More fattening diets?

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Floramancer

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Jan 26, 2022
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Hey everyone!

So, I have a older gray girl chinchilla, Aloe. I'm concerned about her weight, as she feels a little skinnier.
She's always been the most rambunctious of my girls, and over all her behaviors haven't changed. I also haven't seen any signs of sickness. She eats every day, but I will admit it's mainly only hay. I want to give her a more thorough diet, but I don't know what fattening foods are the most healthy. Is there also a healthy drink I can treat them too?

Along with this, my chinchillas also have a habit of pulling all the hay out of the feeder, and then not eating what falls onto the platform. What's a good solution to this?

Thank you! - Miki
 

Amethyst

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I would get her vet checked, chins hide illness so well that weight loss is often the first, and sometimes the only sign something is wrong. Also rather then just going by feel it's a good idea to keep a record of weight for your chins, even if you just weigh them once a month it will give you a better idea when something is not right. Quite often by the time they are actually acting sick they are really really sick and can't hide it any longer.

Eating mostly hay is a good thing, the diet should be mostly hay, most adult chins only need about 2 tb (roughly 30g) of pellets a day, some a bit more some a bit less, the rest of the diet should be loose hay, ideally about a handful worth (about the size of the chin) per day. Chins don't really process fats very well so I can't really suggest any fatty foods that would be healthy, but if the vet says she is otherwise healthy aside from being underweight you can try giving her some Critical Care, you can even make "cookies" out of it. It's a recovery food but has more calories then just pellets and hay so it can help a chin gain weight. There really isn't anything good to put in the water, you don't want to change the taste of the water and cause them to stop drinking, so even if you find something use a different bottle for that.

One thing you can try to help get them to waste less hay is to put less in at a time, so rather then just filling the hay feeder just put a small amount in, then once they eat that put more in. Also so long as the hay they pulled out is not peed on, don't add more until they eat it, or it's time for a cage change. Some chins will just pick the "best" pieces and only eat those if given the chance since they know you will just give them fresh hay if they dump it all. I don't know what you are using for a hay holder currently, but you can also try different hay holders, like ones that go on the outside of the cage where they have to pull the hay into the cage, or fleece hay bags, or bowls or clay pots. You can also try a variety of holders around the cage, so it's not just hay in one spot but small amounts of hay in different areas of the cage. So for example some in the holder but also some in small bowls or pots around, stick some in toys like cholla logs for them to pull out, so they have to look around for the hay and makes it more interesting.
 

Floramancer

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I'll start spacing out the hay then, and look into the feeders. Thank you!

About the different foods, I'll try to also give them more pellets. They're SUPER picky about the types of pellets, and have gone out of their way to eat around the ones they don't like haha! Ahhh... That always meant half of the bag was wasted. Anyway, I'm also looking into a vet. admittedly, I'm hesitant to bring them in. I had a boy chinnie previous to them in 2020, and the vet wouldn't let me in the clinic to be with him. They ended up killing him, and I haven't been as trusting since. I will still seek a vet, but is there anything I can do in the meantime between now and then?

Thank you so much for the advice!
 

Amethyst

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I'm not sure what you mean by "eat around the ones they don't like". The food should just be one kind of pellet, I know some people mix pellets but personally I don't think that is the best idea, each pellet should be formulated to be a balanced diet, mixing and cause that to get thrown off. Just pick the one you are going to feed and go with that. On that note what are you feed and how much? Sometimes it can be the diet that can also cause health issues, there are a lot on the market sold for chins that are not good for them at all.

In the mean time you can keep a weight record on her if you don't already, it's best to measure in grams since they weigh so little it's easier to see weight fluctuations. Also as I said you can try feeding her critical care in addition to her pellets and hay to see if that helps.
 
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