Treats/toys/herbs???

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Madip

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Joined
Mar 7, 2020
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61
So just a little curious about the treats and snack and toys/chews???? What all is the difference? It’s so hard to do research since everywhere is so different and recommends the complete opposite.

I’ve really laid off on the treats for sheldon since I got taco because of recommendations from the rescue.

Originally I was feeding sheldon dried fruits, fruit cubes, rice puffs, dandelion drops, sweet potatoe sticks(once but it gave him the runs so never again), small bags with like oats dried berries and whatever(very rarely gets this), the sticks that hang from the cage that come in a two pack with think seeds or whatever on them to eat(once in a great while). For the most part that’s all I can think of and most treats are on occasion aside from mostly the dried fruit and dandelion drops those are the most common he gets.

since I got taco the lady said she fed taco for treats the shredded wheat Kroger brand and she breaks them in half. That’s really all taco gets and I tried to convert sheldon to those for treats.

I noticed that taco is quiet a bit bigger than sheldon he definitely eats all his hay and his pellets. Sheldon snacks on hay and it seems more so just likes throwing it all over his cage when taco actually eats it. He takes a few days to really finish a bowl of pellets unlike taco.

Obviously I did a lot of research on chinchillas before I got mine and I have learned so much in the past years trial and error. Like I said above I think a lot of information on chinchillas is very scattered and hard to know the actual correct thing to do since a lot of websites that differ are seemingly credited websites. I’m worried that sheldon is under weight or taco is over. I know sheldon really seems obsessed with treats especially the fruit cubes. Almost like he is crazed over them and addicted. I gave taco a small bite once and he also got a little “crazed” like jumping up on the cage wall and biting at my fingers for more. I really didn’t notice the attitude since sheldon is younger and is always kinda hyper vs taco who is older and a lot more mellow so to see him like that it really has me thinking and paranoid.

I stumbled upon a super cool website specifically for chinchillas and none of the toys or chews or anything jump out screaming not good for chinchillas unlike a lot of pet stores that have a huge variety of plastic toys labeled for chinchillas when we all know plastic is a NO NO x100. They have different categories and one is herbs. Are these treats? Supplements? Snacks? Are they even good for our chins?if so how often? What ones? How much?

I really just want the best for my babies and I feel like I there is so much I learn everyday that I’m doing wrong 😬😬.


This is the website. Would you mind taking a look through it and letting me know if anything is a NO NO? I have quiet a handful of things in my cart but now am just so paranoid to buy anything that’s “chinchilla recommended” since it’s basically like labels that say all natural in the grocery store that’s a complete lie and loaded with sugar.

Thanks so much sorry for such a massive post.
 

Amethyst

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Ok to start with, all the treats you listed that you say you give are dangerously bad for chins. Chinchillas should not have any fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, animal products, or sugars. Fruits are way too high in sugar even if no sugar added, chins are not designed to process sugar and their is already sugar in their pellets to make them tasty. The sugar can cause issues like tooth decay, diabetes, seizures, obesity, diarrhea, and liver and kidney failure. Veggies also contain natural sugars just less then fruit, but can also cause gas, bloat, and diarrhea. Seeds and nuts are both too high in fats, which can cause issues like fatty liver disease and obesity. They are strict herbivores so are not designed to eat any animal products, no meat, dairy, bones, antlers, hide, etc. Lastly back to the issues of sugars, no honey or other "natural" sugar things are safe either.

The herbs you posted from Chinchilla City are all safe treats, the goji berries are only a once a month treat though (personally I don't give them at all since they are still high in sugar), the rest are ok a couple times a week, like for example one rose hip or one pinch of clover as the treat for the day. To avoid over doing it you can also rotate the treat you give each day, but personally I only give my guys a treat about once a week. Looking over the chinchilla city site the only thing I see (I may have over looked something though) that is a potential issues is the cardboard "bagels", although most chins just shred cardboard some do eat it, if swallowed cardboard (and other paper products) can expand and cause a blockage in their gut.

Chew toys are things like wood, lava/pumice rock, coconut shell, and vine shapes, things like that that they chew up but don't actually eat. Chew toys should be available all the time and don't need to be limited.

It seems a lot of info out there right now for chins is outdated, and just parroted from old sources. As well as people that had chins for years and think they know everything so they haven't bothered to keep up on new research. Chins haven't even been pets for very long, around 40 years or so ( kept as fur animals it's been a lot longer), so we are still learning and new stuff is coming out all the time especially in terms of treats and toys. I know some of the stuff I learned when I first got chins in the 90s is no longer considered safe, so you need to keep up on the new info. If you have Facebook this write up seems to be the best explanation of why chins can't have certain things to eat Log In or Sign Up to View This FB group is at times overly cautious (rather safe then sorry) but do try to keep up with new research. I'm not trying to steer you away from the forum here, just give you another place that has good info that has more people so you can make up your own mind as to what is right for your chins. :)
 

Madip

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2020
Messages
61
Ok to start with, all the treats you listed that you say you give are dangerously bad for chins. Chinchillas should not have any fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, animal products, or sugars. Fruits are way too high in sugar even if no sugar added, chins are not designed to process sugar and their is already sugar in their pellets to make them tasty. The sugar can cause issues like tooth decay, diabetes, seizures, obesity, diarrhea, and liver and kidney failure. Veggies also contain natural sugars just less then fruit, but can also cause gas, bloat, and diarrhea. Seeds and nuts are both too high in fats, which can cause issues like fatty liver disease and obesity. They are strict herbivores so are not designed to eat any animal products, no meat, dairy, bones, antlers, hide, etc. Lastly back to the issues of sugars, no honey or other "natural" sugar things are safe either.

The herbs you posted from Chinchilla City are all safe treats, the goji berries are only a once a month treat though (personally I don't give them at all since they are still high in sugar), the rest are ok a couple times a week, like for example one rose hip or one pinch of clover as the treat for the day. To avoid over doing it you can also rotate the treat you give each day, but personally I only give my guys a treat about once a week. Looking over the chinchilla city site the only thing I see (I may have over looked something though) that is a potential issues is the cardboard "bagels", although most chins just shred cardboard some do eat it, if swallowed cardboard (and other paper products) can expand and cause a blockage in their gut.

Chew toys are things like wood, lava/pumice rock, coconut shell, and vine shapes, things like that that they chew up but don't actually eat. Chew toys should be available all the time and don't need to be limited.

It seems a lot of info out there right now for chins is outdated, and just parroted from old sources. As well as people that had chins for years and think they know everything so they haven't bothered to keep up on new research. Chins haven't even been pets for very long, around 40 years or so ( kept as fur animals it's been a lot longer), so we are still learning and new stuff is coming out all the time especially in terms of treats and toys. I know some of the stuff I learned when I first got chins in the 90s is no longer considered safe, so you need to keep up on the new info. If you have Facebook this write up seems to be the best explanation of why chins can't have certain things to eat Log In or Sign Up to View This FB group is at times overly cautious (rather safe then sorry) but do try to keep up with new research. I'm not trying to steer you away from the forum here, just give you another place that has good info that has more people so you can make up your own mind as to what is right for your chins. :)
No no I really appreciate it. I want the best for my little ones. Better change habits now than later. Are the shredded wheat thins also not a good idea?? For treats should I sticky only do the herbs?? It’s so frustrating since basically everything sold at any type of animal brand or pet store for chinchillas are fruit snacks. Any suggestions to get sheldon to eat more hay and pellets?
 

Amethyst

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A piece of shredded wheat is an ok treat, but can be gassy so best to stick to just a piece a week (you can break it up so you have more treats though). They can also have 1-2 plain cheerios a week as a treat, neither cereal needs to be name brand so if you don't eat them yourself it's cheaper to get small boxes of generic brand. One good way to gauge treat size is their stomach is only about the size of the tip of a pinky finger (most of their digestive tract is intestines), so you don't want to give a treat bigger then that. I know it's frustrating with pet store treats, the only explanation I can come up with is they must lump chins together with rabbits and guinea pigs, or just with rodents in general, and assume they all eat the same diet. :rolleyes:

I don't really have any suggestions for getting a chin to eating more pellets, most adult chins eat about 2 tb a day some a bit more some a bit less. Also just like humans chins come in different sizes, so unless Sheldon is feeling thin, or Taco is feeling fat they could be normal for their genetics. Chins can range in size from around 400g to over 1,200g so there is a wide range, most pet ones though are in the 400-800g range.
For hay though one way to increase interest is to use different kinds of hay. Timothy should always be available but other kinds of hay like orchard and meadow can also be given daily, and other kinds like oat and botanical can be give, about a handful worth a week, to help make things more flavorful. You can even try different brands of hay, hay is hay regardless of brand but apparently can taste different depending on where it's grown as well as how fresh it is. For example one hay company a lot of people say their chins love is small pets select, I've never tried it though since I live in Canada. Alfalfa hay is another option to sprinkle in the daily hay if others fail, most chins love it, but use sparingly for adults, like only a small handful every couple weeks. It is a legume hay not a grass hay and high in calcium, too much calcium (most pellets are already alfalfa based) can cause bladder and kidney stones especially in chins prone to them. I give my guys an alfalfa hay cube about once or twice a month as a treat.
 

Madip

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2020
Messages
61
A piece of shredded wheat is an ok treat, but can be gassy so best to stick to just a piece a week (you can break it up so you have more treats though). They can also have 1-2 plain cheerios a week as a treat, neither cereal needs to be name brand so if you don't eat them yourself it's cheaper to get small boxes of generic brand. One good way to gauge treat size is their stomach is only about the size of the tip of a pinky finger (most of their digestive tract is intestines), so you don't want to give a treat bigger then that. I know it's frustrating with pet store treats, the only explanation I can come up with is they must lump chins together with rabbits and guinea pigs, or just with rodents in general, and assume they all eat the same diet. :rolleyes:

I don't really have any suggestions for getting a chin to eating more pellets, most adult chins eat about 2 tb a day some a bit more some a bit less. Also just like humans chins come in different sizes, so unless Sheldon is feeling thin, or Taco is feeling fat they could be normal for their genetics. Chins can range in size from around 400g to over 1,200g so there is a wide range, most pet ones though are in the 400-800g range.
For hay though one way to increase interest is to use different kinds of hay. Timothy should always be available but other kinds of hay like orchard and meadow can also be given daily, and other kinds like oat and botanical can be give, about a handful worth a week, to help make things more flavorful. You can even try different brands of hay, hay is hay regardless of brand but apparently can taste different depending on where it's grown as well as how fresh it is. For example one hay company a lot of people say their chins love is small pets select, I've never tried it though since I live in Canada. Alfalfa hay is another option to sprinkle in the daily hay if others fail, most chins love it, but use sparingly for adults, like only a small handful every couple weeks. It is a legume hay not a grass hay and high in calcium, too much calcium (most pellets are already alfalfa based) can cause bladder and kidney stones especially in chins prone to them. I give my guys an alfalfa hay cube about once or twice a month as a treat.
Sounds good! Thank you! Also I just did buy some hay cubes for the first time and some new toys to help with introducing the two. Are the cubes considered more of a treat or just looked at as hay??
 

Amethyst

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If the hay cubes are just timothy hay then they are hay, but can double as enrichment/edible toys since they can carry them around. They are just not as good as loose hay for wearing down teeth since they are made of short strands, so it's best to give in addition to loose hay. If they are alfalfa cubes they are more a treat though because of the high calcium content.
 

Chinmama

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Messages
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Location
Greenville, SC
I own Chinchilla City. :) Feel free to ask any questions you have! I try to only sell items I know to be safe for chinchillas, and there are a few things I sell that can be controversial in the chinchilla community. Like the bagels (cardboard tubes). Most chinchillas shred them. Few will eat them. If yours is one that you notice eats them, do not offer them. Also, a lot of people don’t like goji berries because of the sugar content. I think they are fine in moderation. It’s a topic we can agree to disagree on.

As far as hay, I think brand (and where it’s grown) has a lot to do with your chinchilla liking and eating it. ZZ will eat one batch of a brand fine and then hate the next and refuse to eat it. I can’t tell you how much hay we have wasted over the years. His current favorite is Rabbit Hole hay and I get it from Chewy. He likes stalkier hay, so I get first cut Timothy and then will buy smaller bags of other hays to mix in. Sometimes he’ll eat the other stuff and sometimes he won’t. If the first cut Timmy is too soft he won’t eat it. He can be picky, but he’s old so I’ll allow it. :)
 

yspm10

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Try Pandamonium pets on Etsy. It’s like the best online store for small pets
 

Madip

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2020
Messages
61
I own Chinchilla City. :) Feel free to ask any questions you have! I try to only sell items I know to be safe for chinchillas, and there are a few things I sell that can be controversial in the chinchilla community. Like the bagels (cardboard tubes). Most chinchillas shred them. Few will eat them. If yours is one that you notice eats them, do not offer them. Also, a lot of people don’t like goji berries because of the sugar content. I think they are fine in moderation. It’s a topic we can agree to disagree on.

As far as hay, I think brand (and where it’s grown) has a lot to do with your chinchilla liking and eating it. ZZ will eat one batch of a brand fine and then hate the next and refuse to eat it. I can’t tell you how much hay we have wasted over the years. His current favorite is Rabbit Hole hay and I get it from Chewy. He likes stalkier hay, so I get first cut Timothy and then will buy smaller bags of other hays to mix in. Sometimes he’ll eat the other stuff and sometimes he won’t. If the first cut Timmy is too soft he won’t eat it. He can be picky, but he’s old so I’ll allow it. :)
Awesome thanks so much! Do you know what herbs are more likable and how much I can give a day?
 

Chinmama

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Joined
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Messages
2,391
Location
Greenville, SC
Awesome thanks so much! Do you know what herbs are more likable and how much I can give a day?

ZZ’s favorites are hibiscus, calendula and bee pollen. Marble loved rosehips, rose buds and hibiscus. I think each chinchilla has different tastes, so it’s just a matter of figuring it out.

Whatever you decide to get, take it slow and only give that one treat for a week. That way if they have issues with anything you’ll know what might have caused it and what to stop. Like shredded wheat. ZZ loves it and can have it, but it could cause Marble to have a little constipation. So I only gave it to her if she was having soft poo.

As far as how much to give per day, I give one treat per day. Usually with breakfast, and if it’s something large, like a Hibiscus flower, I will even break it in half and not give the entire thing. At night ZZ gets a stick or two as a treat. He loves to chew the bark off and then throw the naked sticks into the floor.
 

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