Why Chinchilla Won’t Eat Hay? This Is Why!

One of the common questions I see on threads and forums is why chinchillas won’t eat hay. Yes! These owners, the ones who are asking the question, have cute little chinchillas that don’t eat hay. However, what is the reason behind this dilemma every chinchilla owner experiences? Here, let me tell you why your chinchilla won’t eat hay. 

The common reason why your chinchilla won’t eat hay is because of dental problems. Maybe your chinchilla has gum or teeth problems, or maybe your chinchilla has sores inside its mouth. Another possible reason why chinchillas won’t eat hay is they are not used to eating hay and are accustomed to eating pellets instead. 

Your chinchilla loves to eat hay. However, if they are not accustomed to it, they will logically won’t eat hay even if their heart tells them to. Sometimes, your chinchilla may get tired of eating hay too, especially if you don’t add some other ingredients into their hay. I will give you three tips to make your pet chinchilla eat hay. Let us go check it out! 

What To Do To Make My Pet Chinchilla Eat Hay?

Below are the three things you can do to make your pet chinchilla eat their hay. Let us first check the first tip!

The Hay Must Be Fresh And Sweet-Smelling

First, to make your pet chinchilla eat its hay, you have to make sure you give them fresh and sweet-smelling hay. The hay should not be musty, moldy, or dusty. If your chinchilla did not finish their hay in their bowl and the hay seems to start to rot, throw it immediately and put fresh hay on their bowl.

Limit The Amount Of Pellets You Give

The other reason why your chinchilla won’t eat hay is that your chinchillas are accustomed to eating pellets instead of hay. Hay is an alien for them! So, what should you do?

The best thing you can do is to limit the amount of pellets you give to your chinchilla and give them hay. You should balance it. Never give your chinchilla too much hay or too much pellet. Make a schedule!

Make The Hay Looks Tasty

The next thing you can do to make your chinchilla eat its hay is to make its bowl of hay look tasty! How would you do that? By adding other ingredients, such as carrots or apples. Make sure to cut it bite-size so that your chinchilla won’t get choked.  

Also, you can spill apple juice on your chinchilla’s bowl full of hay to get your chinchilla interested in fresh hay. Make sure that the apple juice is a hundred percent fresh.

Add whatever fruits or veggies on the bowl of your chinchilla that is full of hay to make it tastier. But make sure that the veggies and fruits you add are fresh and suggested by vets. You can quickly search it on Google about the fruits and veggies chinchillas can intake.

Can Chinchilla Just Eat Hay?

Another most common question I see on forums is whether chinchillas can eat just hay. However, the answers on forums are mixed answers, which are solely based on the individual’s experience. Some owners there said yes and some said no. Let me give you a universal answer, which is based on proper research. 

Can chinchillas just eat hay? Yes! Chinchillas can technically live on just hay. However, it is not recommended by vets to feed your chinchilla on just hay and nothing else. Chinchillas that eat pellets and fresh foods will more likely be much healthier than chinchillas that only eat hay. 

In the wild, chinchillas only eat hay. That is why the lifespan of a wild chinchilla is 8-10 years only, while domesticated ones can live up to 15-20 years old. Why? Because domesticated chinchillas usually receive pellets and fresh foods, not only hay. 

Even though other factors determine how long a chinchilla would live, it is safe to say that domesticated chinchillas have a much more nutritional diet, which makes their lifespan longer. 

It is fine for your chinchilla to just eat hay as the main part of their diet. Hay is essential to make your chinchilla stay fit and healthy. Most owners love to leave hay in the bowl of their chinchillas so that their chinchilla will chew on it throughout the day.

It is best to ensure that your chinchilla always has hay in its food bowl. However, you should also make sure that you sometimes give them other varieties of food. For example, you give your chinchillas fresh veggies or fruits for their breakfast and after breakfast, you leave them a lot of hay in their food bowl. 

According to vets, 75% of your chinchilla’s diet should be made up of hay or fresh grasses. Hay is a rich source of fiber with low-calorie content. Also, it has 8% protein. 

Many believe that chinchillas can survive on hay alone. Others believe that adding a bit of variety into their diet is essential, such as pellets, fruit, and veggies. For me, I would suggest you give your chinchilla 75-80% of hay and the remaining percent is veggies, fruits, or pellets. This is what my friend is doing and because of this, his chinchillas live for more than 15 years!

How Much Hay Should My Pet Chinchilla Eat?

Hay is essential for your pet chinchilla and you should ensure there is always plenty of hay on their food bowl for them to chew on. When I say plenty, it means that they have access to hay at all times!

Overfeeding is bad for some pets. However, for chinchillas, it is different. The feeding habits of chinchillas differ from other pets! In the wild, wild chinchillas are grazers and they have access to hay and grasses all the time. They will eat whenever they want! They don’t have any schedule. 

However, you have to make sure that the hay you give to your pet chinchilla is of good quality. Why? Because if you give your pet chinchilla low-quality hay, their digestive system will not function properly, which can lead to gastrointestinal stasis.

Don’t worry! Because after this, I will tell you what type of hay you should give to your pet chinchilla. 

What Type Of Hay Should I Give To My Pet Chinchilla?

Choosing the best type of hay for your pet chinchilla is essential! There are many brands out there, which makes choosing very difficult. But don’t worry because today, I will list down the best type of hay you should be looking for to ensure that your chinchilla will be healthy! 

Also, I would advise that you buy hay in bulk so that you have lots of stocks. Like I have mentioned above, chinchillas will eat whenever they want! You need to be ready! You will often fill the racks of your chinchilla twice or thrice a day. Don’t worry because this is common.

Timothy Hay

Timothy hay is the most popular and best-selling hay for chinchillas. It is the most recommended type of hay! It is recommended by many owners and vets! You can buy this hay online and at pet stores easily. However, this may not be the cheapest type of hay. It can cost you lots of pennies. It is a great type of hay because it has a soft, leafy type texture with soft stems and has no added ingredients or unnecessary bits.

Orchard Grass Hay

The popularity of Orchard Grass Hay is the opposite of Timothy Hay because it is not that popular in terms of owners’ preferences. However, you can see them available online and in pet stores. It is cheaper compared to Timothy Hay and can be bought in bulk. Orchard grass hay is loved by chinchillas because of its soft texture and sweet smell and taste. Owners may don’t choose this but chinchillas will.

Alfalfa Hay

Alfalfa Hay is usually for horse’s diet. However, since the bulk of their diet also consists of good quality hay with lots of nutrients, it makes complete sense why you should feed this type of hay to your chinchilla. Alfalfa is available to buy online or in pet stores. It has high protein and fiber, but low in fat. Also, it has a sweet flavor and soft texture that your chinchillas would love!

Meadow Hay

Meadow hay is the same as Timothy hay. You will find no difference except the pricing. Meadow hay is much cheaper than Timothy hay. Meadow hay is available and can be bought in varying quantities right up to huge hay bales. Meadow hay is known as generic and because of that, it may contain a variety of grasses.

Final Verdict

Your chinchilla won’t eat hay because it has dental problems, finds hay disgusting, or is not used to eating hay. The best thing you should do to make your chinchilla eat hay is to bring them to the vet, make their hay look more delicious, and accustom them to hay. 

Hay is essential for your chinchilla. That is why you should not neglect and avoid doing something to make your chinchilla eat its hay. You should do something! Like I have said, 75-80% of the diet of chinchillas should be hay! If they are not eating hay, it might be dangerous for them. 

However, keep in mind also that you should give your chinchillas other food, such as fruits, veggies, and pellets. The remaining percent should be that of three other foods. By doing this, it will make the chinchilla’s lifespan longer! 

Source: lovemychinchilla.com, pocketpetsforever.com

Jake Willhoite
Jake runs AnimalDome.com and has had cats and dogs his entire life. As a kid his family adopted several dogs from the local shelter which set him down the path of animal rescue.
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