Have you read a lot of other articles on this site?
If so, you probably already know that your chinchilla’s primary source of food is hay.
And what is hay?
So we know that grass is good for chinchillas. It is a top source of calories in the wild too.
But since I always recommend feeding your pet dried grass, does that mean the fresh variety is off limits?
Can chinchillas eat fresh grass, too, or does that upset their delicate stomachs?
Keep reading to learn whether your chinchilla can eat fresh grass, and why I recommend hay as the top food source, and not something fresh.
Can Chinchillas Eat Fresh Grass?
Yes, chinchillas can eat fresh grass. Grass is a staple food that they love to eat. It is something they eat a lot in the wild as well.
Wild chinchillas eat plenty of grass, leaves, and twigs. This includes fresh grass. As a result, it is important to include these foods (or similar ones) in their diets as pets.
However, dried grass (i.e. hay) is generally better, because you never know what contaminants can be on fresh grass. Plus hay lasts, while fresh grass will spoil.
Chinchillas are omnivores, but primarily herbivores. They eat a mainly plant-based diet, with the occasional egg or insect mixed in.
Being a part of the rodent family, they also have a sensitive digestive system, so it’s best to stick to staple foods such as grass and twigs, or something similar, like Timothy hay.
You know your chinchilla will enjoy these foods and that they won’t wreak havoc on your pet’s delicate insides.
Because grass is high in fiber, it can also aid in digestion. And, as mentioned, in the wild a chinchilla’s diet is based on grasses, leaves, twigs, roots, and stems. That is why hay is the ideal food in captivity.
Dried Grass Is Best
Dried grass is hay, which is a great food option to incorporate into your chinchilla’s diet. In fact, it is the ideal chinchilla food and should be the primary food you give your pet.
Not only is it nutritious and delicious, it is also vital for your pet’s teeth. Let me explain.
Your chinchilla’s teeth never stop growing throughout its life. This means it needs to keep grinding them down to avoid them growing right through it’s mouth!
The density of hay makes it great for helping to wear down those ever-growing chompers and prevents them from overgrowing, which can cause numerous dental conditions for your chinchilla.
As a grass, hay is also a great source of fiber and it will keep your chinchilla’s digestive system in check.
If you have not been feeding your chinchilla hay or grass (why not?) and you want to add them to your chinchilla’s diet, it is best to add them gradually. Too much of any new type of food too quickly can upset to their stomach, even something as healthy as hay.
Always Check Fresh Grass First
If you’re planning to feed your chinchilla fresh grass from anywhere that isn’t your garden, you should make sure to check over the grass before feeding your chinchilla any.
This is because there could be toxins on the grass like, pesticides, other chemicals and even urine from other animals.
Any of these substances could be harmful to your chinchilla and make them sick. If you’re still unsure after checking over the grass, I suggest giving it a good wash before feeding any to your chinchilla.
Can Chinchillas Eat Fresh Greens?
Because chinchillas are primarily herbivores, they need a lot of greens in their food bowl. Of course, in captivity, those greens usually come in the form of dried hay or pellets, which also contain a lot of hay.
And because they are only small animals, the number of actual greens they eat is also small. You should stick to around a teaspoon of fresh greens a day, if you give them greens in addition to their hay and pellets.
This amount, along with their primary food sources (pellets and hay) are plenty to keep them going throughout the day. Greens that your chinchilla might enjoy include grass, kale, dandelion leaves, parsley, and collard greens.
What Kind Of Grass Can Chinchillas Eat?
Chinchillas need a high-fiber diet and a large amount of their required fiber comes from grass. You should feed your chinchilla grass that is low in calcium, and ideally dried. Good options are Timothy hay, orchard grass, oat hay, or meadow hay.
Those will put your chinchilla in a serious amount of pain and will need veterinary attention.
If you plan to change the type of grass or hay that you’re feeding your chinchilla, make sure to do it gradually, as already mentioned.
Making any dietary changes to quickly could upset their highly sensitive digestive system. I would suggest changing it over a period of several days, to allow your chinchilla’s stomach time to become used to the new food.
Chinchillas Eating Fresh Grass: Final Thoughts
Chinchillas can definitely eat fresh grass and it is one of their primary food sources in the wild. In captivity, it is generally easier to feed your pet dried grass.
Of course, dried grass is known as hay. And hay should be the primary food source for your pet. Timothy hay is best and I make sure my chin always has hay available in its hay feeder.
During mealtimes, I feed it pellets (this article covers the best pellets for chinchillas), which also contain a lot of hay.
The reason I always keep the hay feeder stocked is so that my chin can go nibble on it whenever it feels like it. Not only does it provide nutrition, but as mentioned, it helps keep those growing teeth in check,.