December 8, 2021

505 words 2 Minutes

The Importance of Hay for Healthy Chinchillas

Types of hay

Hay plays a very important role in the health of chinchillas and should be the foundation of their diets. Chinchillas are herbivores and need to have food constantly moving through their digestive systems. The fiber in hay aids in this process.

Frequency to Feed Hay

~ A handful of hay keeps the veterinarian away ~

Providing frequent rations of hay to your animals is of great benefit and will go a long ways to keeping them healthy.  An unlimited supply of hay has many benefits to your chinchillas:

  • It provides the required fiber to aide in digestions,
  • keeps their rear teeth ground down,
  • provides added nutrients to their diets,
  • and keeps them occupied

Importance of Quality Hay / Proper Storage

Hay needs to be selected with care.  When selecting hay, look for the following qualities:

  • Mold Free (with no evidence of being exposed to mods or excessive moistures after cutting
  • Purchased from a reputable farm to ensure proper handling
  • Dust free
  • Pleasant fragrance (with no musty or dust smells)
  • A good majority of the hay should maintain its natural green color
  • Fairly pliable

Finding good quality hay can be a difficult task, especially during the “off-season” (winter months). It is important to find as much hay as can be properly stored in late summer to ensure quality hay throughout winter. ChillaBox hand selects their bales of Timothy hay for freshness and quality from the best quality farm sources available.

There have been many studies on the amount of time hay can be stored, and of course is accompanied by factors, such as temperature and weather exposure (sun, rain/snow and wind). An article prepared by University of Kentucky stated that “the amount of energy, protein, calcium, and phosphorus in a bale of hay in dry storage are basically the same after two years of storage as they are after two months of storage”. (Choosing Hay for Horses -  Lawrence, Laurie M and Robert J. Coleman).

Types of Hay/Nutritional Value

The most common types of hay fed to chinchillas are timothy, orchard grass, alfalfa and alfalfa-grass mixtures.  Oat Hay and Meadow Hay are also good alternatives.Listed below are average nutritional content in different types of hays.This will differ depending on the time of year the hay was cut.“As grasses and legumes advance from the vegetative to the reproductive (seed) stage, they become higher in fiber and lower in protein, digestibility and palatability."(High-Quality Hay Production, Bates, Gary).A 2nd cut timothy or timothy-alfalfa mixture could be considered an ‘ideal cut’ for chinchillas.  

Hay Variety    Ca:P Ratio    Crude Protein    Calcium (%)    Phosphorus(%)      A.D. Fiber (%)

Timothy (avg)     2.2 : 1                  6-11                    0.38                       0.17                    30-40

OrchardGrass    1.5 : 1                  7-11                    0.34                       0.23                    30-40

Alfalfa (avg)        6.0 : 1                 15-22                   1.20                       0.20                    24-34

In your ChillaBox, you will receive an 8 ounce bundle of quality Timothy Hay. As previously discussed, providing frequent rations of hay to your chinchilla is important. Consider providing additional hay beyond what is included in your ChillaBox Timothy Hay; to include Orchard Grass, Oat Hay or Meadow Grass.

Quarantining a New Chinchilla

Quarantining a New Chinchilla

December 1, 2021

Fungus, Conjunctivitis, Coccidiosis, Pseudomonas Aeuruginosa, Streptococcus and Staphylococcus are just a few of the illnesses that an exposed or sick chinchilla could be bringing home to your current chinchilla pet. What is Quarantine? Quite simply, quarantine is an isolation to prevent the spread of disease. Quarantine should always be deemed necessary when bringing in any new animals, and is also highly recommended when any of your animals leave your home, such as to the veterinary office.
Introducing a New Chinchilla - Is my chinchilla lonely?

Introducing a New Chinchilla - Is my chinchilla lonely?

August 17, 2021

A very popular question in the chinchilla pet world “Should I get more than one chinchilla so they aren’t lonely?”. I typically wean my animals in pairs, so they are well-socialized. While chinchillas are by nature social animals, the do NOT need to be with another chinchilla to have a good life. A chinchilla can be happy as a single pet with a large cage, healthy diet, wood shelves to occupy them and a hidey house.