Chinchilla Hay: A Complete Guide For Owners

Chinchilla Hay: Looking for a high-quality, nutritious hay for your chinchilla? Look no further than our chinchilla hay! Our hay is sourced from the finest, most reputable suppliers, and it’s packed with the nutrients your chinchilla needs to stay healthy and happy.

Chinchilla Hay

Whenever you get or even plan to get a new pet at your home, the first and foremost question that comes to your mind is what they would eat? What is their staple diet? And the same question will arise whenever you get a Chinchilla. Most of the articles you read or people you will talk to will suggest feeding Chinchilla hay to them but do Chinchilla need hay? Which hay is best for them and how much to feed them? Let’s find out!

Do Chinchillas need hay?

Yes, hay is a staple part of any Chinchilla diet. Chinchillas get essential fiber and nutrients from the hay, which is crucial for the proper functioning of their body. Lack of hay in their diet can cause fiber deficiency, which further leads to poor digestion and abnormal growth in them.

What Vegetables Can Chinchillas Eat?

Chinchilla Hay: A Complete Guide For Owners

A chinchilla’s diet is very important to their overall health and well-being. They are mostly herbivores, but can also eat small amounts of meat and insects. The bulk of their diet should be hay, fresh vegetables, and a small amount of pellets. Chinchillas need a lot of fiber in their diet to keep their digestive system working properly.

Hay is the best source of fiber for them. Fresh vegetables can also be a good source of fiber, but should be given in moderation. Pellets are a concentrated source of nutrients and should only make up a small part of a chinchilla’s diet. They should only be given in moderation, as too many can lead to obesity. Meat and insects should only be given in small amounts, as they are not a natural part of a chinchilla’s diet. They can be a good source of protein, but should not make up a large part of their diet.

Chinchilla Diet:

Chinchillas diet should contain at least 80% hay in it. Good quality hay provides your Chinchillas with essential nutrients. It also helps to wear down their teeth. Providing a well-balanced and healthy diet to your Chinchilla is the key to their excellent health and happy lifestyle. Which hay is best for Chinchilla pet? Timothy hay is the best type of feed available for your Chinchilla. It has the perfect balance of fiber, protein, and calcium, which is required by our Chinchillas. Although there is a wide variety of hay available right from alfalfa, meadow to oats and Bermuda, still timothy hay is the first choice among most Chinchilla owners.

What kinds of hay can Chinchillas eat?

Chinchillas can eat a wide variety of hay, although not all of them are equally beneficial to our Chinchilla pets. While there is a wide variety of feed available in the market to choose from, we should be very cautious while choosing one for our Chinchilla pets. Let us have a look at all the types of hay available in the market:

Chinchilla are very particular about what they eat and hay is a big part of their diet. But not just any hay will do, chinchilla need special chinchilla hay to maintain their health. So what kind of hay can chinchilla eat? There are two types of hay that chinchilla can eat, Alfalfa hay and Timothy hay.

  • Alfalfa hay is higher in calcium and protein than Timothy hay and is good for young, growing chinchilla and pregnant or nursing females.
  • Timothy hay is lower in calcium and protein and is better for adult chinchilla and those that are overweight.

Both types of hay are good for a chinchilla’s digestive system and should be offered daily. When choosing hay for your chinchilla, make sure it is fresh and free of mold or dust. Hay that is too old or has been stored improperly can be harmful to your chinchilla. Also, avoid giving your chinchilla hay that has been treated with pesticides or other chemicals. If you’re not sure what kind of hay to get for your chinchilla, ask your veterinarian for a recommendation.

Chinchilla Hay TypeWhat It is Made Up Of..?Can Chinchilla Eat?
Timothy hayA grass hay made from dried timothy grass (Phleum pratense). Easily the most popular chinchilla hay.Yes (100%)
Alfalfa hayMade from dried alfalfa/lucerne (Medicago sativa)Yes, in small quantities
Meadow hayMade from a variety of grasses.Yes (supplement to Timothy hay)
Orchard grass hayMade from cat grass (Dactylis glomerata).Yes (supplement to Timothy hay)
Oat hayMade from the grass that oats are harvested from, but they’re harvested before the oats fully form.Yes, in small quantities
Bermuda hayMade from scutch grass (Cynodon dactylon).Yes (supplement to Timothy hay)

Read: What Fruits Can Chinchillas Eat?

#1 Timothy hay

As chinchilla owners, we’re always on the lookout for the best possible hay for our animals. Timothy hay is a type of hay that is becoming increasingly popular due to its superior nutritional value. So, what is Timothy hay and what makes it so special? Timothy hay is a type of grass that is native to Europe and Asia. It gets its name from the Greek philosopher Timothy of Smyrna. This type of hay is known for its high protein content and is especially rich in calcium, making it an excellent choice for chinchilla of all ages.

One of the main reasons why Timothy hay is so popular for small pets is because it is very palatable for chinchilla. They seem to really enjoy eating it, which is always a bonus! Another reason is that it is relatively low in sugar and calories, making it a good option for chinchilla that are trying to lose weight or manage their weight. If you’re thinking of making the switch to Timothy hay for your chinchilla, be sure to speak to your vet first. They will be able to advise you on whether it is the right choice for your chinchilla individual needs.

Timothy hay is the most widely used hay among all Chinchilla owners. This hay is readily available, has a pleasant aroma and tastes really well, which makes it the absolute favorite of all Chinchilla pets.

1st Cut Timothy HayHigh fiber, Low Fat & ProteinIdeal for Chinchilla with dental issues & Gastrointestinal issues
2nd Cut Timothy HayThe ideal ratio of all NutrientsPerfect for healthy Chinchillas
3rd Cut Timothy HayLow fiber, High Fat & ProteinIdeal for sick Chinchillas who need to gain weight or has some chewing problem or mouth pain

Things to look while choosing: Timothy hay is available in various seasonal cut, right from 1st cut to 3rd cut. Make sure you choose the right one for your Chinchilla. The feed you select must be Green, Fresh, and should smell a little sweet. It should also feel completely dry and free of molds.

Things to avoid: Avoid thick straw-like hay as they are tough to digest. Also, prevent packs that have a musky and moldy odor coming out from it. Yellow straw-like grass is also a bad sign while choosing one.

Read: What Fruits Can Chinchillas Eat?

#2 Alfalfa hay

Alfalfa hay is a great choice for chinchillas. It is high in fiber and nutrients. Alfalfa hay is a bit more expensive than Timothy hay, but it is well worth the price. Alfalfa hay contains a high concentrate of Fiber, Protein, and Fat, which should not be a part of the daily diet of your Chinchilla pets. Feeding your Chinchillas with alfalfa hay regularly can lead to weight gain and obesity, which is not suitable for their health. In fact, Alfalfa hay also contains a high amount of calcium in it, which is terrible for your Chinchilla health.

Too much calcium in their diet can lead to the formation of bladder stones, diarrhea, and other health issues. Although there can be an exception in case, your Chinchilla is nursing or very young. As these would need more amount of nutrients in that phase, so adding some alfalfa hay in their diet turns out to be helpful. But make sure you don’t make it their daily diet as the calorie intake would be much higher than required in that case.

If your Chinchilla is suffering from some health issues and needs to gain some weight, then your vet may recommend adding some alfalfa hay into their diet. You can add the recommended amount during that phase as well. Alternatively adding a small quantity of alfalfa hay once in a while can spice things up for any adult Chinchilla although the amount must be restricted so that they don’t suffer any consequence due to it.

#3 Meadow Hay

Meadow hay consists of Soft stemmed grasses, clovers, leaves, flowers and seed heads of other edible plants like dandelions, daisies, etc. Basically, anything that is in the meadow while harvesting ends up in the bag for your Chinchillas. Green, long grass strands are the distinct characteristic of this hay. Meadow hay is softer than Timothy hay, which is pleasant for some Chinchillas to munch on. While some Chinchillas love the added flowers and stem in their food, the other’s hate it, it depends upon their personal choice.

Meadow hay is also less dusty as compared to other feeds, which makes it a great option, especially if you are allergic to Timothy hay. The long strands of grasses in this hay are rich in fiber and other nutrients which is essential for Chinchillas. It not only helps in maintaining good dental health but also aids in digestion, which is a bonus. If you are choosing Meadow hay, then go for long green strands one as they are fresh and nutritious.

#4 Bermuda hay

Bermuda hay is high-quality hay that is rarely used as a feed for Chinchilla. Although it is used as a feed for some other larger animals, it is an excellent source of fiber as it contains 32% crude fiber in it. It includes some moderate amount of Fat and Proteins, which makes it a great choice, although the price and availability is the crucial factor which makes it a rare choice among Chinchilla owners.

#5 Oats Hay

Oats hay is yet another unconventional choice among Chinchilla owners. These hays have a long stem with oats attached at the end of it. They are usually yellowish in color and definitely not so pleasant for the eyes.

It contains a high amount of fiber protein and fat, which is suitable for adult Chinchillas which need extra nutrients. Also if your Chinchilla doesn’t like 1st cut Timothy hay, then you might go for Oats hay, but it is not ideal for other Chinchilla pets. Although you can add it once in a while in a small quantity to spice things up, it should definitely not be a part of their daily diet.

#5 Orchard hay

Orchard hay is an excellent choice for Chinchilla owners suffering from allergies. This hay has the perfect balance of Fiber, Fats, and Protein required by our Chinchilla pets. Orchard hay has a broader leaf as compared to Timothy hay, but the texture is really soft, which makes it really easy for Chinchilla pets to chew.

It also makes a great bedding choice due to its smooth texture. If you are going for orchard hay get a new bag and make sure it is green and mold-free.

Why is hay important for Chinchillas?

Hay is a crucial part of a Chinchillas diet. Most of the nutritional need for Chinchillas come from hay. Although there are other elements like Fruits, Vegetables, and Pellets in their diet, those mostly act as a supplement. Let us look at some of the key benefits of hay for Chinchillas.

Source of Nutrients

Hay is a vital source of essential nutrients like Fiber, Fat, and Protein. These nutrients are crucial for proper growth in Chinchillas. They also provide enough calories which are required by the Chinchilla pets daily.

Helps in maintaining digestive health

Hay is rich in fiber, which is required for maintaining their digestive health. Chinchillas have sensitive digestive organs, and if we don’t provide them with the proper diet, they may suffer from diarrhea and other diseases. Hay is a staple part of their food which fulfills their most nutrient needs. Thus, Chinchillas must have an unlimited amount of hay at all times.

Helps in wearing down of teeth

Hay not only helps in maintaining good digestive health but also aids in wearing down the teeth of our Chinchillas. As you might already know Chinchillas have ever-growing teeth that need the constant wearing down. If you don’t provide enough hay in their diet, then their teeth might grow a lot which can cause further health issues.

Natural Bedding Material

Hay also acts as a natural bedding material for your Chinchilla pets. Good quality hay is absorbent and soft, which can work correctly sometimes. Chinchillas do love to burrow and to have a pile of hay for them to play with really helps with it. It also helps in insulation during the winter, thus keeping your Chinchilla a little warm.

Can Chinchillas survive without hay?

No, Chinchillas cannot survive without hay for long. A healthy Chinchilla can live up to 24 without hay, the next 24 hours is going to be very difficult for them, and they may not even survive after that.

Hay is a vital source of fiber and other essential nutrients without which they may suffer from various digestive issues and other diseases. These diseases can get worse in no time and can be life-threatening as well provided you don’t feed them with the right diet.

How much hay can you give to a Chinchilla Pet?

You can feed an unlimited amount of Timothy hay to your Chinchilla. However, if you are feeding some other type of hay in the mix like oats hay or alfalfa hay, then you must restrict the quantity. In general, your Chinchilla must have access to feed and water at all times. Remember to provide fresh hay and water every day so that they remain healthy and happy.

How to store hay for Chinchillas?

Storing hay for your Chinchilla is an important aspect you cannot neglect. Considering you bought a good quality fresh hay, you need to store it in a cool and dry place so that it remains fresh.

Store it away from direct sunlight and heat source as it can dry the hay up and degrade its nutritional value. Also ensuring your hay is away from moisture is very important. Humidity can make your hay go moldy in no time. You also need to ensure that you get the hay in small badges. Hay tends to lose its nutritional value over time. So, if you are getting a large bale of hay for your Chinchillas to save some money then be aware it might not be much beneficial to them.

We always recommend using good quality hay for your Chinchilla as it consists of 80% of their diet. You can check out our recommended hay in our article below:

Can you feed a Chinchilla only hay?

No, you cannot feed only hay to your Chinchillas. Although 80% of their diet must be hay, it still lacks one major nutrient i.e., vitamin c in it.

A Chinchilla cannot synthesize their Vitamin C; thus they need a supplement in the form of Fruits, Vegetables, and Pellets in their diet.

A well-balanced daily intake of a Chinchilla must contain an unlimited amount of hay, 1 cup of vegetables, 1/8 cup of pellets and some occasional fruits and treats.

Why does my Chinchilla only eat hay?

Just like human beings Chinchilla pets are also picky when it comes to food. While some Chinchillas love to munch on whatever they get others like to eat only a particular type of food. If your Chinchilla is only eating hay, then it means it is picky about its food.

Try to offer a variety of food daily and learn what they liked and what they didn’t. Alternatively, if your Chinchilla only eats hay, you can take a patch of hay and mix it with some veggies or fruit and then try to offer the same to your Chinchilla. You need to be a little creative if your Chinchilla is a picky one.

Can Chinchilla eat too much hay?

No, you can never overfeed hay to your Chinchilla. In fact, there must be an abundant supply of hay for your Chinchilla at all times.

Lack of hay in their diet can cause a lot of health issues in them. Also, remember you should limit the number of Vegetables, Fruits, and Pellets in their diet as overfeeding these can definitely be an issue.

How long can a Chinchilla live without hay?

A Chinchilla can go up to 24 hours without hay. Then after that, they might start suffering from some digestion issues.

If you don’t provide hay for 72 hours or so later, they might even pass away due to starvation and deteriorating health.

Can Chinchilla eat grass instead of hay?

No, Chinchilla cannot eat grass instead of hay. You can definitely feed some grass along with side hay sometimes, but it definitely is not a substitute to hay.

Hay contains a lot of fiber and other nutrients that grass cannot provide. Also, most grass is treated with pesticides and other chemicals that are lethal for Chinchillas.

Can I use timothy hay for Chinchilla bedding?

Yes, you can use Timothy hay for bedding. Timothy hay has a smooth and soft texture which makes excellent natural bedding.

Although not the best type of litter for keeping the cage odor-free but surely will do the trick.

Chinchillas also love to burrow and play in a pile of hay so it would be a great addition in any cage.


Is orchard hay good for Chinchillas?

Yes, orchard hay is an excellent choice for Chinchillas. Just like Timothy hay, it has a perfect balance of essential nutrients like Fiber, Fat, and Protein. It is also a great choice for people who have allergies with Timothy hay.

Is oat hay good for Chinchilla?

No, Oats hay is not the best choice for your Chinchilla. In fact, it contains some high amounts of nutrients like Fiber, Fat, and Protein, which can lead to health issues in Chinchillas. However, if your Chinchilla is ill and needs to gain some weight adding a small portion in their diet can help.

Is alfalfa hay good for Chinchilla?

No, alfalfa hay is not suitable for regular consumption by your Chinchilla. It contains a high amount of calcium component in it, which can lead to the formation of stones in them. Although we can feed small quantities once in a while. Also, alfalfa hay can be fed to nursing and young Chinchilla as they need more nutrients in that phase.

Is Meadow Hay OK for Chinchilla?

Yes, meadow hay is fine and can be fed to our Chinchillas. However, it does contain some flowers and seeds of other edible plants along with hay which your Chinchilla may not always like. Apart from that, we can feed it to our Chinchilla just like regular hay.

Is Timothy Hay good for Chinchillas?

Yes, timothy hay is one of the best types of hay that we can feed to our Chinchilla pets. It contains just the right balance of Fiber, Fat, and Protein required by our Chinchillas.

Can Chinchilla eat barley hay?

No, we should not feed barley hay to our Chinchillas. This type of hay doesn’t have the nutrition required by our Chinchillas. In fact, hay is the staple diet of our Chinchillas, and if we don’t provide them with good quality hay, then they may not develop as usual as they should.

Can Chinchilla eat Bermuda hay?

Yes, Chinchillas can definitely eat Bermuda hay. In fact, it is one of the best hay available to produce feed for lots of other animals as well. Although the limited availability and price make this one an unpopular choice.

What hay is best for baby Chinchillas?

Baby Chinchilla should be fed a mix of Alfalfa hay with Timothy hay in it. Alfalfa hay is high in calcium, which they need during this growing phase as their body grows rapidly during the first 5-6 weeks. After that, we should only feed Timothy hay to our Chinchillas.

Is fescue hay good for Chinchillas?

No, we should not feed fescue hay to our Chinchillas. These hays don’t contain the right balance of nutrients for our Chinchillas. Although it is a popular choice as feed for the horses; however they are not suitable for Chinchillas.

Is Western timothy hay good for Chinchillas?

Yes, Western timothy hay is one of the best hay you can get for your Chinchillas. This hay is high in fiber and low in protein which makes them one of the best choices for Chinchilla pets.

Can you use horse hay for Chinchillas?

Yes, we can feed horse hay to our Chinchillas. However, we must only do so if the Timothy hay is unavailable due to some reason as horse hay may contain some high amount of calcium and phosphorous in it, which can harm our Chinchillas. Thus, the serving of horse hay is not advisable in the long run.

Can Chinchillas have straws?

No, we should not feed straw to our Chinchilla pets. Straw contains Little to No nutritional value in them, thus supplying them straw won’t do much good. Also, there is a risk of eye infection in Chinchilla pets if the straw ends up poking their eyes. Thus, it is best to avoid it altogether.

Which is the best hay for Chinchillas?

Timothy hay and Orchard hay is one of the best types of hay available for our Chinchillas. This hay has the perfect balance of Fiber and Protein and is thus recommended by most Chinchilla owners.

Can Chinchillas eat any hay?

No, you cannot feed just any type of hay to your Chinchillas. Timothy hay and Orchard hay are some of the best choices of hay for your Chinchillas.

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