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Chinchillas have very delicate digestive systems and need a steady diet without drastic changes. A chinchilla diet should consist of a good pellet and hay. I did a lot of research on chinchilla pellets several years ago and found that the food I liked best for my chinchillas was the Kline Diet. It is very difficult to find, though. This is the diet I used for several years before my supplier switched brands to a similar brand which is also very good. She sold her customers mixes of each pellet until we were completely switched to the new brand, which made the transition VERY easy. The pellet I use now is Hubbard Tradition. I order it from Ohio Pet Chinchillas. If you ever change feeds be sure to do it gradually, over about a 2 week period, mixing in more & more of the new pellets until all the pellets are the new one. Fiber is important to keep everything moving through the belly correctly. Hay is a great source of fiber. I give my chins mostly timothy hay and often give alfalfa but chins love to try various kinds of hay. Oat grass, orchard grass, and barley hay are all good choices. Another great source of fiber is apple wood. Apple wood is also great for keeping their teeth from over growing. Chins should not be given very many treats because they are very fattening and too many can cause tummy upset and other health issues. The only 'treats' I give my chins are natural treats such as dried herbs, grains, and dried fruit. I give them a grain supplement daily that I also purchase from Ohio Pet Chinchillas. My chins just love it and think they are getting treats! I also give papaya or shredded wheat (the plain spoon size kind) a couple times a week. Fresh fruit and greens should be given VERY sparingly and in tiny portions. Too much can cause diarrhea.
Since chinchillas sleep during the day the best time to feed them is in the evening, around the time you would eat your own dinner. I feed my chins their pellets and hay at dinner time and give them their grain supplement before I go to bed. My chins live in my bedroom which makes it impossible for me to forget to give them their 'treats' since they will squeak at me if I go to bed without doing so!
As with any living creature chinchillas must have a clean supply of water to drink at all times. I have found that distilled water is best. I use to use spring water, which I thought would be wonderful but a breeder suggested I try distilled because even spring water can carry some harmful bacteria for chins delicate digestive systems. I decided to try it and found that not only do my chins seem to like it better but they have put on some weight and look more healthy than they did. One of my chins developed a slight hump in her back and she has filled out since the water switch and I can't see a hump anymore! Apparantly they weren't getting the right balance from the spring water and now are. Different breeders swear by different waters but distilled is what I now recommend. It is very inexpensive and certainly worth the investment. Chins should have glass water bottles since they tend to somehow manage to chew holes in plastic ones! Their bottles should be cleaned regularly and fresh water given.

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