chinchilla eating its food

Can Chinchillas Eat Guinea Pig Food?

Raising chinchillas is fun. Raising chinchillas along with guinea pigs is even more fun. One challenge you might face, however, is how to feed your chinchillas and guinea pigs.

Can chinchillas eat guinea pig food? Chinchillas should not eat guinea pig food because guinea pig food is made specifically for guinea pigs. Guinea pig pellets do not contain enough fiber for chinchillas and they contain a lot of vitamin C.

chinchilla eating

Chinchillas eating guinea pig food

What you should consider

Before deciding if you should give your chinchillas guinea pig food or not, consider the following:

1. Guinea pigs and chinchillas are both herbivorous

Remember that chinchillas and guinea pigs are both herbivores. This means that they only eat plants and plant products. It also means that even though chinchillas cannot eat guinea pig pellets, both animals still have foods that they can eat together.

2. Chinchillas are pseudo-ruminants, guinea pigs are not

Pseudo-ruminants are animals that eat their cecotropes (another word for poop not fully digested). Chinchillas are similar to ruminant animals such as cows and goats.

At night, they excrete a watery substance called cecotropes which they eat again for their nutrients and beneficial bacteria.

As pseudo-ruminants, chinchillas can digest foods rich in cellulose (dietary fiber), but guinea pigs cannot. The ingredients of chinchilla pellets can have more fibers than those of guinea pig pellets.

3. Guinea pigs need more vitamin C and less calcium than chinchillas

Just like us, guinea pigs cannot produce their own vitamin c, so they need a lot of vitamin c to prevent them from getting sick from scurvy.

For chinchillas, they do not need so much vitamin c in their diet, so the vitamin c present in guinea pig pellets is either wasteful or harmful to chinchillas (as it is too much for them).

Composition of guinea pig and chinchilla pellets

Most guinea pig pellets are made with:

  • Hay
  • Grains
  • Vitamin C supplement
  • Fewer calcium sources

Pellets for the chinchilla diet, however, are mostly made of hay or grass because they contain all the nutrients chinchillas need. According to the age of the chinchilla, protein-rich ingredients can be added to their pellets.

Should chinchillas eat guinea pig pellets?

Chinchillas should not eat guinea pig pellets as guinea pig pellets contain too much vitamin C and not enough fiber. The pellets are made specifically for guinea pigs, so they do not contain the right amount of proteins for your chinchillas.

Now you know that chinchillas should not eat guinea pig pellets. What can you feed to guinea pigs and chinchillas together?

gray chinchilla eating spikelet of wheat

Foods that both chinchillas and guinea pigs can eat

Here are similar foods that you can give to chinchillas and guinea pigs:

  • Grass, Hay, and Straw: As herbivores, chinchillas and guinea pigs can eat grass, hay, straw, and other plants. Chinchillas need more hay in their diet.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: You can give as many vegetables as you like to chinchillas and guinea pigs. Fruits should be given as treats as most fruits do not contain enough proteins.
  • Grass Pellets: You should give both animals grass-based pellets.
  • Grains: Grains such as barley, rye, wheat, etc. should be given as treats and not their major food.
  • Other Treats: You can shop for a general treat for rodents or give your chinchillas and guinea pigs little amounts of treats such as bread, cooked beans, etc.

Related questions and answers

1. Can chinchillas and guinea pigs live in the same cage?

Chinchillas can guinea pigs can live in the same cage as both animals are social and do not mind the presence of the other.

The only issue they may face is that guinea pigs are diurnal (active in the day) while chinchillas are crepuscular (active in the evening). This means that while one animal is resting, the other is active and probably disturbing the resting one.

2. How do you separate chinchilla and guinea pig food (if they live in the same cage)?

Instead of giving them pellets, you can give your guinea pigs and chinchillas a more natural diet such as hay, grass, fruits, seeds, etc.

You can also feed your chinchillas at night while you wait for the morning to feed your guinea pigs if you want to feed them with pellets.

3. Can guinea pigs eat chinchilla pellets?

Guinea pigs cannot eat chinchilla pellets as chinchilla pellets have too much of fibers. Guinea pigs cannot digest fibers.

Also, chinchilla pellets do not contain enough vitamin C for guinea pigs.

Final thoughts

Chinchillas cannot eat guinea pig pellets.

Instead of feeding your chinchillas with food for guinea pigs, give them a more natural diet that meets all their dietary needs.


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