Chinchilla Not Eating Hay (Non-Emergency )

s4s

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Joined
May 20, 2019
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Hi,

I'll start this with saying he is currently eating pellets and critical care. He has a substitute diet, but getting him back to normal, or something easier to find would be nice.

Last year Ozzy had stopped eating due to dental problems. He was able to get dental work done and nursed back with critical care. However I was never able to wean him off of it, and he will not eat hay (at least in the quantity he should), or chew on sticks. He will however eat standard chinchilla pellets.

I am a little concerned its due to ongoing dental issues. But the vet did a full scan (don't remember the proper name) that got a full picture of everything, which they used to do the dental work. So i'm leaning towards it being a behavioural thing.

In Short:
  1. Any way I can get him back to eating hay/chew sticks?
  2. Is there any alternative to critical care? My understanding is normal pellets contain too much alfalfa/protein for it to be their main diet. I'm trying to look for plain timothy pellets to mix in a 70/30 ratio with normal pellets. And try apple/bannana flavourings.

Critical care is too hard to get my hands on this past year, and it's only getting worse. Both the licorice and apple/bannana flavourings.
 

Amethyst

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So do you mean x-rays were taken? So they did rule out root elongation being an issue? Since he is not eating hay or chewing stick, when was the last dental trimming done? If he isn't chewing on things he needs to be going in regularly or they will become overgrown. If the last time x-rays were taken was a year ago it's time to do it again to make sure the roots are still not an issue.

If his teeth have been checked recently with x-rays to check the roots too and he still isn't chewing on things you can try switching up the hay. You can try different brands of hay, although all timothy hay is the same it apparently can vary in taste from brand to brand, and even crop to crop if he use to eat a specific brand. You can also try different kinds of hay, timothy should be the primary but you can also try other grass hay like orchard, meadow, or mountain, or even try mix in some grain hay like oat. As far as chews you can try a variety of types, like various types of chin safe wood, lava/pumice chews, coconut shells, loofah, palm leaf, and vine shapes.

There are other companies that make a syringe food, but looks like some stopped making it, off hand I know of Sherwood still makes one Chinchilla Nutrition - Sherwood Pet Health
Normal pellets, so long as they are a good quality pellet like Oxbow Essentials or Mazuri for example have the correct amount of calcium and other nutrients for a chin. Unless your chin is genetically prone to bladder stones, you want to be feeding an alfalfa based pellet not a timothy based one. The issue with giving pellets only as their diet is pellets aren't hard enough and they don't chew them long enough to wear down their teeth, they need to chew long strand hay to wear down the molars. Also the hay helps with providing enough fiber in the diet for proper digestion.
 

s4s

New member
Joined
May 20, 2019
Messages
3
Thanks for the reply. It wasn't an x-ray. They had a new machine they were pretty excited to try out - CT scan I think. They said it helped see things that might normally be obscured in x-rays.

It was almost a year ago now. He had checkups for nearly 6 months, and they didn't notice any significant growth that would indicate he'd need a trimming anytime soon. Although since he refuses to eat hay and chew sticks, I know it's just a matter of time. He'll be getting checkups every so often, they're just spread a bit farther apart now due to covid.

The vet said they don't recommend a full pellet diet, and to follow the suggestions on the oxbow bag (its something like 70/30 timothy hay to pellets). Otherwise they get too much protein in their diet. So I was hoping to mix in timothy pellets in pellet form, or at least for his daily "slurry", which is currently critical care.
 

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