pulling out hay

rocket29

Rocket&Bilbo
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
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45
my chinchilla enjoys pulling hay from the rack and pooping on it. I assumed he liked huddling in it, so I put a pile of hay in his cage. It's next to the hay rack, but he still pulls his hay out. I'm worried he doesn't eat enough hay because he leaves most of the rest (that he didnt pull out) untouched. he has timothy hay which was the type of hay he came with. should i try changing it?
 

Amethyst

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Staff member
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May 7, 2012
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1,792
Location
Alberta
There are actually several things you can try. Have you tried different brands of hay? Or different cut of hay? Although all timothy hay is pretty similar in nutrients different brands seem to make a difference in taste.

I know it's probably obvious, but how does the hay look and smell? It should smell nice and sweet, not moldy/musty or dusty. It should also not be overly dried out and brittle, it should be a nice green color not brown or grayish.

Another thing you can try is offering different kinds of hay. Not only can it help keep the hay interesting but different kinds of hay are chewed differently, which helps keep the teeth wearing down evenly. Try mixing a couple different kinds of hay together to give more variety. Alfalfa hay for example is more flavorful and can interest chins to eat more, however if you already feed alfalfa based pellets keep the alfalfa hay to just a little and the rest timothy or other grass hay. I normally have 2 or 3 different grass hays for my guys at any given time, as well as alfalfa hay cubes. Hay cubes are another thing you can try, I prefer to offer them in addition to the loose hay, but they can be something different for the chin.

The last idea I've got is making or buying, something like Fuzzies Kingdom Foraging Hay mix. It tends to sell out quickly, but you can get an idea, put chin safe herbal treats into the hay to add flavor and create interest. There are a lot of different plants on that website to give you an idea of what you can use.
 

rocket29

Rocket&Bilbo
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
45
His hay fits the description of good, quality hay. I'll try mixing different brands of timothy hay and add safe herbs.
 

keala

Active member
Joined
Jan 19, 2019
Messages
25
Location
Iowa
Not eating it and pulling it all over are kind of 2 separate problems since some will pull it out and still eat it and other times they don't eat it wherever it is. Pulling it out is more of a cleanliness and aesthetic problem that we usually solve by giving less hay so they eat what mess they make quickly and picking up any excess more often rather than trying to prevent it.

If he's not eating what he scatters and there are no other signs of health problems or issues eating pellets and chewing wood I'd try for different hay. Some of mine much prefer bluegrass from kmshayloft over anything else but she's switched hay producers a few times and I haven't ordered any recently. In the past some of her hay has been absolutely amazing and the critters go nuts for it. Mine also quite liked oxbow meadow hay and oxbow botanical hay (timothy with herbs) can be mixed with plain timothy to make it more appealing. I sometimes keep the botanical hay or some oat hay for treats and variety. Timothy actually seems to fall under all of mine's least favorite of the grass hays I can get and really has to be from a quality source rather than the bulk producers that ship whole bales into my state.

I found local organic hay about 5 years ago after probably 15years of searching for good enough quality grown within driving distance. It's some common grass species with a little alfalfa mixed and he sorts a few bales with the least alfalfa out every year for us. I haven't asked what grass species he uses but it rarely matters provided the quality is good and they love it. Most grass hay varies in nutritional values more by growing conditions than by species and many are not a single species or sometimes even a specific species when we get to regional types of grass hays.
 

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