2 year old chin

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MinatoandChili

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Hello! I have a 2 year old male chin that I rescued. The concern I’m having is that he hasn’t been eating well. He doesn’t like pellets or hay, but drinks his fresh water well. This might be some useful info for him:

What I do to get him to eat:
-I found out he loves to eat dried peas that I make at home with no sugar. He at times also likes to eat dried carrots

And I know chinchillas aren’t suppose to eat vegetables, but it’s what my vet recommended. Here are some potential solutions I’ve tried:
-Taking him to a vet to get an exam (vet just pointed out some physical issues due to being mistreated by his previous owners. The vet said to try isolating anything other than hay and pellets for a day, if he doesn’t eat then continue to give him small amount of the food I’ve been feeding him.)
-I only gave him pellets and hay for one day and he doesn’t eat them at all. I tried hand feeding him but he doesn’t like them

If anybody could please give me any recommendations as to what I should do. If you need any background information or questions, please ask them!
 

Amethyst

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Unfortunately most vets don't know proper chinchilla diet and just lump them together with rabbits and guinea pigs. Veggies are not only just something they aren't suppose to have, they can kill them. Peas can cause gas, and since chins can't pass gas easily it can lead to bloat which is fatal if left untreated, as well as they can cause diarrhea which can dehydrate a chin fast. Carrots, in addition to possibly causing gas and diarrhea, are high in sugar, which can cause issues like diabetes, seizures, liver and kidney failure, and tooth decay, to name a few.


What are you feeding for pellets and what were they fed before you got them? It really sounds to me like he is just holding out for the junk food. They should be fed a good quality pellet only food, ideally alfalfa based (Examples of good chinchilla food include Oxbow Essentials, Mazuri, and Science Selective) and unlimited timothy hay. No fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, sugars like honey), or animal products (bones, hoof, antlers, meat, eggs, milk, etc). How long has he not been eating well? Are you feeding the same food he was given before you got him? If he was given food filled with "junk food" (basically the things I listed), it's not uncommon for chins to hold out of the "good stuff" kind of like a kid getting given cake and candy then suddenly given proper healthy food. If you switched foods, normally you should do it slowly, ideally over several weeks if possible, but if the food they were being fed was crap then you can try taking the pellets away for 3 days, only offer hay, then offer the pellets again. That is normally enough time for them to get hungry enough to eat what is given and kind of forget about and reset their gut from getting junk food. As for hay chins can be picky, have you tried other brands of hay or other types, so instead of just timothy try meadow or orchard hay? Also although for example timothy hay is timothy hay regardless of brand where it's grown and how long it's been sitting can effect the taste, the cut of they hay can also make a difference as well. 2nd cut timothy is the best feeding hay, it's the best balance of nutrients to fiber content, but sometimes you can end up with more 1st cut which is much courser and mostly stems, which a lot of chins don't like.

If you are feeding a good quality food already and the hay seems good and you've tried different kinds, then I would also make sure the chin is actually healthy. I know you already brought him to the vet but as I mentioned not all vets seem to know chins, and if they are telling you to feed veggies that is a big red flag that they don't. So to be clear, unlike other rodents like guinea pigs the poop should be hard and dry, about the size of a tic tac and they should be about a couple hundred poops (I am not exaggerating) a day. If the poops are soft or wet that is actually considered diarrhea in a chinchilla, and if the poops are small and/or not many that is a sign of gas or a blockage.
 

MinatoandChili

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Thank you for the response, it was more than helpful. So yes, I’ll stop feeding him the veggies as they are toxic to them. As to the previous owner, he was eating this brand called “Vita Smart” for pellets, which I take he would include the junk food of nuts included in the pellet bag. I immediately took away the Vita Smart pellet bag because chins can’t eat nuts. He is now being fed the Oxbow Essential pellets and hay. Would you recommend any other hay? The reason I haven’t switched hay is because the vet said Timothy hay was healthier for chins. But overall, he has been pooping constantly and his poop is hard and solid!
 

MinatoandChili

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Thank you for the response, it was more than helpful. So yes, I’ll stop feeding him the veggies as they are toxic to them. As to the previous owner, he was eating this brand called “Vita Smart” for pellets, which I take he would include the junk food of nuts included in the pellet bag. I immediately took away the Vita Smart pellet bag because chins can’t eat nuts. He is now being fed the Oxbow Essential pellets and hay. Would you recommend any other hay? The reason I haven’t switched hay is because the vet said Timothy hay was healthier for chins. But overall, he has been pooping constantly and his poop is hard and solid!
I forgot to mention, he’s been eating junk food for about two-three weeks.
 

Amethyst

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Thank you for the response, it was more than helpful. So yes, I’ll stop feeding him the veggies as they are toxic to them. As to the previous owner, he was eating this brand called “Vita Smart” for pellets, which I take he would include the junk food of nuts included in the pellet bag. I immediately took away the Vita Smart pellet bag because chins can’t eat nuts. He is now being fed the Oxbow Essential pellets and hay. Would you recommend any other hay? The reason I haven’t switched hay is because the vet said Timothy hay was healthier for chins. But overall, he has been pooping constantly and his poop is hard and solid!
I forgot to mention, he’s been eating junk food for about two-three weeks.

Ah, yeah that Vitakraft foods are not good at all, they are commonly called "Vita crap" they tend to be full of things chins really can't properly digest. Unfortunately that doesn't mean chins don't like it, so that really does make me thing he is holding out for the junk food. Does he eat the vita smart food? If so, since he wont eat the oxbow maybe try mixing just the pellets from the vita smart with some oxbow, and slowly reduce the amount of vita smart and increase the amount of oxbow. If he just flat out refuses to eat the Oxbow even then, then I would put the vita smart completely, just offer hay for 3 days then straight to the Oxbow. You can also try one of the other foods I mentioned, Marzuri or Science Selective, and see if he likes one of those better, some chins don't like Oxbow.

I don't mean instead of the timothy I mean in addition to the timothy. I buy a large bag of timothy and a smaller bag of something else (I rotate between orchard, meadow, and occasionally oat), but I know some chins really like the mixed timothy hay like Timothy Meadow Hay and Western Timothy and Orchard Grass That way they get the timothy hay but also something else to make it more interesting and flavorful.
 

MinatoandChili

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Alright thank you! I’ll be sure to include this information to his diet and see what helps! I really appreciate your help:)
 

Chinmin

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Alright thank you! I’ll be sure to include this information to his diet and see what helps! I really appreciate your help:)
How's your chin, is he eating well now? Hope everything's working fine with his diet.:)
 

MinatoandChili

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Yes, surprisingly he’s eating well now:) I was so surprised because out of no where he just randomly started liking it. I’ve been watching him constantly and I continue to hand feed him the pellets😊 Thank you for checking up!
 

Jawramik

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So glad he's eating the healthy food now! I think he really was just holding out for the junk food, and when he realised he wasn't going to get it, he became resigned to his new healthy diet, haha. Chins really can be like human toddlers sometimes. 😂
 

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