalfa along with their timothy.
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:56 PM United States
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Minnow Minnow is offline
Join Date: Feb 2017
Age: 26
Posts: 26
Chinchillas: 2

I had no idea those with ebony genes could take so long to grow. I was always curious why my 1 year old looked on the small side.
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Old 08-11-2017, 02:03 PM United States
MBreen MBreen is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 5

Black velvet and ebony are two different color sections. Black velvets have nothing to do with ebonies. Ebonies do take slightly longer to grow. I have standard girls that are 900 grams.

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