What Do Baby Chinchillas Eat? [The Complete Feeding Diet]


Chinchillas are delightful pets known for their soft fur and playful personalities. They’re mainly known for their dietary needs, which could lead to severe health issues if ignored.

Among the most common questions that new owners have is, “What do baby chinchillas eat?”

Getting your hands on a young chinchilla is exciting but also requires some essential knowledge.

While it might be tempting to think of these little critters as tiny adults, the truth is that baby chinchillas, also known as kits, have unique dietary requirements that differ slightly from their grown-up counterparts.

Knowing what to feed your new furry friend can be daunting, but don’t worry. We’re about to journey into baby chinchilla nutrition, ensuring you’re fully equipped to provide your kit with the best possible diet.

Nutritional Needs of Baby Chinchillas

Like humans, baby chinchillas have particular nutritional needs to support their growth and development. The correct balance of fiber, protein, fat, and essential vitamins and minerals is crucial to their well-being.

Firstly, fiber is a crucial component of a chinchilla’s diet, supporting its unique digestive system.

Chinchillas are hindgut fermenters, meaning they extract extra nutrition from their food by passing it through their gut twice. Providing a high-fiber diet helps this process and ensures proper digestion.

Next, protein is a vital element, especially for growing kits. It helps in muscle development and supports the growth of their luxurious fur. However, an excessive amount of protein can harm their kidneys. Hence, moderation is key.

Fat should be kept to a minimum in a chinchilla’s diet. Too much fat can lead to liver disease and obesity. However, a small amount is necessary for energy and maintaining healthy skin and fur.

Finally, chinchillas need essential vitamins and minerals for overall health. Calcium is crucial for bone development and dental health, given that a chinchilla’s teeth never grow.

What Can Baby Chinchillas Eat?

When it comes to feeding your baby chinchilla, it’s essential to remember the dietary needs we discussed earlier. The guiding principles are high fiber, moderate protein, and low fat.

  • Pellets: Chinchilla-specific pellets should be a staple in your kit’s diet. These are typically fiber-rich and contain enough protein and nutrients for your baby chinchilla. Be sure to choose a high-quality brand that doesn’t mix in treats or colorful pieces, as these often contain added sugars.

  • Hay: Not just any hay, but Timothy Hay is an excellent source of fiber for your baby chinchilla. Its coarse texture also helps to wear down their ever-growing teeth. You might ask, “Can baby chinchillas eat hay?” The answer is yes! It’s a crucial part of their diet from a young age.

  • Fresh Water: Always have fresh water available for your chinchilla. It helps in digestion and keeps them hydrated.

  • Treats should be given sparingly and constitute a minimal portion of their diet. Suitable treats include small pieces of fruits like apples and carrots. Always avoid sugary snacks.

How Often and How Much to Feed Baby Chinchillas

Feeding your baby chinchilla isn’t a one-size-fits-all task. The frequency and amount depend on your kit’s age, size, and health.

During the initial weeks after birth, kits get their nutrition from their mother’s milk. They gradually start to nibble on hay and pellets, fully transitioning to solid food by about 8 weeks.

It’s essential to make this transition smooth and monitor their health.

Baby chinchillas should have access to hay at all times. They need it for both their dietary fiber and to assist with teeth grinding.

As for pellets, a general rule is to offer about a tablespoon per day for each baby chinchilla. Watch for any leftovers. If they consistently leave pellets behind, you may be providing too many.

On the other hand, if the pellets are always gone quickly, your baby chinchilla may need more.

Fresh water should always be available and changed daily.

Treats should not exceed 5% of your baby chinchilla’s diet. A small piece of fruit or vegetable every few days is sufficient.

Things to Avoid in a Baby Chinchilla’s Diet

While it’s essential to know what to feed your baby chinchilla, it’s equally important to know what not to feed them.

  • Unsuitable Treats: High-sugar and high-fat foods can cause severe health problems in chinchillas, including diabetes and liver disease. Avoid giving your chinchilla treats like raisins, nuts, seeds, or yogurt drops high in sugar and fat.

  • Excessive Protein: While protein is integral to a chinchilla’s diet, too much can cause kidney problems. The diet should be balanced with the right amount of protein.

  • Low-Quality Pellets: Not all chinchilla pellets are created equal. Some are filled with colorful bits and seeds that can harm your chinchilla. Stick with high-quality, chinchilla-specific pellets.

  • Fresh Vegetables and Fruits: While an occasional treat of fresh veggies or fruits is okay, too much can cause digestive issues due to their high water content.

  • Changes in Diet: Sudden changes in diet can upset a chinchilla’s digestive system. Any new food should be introduced gradually.

  • Human Foods: Never feed your chinchilla “people food.” Foods we eat often contain ingredients that can be harmful to chinchillas.

FAQs About Baby Chinchilla Care

Chinchilla parenthood often comes with a barrage of questions. It’s only natural when you’re dealing with such unique animals. Here are answers to some of the most common queries.

Q1. Do baby chinchillas need milk?

Baby chinchillas do need their mother’s milk for the first few weeks of life. However, they can start to nibble on hay and pellets within a week after birth, slowly weaning off milk around 8 weeks.

Q2. How do you raise a baby chinchilla?

Raising a baby chinchilla involves proper feeding, handling, and providing a safe and stimulating environment. Regular vet check-ups are crucial to monitor their growth and health.

Also, mental and physical stimulation through toys and exercise is essential for their overall well-being.

Q3. Can baby chinchillas eat hay?

Yes, baby chinchillas can eat hay. Timothy Hay should make up a significant portion of their diet. It provides the necessary fiber for their digestive systems and helps wear down their continually growing teeth.

Q4. When do chinchillas stop growing?

Chinchillas typically reach their full size at around 8 months to 1 year of age. However, their weight can fluctuate based on diet and health. So, regular monitoring is crucial.

Q5. How dangerous are chinchilla bites?

Chinchilla bites are not typically dangerous. However, like any animal bite, they can cause discomfort and potential risk of infection. It’s important to handle your chinchilla gently and respect its boundaries to avoid bites.

Q6. How long are chinchillas pregnant?

Chinchilla pregnancies last for about 111 days, significantly longer than most rodents. It’s essential to provide extra care and nutrition for a pregnant chinchilla.


Bringing a baby chinchilla into your life is a joyous occasion. Still, it also comes with the important responsibility of ensuring they receive proper nutrition for a healthy and happy life.

From understanding their unique nutritional needs to knowing what and how much to feed them, every bit of knowledge helps you provide the best care possible.

Remember, a high-fiber diet with moderate protein and low fat is key, providing high-quality chinchilla pellets.

Avoid high-sugar and high-fat treats, and constantly monitor your baby chinchilla’s health as they grow, and their dietary needs evolve.

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