Chinchillamagic

Helping you care for your chinnie

Nutrition

Rabbit food or chinchilla food

This is just something I’m thinking of and I will write about the food later. I need to calm down first.
There is this big debate about rabbit food or chinchilla food. Let me tell you a secret. Chinchilla food is modified rabbit food. The argument is always “Chinchillas are not rabbits”. No, they are not. Chinchillas are from the order Rodentia and rabbits are from the order Lagomorpha.
What is the difference. Rodents are not always strictly herbivores, a lot of them eat insects and meat. Lagomorphs tend to be strictly herbivore, with very few exceptions. This is where people get the misconception that chinchillas eats insects. They read about rodents and applied it to chinchillas. You can’t. The other difference between rodents and lagomorphs are the teeth. Lagomorphs have the same type of teeth as rodents, they just have more. They have 4 incisors in the upper jaw. Just like chinchillas, the teeth grow throughout their lives.
I studied the natural diet of chinchillas, as documented by researchers working on the Reserva in Chile. They studied the poop of wild chinchillas over a few years. From this they could identify everything chinchillas ate and how it changed with the seasons. There was no evidence of anything but plants, making chinchillas in nature strictly herbivores.
When you then compare chinchillas to the rest of the rodents, you will find that apart from the amount of teeth, they are more like rabbits than like a lot of the other rodents, like rats, mice, etc. The same applies for cavies (guinea pigs) and a lot of other rodents. All that differs is the amount of teeth.
Take it a step further and look at the nutritional needs. Compare the nutritional needs of a rabbit to that of a chinchilla, or a guinea pig for that matter. I’ll bet you didn’t ever think of this. Take mammals. They all need the same stuff, protein, carbohydrates, fat, sugar, vitamins, minerals, etc. They just need it in different quantities and they get it from different sources.
Apart from their teeth, a chinchilla and a rabbit needs the same nutrients, in pretty much the same quantities. What else differs? The way they digest it. Rabbits need a lot more greens and chinchillas can’t eat a lot of greens. It goes about the moisture content, not the nutrients it contains. Rabbits also need hay for fiber but they get fiber from greens too. Rabbits need to keep their teeth short too. Chinchillas can’t eat all the greens so they need it from dry leaves, bark, roots etc, the stuff they eat in nature. We give them hay to make up for this. If you compare the nutrients chinchillas need to the greens a healthy rabbit should eat, you will notice that it is pretty much a match. Chinchillas just can’t handle all the moisture.
This makes the diet of a chinchilla more similar to the diet of a rabbit than to the diet of many other rodents, it is just the teeth and the way the digestive system works. It is because of the habitat they involved in, the basic nutritional needs are the same. They just get it from different sources.
So why isn’t rabbit food good? Because of protein and fat. A rabbit can cope with more protein and fat than a chinchilla can. It can also cope with less fiber. The difference is not big though. The main reason rabbit pellets is not good for chinchillas is the high protein and fat, it also tends to lack vitamins and minerals and contain a lot less fiber.
Why? Because rabbit food was developed to make rabbits grow fast, not to make them live long. Rabbits are still seen as livestock, they are bred for food. There is no need for them to live 15-20 years because they get eaten long before that age.
A little secret. How do breeders get such big chinnies and get them to grow so fast? They feed them rabbit food. Boost the protein and fat and they get bigger, breed faster and give bigger kits. They also die a lot younger.
In recent years there have been a shift from the traditional rabbit pellets to more specialized rabbit pellets for pet rabbits. Did anyone think of comparing the 2? I did. I also compared a lot of chinchilla food brands to both the nutritional needs of chinchillas and to the specialized rabbit pellets.
Based on what they eat in nature and the research done and published by the biologists doing research in the Reserva in Chile, you get a very accurate picture of what the nutritional needs of chinchillas are. Take this info, I wrote about it a few months ago and quoted the sources, and compare it to traditional rabbit pellets, the new healthier rabbit pellets, the different brands of chinchilla pellets and you get the following.
The newer, healthier and more specialized rabbit pellets are closer to the nutritional needs of a chinchilla than a lot of “specialized” chinchilla pellets on the market. The traditional rabbit pellets are not, they contain too much protein and fat, often from an animal source like fish meal or bone meal.
Healthy food for chinchillas and healthy food for rabbits are the same. I had rabbits for many years. The moment I discovered what I now feed my chinchillas (and have for the past 7 years) I started feeding my rabbits what I feed my chinchillas. I gave away the last rescue rabbits I had a few months ago. The change I noticed when I changed their diet to a chinchilla diet was remarkable.
Traditional rabbit pellets are still made to make a lot of rabbits and to make them get big and fat fast. These properties are used by breeders to achieve the same in chinchillas. There are brands of chinchilla food that achieves the same.
I couldn’t care less what it is called. I look at what it is made of and what the nutritional values are. For me it goes about if it is made from the right plants, with the right percentages of the right nutrients, the right vitamins and the right minerals. They can call it chicken food for all I care.
I can promise you this. There are brands of rabbit food that is more suitable for chinchillas than a lot of brands of chinchilla food is. Just because it has a picture of a chinchilla on the packet, it doesn’t mean it is good.
In our day and age all this information is available, people just don’t read it. Just like they won’t read this and won’t check up on what I said.
I will write an article later about food, why it kills chinchillas. I have enough examples but currently I am way too upset, I can’t get personal and right now I will.

Amy and one of the boys.

Amy and one of the boys.

Why food kills chinchillas

I’ll spell it out. Too few people will read it and too few will believe it. They will also not check up on what I will write now but it will mean I did my part.
Over the years I wrote in detail about the nutritional needs of chinchillas. I wrote a detailed article about Vitamins, exactly how each Vitamin is vital to the body and how it influences every single thing that happens on cellular level. I explained how everything is interlinked and forms a chain. Take out just one part, replace it with another or add something that doesn’t belong and you weaken the chain.
The human body works the same. If you eat unhealthy, your body pays the price. There must be a balance in what you eat to stay healthy, every organism on this earth needs a specific balance to fulfill it’s specific needs. The information for this is available. You can find the nutritional needs of any species that has some value to humans.
In the past I shied away from discussing specific brands of food and I shied away from attacking what others in South Africa sells as chinchilla food. I gave all the facts in the past and hoped that people will take the trouble to read and understand it. This didn’t work so I will tell you exactly. To protect myself, this is my own opinion, the way I see it. I will still not name brands.
What is a balanced diet? Take a human. Dish up a plate of food. There is a bit of meat, potatoes, carrots, spinach, cabbage, a fresh green salad and a small bowl of ice cream. All in all a pretty well balanced meal. You can even market it as a well balanced meal. You can say this meal contains, eg, 15% Protein, 30% carbohydrates, 30% fiber, 2% calcium, Vit A, B, C, D, E, K, Omega 3 and 6, iron, phosphorus, choline, etc. You will be perfectly right and it will be true.
Now you eat the meal. Instead of eating everything, you eat the meat and the ice cream because it tastes better than the veggies and salad. Did you have a balanced meal? Off course not. You got the protein, iron, some sugar and a few other things. What about the rest?
Healthy humans don’t eat like this, you make choices. Have you ever paid attention to how a chinchilla eats? The first thing it will do is pick out all the tit bits, the dried fruit, etc. It will not eat the pellets. If it knows there will be more coming, it will not eat the pellets, why should it? There is better stuff coming. Just wait, the human will give more. This makes certain brands of food sell very well, after all the chinchillas love it. Kids love candy too. There is no way on this earth they will ever get a balanced diet this way. What is in that packet is balanced, it is no lie. They just don’t eat it all.
Do you know what most rescues by far die of? Fatty liver disease. I wrote about it in detail. Do you know on which diet most of them were? The imported food that contains a lot of treats. The ones that were not on imported food were on rabbit pellets. The average age they live to? 6 Years.
I don’t only take rescues. I also take chinchillas that come here to retire because their owners can’t care for them anymore. They come with the food they were on. The ones that have been on treat filled imported food for most of their lives all die before they are 6 years old. So does the ones who were on rabbit pellets. The ones that were on either our food or the same lucerne pellets we use are all still here, every single one. Not ONE that was on the right diet died, except the ones who got way too many treats, they died. Some arrived here as old chinchillas and have been here for over 6 years now. They don’t even look old yet.
People don’t realize the huge impact food have on the immune system and on future generations. If the immune system is weak because of bad food or because of poor nutrition received from the mother, all it takes is the stress of a move to trigger an underlying disease like fatty liver or a parasite like giardia. Once it is triggered, there is nothing you can do to reverse fatty liver disease. With a parasite you have a small chance. So far the longest any chinchilla that arrived here with giardia lived was 6 months, that is with treatment from the moment I noticed it and the treatment is 100% effective on chinchillas on a good diet. I have enough friends that took in very young chinchillas that suddenly got giardia because of stress. They were on the right diet from an early age and are all still alive.
The thing I get often nowadays is that someone will phone me with a problem. I will ask what they feed and they will answer that they feed my food. So I ask a bit more. It will turn out that they don’t buy it from me, they buy it from someone else. Because it looks the same it must be the same. It is not.
It is no secret how I make the food. It is on my website and I put it on here a few months ago, with the manufacturers. You can buy it from exactly where I buy it because I gave you all the information.
I got a call this morning from someone who used to buy from me. She took in a male chinchilla that weighed over 650g. He is not big, he was fat. She changed him to our food and he lost almost 150g. He was healthy and fit. She started buying from someone who makes “my” food. In a month he picked up over 100g. She phoned me because she was concerned about his sudden weight gain. On Monday I will courier her food at my expense and we will hope there was not too much damage.
This is how it all happened. I started making MiniMagic over 7 years ago, after months of research. I started selling it to friends after a lot more research. Shops heard about it and a few buys from me. Later Willie started helping me because I am not good with business and actually lost money.
About 3 years ago the “recipe” was freely handed out to some people and they started making and selling it. No problem with that, it goes about the chinchillas. It was on my website all along anyways. It just became personal but not for me. If you read what I write you should realize by now that it all goes about what is best for the chinchillas.
Over the years I helped “friends” to save them money. They became competition. There is nothing wrong with healthy competition. It is just cheaper to use other ingredients and it increases the profit. Suddenly I started getting more and more calls from people who lost babies, mothers and had problems with bloat, constipation and diarrhea. They can’t understand why because they use “my” food.
Turns out they don’t. They use one of the same pellets. The rest they buy from other mills. Since it looks the same it should be the same. It is not. Why didn’t they lose babies all the years they bought from me. Why didn’t their chinchillas get bloat, constipation or diarrhea? Why does it happen now?
Here’s why. I said this often and will say it again before I explain. You don’t have to buy from me, I have very loyal customers that will never buy from anyone else. You can buy from exactly the mills I buy from and make the food exactly the same way I do. Only you don’t because it is too expensive and the profit is too small.
It goes about the balance and the ingredients the pellets are made of. By this time everyone knows Leeuwfontein pellets are good because I told everyone. They even copied my label so I had to change it. For all I know, someone can have exactly the same food I do. I just doubt it. I doubt they use the same lucerne (alfalfa) pellets. The pellets I use is the most expensive in South Africa. You can buy rabbit pellets that looks exactly the same for half the price. Who will know? You can change the ratio of Leeuwfontein pellets to lucerne pellets because the round pellets costs 5 times what the lucerne pellets costs. It will still look good, all you do is add a lot of goji berries, some breakfast cereal and who-knows-what.
This gives you a food that looks pretty impressive and they love it. Have you noticed that they eat out all the round pellets and treats? They eat very little of the “lucerne” pellets. The round pellets on it’s own is a good diet, nothing wrong with it. It just lacks fiber and a few other things you only get in good lucerne pellets. The problem with the other pellets is that there are far cheaper sources of protein than lucerne and soya. There are also far cheaper sources of vitamins and minerals than wheat millings. You can boost the protein with animal products like fish meal or bone meal. You can boost vitamins and minerals with synthetic additives. There are even international brands that use powdered milk.
Regulations in South Africa are terrible. Did you know that any pellets must be registered? It must have a number and the packaging must contain certain information? This will tell you what is used to make it. Did you know that a lot of the synthetic additives are banned in other countries and banned from human food? Did you realize that a chinchilla body can’t break down all animal protein? Most turns into fat, which causes fatty liver disease. They grow fast, look great for a few years and die young.
Did you know that a lot of the synthetic additives and “cheaper” sources of nutrition can’t be broken down by the chinchilla body? It causes fatty liver disease and kidney damage. It also prevents the body from using what is actually there.
You see it in the fur, in the babies and as they age. If it doesn’t matter to you that they die young, I can’t help you. If your chinchilla suddenly gains a lot of weight, this is probably why. Or you feed too many treats. A chinchilla will only eat so much in 24 hours. Except for treats, they will stuff their faces with treats, just like kids with cake. This leaves no space and no appetite for the healthy nutrition they need. This is why I don’t give treats and why everything in the food is there for a specific reason, also in a very specific ratio. It goes about a healthy balance.
People know my chinchillas and they know Willie’s chinchillas. I get many visitors, so does Willie. You can see what we feed. Have you ever seen any of the chinchillas I bred and kept that is sick? Ever? When something goes wrong or I lose a chinchilla I write about it because it helps others. Have you noticed that I do not lose a single baby from parents I bred, not one so far. I lost babies in the past and some died after I sold them.
I bought those parents, years ago. I didn’t breed them. When there was a genetic fault, I replaced them, free of charge. I systematically replaced all my breeding chinchillas with babies I bred from chinnies I bought. I still have a few I bought and a few I got as presents. Every single baby I lost was from one of those, not from parents I bred and raised.
I will not speak for other breeders and I hate using my chinchillas as example because it sounds like bragging. I don’t tell people how popular my chinchillas are or how good they are. There are much better breeders than I am.
So why are my chinchillas so popular? Because so few of them die and they make such good parents. I also replace a young chinnie that dies. This hasn’t happened in 2 years. I lose babies from parents I didn’t breed but I haven’t lost a baby older than 10 weeks in 2 years. Willie breeds with them, so does a few friends. In fact, I lost only 2 that were older than 10 weeks in the past few years. Both were from parents I didn’t breed and those parents are retired now, there was no more litters.
Chinchillas can die at any time, I wrote 2 pieces on it that got a tremendous amount of views. There is always a reason. If they die before they are about 15 years old or even more, it is most likely not natural. It is either bad breeding, bad husbandry or bad food. Bad food includes treats. I am very happy with what I achieved over the past 8 years. I still have every single adult chinchilla I bred and kept, I didn’t lose one. All I lost came from elsewhere. The only time I see my Vet is with a rescue or with a friend. She even refers people to me.
It is the food. It is what the food is made of. It is the balance. It is what is in the food and what is not in the food. It is what I feed them and what I don’t feed them, nothing else. I even wrote exactly what I do to try and help people. They don’t believe me. I can’t make them read and I can’t make them believe me. I am very happy with the condition of my chinchillas and the extremely low mortality rate. I am especially happy that I still have a 0% adult mortality rate with chinnies I bred. Some of them are almost 8 years old now.
The food people sell here will always be known as “my” food, after all I came up with it and nobody can take it away from me. It took them 5 years to realize it is good and there is money in it. It took them exactly ONE bunch of their own version to totally screw it up because they want to save costs and they didn’t do the research. It is all available. Hell, I even wrote about it with references, from recognized published academic papers. They never checked and never realized.
This is why so many chinchillas suddenly die young and why breeders lose so many babies. This is why nobody does exactly the same I do. It is too expensive, they will not do it for such a small profit. It is easier to just throw a bunch of stuff in a bag and sell it as chinchilla food. Even big companies does it, why shouldn’t you?
I have done my bit. Few will read this and more chinchillas will die. I believe in total openness and honesty. I share everything. I told you how to make the food exactly like I do. I told you why and I told you what will happen if you don’t. It’s happening and it will happen more and more. All the complications and problems that is suddenly around is bad food, too many treats and stupid breeding choices.
If you feed your chinchillas rubbish, don’t phone me with your problems. I can’t fix it. The damage is permanent, you can’t reverse it. Take the time to read about it. Ask people who actually know. It is all available.
You don’t have to buy my food. I shared everything. All you need to do is buy the right food and mix it in the right balance. Since there are cheaper options, people don’t do it.
If you don’t listen, I can’t help you.

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Why treats are dangerous

Because people overdo it. You can take any food source and you will find good and bad in it. The biggest problem is that people only read to the part where it says “apple”, “cranberry”, “raisin” or whatever. If someone mentions it it must be safe. They don’t read the part where it says a small piece or ONE ONCE A WEEK.
Everything that can be digested will affect the body. All mammals (and other animals) have organs to sort out the bad stuff. The liver detoxifies the blood, for example. It can just only do that much before it picks up problems.
The best example I could think of is alcohol. Obviously chinchillas don’t use it but think of it this way. There are scientific studies that proves both advantages and disadvantages of alcohol. It depends on the amount. A glass of wine a day will probably not shorten your life, it might even be good for you. A bottle of Vodka a day will kill you long before you are old.
We don’t give treats because we don’t want to mess with the balance of the diet. We don’t agree on everything but we do agree on the basic diet. For me the diet includes a SMALL piece of apple once a week. The rest is part of the food. Just like the hay is part of the daily diet. In my case I just use apple to keep the tummies of rescues working because without it they will get constipated and die.
Healthy chinchillas don’t need apple, the food is enough. It is a personal thing for me. We don’t give them anything without a reason. I have reasons for giving apple, Willie have reasons for not giving it. We see each others point so it is fine.
Nobody gives my chinnies anything. I feed them, nobody else. I know exactly what they get and why. Off course we want to spoil them. I will just not spoil them with anything that can shorten their lifespan with one single day or maybe cause health problems when they get old. The price is too high.
It goes about the balance. Take bee pollen, which everyone now talks about. I won’t give it. With a diet that is worked out to give exactly the amount of protein they need I can’t give anything that will push the daily protein intake to over 18%, not even once a week. More protein than they need turns into fat they can’t burn. I can’t give them a treat that contains 35% protein and 55% carbohydrates, it will make them fat. The fat builds up, packs around the liver and eventually causes liver failure (fatty liver disease). Our bodies can burn the fat, theirs can’t.
With a low protein diet it will make sense to give a treat that boosts the protein a bit, just not over 18% of the daily nutritional value. Vitamins and minerals all affect each other. They need each other to work but if the balance is not right, they also cause each other not to be absorbed or causes too much to be absorbed.
Everything is linked and everything affects something. If the “bad” can be safely handled and neutralized by the body and the “good” outweighs it, there is no problem. It must just be see in conjunction with the whole diet.
Every treat they eat takes the place of something else. If the nutritional values of the treat is within the safe parameters, there is no problem. If it causes an imbalance the body can’t fix the negative effects will escalate, leading to health problems when they are older.
I spoil my chinchillas with attention and good food. I will just not risk their health, even if it makes them happy. If they don’t know what a raisin is, they won’t miss it.

Sugar

There is this big hype about sugar in food and treats. Just a few basics.
Sugar comes in a few forms, like fructose (sugar in fruit), sucrose (cane sugar) and glucose (grape sugar). There are more but they all serve the same purpose. It is the fuel that gives your body energy. It is also widely misunderstood.
Sugar is basically carbohydrates and it occurs in most plants. It occurs in every plant that is used to make chinchilla food. This means your chinchilla already gets sugar in the diet, it is just called carbohydrates. Without this, the chinnie won’t have the energy it needs to do anything. If the energy is not available, it will burn body tissue like muscle weight and cells to get energy.
The problem is not sugar itself. I won’t distinguish between the different types because a mammal’s body breaks it down to the same “pieces” to be able to absorb it. Bottom line, without sugar they can’t function.
The problem is the source. Sugar from wheat or hay releases slowly over a long period and is digested slowly. There is never a “spike” or “overload” of sugar, just a constant supply. Treats like raisins releases a lot of sugar fast, the body can’t absorb it and it turns into fat. The liver processes the broken down sugar and distributes it through the body.
With chinchillas the main problem is the work load a sudden “spike” in sugar places on the liver. It can’t handle all of it, it turns into fat, the fat accumulates around the liver and eventually causes fatty liver disease.
You can’t say a treat or food is bad because it contains sugar. If you do this, you can’t feed your chinchillas anything. What you need to know is how the sugar releases, what the ratio is compared to other nutrients and if there is a balance. This means you have to check each plant. Nobody will do this. OK, I do it, hahaha, because it interests me.
It is not the sugar, it is how much there is compared to eg Vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc. and how it works in the body. A few comparisons. Apple contains 10,4% sugar, banana 12,2%, grapes 15,5%, pear 9,8%, carrot 4,7%. These values means nothing if not read in context with everything else.
Fruit like apple, pear and banana provides other values and digest in a specific way. Grapes (raisins) just gives a sugar spike. There is no fat in sugar, 99,98% of granulated white sugar is carbohydrates. Chinchillas needs carbohydrates, just not 99,8% and it must be digested slowly to provide constant energy, not a “spike” in energy.
Fat is not sugar but sugar can become fat. Carbohydrates are sugars (very basically) and it gives you an indication of how much sugar there is. It is essential in any diet.
Don’t blame sugar. Too much protein and fat causes just as much damage as too much sugar. Blame the way the specific food or treat releases the sugar and what the body does with it.
Obviously you can’t know them all. The way I judge it is to compare it to the other benefits. Is it worth it to feed it? Does it actually benefit the body or is it chinchilla candy? If it is chinchilla candy I don’t feed it. If the other benefits outweighs the sugar and the sugar is digested the right way, there is no problem. It is natural.
This brings us back to the old argument about treats. To comment on sugar, you must understand all of this. This is even less than the basics, it is extremely complex. It is also an essential part of their diet.
It must just be in the right form so it can be digested the right way. “Because it contains sugar” is therefore not an answer. How much sugar, what type, how it is digested and what the other benefits are, that is an answer.

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Apples

Nutritional values of apples
Source: SelfNutritionData (the website I use to check a lot of nutritional values).
Nutrition facts per 125g serving.
Fat – 0g.
Cholesterol – 0mg.
Sodium – 1mg.
Total carbohydrate – 17g (6% of recommended daily value). This includes 3g dietry fiber and 13g sugars.
Protein – 0,3g.
65 calories, 3% of recommended daily value.
When you break down the sugar you find the following:
Sucrose 2588mg.
Glucose 3038g.
Fructose 7375mg.
Vitamins (% of daily value)
Vit A – 1%
Vit C – 10%
Vit E – 1%
Vit K – 3%
Thiamin – 1%
Riboflavin – 2%
Niacin – 1%
Vit B6 – 3%
Folate – 1%
Choline – 4,2mg. (The stuff that makes your nerves work).
Minerals (% of daily value)
Calcium – 1%
Iron – 1%
Magnesium – 2%
Phosphorus – 1%
Potassium – 4%
Copper – 2%
Manganese – 2%
Summery (rated out of 5 for benefits):
Weight loss: 3/5.
Weight gain: 2/5.
Optimum health: 3/5.
Given the fact that carbohydrates in pelleted food is as high as 35% (where the natural sugar comes from to provide energy for the body), I can’t see the problem. If you know what the sugar actually does and where it comes from, about 11% sugar (which is carbohydrates anyways) is way below what is considered safe. The value of apple doesn’t reflect in the nutritional values, it just proves that there is nothing dangerously high.
My chinchillas gets a small piece of apple once a week. It prevents constipation and provides both Vit C and Choline. Rescues with small poop gets apple every second day till it is normal, then twice a week to keep it normal. Lenny gets apple twice a week. He will get constipated if he doesn’t. My babies grow up with apple. There is no bloat and no constipation, ever.
Don’t tell me apple is not good because it contains sugar. Tell me about the sugar and what it does. Compare it to everything else you feed them.
Have you seen how a chinnie that is used to apple eats it? They will take a few nibbles and then drop the rest. They do not gorge themselves on apple.
The problem with all the types of food is that the values are recommended for humans. To put it in perspective, you must compare it to the nutritional needs of chinchillas. If you don’t know this you can’t give an opinion. They do not eat apples in nature but they do eat fruit from shrubs and cacti. They also don’t eat pellets in nature. They don’t even eat much hay in nature because they get fiber from other sources. Where they live, there is very little grass but a lot of shrubs.
Given the benefits of preventing constipation and bloat, the fact that it doesn’t contain any protein and the natural sugar that is low enough to be outweighed by the benefits, I am comfortable to give my chinnies apple once a week. I have for 9 years and I will forever.

apples

Rolled oats

I’m not answering or giving opinions anywhere. When I read a remark somewhere that is not based on facts, I will just give the facts here. This is for pure rolled oats, no rubbish added.
Serving size: 81g
Total fat: 5g (5% Recommended daily value (RDV))
Total carbohydrate: 56g (19% RDV)
Dietry fiber: 8g (33% RDV)
Sugars: 1g
Protein: 11g

Fat and fatty acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving
Total Fat: 5.3g (8% RDV)
Saturated Fat: 0.9g (4% RDV)
Monounsaturated Fat: 1.6g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.9g
Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 81.0mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids: 1782mg

Vitamins and minerals
Vit E: 2%, Vit K: 2%, Thiamin (Vit B2): 25%, Riboflavin (B): 7%, Niacin (B), 5%, B6: 4%, Folate: 6%, Pantothenic acid: 9%. Choline: 32,7mg.
Calcium: 42,1 g /4% RDV, Iron: 3,4mg/19% RDV, Magnesium: 112mg/28% RDV, Phosphorus: 332mg/ 33% RDV, Potassium: 293mg/ 8% RDV. Sodium: 4,9mg. Zinc: 2,9mg RDV, Copper: 0,3mg/ 16% RDV, Manganese: 2,9mg/ 147% RDV, Selenium: 23,4mcg/ 33% RDV.

Then they give a nutritional value opinion. I quote:” The food is low in saturated fat and very low in Cholestorol and Sodium. It is also a good source of dietary fiber, Phosphorus and Selenium and a very good source of Magnesium.

To add, There is not enough phosphorus in hay to help the body absorb the calcium, it needs help. Rolled oats is the help. The biggest cause of seizures in chinchillas is Thiamin (Vit B2) deficiency. Here you get 29% of what you need a day. Choline is the stuff that makes the nerve endings send the signal to the cell receptors by keeping the liquid between the 2 healthy.
Do you know the difference between good and bad fat? 3% fat or 5% fat means nothing if you don’t know what fat it is.
My chinchilla seats rolled oats every day in their food, a measured amount. It is part of their diet. They don’t get calcium or Thiamin deficiency. They also don’t get fat. If you read this you will realize that there is so little bad fat in here it doesn’t matter, even if it was more, the benefits so far outweigh it that I would still give it. You just need to know what it means. Calcium without phosphorus means nothing to the body.
Don’t tell me it makes them fat. Don’t tell me they can have it once in a while. Check the facts, then give an answer. I won’t paste this all over the groups. I can’t sleep and am tired. This took me 15% to confirm what I already knew, just to be sure.
You want to give advice in groups. Give advice then, don’t guess.
If I read that in the morning instead of at 2 in the night, I would’ve taken the time to prove you wrong on your own group. You can’t guess when you give advice.
“Because it makes them fat” is not an answer. This is an answer. You don’t even have to give the values. Just understand it and say it, guessing is for playing Trivial Pursuit.

rolled-oats

How you get cheated with chinchilla food

No reflection on any brand or what anyone does. I will not discuss what we do or compare it to what anyone else does. I share way too much anyways, they still don’t listen.
The local food first, then a few international brands.
The food a lot of people are buying now is based on what I started 7 years ago. It is (or should be) a mixture of high quality lucerne (alfalfa) pellets and the round pellets you got to know. This is how it works.
The lucerne pellets. The price is determined by the ingredients the mill use. Our mill makes the most expensive lucerne pellets I know of. I asked around. I also couldn’t find a mill who does exactly the same, a few come close but not close enough.
It was developed with health in mind, not growth. You get better growth from rabbit pellets because it contains more protein. It means you can even get bigger babies, and more. It is not natural growth. 2 Generations later the babies get small again and you wonder why. When they do, they get really small and a lot die. Because of the balance, rabbit pellets is made as cheap as possible, with growth and reproduction being the most important factors. Oh, you get this with some chinchilla food too. They upped the protein and fat. It gives more babies, bigger babies, they grow a lot faster and the adults are bigger.
This is not natural. But I already explained this a hundred times. Back to what you buy.
Good lucerne pellets is close to a complete diet but it lacks a few crucial vitamins and minerals. The round pellets contains all the vitamins and minerals but lacks fiber. It also contains only that much. For a chinchilla to get enough of the RDA (recommended daily allowance), they must eat enough of the round balls or you are just bluffing yourself.
Rabbit pellets are dirt cheap. Good lucerne pellets are more expensive but still very cheap compared to the round pellets. The round pellets costs about 4 times as much as good lucerne pellets. So you just put in less. People still see it in the food so they are happy. Well, it is then just window dressing, there is not enough to be of any nutritional benefit. Your chinchilla doesn’t get remotely close to the RDA of vital vitamins and minerals for sustained health. You won’t notice it in the first generation. 2 or 3 generations down the line you will, then it can’t be fixed.
This means the breeder who sells you a chinnie sells you a chinnie that looks fine but if you feed them the same, that’s where the problems starts. It only takes a few generations and the original breeding pair doesn’t show it, they never will. They will just die way too young.
It’s basically economics. The hay and round pellets, the 2 or 3 goji berries and maybe a bit of rose hip, that’s what makes it look good. Oh, and the label. If there is a chinchilla on the label and it says chinchilla food it must be right, right???? Don’t bluff yourself. To make food like that is dirt cheap. You pay for what looks like good food. In fact you are buying glorified lucerne pellets if you are lucky. If you are unlucky, you are buying glorified rabbit pellets. They just make it look nice. It all goes about the RDA and the balance. The right balance is not cheap, the profit margin is just too low. Pure economics, not health. Oh, and it must keep in mind that you also feed hay. It must compensate for it or your chinchilla won’t absorb the calcium, other minerals and vitamins. All in the balance.
The better international brands are usually single pellets. It is calculated and designed by people who know the needs of chinchillas. I said yesterday why this doesn’t work for me. I don’t believe in a single pellet diet. But a good single diet pellet is pretty close to right. I just believe it can be more right. This is why supplements are so popular overseas. We do not give supplements. The only supplements I give is for rescues dying of fatty liver caused by rubbish food.
Then off course there is the food that contains a lot of treats and a few pellets. By law it must reflect the nutritional information, just the basics. You can find the rest on the internet and it lacks an awful lot. Your chinnies will do better on pure good lucerne pellets than on this. They will live longer. Here’s why.
Even people from other countries commented on this because they noticed it too. I think there was a discussion on my wall about it a few weeks ago. If you take that food as a whole it will meet the nutrition the packet says. But have you noticed how they eat it? They pick out the nice bits and leave the pellets. Where is the balance in that? Then people still wonder why they get fatty liver disease. It’s because you feed them a diet that is meant to be a treat. Only you give it to them all the time. The stores don’t stock the other pellets because these sells better. They don’t know the difference and they do not care. It sells. After all, it is imported and it is expensive. It must be good, right??????
Chinchillas love this food. Kids also love candy. It all goes about profit, nothing else. The saddest thing ever? There are shops who have chinchillas, owners of shops who owns chinchillas and they feed their own chinchillas my food. Nothing else. They just don’t stock it because they make 4 times more money on the imported food.
You can’t work out chinchilla food according to price. You work it out to have the full range of nutrition and in the right balance. Then you determine the price. People are buying glorified rabbit pellets with a nice picture of a chinchilla.