Automatic feeder

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JohhnyBishop

Active member
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
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27
Location
London, UK
Hi All,
Have you come across any good automatic food dispensers for chinchillas or similar animals?
The ones for cats and dogs are too big and not suitable for cages.
I tried the gravitational feeders but I found chinchillas to be clever enough and empty these in no time.
I reckon they consider it as a game of some sort.
DYI food dispensers would take some time to build and again are too big in my opinion.
Let me know.
Best regards
 

Amethyst

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May 7, 2012
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Alberta
I've never seen one specifically for smaller animals, but I have seen someone modify one to work. Basically they found one that can release small amounts and have it drop down in to a metal shoot instead of into a bowl, the shoot is angled downward and goes from the feeder sitting outside the cage through the bars and into the bowl inside the cage.

I'm not sure what your reasoning for wanting an auto feeder is, but keep in mind that leaving chins home alone is really not advised. The auto feeder may solve the food problem, but water bottles can stop working or leak, chins get sick, and they always seem to find new and creative ways to hurt themselves :rolleyes:, so it's still best to have someone come check on them if you are going to be gone for more then a day.
 

JohhnyBishop

Active member
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Messages
27
Location
London, UK
Thank you for response.

I was able to leave them alone for up to 3 days but the idea of an automatic dispenser is not to cover holidays.
I have 2 bottles per cage in case there is a problem with one of them and this system have proven to work.
Even if I am around it is still hard to spot a problem with a bottle until it's late - 2 bottles reduce the risk of chinchillas getting thirsty to low risk.
I have 4 chinchillas and so far no injuries except 2 females fighting in the past but since then they were moved to separate cages.

I have 3 cages to service which is a bit tedious to top up food every day and efficiently.
Things to address:
1. quick way of dispensing food in the mornings (ideally with one hand).
2. reduce the amount of food dispensed to address food waste as they don't respect food if the bowl is full. Not sure which one but I hear them dropping pellet as it bounces of the running wheel. Even if the bowl is deep I still find pellet scattered in the proximity of the cage.
3. deliver food at regular intervals or more precisely less food but more often and more efficiently

Females are more conservative with food but males can go through food much faster and on irregular basis.
Because of my work times I cannot proactively top them up in the mornings when their bowls get empty.

A metal chute is definitely a good idea, at least I don't have to open the cage to top up.
3 cages = 3 doors = when in a hurry it happened I forgot to close one of them.
Technically speaking it does not have to be an automatic dispenser but a manual one.
The idea is to twist it like a pepper mill once or twice to dispense enough food for the day.

The other important advantage is that the food stays in a container so it does not suck out moisture from the air what is the case when the food is in the bowl. I reckon that is why chinchillas drop some of the pellet they deem "too wet", The humidity levels in the house are normal between 45-55% but still pellet absorbs the moisture over time and I reckon it is considered less tasty.
But I could be wrong because I think they also tend to drop fresh pellet.

So there are 3 elements:
1. automatic dispenser (have to buy it)
2. manual dispenser (a DIY solution)
3. metal chute (a DIY solution)

I think this one could dispense to 2 chutes at a time:
or this one is even cheaper
 
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