What's the Best Chinchilla Food?

Chinchilla food has become more refined over the past ten years. Many large ranchers still stick to their original formulas, but smaller breeders and pet owners have become more selective as more choices have become available. More foods have become available with growing popularity, but we should be more careful than ever.

Chinchillas have delicate digestive systems (so we have to be careful with treats). The staple of their diet is specially formulated pellets.

So what's the best food?


This seems to change every few years. For many years the primary choices were the Purina Mazuri brand and the Tradition Diet (manufactured from a rancher's formula in Ohio). There are also several other brands such as Kaytee, Charlie Chinchilla and L & M, but they are largely of poor quality. Now Oxbow Chinchilla Food has probably become the premier food (although it's also the most expensive) because of their careful attention to animal nutrition. I don't recommend Mazuri - it's manufactured by a large company who produces mostly for rabbits, dogs, and cats - meaning they've paid much less attention to their relatively unimportant chinchilla food.

Winner: Oxbow Chinchilla Deluxe

Other Choices?

There are other choices, too, especially if you are buying for a larger amount of chinchillas. High quality rabbit food is much more stable (because there are many more rabbits than chinchillas!) and can be substituted for chinchilla food. A good example is the Purina Mills Advanced Nutriton Show Rabbit Food, the food I personally use.

petsmart cageMost high quality rabbit foods are sufficient, if not excellent choices, as they are much less expensive and easier to find in bulk. Just compare the nutritional content to a high quality food like the Oxbow. There's no need to buy this food online... buy local!

Tradition is also a popular choice. Originally conceived by ranchers, many pet owners complain the quality has diminished over the past few years. It's also only available in most areas through breeders.

And yes, there are many other chinchilla food choices. But why pay more than you have to or take a chance with a lesser known brand? Just compare nutritional values to a food like Oxbow, and see what your chinchilla likes. After all, they are the most important judge!

Also, be careful with your water.

So what about supplement?

Widely accepted as not necessary, especially among the larger breeders. Many smaller breeders still use it, believing it helps develop a larger chinchilla. As a quality size is largely genetic, it's probably a waste, but I still offer supplement to my breeding chinchillas and sometimes the growing ones. You can learn more about that here.

Chinchillas also need (according to most) a hay to round out their diet. Chinchilla pellets are either alfalfa or timothy hay based, so it's important to have a hay that is different from that of the pellet. You will probably want a timothy hay or other mix, as the popular feeds are all alfalfa based.

Find out about treats for your chinchilla.

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