Chinchillas need two types of food: Pellets and Loose Timothy Hay. Buying Chinchilla food may seem pretty simple–just find a bag that has a chinchilla on the front or says “chinchilla food”; however, I am pretty picky about my chinchilla food. I think it’s worth spending some time looking at what’s available before just grabbing the first bag on a shelf.
In the past, American Pet Diner Pellets has been the clear leader in pellets for Chinchillas as well as a host of other pets. Today, however, American Pet Diner has fallen behind the competition from Mazuri and Oxbow.
Most commercial Chinchilla foods available in pet stores are not nutritious or fresh enough to maintain a healthy Chin. I tested cheaper chin food, and I noticed my chins did not have the energy or luster I was used to seeing when I had fed them my favorite chin foods
Here Are My Top 3 Picks For Chinchilla Food (Pellets)
- Oxbow essentials (click to check current price on Amazon) – Oxbow is more readily available than APD and is actually very comparable in my opinion. The differences in the nutritional analysis is an insignificant difference. This is my top pick!
- Mazuri pellets (click to check the current price on Amazon) – This is your pricier option among these three, but it is an excellent chinchilla food. The nutritional differences are so small that I think it comes down to availability and price.
- APD-Alffy Pellets (American Pet Diner) (click to check current price on Amazon) – It is extremely hard to find, rarely in stock. But when it was available was the choice of most top breeders. It’s sad that it is disappearing from the marketplace. When it was readily available years ago, it was my first choice.
Why I Picked Oxbow Essentials Chinchilla Pellets
When you sit down and compare Oxbow Essentials to American Pet Diners’ Alffy, the difference boils down to availability!
- Oxbow is a nutritionally complete pellet food for chinchillas.
- My chins love this stuff.
- My Chins fur looks amazing, and their energy level is notably higher.
For 6 years my oldest chin has been eating Supreme Petfoods Science Selective Chinchilla Food pellets without any issues. A couple of months ago she had an issue with her eye and was only eating hay so I decided to change a few things, including their food, to see how she and my 2-year-old chin would do on the Oxbow Essentials. It’s a tiny bit more expensive but I figured I’d mix the two together. They now refuse to eat the other pellets. I had to take back the unopened bags I had purchased. If I try to mix their old food with the new Oxbow they’ll pick through and only eat the Oxbow pellets. The Oxbow cost a little more, but they are totally worth it in my opinion because my babies are eating more and being happy. They really love this food. We will be sticking with these pellets from now on. I couldn’t switch back even if I wanted to! – Julie
Here is a great clip about Oxbow; the owner, the product and the quality:
Timothy Grass Meal, Soybean Hulls, Wheat Middlings, Soybean Meal, Cane Molasses, Sodium Bentonite, Soybean Oil, Salt, Lignin Sulfonate, Limestone, Yeast Culture (dehydrated), Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Copper Sulfate, Selenium Yeast, Vitamin A Supplement, Folic Acid, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Biotin, Manganous Oxide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Magnesium Sulfate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Cobalt Carbonate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Calcium Iodate
Alfalfa Hay, Wheat Middlings, Beet Pulp, Soybean Meal, Molasses, Sodium Bentonite, Soy Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Yeast Culture, Choline Chloride, Soy Oil, Yucca Schidigera Extract, DL-Methionine, Hydrated Sodium Calcium Aluminosilicate, Banana Flavor, Monocalcium-dicalcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid, Magnesium Oxide, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Copper Proteinate, Vitamin D Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Ethylenediamine dihydroiodide, Menadion Dimethylpyrimidinol Bisulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Cobalt Carbonate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid.
Dehydrated alfalfa meal, dehulled soybean meal, wheat middlings, ground timothy hay, ground oats, ground soybean hulls, wheat germ, dried beet pulp, cane molasses, dicalcium phosphate, flaxseed, soybean oil, dried whey, salt, calcium carbonate, dl-methionine, choline chloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, magnesium oxide, d-alpha tocopheryl acetate (form of vitamin E), l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (stabilized vitamin C), vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, yeast culture, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, calcium pantothenate, zinc oxide, nicotinic acid, copper sulfate, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, manganous oxide, ferrous carbonate, zinc sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, cobalt carbonate.
Final thought on selecting Chinchilla Pellets
Your Chinchilla will be a happy and healthy chin if he is fed correctly. He needs access to pellets at all times. Make sure that the pellets are fresh and that you keep them in an airtight container to maintain freshness. Sometimes buying loose pellets from a pet shop is not always the best option. If Chinchillas are not particularly popular as pets in your area, the pellets may have been sitting waiting to be sold in the pet shop for some time, meaning that you are buying stale pellets, that have already lost much of their nutritional content. You will find that your Chinchilla will still eat them, but you will not know for sure if they are giving him everything he needs to keep healthy.
Loose Timothy Hay
As part of your chins daily diet, he also requires hay every day or every other day. This should be a handful of fresh, loose Timothy Hay. Hay and pellets make up the main source of feed, packed full of vitamins and nutrients, necessary for your pet’s health, along with access to fresh drinking water at all times.
Loose Timothy Hay (click to check current price on Amazon) is one thing that my Chins eat daily. Edible hay comes in all sorts of varieties. Among all, the most common hay fodder being fed to chinchillas would be Timothy and alfalfa. I only recommend LOOSE Timothy hay, and it can be free fed, they must have this forage in their diet. All chinchilla pellets primarily are Alfalfa based, so they do not require an excessive amount of more alfalfa for it is too high in calcium. This is why Timothy hay is recommended. 2nd Cut Timothy hay is the best.
The hay that I recommend and use is found at Amazon. (see link above) Pet store hay is NOT RECOMMENDED unless it’s a fresh bale from a feed store. Pet store hay (i.e., Petsmart/Petco etc.) is typically stale, brittle, and too old by the time it gets on the shelf. It is typically brownish in color. HAY IS NOT GOOD IF IT HAS A BROWN TINT TO IT. Hay should be a bright green color and fairly pliable.