The food you give your chinchilla should be the right blend of ingredients to mimic its natural herbivorous eating habits and provide optimal nutrition and health. It should also ideally be mostly organic and made from the highest quality ingredients possible.
Chinchillas are mostly herbivorous and in the wild, will forage for edible plant leaves, fruits, and seeds. But they have also been observed eating small insects, bird eggs, and grubs. But wild chinchillas and chinchillas kept as pets have different dietary needs. Pet chinchillas need roughage from grasses and hay and should not be fed too much fruit due to the high sugar content.
A pre-made pellet or mixed food is ideal, as it takes into account all your chinchilla’s dietary needs and puts them into one easy formula. It can be confusing to find the right mix for your beloved pet, so we’ve put together this list of in-depth reviews to help you choose the right one.
A Quick Comparison (updated in 2022)
|Best Overall||Oxbow Essentials Chinchilla Deluxe Chinchilla Food||
|Best Value||Kaytee Fiesta Gourmet Variety Diet Chinchilla Food||
|Mazuri Chinchilla Food||
|Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Chinchilla Food||
|Oxbow Garden Select Chinchilla Food||
The 10 Best Chinchilla Foods
1. Oxbow Essentials Chinchilla Deluxe Chinchilla Food — Best Overall
Our top choice for food for your chinchilla is this Deluxe chinchilla food from Oxbow Essentials. It provides the daily fiber needed by your chinchilla to maintain healthy digestion. This food is an alfalfa-based pellet formula that contains a blend of nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin B12, along with the fiber-rich benefits of alfalfa.
This food is specially formulated to mimic a young chinchilla’s natural diet. It will take care of all your chinchilla’s essential vitamin needs, while still providing high-fiber alfalfa for a healthy gut. Oxbow is a trusted pet-food brand that provides quality pet foods. One important thing to be aware of is that this food does contain small amounts of cane molasses.
2. Kaytee Fiesta Gourmet Variety Diet Chinchilla Food — Best Value
Our top choice for the best chinchilla food for the money is the Fiesta Variety mix from Kaytee. It contains a delicious mix of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and grains to give your chinchilla a wide variety in its diet. Chinchillas naturally love to forage, and this mix gives them the different shapes, colors, and textures they would find in the wild. It also contains alfalfa grass, which is essential to aid in digestion, and corn, sunflower seeds, carrots, peanuts, and bananas. It is also enriched with DHA and omega-3 for your chinchilla’s heart and eye health and prebiotics and probiotics to help with digestion.
Pellets are usually best for chinchillas, as they won’t be picky about what they are ingesting and thus will get all the essential nutrients. While this food does provide a wide variety of choice, your chinchilla may not get all the essential it needs, and this keeps this food from our top spot. That said, it is a great option for the occasional treat.
3. Mazuri Chinchilla Food
This chinchilla food from Mazuri is an expensive but complete pellet-based food. Pellets are ideal for chinchillas, as they will get essential fiber and nutrients. These pellets in particular contain multiple forms of fiber, including timothy hay and alfalfa. They also contain flaxseed, which is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids to keep your chinchilla’s skin and fur healthy. This food also includes live probiotics to aid in digestion and gastrointestinal health and vitamin E and vitamin C.
These pellets are a complete solution for your chinchilla — no other supplementation is required. While higher priced than most other options, these will give your chinchilla everything they need in a convenient and palatable pellet.
4. Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Chinchilla Food
This gourmet blend from Higgins will keep your chinchilla healthy and happy with its wide variety of colors and textures. It is formulated with species-appropriate dried mixed fruits, sun-cured hay for a great fiber source, flaked vegetables, and pre-cooked legumes. This mix is great because it promotes your chinchilla’s foraging instinct with its variety of textures and flavors. The mix is also filled with DHA omega-3 fatty acids to support skin and fur. It is loaded with probiotics for healthy digestion and overall immune support. Higgins claims that this mix contains no artificial ingredients.
It is made with whole and no-artificial ingredients, including barley, apples, and sweet potatoes. The timothy hay will give your chinchilla all the fiber requirements it needs.
The only drawback to this mix is that your chinchilla may not eat all the food within the mix and thus will not get all its required nutrients.
5. Oxbow Garden Select Chinchilla Food
This Garden Select pellet-based food from Oxbow provides complete nutrition for your chinchilla in a convenient pellet form. It includes a mix of three different varieties of hand-selected hay to provide the optimal fiber needed from your chinchilla. It also contains whole yellow peas, tomato, rosemary, and thyme to add flavors that your chinchilla will love. The mix is non-GMO and is suited for baby, adult, and senior chinchillas. The ingredients are all farmed in the U.S.A., and the unique flavors mimic a natural foraging environment. It also contains no artificial ingredients and no added sugar.
Some users report that their chinchilla will not eat this food, and the debate rages on about the included vegetables, as veggies are not a natural food source for chinchillas.
6. Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Chinchilla Food
This Fort-diet Pro Health food from Kaytee is a pellet-based complete formula for your chinchilla. It contains sun-cured timothy alfalfa meal for the essential fiber needed for optimal gut health. It is also protein rich from included grains like oats and wheat, which will maintain a healthy coat of fur and aid in muscle development. The pellets are fortified with DHA and omega-3 essential fatty acids to help brain and eye function and contain both prebiotics and probiotics for healthy digestion. There are also no artificial flavorings or colorants, and the pellets are highly palatable with an easy-to-eat texture. These pellets are optimized for adult use only.
There are small, dyed pieces that are meant to aid in your chinchilla’s dental health and encourage them to chew. We feel this is an unnecessary addition, as dyes and added sugar are not good for your chinchilla.
7. Vitakraft VitaSmart Fortified Nutrition Chinchilla Food
This natural Forage Blend from Vitakraft is a pellet-based chinchilla food that is formulated to provide all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed for a balanced diet. It contains high-fiber timothy hay to aid in digestion and seven different nutrient-rich ancient grains that provide a natural plant-based protein, and is fortified with probiotics to support healthy digestion. It also includes a variety of dried fruits and vegetables to mimic the variety of shapes and textures found in nature and contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
This is a high-fiber mix that is specially formulated for adult chinchillas and does contain fruit and vegetables.
8. Sunseed Vita Prima Chinchilla Food
This specialized pellet-based formula from Sunseed is a high-fiber, timothy hay-based solution that your chinchilla needs for optimum gut-health and digestion. It is fortified with omega-3 fatty acids for healthy skin and fur and contains probiotics to aid in digestion and overall immune support. It has all the bio-available nutrients your chinchilla needs to stay healthy and happy.
This mix contains fruit, vegetables, and seeds, which your chinchilla may pick out. This can cause bloating and diarrhea and result in an overall unhealthy and incomplete diet. Some users also report that the pellets break up easily, and there is a great deal of powder at the bottom of the bag.
9. Supreme Petfoods Chinchilla Food
This selective chinchilla food from Supreme Petfoods contains a high-fiber formula for optimal digestion and to aid in healthy teeth growth. It contains parsley, plantain, and linseeds to provide essential fatty acids to maintain healthy coat and skin. There is no added sugar, which can often lead to overeating, dental problems, and health issues. It is also pellet based and easy to chew and digest, making it perfect for older chinchillas who have a hard time chewing on hay.
This food comes in kibble form as opposed to pellets and is larger than ordinary pellets. Several users report that their chinchillas would not eat these pellets and that these pellets are nutritionally deficient. Pellet foods also don’t encourage the foraging that chinchillas are used to in the wild.
10. F.M. Brown’s Tropical Carnival Chinchilla Food
“Tropical Carnival” from F.M. Brown is a pellet-based formula that is high in fiber from its infused alfalfa hay. It has vitamin and nutrient-fortified ingredients, including sunflower seeds and raisins.
There are dubious ingredients included in this food mix, including colored pieces that resemble breakfast cereal, as well as crackers and raisins. The mixture is akin to feeding you chinchilla candy, as it is nutritionally deficient and filled with ingredients that a chinchilla should not be eating. Users report chinchillas having loose stools, and this food has loads of excess sugar, which can cause bloat and be dangerous. Your chinchilla will most likely eat all the treats and leave behind the little nutritious parts that are included, like alfalfa.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Chinchilla Food
Chinchillas are mostly herbivorous, originating in the Andes mountains in South America. They are used to eating a plain and simple diet, foraging for grasses and tree bark and the occasional egg and insect. A pet chinchilla needs a diet high in fiber, which they can get from a variety of different hays. The hay you feed your chinchilla needs to be dry, as too much moisture in their food can make them ill.
A little-known fact about chinchillas is that they will often eat their own stool. This process, called coprophagy, allows them to extract additional nutrients from already digested food. A chinchilla’s high fiber diet can be difficult to digest and to extract all the essential nutrients, so they use this process to make the most out of a scarce supply of nutrients.
The debate rages on among chinchilla owners about the safety of feeding your chinchilla fruits and vegetables. Some say that fruits and vegetables are not a part of a chinchilla’s natural diet and should be avoided. However, fruits and vegetables have nutritional benefits to animals, so a small amount on occasion should be fine.
There are two main types of chinchilla foods on the market, both with pros and cons.
Pellet-based foods are not only convenient but also stop your chinchilla from selective eating. This ensures a nutrient-rich and high fiber diet, as your chinchilla cannot pick out the treats and leave the rest. Of course, the pellets themselves should include fiber and essential vitamins and be free from artificial colorants or flavorings and dyes.
The downside to pellets is that they don’t provide much variety and don’t encourage the natural foraging instincts of your chinchilla.
Loose foods are filled with dried fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and a form of hay for high fiber. A loose mix of food will provide a variety of colors, shapes, and textures to encourage and mimic your chinchilla’s natural foraging instincts.
However, chinchillas can be picky, and they will often pick out all the “treats” like fruits and vegetables and leave behind the hay and other essential nutrients, resulting in an incomplete diet. Loose foods are not recommended as an option for daily feeding, but more as an occasional treat to offer variety.
The most commonly used hays are alfalfa and timothy hay. Your chinchilla needs a diet that is high in fiber for aiding in digestion, and these hays will provide it with sufficient amounts. Chewing on hay also helps wear down chinchilla’s growing teeth.
Foods to avoid
While some chinchilla owners argue that fruit and vegetables should not be included in a chinchilla’s diet at all, small amounts are generally fine. However, there are certain foods that you should avoid giving your chinchilla entirely or risk illness or even fatality.
Too much fruit can have high sugar content, which is highly detrimental to chinchillas. As mentioned, any foods with too much water content can cause digestion issues. Other foods to avoid include:
- Large amounts of nuts and seeds
- Junk foods (chocolate or breads)
- Fresh fruits
- Fresh vegetables
Our top choice of food for your chinchilla according to our tests is the Deluxe Chinchilla Food from Oxbow Essentials. It provides the daily fiber needed by your chinchilla to maintain healthy digestion and essential nutrients and vitamins, all inside a pellet form that you can be sure your chinchilla will eat.
Our top choice for the best chinchilla food for the money is the Fiesta Variety mix from Kaytee. It contains a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and grains that make for a great addition to your chinchilla’s diet.
A chinchilla can become a part of your family, and you’ll want to feed it the best possible food you can find. There are conflicting facts around what is best to feed it, so hopefully, we’ve made the job easier for you and helped you find the best chinchilla food to suit your needs.