The chinchilla is a rodent native to a the Andes Mountains in South America. Chins have been steadily growing in popularity’s a pet because it’s easy to breed in captivity and owners love the chinchilla’s big ears and bushy tail. However, since these animals are somewhat exotic, many people don’t know what to feed them.
One of the most common questions we get about these unique pets is: can I feed them rabbit food? And it makes sense, seeing as these animals have many characteristics in common. However, we don’t recommend feeding rabbit food to your chinchilla, as it can cause your pet stomach issues.
While rabbit food won’t instantly kill your pet chin, there are specific dietary needs that rabbit food won’t provide. Keep reading while we look into the pros and cons of feeding your pet rabbit food and what you can do to improve its diet so it can stay healthy and live a full life.
Is Rabbit Food Bad for My Chinchilla?
While rabbits and chinchillas both eat many of the same foods, they require them in different amounts. Much of the reason has to do with how each animal digests its food.
Chinchillas have a sensitive digestive system that is easy to upset because it breaks down its food in the gut, while rabbits can use their large intestines and cecum so they can handle slightly more complex foods like fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens.
As we mentioned earlier, rabbits can eat more fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens, and these ingredients will be in the pellets. Just because your chinchilla can’t digest rabbit food easily doesn’t mean it doesn’t like it. In fact, your chinchilla will likely find the rabbit food quite tasty and will tend to overeat once they get started on it, which will only lead to a bigger problem.
Is Rabbit Food Good for My Chinchilla?
Unfortunately, rabbit food is not good for your chinchilla. While it may contain some ingredients your pet needs, it also likely includes ingredients that can be difficult to digest, resulting in an upset stomach and other uncomfortable digestive problems. Chinchilla pellets use a special formula that is sensitive to your pet’s needs and won’t cause digestive issues.
How Can I Feed My Chinchilla Rabbit Food?
We recommend avoiding rabbit pellets for your chinchilla, but if it is your only option, we recommend purchasing the highest quality pellets you can find and reducing the portion size significantly until you can locate the proper food for your pet.
The 5 Other Foods That Are Good For Chinchillas
1. Timothy Hay
Your chinchilla requires a steady supply of Timothy hay, which should make up 80% to 90% of your pet’s diet. The chinchilla can be quite fussy about hay, so don’t be surprised to see it sorting through and leaving behind what it doesn’t want. Higher-quality Timothy hay will result in less mess and waste.
2. Alfalfa Hay
Alfalfa is similar to Timothy hay and is a great choice for growing chinchillas because it’s packed with nutrients and can help them gain weight. Once your pet is fully grown, it’s important to switch to timothy hay to prevent your pet from becoming overweight.
3. Fresh Greens
Fresh greens are an important food to feed your chinchilla, but only in small amounts each day. Too many fresh greens can cause an imbalance of nutrients that may lead to health problems.
4. Chinchilla Pellets
Besides plenty of Timothy hay, your chinchilla will require high-quality chinchilla pellet food. Pellets will provide your pet with the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to stay healthy and live a full life. These pellets use a special formula that won’t upset your pet’s stomach or cause digestive issues.
5. Occasional Treats In Tiny Quantities
How Much Should I Feed My Chinchilla?
Besides a never-ending supply of Timothy hay and chinchilla pellets, most experts recommend no more than a tablespoon or two of fresh greens and a tiny amount of fruit.
- Related read: Can Chinchillas Eat Hamster Food? What You Need to Know!
If your chinchilla ate some of your rabbit’s food while you weren’t looking, it would likely be fine. It will also be fine if it eats the occasional meal. However, rabbit food is difficult for your chinchilla to digest and will likely cause at least minor digestive problems for your pet. A steady diet may result in more serious health problems and might even lead to a nutrient deficiency.
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