Won’t eat her hay

Chinchilla & Hedgehog Pet Forum

Help Support Chinchilla & Hedgehog Pet Forum:

Lauren912009

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2022
Messages
9
Hello,
My spoiled pepper will no longer eat her hay. If I put pellets and hay the hay will sit. Her pellets are obviously made of hay, but I heard they need both. She gets her treats that are made with hay and blended with stuff like cranberries or carrots. I tried to not give her pellets and made her eat hay and she acted out peeing in spots where her potty bowls are not at and even throwing poop. Should I just give in and give up on trying to feed straight hay and only give her pellets?
 

Amethyst

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 7, 2012
Messages
2,868
Location
Alberta
I would not stop giving hay. Although pellets have hay in them, so they are getting some fiber that way (but not as much as straight hay or even pellets and hay, pellets for example have up to 18-23% crude fiber depending on the pellets, vs timothy hay that has up to 32%), but it's finely chopped/ground up hay so it's not as good for tooth wear. Feeding hay in addition to pellets adds extra fiber into the diet, if the chin is not getting enough fiber that can lead to digestive problems. Again I'm sure the hay in the treats is finely chopped up so again no good for tooth wear, but also things like cranberries and carrots are not good for chins at all. Both cranberries and carrots are high in sugar, chins can't process sugars very well so it can lead to issues like seizures (from the rise and drop in blood sugar) and gut issues, as well as long term can cause issues like diabetes, tooth decay, obesity, and organ failure. I know the treats are probably marketed towards chins, but unfortunately most pet supply companies and even some vets just lump chins in with other rodents in general, or with "similar" animals like guinea pigs and rabbits, which require a different diet. A chins diet should be a good quality pellet only food (Oxbow Essentials, Mazuri, and Science Selective are the recommended chinchilla foods), timothy hay (or at least grass hay), and water. They can have some treats but it's best to stick with safe herbs and flowers, no fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, sugars, or animal products.

InkedTreat list_LI.jpg


Even if you gave them additional fiber, chins also need long strand hay for proper tooth wear, they simply don't chew on pellets long enough to wear their teeth down enough. Chew toys only help wear down the front teeth, they don't chew on toys with their molars, and in chins all 20 of their teeth grow throughout their life. Have you tried different types of hay? Not only different grasses like orchard and meadow, but also different brands? Although timothy hay should be the primary hay other grass hay can be given daily as well. The quality of the hay can vary a lot from brand to brand, harvest to harvest, and even from bale to bale of the same harvest depending on the growing conditions in different parts of the field. For hay brand doesn't matter like it does for pellets, so I just get what looks and smells the best.

If the not eating hay was something sudden and you have tried other hay it might be worth getting a vet check. It's not uncommon for there to be something wrong with the teeth causing them to no be able to grind down hay but still be able to chew pellets well enough.
 

Lauren912009

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2022
Messages
9
I was giving her oxbow hay blends with western Timothy and or hard grass because the people at the pet store I got her from recommended it. I also give her food from the wild pellets by kaytee. She is berry spoiled and has lots of chewing apple sticks, blocks, hanging toys to chew and keep her occupied, as mentioned I give her Timothy hay treats. But she will choose pellets over hay and only eat the hay if I allow her no pellets. But if I do that she gets mad and acts out
 

Amethyst

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 7, 2012
Messages
2,868
Location
Alberta
Ohh, ok you are feeding her junk food that is why she prefers it over eating hay, lol, that would definitely explain it. The food is fully of treats and unhealthy ingredients, but I'm sure she loves it, it would be like giving a kid a choice between filling up on candy (or maybe Lucky Charms might be a better example) or having a bowl of salad with their meals. It's a timothy based food so lower nutrients (protein level for example is very low) then the recommended food of an alfalfa based diet, I don't recommend a timothy based diet unless your chins is genetically predisposed to urinary tract stones, and even they you should be feeding a good quality diet to make sure they are getting enough nutrients. Or you can proved alfalfa hay in addition to good quality timothy pellets, but you need to make sure they eat the correct amount, which is why it's easier to just feed a good quality alfalfa based pellet (which already has the correct amount) and timothy hay. Also those pellets have oats and wheat which can be gassy (chins can't easily pass gas so it can lead to bloat which is fatal), it also has carrots, sweet potatoes, and raisins which are all very unhealthy for a chin even as an occasional treat let alone daily. The rose hips, rose petals, and pot marigold are ok as a treat, but just a small amount, like 1/8 ts a couple times a week, again not daily. I would definitely switch her to a healthy pellet, I mean it's your chin so it's up to you but if you stop feeding her junk food she will likely live a longer healthier life and be more willing to eat her hay.

I know some pet stores and vets say chins only live 5-10 years, which is the average in the wild, but 15-20 years is more normal for domestic chins, and some live even longer especially if fed a proper diet.
 
Last edited:

Lauren912009

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2022
Messages
9
What would be the pellets and hay brands you recommend? I’m new to this and just listened to what the people at the pet store told me.
 

Amethyst

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 7, 2012
Messages
2,868
Location
Alberta
The ones I mentioned already... Oxbow Essentials, Mazuri, and Science Selective are the recommended chinchilla foods (Oxbow Essentials being the best, NOT the garden select or simple harvest).

The problem could be just preferring junk food over hay so I would try switching pellets first and see if that helps them eat hay again. For Hay brand doesn't really matter, the "best" is what your personal chin will eat, and that can vary from bag to bag since as I said not all harvests are exactly the same. For hay you can get at pet stores a lot of chins like Oxbow, but some like the cheaper brands like Kaytee hay better, there are lots of different brands though just go to the pet store and see what they carry and get what looks and smells the best. Or if you want you can try online hay vendors, Small Pets Select and Farmer Dave seem to both be popular, I haven't tried either since they are US companies and I'm in Canada. The benefit of online hay companies is you can buy specific cuts, 2nd cut being the best, but some chins prefer 1st cut, and some are picky and need 3rd cut mixed in.
 

Lauren912009

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2022
Messages
9
Thank you, I’ll try these ones! Also, I have hibiscus petals to make a drink for and they’re slightly soft. Could I give her these as a treat?
 

Amethyst

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 7, 2012
Messages
2,868
Location
Alberta
They can have hibiscus, but they need to be fully dried, like they would be if sold for making tea, as well as 100% organic. If the ones you have are dried and organic then yes she can have some as a treat.
 

Lauren912009

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2022
Messages
9
Quick update: I have now fully put her on only hay and pellets none of those snacks in the pellets that she loved. She has adjusted well besides the occasional acting out like being mad at me with an attitude and trying to spray me (I also caught her trying to eat her potty fluff 🤮) I do still give her the occasional oxbow treats she loves but she has been eating a lot healthier so I am happy with it.
 

Lauren912009

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2022
Messages
9
Yes, it’s the bedding. She only has it in the top and bottom corner where she goes potty in her pan.
 

Anamaria

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2022
Messages
14
Location
Maine
Is she eating lots of hay now? Did she like the hibiscus? My dude is still being pretty stubborn with hay, but we are making a little bit of progress. He stopped liking oxbow hay this year and I have been trying to find a replacement he will consistently eat. My house smells like a barn with all of his hay rejects!
 

Lauren912009

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2022
Messages
9
Yes, I cut out the pellets with treats and went strictly hay and pellets with occasional treats. She likes the hay some days and others she likes the pellets so I am happy with it for now because she’s eating a mixture. Every pet is different on which blend of hay they like, it sucks but experimenting is necessary especially when chinchillas are so spoiled 🙄😂. Good luck trying to find the right blend for him! Maybe you could donate they hay to your local animal shelter or someone local doing animal rescues ☺️
 

Anamaria

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2022
Messages
14
Location
Maine
That's awesome! We had a decent "hay day" yesterday where he was really into it. Sometimes days and days go by where he has no interest, so that was really great. He ate oxbow for years, and this year he thinks it's inedible. Lately I've been trying east coast hays, as I think the west coast hay has suffered with the wildfires and drought the last few years. Might be why he doesn't like it anymore. Donating the hay is a great idea! And yes they are so spoiled. It's hard not to cater to these charming little creatures!
 
Top