Keeping chinchillas is easy and fun, but you have to consider what to feed your pets. People feed their chinchillas with all kinds of different food items. But you need to consider if what you are feeding them is good for their health.
Can chinchillas eat bread? Chinchillas can eat bread, but only in very small amounts. Chinchillas love bread, but too much can give them digestive issues or make them sick. You should give bread to chinchillas as occasional treats, not regular food.
What to consider when giving bread to chinchillas
1. Bread Nutritional Composition
The table below contains the average nutritional composition of 100 grams of bread:
As you can see, bread contains a lot more moisture (water) than other needed nutrients. Also, take a look at the amount of proteins and carbohydrates in bread. Bread contains way more carbohydrates than proteins.
Now let us consider the nutritional requirements of chinchillas. Look at the table below:
When you compare both tables, you’ll agree that bread does not contain enough protein for chinchillas. Protein is a major nutrient to consider when keeping animals because they need proteins to grow and reproduce.
Chinchillas also use proteins to grow their fur and repair tissues.
Bread contains way more carbohydrates and water than chinchillas need. This means that your chinchillas can become obese because of the amount of carbohydrates.
Water-rich foods also cause the poop of chinchillas to become watery and you do not want that because watery poop is not so easy to clean from the cage.
2. Chinchillas are herbivores and bread is made of dairy products
Another factor that you should consider is that chinchillas are herbivores. As herbivores, chinchillas eat only plants and plant products.
It is not so recommended to feed chinchillas with food items containing products such as meat, bones, milk, etc. as they can cause serious digestive issues.
Since bread is made of dairy products, it can cause indigestion in your chinchillas, so you should not give your chinchillas too much bread.
3. Bread spoils quickly and breadcrumbs litter the cage
One other factor to consider when keeping pets is how long their food will last before it becomes bad. Bread spoils quickly, so is not a food that you should leave with your chinchillas overnight.
Also, soaked or damp bread can attract bacteria and pests to the chinchilla, so you want to avoid keeping the bread close to the water bottle of your chinchillas.
As you can see from these three factors, it is not highly recommended to feed your chinchillas bread.
When to give bread to chinchillas
Many animals love a lot of food products. Chinchillas for example love pretty much any food as long as it is sweet. The instincts of chinchillas cannot prevent them from eating what can harm them (that’s why they chew electric cords).
Chinchillas love bread, so there are certain times when you can give bread to chinchillas.
- As Treats: You can give bread to chinchillas as treats. Give it occasionally. You should also give other treats to your chinchillas.
- When the Bread is Fresh: Do not give bread older than a day to chinchillas. Give them fresh bread as treats.
- Very Little Quantity: When giving bread to chinchillas, keep in mind the smaller the amount of bread you give to them, the better.
It’s really your choice on whether to give bread to your chinchillas or not. Just weight the pros and cons and be cautious.
Other foods and treats for chinchillas
1. Grass, hay, and straw
As herbivores, the major food of chinchillas is grass and other plants. Grass, however, can give the room a funny smell, so you can feed your chinchillas with hay which is the dried form of grass.
The Chinchilla diet should consist of more hay because hay has a lot of fibers which chinchillas need. Hay is also dry, so it will not cause the poop of your chinchilla to be watery.
Your chinchillas can also use hay as bedding (just make sure that you change the bedding regularly).
2. Pellets (for chinchillas)
If you cannot get or store hay for your chinchillas, you can buy them pellets made just for them. Pellets are more portable and they prevent you from making a mistake in quantity.
Most chinchilla owners can give their chinchillas too much fiber or proteins. When you feed your chinchillas with pellets, you ensure that they are eating what is right for them.
When buying pellets, buy those made just for chinchillas. You should also opt for a grass-based pellet instead of a grain-based. Make sure that you do not buy pellets made for other animals.
If you like, you can get multi-purpose pellets with supplements.
What is a complete chinchilla diet without vegetables? Chinchillas love their greens. You should give them as much vegetables as you can because they love them.
You should note, however, that too much fresh vegetables can give your chinchillas a watery stool, so you should give your chinchillas more hay, pellets, etc.
Examples of vegetables that chinchillas can eat are:
Remember that vegetables with high water content are not so recommended for chinchillas.
Fruits make awesome treats for your chinchillas. Chinchillas love fruits a lot and you should give fruits rich in vitamins and minerals to chinchillas.
Examples of fruits that chinchillas can eat are:
Note that most fruits do not contain as much proteins as chinchillas need and fruits usually contain a lot of water. So you want to give fruits to chinchillas as just treats, not their regular diet.
5. Cereal grains
Grains are a favorite of chinchillas and other pets. Grains are rich in carbohydrates, proteins, etc. and can even keep your chinchillas warm in the winter (chinchillas can generate heat when they eat grains).
Examples of grains that chinchillas can eat are:
Note that grains do not contain as much fibers as chinchillas need and too much grains can cause obesity in chinchillas. Give grains to chinchillas as treats to keep this from happening.
Related questions and answers
1. Can chinchillas eat toasted bread?
Just like bread, chinchillas can eat toasted bread, but just a small quantity. Toasted bread is better than regular bread as toasted bread contains less moisture.
2. Why do chinchillas need more hay than grains?
Aside from being dry, hay contains a lot of fiber. Chinchillas need a fiber-rich diet because they are always eating. Also, if chinchillas do not chew regularly, their incisors might grow out of control, so they need to keep eating.
If chinchillas continue to eat foods without fiber, they will poop out most of the nutrients and the food will be a waste. This is why chinchillas need a lot of fiber-rich foods such as hay.
Dry foods like hay also help give your chinchillas a dried poop.
3. Why is your chinchilla wasting food?
Are your chinchillas wasting food or are you giving them too much? One reason you may feel that your chinchillas are wasting food is that when you give them food in the morning and then return from work, you see that the food is still there.
Chinchillas are crepuscular, so they are active in the evening and they rest during the day. To prevent food from wasting, give your chinchillas food in the evening.
Also, do not give them too much. You should also contact the vet if you feel that your chinchillas are not eating enough.
4. Should chinchillas eat soaked bread?
You should not give soaked bread to chinchillas because soaked bread spoils quickly and makes a mess. Give only fresh and dry bread to your chinchillas.
5. Why do chinchillas poop so much?
Chinchillas poop a lot because they eat a lot. If your chinchilla poops around 200 times daily, you’re doing something right. That’s normal for chinchillas.
You can control how your chinchillas poop by regulating the fiber in their diet (more fiber means more poop). If you give your chinchillas less fiber, however, they may poop watery stool.
Chinchillas can eat bread, but not too much of it.
If you have other treat ideas for your chinchillas (such as fruits, vegetables, grains, etc.), give them these things instead.