Getting Away From Garden Select

Chinchillaville13

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Okay, so I recently bought Oxbow Garden Select, and then learned (thank you @Amethyst) that it was bad for chins. However, my parents don't buy it.

They think it's okay. I've tried talking to them, but they say that unless my chinchilla, Pedro, either won't eat it or acts unhealthy after eating it, I can't switch. And I'm not gonna want him getting sick.

So, is there something that chinchillas can eat, but absolutely hate? If I put it in his food, maybe he'll stop eating it.
 

NigelAndPeanut

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The only thing I could find is possibly the smallest bit of lemon juice might discourage now lemon is not good for chins due to the sugar but I'm just saying a drop please check my research before trying anything as I am not a professional
 

Chinchillaville13

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The only thing I could find is possibly the smallest bit of lemon juice might discourage now lemon is not good for chins due to the sugar but I'm just saying a drop please check my research before trying anything as I am not a professional
Thanks! I'll try that.

What I found said that they shouldn't have very much of it, but a little drop never hurt any chins. but before I was fully educated on chinchillas Pedro got all kinds of fruits and veggies. For the... 5? I want to say 5. But for the 5 years we've had him, he's never been even sick. He's never had runny poop, lethargy (out of the usual daytime laziness), nothing. He's got a gut of steel, lemon juice won't even dent it.

Plus, worst case, he might get a good ol' whiff of it and pick around the Oxbow stuff to his old food.
 

NigelAndPeanut

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Thanks! I'll try that.

What I found said that they shouldn't have very much of it, but a little drop never hurt any chins. but before I was fully educated on chinchillas Pedro got all kinds of fruits and veggies. For the... 5? I want to say 5. But for the 5 years we've had him, he's never been even sick. He's never had runny poop, lethargy (out of the usual daytime laziness), nothing. He's got a gut of steel, lemon juice won't even dent it.

Plus, worst case, he might get a good ol' whiff of it and pick around the Oxbow stuff to his old food.
Please let me know how it goes I wish you and your chin the best
 

Amethyst

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Thanks! I'll try that.

What I found said that they shouldn't have very much of it, but a little drop never hurt any chins. but before I was fully educated on chinchillas Pedro got all kinds of fruits and veggies. For the... 5? I want to say 5. But for the 5 years we've had him, he's never been even sick. He's never had runny poop, lethargy (out of the usual daytime laziness), nothing. He's got a gut of steel, lemon juice won't even dent it.

Plus, worst case, he might get a good ol' whiff of it and pick around the Oxbow stuff to his old food.
Well if it works quickly enough so the drop of lemon only is there for a bowl or two it might not have any lasting effects, but there is also a good chance he might actually like the lemon juice.

I think a better idea to get the chin to not eat the food is to leave it out open so it goes stale, maybe move it to a bigger open container so more air gets to it, most chins wont eat food that has gone stale. Chins do need pellets though, it makes up for any nutrients the hay is lacking so they can't go long without pellets, a week max is as long as I would go, and make sure he has a variety of hay.

I would also keep in mind that because a chin seemed ok with improper food for 5 years doesn't really say much, chins in captivity have an average life span of 15-20 years or more, the oldest on record was nearly 30 years old (some people claim to have ones that lived into their 30s but no proof of that). Also a lot of issues like diabetes, tooth decay, and the liver and kidney damage caused by a sugary diet can take years before you visibly notice a problem, average lifespan for a chin given an improper diet is less then 10 years. 😞 It is possible that he just has really good genetics, like someone smoking cigarettes everyday or heavily drinking and not having any visible issues for decades.
 

Chinchillaville13

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Well if it works quickly enough so the drop of lemon only is there for a bowl or two it might not have any lasting effects, but there is also a good chance he might actually like the lemon juice.

I think a better idea to get the chin to not eat the food is to leave it out open so it goes stale, maybe move it to a bigger open container so more air gets to it, most chins wont eat food that has gone stale. Chins do need pellets though, it makes up for any nutrients the hay is lacking so they can't go long without pellets, a week max is as long as I would go, and make sure he has a variety of hay.

I would also keep in mind that because a chin seemed ok with improper food for 5 years doesn't really say much, chins in captivity have an average life span of 15-20 years or more, the oldest on record was nearly 30 years old (some people claim to have ones that lived into their 30s but no proof of that). Also a lot of issues like diabetes, tooth decay, and the liver and kidney damage caused by a sugary diet can take years before you visibly notice a problem, average lifespan for a chin given an improper diet is less then 10 years. 😞 It is possible that he just has really good genetics, like someone smoking cigarettes everyday or heavily drinking and not having any visible issues for decades.
He doesn't mind stale pellets. He eats almost anything.

And he loved the lemon juice. Like, he practically inhaled the Oxbow pellets. I'm trying a drop of lime juice, hoping that might work.
 

Amethyst

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It's sad that your parents let you get a pet but then refuse to actually let you provide it with a proper diet and would rather put you in a situation that you have to trick and lie to them so they waste money, rather then just buying safe food. Could you buy the food yourself instead? and then just throw away the garden select since it sounds like they refuse to return it for the correct food?

If they have to be the ones that buy the food my only other thought would be see if they will order the right oxbow pellets once this bag is gone. If they'll buy the proper food once this bag is gone maybe spill the bowl all over and maybe in to the garbage too so you go through the bag quicker. Or maybe accidentally on purpose dump water into the bag of food so it's not longer usable. (not really a good idea since they do still need to eat pellets though) 20 lbs is a lot of food for a single chin so it would otherwise take months to go through it so if they will buy the right food once this is gone try to go through it faster.

It makes me mad when people get pets but then refuse to actually do any research on proper care or assume pet stores only sell 100% safe healthy food for all animals. It's like only feeding your kids fast food and junk food and assuming because the kid like it and it's sold as a "kids meal" or marketed towards kids that it must not cause any health issues.
 
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Chinmama

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If your parents are paying for the food and this is what you have to feed until it’s gone, I would encourage you to feed this while still feeding a good hay. If you discourage your chinchilla from eating it or ruin the bag, you risk your parents not buying more or buying more of the same. And your chinchilla is the one who will suffer. In the grand scheme of things, There are worse foods that could have been picked. Feed this until you can get the Oxbow Deluxe. Maybe you can earn money and buy it or ask for it for your birthday. At any rate, definitely make sure they know the next time food is ordered not to get the Garden Select.

Also, to warn you - chinchillas can be picky about hay. Mine are anyway. I’ve wasted probably hundreds of dollars over the years on hay hay they refuse to eat. Your chinchilla has to have hay, and especially if he is eating a lower quality food. If he refuses to eat his hay at any point, they will need to be prepared to order a different kind or type.

The “he’ll eat what we bought or he won’t eat at all” mindset can kill a chinchilla quickly.
 

Pepperpot

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To put lemon juice into a chinchilla's food is irresponsible. Your parents need to be fully aware that chins need the correct pellets, not unhealthy chinchilla food bought in ignorance. Please think of your chinchilla's welfare at all times.
 

Chinchillaville13

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It's sad that your parents let you get a pet but then refuse to actually let you provide it with a proper diet and would rather put you in a situation that you have to trick and lie to them so they waste money, rather then just buying safe food. Could you buy the food yourself instead? and then just throw away the garden select since it sounds like they refuse to return it for the correct food?

If they have to be the ones that buy the food my only other thought would be see if they will order the right oxbow pellets once this bag is gone. If they'll buy the proper food once this bag is gone maybe spill the bowl all over and maybe in to the garbage too so you go through the bag quicker. Or maybe accidentally on purpose dump water into the bag of food so it's not longer usable. (not really a good idea since they do still need to eat pellets though) 20 lbs is a lot of food for a single chin so it would otherwise take months to go through it so if they will buy the right food once this is gone try to go through it faster.

It makes me mad when people get pets but then refuse to actually do any research on proper care or assume pet stores only sell 100% safe healthy food for all animals. It's like only feeding your kids fast food and junk food and assuming because the kid like it and it's sold as a "kids meal" or marketed towards kids that it must not cause any health issues.
I tried to offer to pay them back. I can afford it just fine. But it is kinda my fault that this started.

Remember, when I started this, I thought it was good food for chinchillas, and I think I said I did the research (must have done only customer reviews, I don't know) for Garden Select. I'm the one who suggested it and asked if I could try it. I'll definitely say that.

I do remember my dad saying that we could mix the leftover stuff (the remains of the stuff inside if Pedro couldn't eat it) with our chicken scratch, since they like all the veggies and stuff. It'd be a healthy treat for our little flock. So it wouldn't go to waste, but I still need to find a way to make it to where we can stop using it for Pedro.

I feel like if I had a nice discussion with them, I might be able to talk them out of Garden Select. I just don't have good communication skills. Do you guys have good plans for how to talk to them about it?
 

Amethyst

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Ok, sorry I think I got a bit overly frustrated (dealing with too many people that argue that "the pet store told them..." or "google said..." so it must be fine), just seemed stupid if you hadn't even gotten the bag yet when you first found out it was bad that you aren't allowed to just return it for the correct one. Anyways, if they would be willing to switch to the right one once this bag is gone I would just deal with the Garden Select until it's gone, just watch for any issue like gas, bloating, and diarrhea, then get the right food. If it's better then the old food he was eating at least it's an improvement.

I know some kids have had luck by doing basically a research project on chinchillas to present to their parents to help them understand proper care. So look up where chins live in the wild, how they live in a vary arid climate with no fruits or veggies so they never evolved to be able to proper digest them like other similar animals like rabbits and guinea pigs (the two chins tend to get lumped in with). Include information on why they shouldn't have certain foods, including the short and long term effects. One kid on a chinchilla FB page I'm on made a power point presentation (it was in an effort to get a chin so it had all the different care) but it helped show the parents that the kid knew what was required and why.

I was also thinking, you say you had him 5 years feeding fruits and veggies, has the vet said he is in good health? or has he even been to the vet? If he has never been it's a good idea to just get him a check up, it's advised to take them into the vet once a year for a wellness exam, they are really good at hiding illness. Also things like dental issues if caught early tend to have a better outcome. If possible try to find a chin knowledgeable exotic vet, even a lot of exotic vets have never even seen a chin in real life (or specialize in something else like reptiles or birds) and tend to lump chins in with either other rodents or with rabbits and guinea pigs, unfortunately aside from needing hay the diets aren't that similar.
 

Chinchillaville13

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Ok, sorry I think I got a bit overly frustrated (dealing with too many people that argue that "the pet store told them..." or "google said..." so it must be fine), just seemed stupid if you hadn't even gotten the bag yet when you first found out it was bad that you aren't allowed to just return it for the correct one. Anyways, if they would be willing to switch to the right one once this bag is gone I would just deal with the Garden Select until it's gone, just watch for any issue like gas, bloating, and diarrhea, then get the right food. If it's better then the old food he was eating at least it's an improvement.

I know some kids have had luck by doing basically a research project on chinchillas to present to their parents to help them understand proper care. So look up where chins live in the wild, how they live in a vary arid climate with no fruits or veggies so they never evolved to be able to proper digest them like other similar animals like rabbits and guinea pigs (the two chins tend to get lumped in with). Include information on why they shouldn't have certain foods, including the short and long term effects. One kid on a chinchilla FB page I'm on made a power point presentation (it was in an effort to get a chin so it had all the different care) but it helped show the parents that the kid knew what was required and why.

I was also thinking, you say you had him 5 years feeding fruits and veggies, has the vet said he is in good health? or has he even been to the vet? If he has never been it's a good idea to just get him a check up, it's advised to take them into the vet once a year for a wellness exam, they are really good at hiding illness. Also things like dental issues if caught early tend to have a better outcome. If possible try to find a chin knowledgeable exotic vet, even a lot of exotic vets have never even seen a chin in real life (or specialize in something else like reptiles or birds) and tend to lump chins in with either other rodents or with rabbits and guinea pigs, unfortunately aside from needing hay the diets aren't that similar.
I want to start getting him in for a wellness exam annually, along with my rabbit. But you're right about vets just lumping care with chins and other small pets like them. Even when they don't do that, Montanan small animal vets aren't the most knowledgeable. We used to care for our rabbits poorly and they said nothing about our care for them, just that it was okay. Which it was absolutely not okay at the time.

I tried a slideshow about a year ago for trying to get a bearded dragon. I did basically the same stuff the kid on your Facebook group did. We just decided it wasn't the best time for a beardie at that moment. Other than that it worked great so I have good hopes of that working.

I feel like Pedro will probably do good with it if I swap his food again when it's out but I feel like the sooner I do it the better.
 

Lucretia

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please don't be deceitful with your parents, they will appreciate you displaying the ability to be a mature and responsible pet owner. They will repect you more and see that you're developing into a young adult that they can be proud of. So be honest with them. Explain that after further research you've discovered that the food the pet store recommended isn't actually that healthy for your chin and in fact could be detrimental to his long term health due to some of the ingredients contained within it. Your parents may be a little annoyed to start with but they will appreciate you showing a grown up attitude :)
 
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Chinchillaville13

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please don't be deceitful with your parents, they will appreciate you displaying the ability to be a mature and responsible pet owner. They will repect you more and see that you're developing into a young adult that they can be proud of. So be honest with them. Explain that after further research you've discovered that the food the pet store recommended isn't actually that healthy for your chin and in fact could be detrimental to his long term health due to some of the ingredients contained within it. Your parents may be a little annoyed to start with but they will appreciate you showing a grown up attitude :)
Good call.

I actually had my counselor appointment (the COVID shutdown affected me mentally a little bit, but it's okay not to be okay) last night and we talked a bit about it as well.

I think I've got this. Thanks, you guys, I can't tell you how much I appreciate this
 

Chin Camino

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Okay, so I recently bought Oxbow Garden Select, and then learned (thank you @Amethyst) that it was bad for chins. However, my parents don't buy it.

They think it's okay. I've tried talking to them, but they say that unless my chinchilla, Pedro, either won't eat it or acts unhealthy after eating it, I can't switch. And I'm not gonna want him getting sick.

So, is there something that chinchillas can eat, but absolutely hate? If I put it in his food, maybe he'll stop eating it.
Oh honey, I haven't read anyone comments, but I'ma mom of six kids and feel for your situation, I am sorry.
I probably know the least about chinchillas here, or should say I am not going to pretend I know much... BUT I would not dare "mess" try to influence their eating habits by offering them something they might not like. Just animal behavior my cause an anoxeria of some sort...they might fear everything is going to taste like this. A food trauma of sorts.
I'd have a heart to heart with parents.
I'd save my own money if necessary to buy what is what you want.
I'd offer to do work in exchange for what you want, or the money to do so.
Your parents are being stewards of their money, and you can help them here...
Then you purchase what is necessary.
Is this the ONLY food they have is a good question, if not you have other offerings so this is not a huge problem.
If it is, ask what you can do to compensate for the money spent and to purchase what is needed...
Is my advice,
I'm just realizing a lot of the population here is probably kids, and advice needs to be tailored to this as parents hold the reigns in such decisions.
I'd hate for someone to give their chinchillas or any animal something they don't like purposely. I just think of a food trauma...
Good luck honey!
It is so very sweet to see children take on such a responsibility and want to do what is right.
Please keep your parents in the loop of this anxiety over the food, include them, offer up way to take responsibility of purchasing what you need IF they do not see it in their budget or need.
 

Chinchillaville13

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So, I talked to my mom, and sounds like she'll but me either Mazuri or Oxbow Essentials (I suggested them and am debating on the 2 brands). My dad is willing to give out chickens the rest of the Garden Select as part of their scratch as it is chicken safe and healthy ingredients. I think they'd like it as a little treat.
 

Amethyst

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So, I talked to my mom, and sounds like she'll but me either Mazuri or Oxbow Essentials (I suggested them and am debating on the 2 brands). My dad is willing to give out chickens the rest of the Garden Select as part of their scratch as it is chicken safe and healthy ingredients. I think they'd like it as a little treat.
I'm glad to hear they are willing to listen and understand that you are still learning 🙂 (it really is annoying how much old/outdated info is still out there). I know that when I got my first chins back in the early 90s that raisins use to be the go to treat, and and small amounts of dried fruits and veggies as well as some seeds was thought to be ok, now we know the long term damage they can cause. Unfortunately a lot of the info being spread is still that same 1980s (or older) info I got back then, even "new" books tend to just be reprints of the same old info. New info is always coming out though, for example just recently things like oats and shredded wheat are started to be no longer recommend as treats since they can be gassy (could simply be people are giving their chins too many treats). Chins can't burp or fart though, they can only pass gas as they poop so if a gas bubble gets too big it can actually cause a blockage (gas drops are needed to break it up).

Anyways I've gotten off topic here... both mazuri and Oxbow Essentials are good foods. I compared the two about a year ago...

Based on people I've talk to recently for chin specific food (some people with a lot of chins feed high quality rabbit food) Mazuri is considered "second best" and is still a very good food though. Mazuri is a bit higher calcium ( 0.75-1.25% vs Oxbow 0.6-1.1% ), higher protein (minium of 20% vs 18%), and less fiber (max of 18% vs 18-23%), which is why the Oxbow Essentials is considered "the best". When it comes down to it though they aren't that much different and the best is what you can easily get, and your chin will eat and does well on.
 

Chinchillaville13

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I'm glad to hear they are willing to listen and understand that you are still learning 🙂 (it really is annoying how much old/outdated info is still out there). I know that when I got my first chins back in the early 90s that raisins use to be the go to treat, and and small amounts of dried fruits and veggies as well as some seeds was thought to be ok, now we know the long term damage they can cause. Unfortunately a lot of the info being spread is still that same 1980s (or older) info I got back then, even "new" books tend to just be reprints of the same old info. New info is always coming out though, for example just recently things like oats and shredded wheat are started to be no longer recommend as treats since they can be gassy (could simply be people are giving their chins too many treats). Chins can't burp or fart though, they can only pass gas as they poop so if a gas bubble gets too big it can actually cause a blockage (gas drops are needed to break it up).

Anyways I've gotten off topic here... both mazuri and Oxbow Essentials are good foods. I compared the two about a year ago...

Based on people I've talk to recently for chin specific food (some people with a lot of chins feed high quality rabbit food) Mazuri is considered "second best" and is still a very good food though. Mazuri is a bit higher calcium ( 0.75-1.25% vs Oxbow 0.6-1.1% ), higher protein (minium of 20% vs 18%), and less fiber (max of 18% vs 18-23%), which is why the Oxbow Essentials is considered "the best". When it comes down to it though they aren't that much different and the best is what you can easily get, and your chin will eat and does well on.
I have easier access to Oxbow Essentials, but I feel like Mazuri might be better for me since it has timothy hay in it (if I remember correctly) and Pedro gets meadow grass hay (my dad grows it so it saves us some money on not needing to buy hay). It might be good for him to get some timothy hay in his diet.

However, you all probably know more about this stuff than I do. What are you guys thinking?
 

Lucretia

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I have easier access to Oxbow Essentials, but I feel like Mazuri might be better for me since it has timothy hay in it (if I remember correctly) and Pedro gets meadow grass hay (my dad grows it so it saves us some money on not needing to buy hay). It might be good for him to get some timothy hay in his diet.

However, you all probably know more about this stuff than I do. What are you guys thinking?
Which ever is easiest for you to obtain sweet, they are both more than suitable, it also depends which one Pedro prefers lol. You may be able to source samples of both by sending a cheeky email or two 😉
 
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