The chinchilla is a very social animal, which is one of the reasons why they make such great pets. Their favorite activities include playing games, grooming each other, and sleeping. They also love nibbling away on a variety of different foods. But can chinchillas eat guinea pig food?
The answer to this is no – chinchillas cannot eat guinea pig food. This isn’t because they aren’t physically able – it’s simply because guinea pig food doesn’t contain the correct nutrients that a chinchilla needs to survive. They are completely different animals, after all.
Below, we’ll look at the type of food you should be feeding your pet chinchilla. We’ll also go into more detail on why you shouldn’t feed guinea pig food to a chinchilla, and explore other foods that you shouldn’t feed to a chinchilla.
Why You Shouldn’t Feed Guinea Pig Food To A Chinchilla
Let’s start with the most obvious point – chinchillas are not guinea pigs! They belong to their own order of mammals called Rodentia. Guinea pigs belong to the same order as rats and mice, but they are actually closer relatives to rabbits than they are to rats or mice.
Chinchillas are also much smaller than guinea pigs – they can weigh up to 5 pounds (2 kg) while guinea pigs can weigh between 10-15 pounds (4.5-6.8 kg). They are also much shorter in stature – guinea pigs can reach up to 3 feet long (1 m), whereas chinchillas only grow to about 2 feet long (0.7 m).
This may seem like a strange thing to consider when looking at why guinea pig food isn’t suitable for chinchillas, but it’s actually very important. It’s all to do with the serving size! Since guinea pigs are much larger than chinchillas, the recommended serving size on a packet of guinea pig food will be far too much for a chinchilla.
In short, you could end up overfeeding your chinchilla with guinea pig food which can cause weight gain. This opens up a whole load of problems including diabetes, heart issues, and joint pain.
Guinea pig food is also specifically designed for guinea pigs, and covers everything they need in terms of both nutrients and calories. With this in mind, most of the time you won’t find anything suitable for chinchillas in guinea pig food.
What Should You Feed A Chinchilla?
As you can see, there are a few reasons why you shouldn’t feed guinea pig food to a chinchilla. So, what can a chinchilla eat?
There are two main types of diets available for chinchillas: dry diet and wet diet. Dry diets are made from pellets, biscuits, or crumbles. These are usually fed once per day. Wet diets are made from a mixture of fruit and vegetables, and these are usually given twice per day.
Dry diets tend to be easier to administer, and they’re often used by people who have less experience with chinchillas. However, since they don’t provide any moisture, they can make your chinchilla prone to respiratory infections.
Wet diets are better for maintaining good health, and they help keep your chinchilla healthy. They also encourage them to drink water, which is essential for keeping them hydrated.
Some fruits and vegetables that are safe for chinchillas to eat include:
- Sweet Potatoes
While some people claim that chinchillas thrive on raw meat, this is actually not true. There are many things that can go wrong if you try to feed a chinchilla raw meat. For example, chinchillas can get extremely sick if they consume something that has been contaminated with parasites such as tapeworms.
What Foods Are Not Safe For Chinchillas?
It’s important to remember that even though chinchillas are rodents, they still share many similarities with other animals. One of those similarities is how they react to certain foods.
For example, chinchillas are sensitive to caffeine, so it would be best to avoid giving them coffee beans or tea leaves.
Chinchillas are also sensitive to gluten, so it’s important to steer clear of wheat products.
Chinchillas are also sensitive towards shellfish, so it’s best to avoid feeding them seafood.
How Much Do Chinchillas Eat?
The amount that a chinchilla eats depends on their age, gender, and activity level. In general, adult chinchillas should eat around 1-2% of their body weight each day.
If you want to know how much your chinchilla needs to eat, then use the following formula:
Weight (kg) X Percentage of Bodyweight (%)
This means that an average chinchilla weighing 2 kg will require 0.02 kg of food per day.
How To Make Your Own Chinchilla Treats
You may think that making your own chinchilla treats is too complicated, but it isn’t. It’s actually quite easy. What’s more, making your own chinchilla treats is a great way to ensure that all of your chinchilla’s nutritional requirements are met. This includes vitamins, minerals, and proteins. You can also rest assured that there aren’t any nasty chemicals lurking in the mix!
To begin, you’ll need to buy the ingredients that you’ll need to make your chinchilla food. Here’s what you need:
- 1/4 cup oats
- 1/4 cup oat bran
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 cup molasses
- 1/8 cup honey
- 1/16 cup corn syrup
- 1/16 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup apple sauce
- 1/4 cup carrot juice
- 1/4 cup beet juice
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
Step 1 – Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Step 2 – Next, combine the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Mix well until everything is combined.
Step 3 – Afterwards, pour the mixture into a 9×13 inch pan. Bake for about 45 minutes.
Step 4 – Once the mixture has cooled down, you can store it in airtight containers. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to one month.
The main takeaway here is that you shouldn’t feed guinea pig food to a chinchilla. It simply isn’t designed for chinchillas, and could lead to weight gain. Instead, you should give them chinchilla-specific food as well as plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. If you’re looking to feed your chinchilla healthy snacks, then the homemade chinchilla treats we’ve given you the recipe for above are perfect!