Chinchilla not eating

josephomega

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Feb 28, 2019
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My chinchilla Xan is about 2 or 3 years old. He has no prior problems or anything. I've noticed he either does not eat or barely eats. He has lost weight but he was a tank so he is not skinny but lost some chunkiness. He will eat oats and alfalfa hay all day if I let him. What is going on? Should I switch to a new food? I currently feed him oxbow chinchilla food, its just pellets for those who don't know, and occasional oats and cheerios but he was never that fond of the cheerios. He is drinking and chewing on the wood sticks just fine, its just the food. I'm starting to worry about him, any help would be great! Thanks.
 

tunes

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How much weight has he lost? Is there any wetness around the eyes or mouth, wetness on the chin/chest area? Can you provide a little more information? He shouldn't have alfalfa hay if his pellets are alfalfa-based, and Oxbow pellets are. Giving it as an occasional treat is fine, but his regular everyday hay should be timothy. Alfalfa has a much higher amount of calcium in it and can cause stones to form.

FYI - A chin can survive on just hay, but they do tend to be a lot leaner than a chin on pellets. A good quality chinchilla specific pellet is formulated for optimum health, especially for those who don't feed hay like most chin ranchers.
 

josephomega

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I'm not sure how much weight he lost, he was on the bigger side but not obese, and he has slimmed down but not to the point where you can see his rib cage. No wetness around the eyes or mouth. I only give my chinchillas alfalfa hay occasionally, I only gave him some to see if he would chew or eat it, which he did. Weirdly he does not like timothy hay so I stopped buying it. That makes me think its either the food or maybe he peed in his food bowl? I read that some animals will not eat where they peed, maybe that is it? I just washed and cleaned his food bowl out so I guess we will see.
 

Dragonflye

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You might want to try another type of hay, just to see if he likes it better. Oxbow has orchard hay and oat hay in small bags. Maybe mixing one of them with Timothy hay would make it more enticing? Chins can be finicky little creatures.
 

ChocolatPocky

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Dec 30, 2019
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Its hard to visually check if your chin is underweight (all that super cute fluff!), if you don't have a scale you can check by feeling for their ribs/spine through their fur. If it's easy to feel the notches on the spine and individual ribs, he's underweight. A healthy chin shoudl feel like like there's a bit of padding so the ribs/spine are not that obvious.

I was feeding my chin oxbow timothy hay at first and he'd only pick at it and then mostly eat pellets. That was bad for his teeth so he eventually got molar spurs. After getting those shaved down at a vet, I tried buying different brands to get him more excited about timothy hay (small pet select and rabbit hole hay). Those brands cost more but man he gobbles it up!! I think with Oxbow their hay can be hit or miss in terms of freshness sometimes. Lately I've purchased from a local hay supplier and the quality is good + cheaper, so check to see if there're local hay sellers in your area!
 

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