Chinchilla

The 5 Best Hay for Chinchillas

Sep 1, 2019
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The 5 Best Hay for Chinchillas

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The key to keeping your chinchilla healthy is to provide it with a balanced diet. Chinchillas are herbivores, so they subsist primarily on plant foods – especially hay. A commercial pellet is the best staple diet for your chinchilla, but you should also provide fresh hay. Fresh hay helps keep your chinchilla’s teeth worn down and also supports its digestive system being high in fiber.

In this article, we’ll talk about your chinchilla’s nutritional needs and how important it is to provide fresh hay. We’ll also show you our top 5 picks for the best hay for chinchillas.

We highly recommend looking at the comparison table we have below where we highlighted the features of each product. You’ll also find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

Compare Best Hay For Chinchillas

Overall Best
Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting Timothy Hay Pet Food

1. Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting Timothy Hay Pet Food

Runner Up
Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay Small Animal Food

2. Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay Small Animal Food

Best For Sensitive Digestion
Kaytee First Cut Timothy Hay Small Animal Food

3. Kaytee First Cut Timothy Hay Small Animal Food

Best High Protein
Oxbow Alfalfa Hay Small Animal Food

4. Oxbow Alfalfa Hay Small Animal Food

Best For Budget
Kaytee Timothy Hay Plus Variety Pack

5. Kaytee Timothy Hay Plus Variety Pack

Type
Timothy Hay
Type
Orchard Grass
Type
Type
Type
Timothy hay
Amount
10 pounds
Amount
40 ounces
Amount
Amount
Amount
50 ounces
Benefits
Hand-selected, delivered fresh
Benefits
Hand-selected, soft texture, no additives
Benefits
Benefits
Benefits
Five pack of flavors
Main Ingredient
Main Ingredient
Main Ingredient
Timothy
Main Ingredient
Alfalfa hay
Main Ingredient
Additional Ingredients
Additional Ingredients
Additional Ingredients
Unknown
Additional Ingredients
Preservative and additive free. Loose hay contains stems, leaves, and limited seed heads.
Additional Ingredients
Cutting
Cutting
Cutting
First Cut
Cutting
Unknown
Cutting

What To Look For In Hay For Guinea Pigs?

Chinchillas enjoy a variety of different types of hay, though some are more nutritious than others. Timothy hay is the best type of hay for chinchillas, though alfalfa hay is usually sweeter and richer in certain nutrients. Your best bet is to offer a variety of different types of fresh hay, making sure that the hay you offer is always fresh. You may want to buy your hay in smaller packages so you can ensure that it is all eaten while it is still fresh.

Here are some important things to look for in guinea pig hay:

  • All-natural, no additives. The only ingredient you should see in chinchilla hay is the specific type of hay – timothy hay, orchard grass, or alfalfa hay, for example. Your chinchilla’s pellets will be complete and balanced to provide for your chinchilla’s nutritional needs.
  • Second or third cutting. Each time hay is cut, it grows in a little softer. First cut is very coarse with many heads while second cut is a mix of softer, leafy hay. Most chinchillas prefer second or third cut hay, so check the label.
  • Delivered fresh. Your chinchilla hay needs to be delivered fresh and it should remain fresh until your pet eats it. This means that packaging and shipping time is important.
  • Added treats. Some small pet hays are infused with dried fruits or vegetables, herbs, or other treats. These options are okay, but fresh hay should be the primary ingredient.

Our Top Picks For The Best Hay For Chinchillas

Now that you have a better idea what to look for in chinchilla hay, it’s time to start shopping! Keep reading to see our top 5 picks for the best hay for chinchillas.

Overall Best
1.

Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting Timothy Hay Pet Food

Product Info

  • Type: Timothy Hay
  • Amount: 10 pounds
  • Benefits: Hand-selected, delivered fresh
Pros
  • High-quality, premium timothy hay
  • Soft texture, leafy with soft stems
  • No added ingredients, just fresh hay
Cons
  • Quality and freshness may vary between shipments
  • May be too much to use before freshness is lost
Timothy hay is one of the best hays for chinchillas because it is high in fiber with moderate protein. This timothy hay is hand-selected and delivered fresh to your door in sizes ranging from 2 pounds up to 60 pounds. It comes from a second cutting, making it leafy with a soft stem your chinchilla will love and the box is easy to close so you can keep your hay fresh.
Runner Up
2.

Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay Small Animal Food

Product Info

  • Type: Orchard Grass
  • Amount: 40 ounces
  • Benefits: Hand-selected, soft texture, no additives
Pros
  • Hand-selected for guaranteed quality
  • Soft texture with fragrant aroma
  • Single ingredient with no additives
Cons
  • Freshness may vary from one shipment to another
Oxbow is one of the top manufacturers of fresh hay for small pets and this orchard grass hay is a great option for your chinchilla. It contains no added ingredients, just fresh and pure orchard grass hay. It is hand-selected for quality and guaranteed to be soft and fragrant to appeal to your chinchilla’s senses to encourage it to forage and eat as much hay as it likes.
Best For Sensitive Digestion
3.

Kaytee First Cut Timothy Hay Small Animal Food

Product Info

  • Main Ingredient: Timothy
  • Additional Ingredients: Unknown
  • Cutting: First Cut
Pros
  • Available in first or second cut
  • Stay-fresh inner package, arrives fresh
  • Hand-selected for stem-to-leaf ratio
Cons
  • Some bags arrive finely shredded and dusty
Available in first or second cut, this wafer cut timothy hay is rich in fiber to support your chinchilla’s healthy digestion. It offers superior nutritional value and is hand-selected to ensure the optimal stem-to-leaf ratio. Plus, it comes with a stay-fresh inner package to make sure it arrives fresh.
Best High Protein
4.

Oxbow Alfalfa Hay Small Animal Food

Product Info

  • Main Ingredient: Alfalfa hay
  • Additional Ingredients: Preservative and additive free. Loose hay contains stems, leaves, and limited seed heads.
  • Cutting: Unknown
Pros
  • Delivered fresh in a mess-free bag
  • High in protein and fiber, low in fat
  • Sweet flavor and soft texture
Cons
  • Somewhat more expensive than timothy hay
  • Some shipments are dusty and dry
Alfalfa hay is a rich source of protein and fiber for your chinchilla while remaining very low in fat. This Oxbow Alfalfa Hay is delivered fresh in a convenient, mess-free bag that reseals to keep the product fresh. It has a sweet flavor and soft texture your chinchilla will love, and it is grown naturally without the use of any chemicals. Choose from a 15-ounce or 30-ounce bag.
Best For Budget
5.

Kaytee Timothy Hay Plus Variety Pack

Product Info

  • Type: Timothy hay
  • Amount: 50 ounces
  • Benefits: Five pack of flavors
Pros
  • Hand-selected second-cut hay
  • Infused with dried treats for variety
  • Ideal leaf-to-stem ratio and delivered fresh
Cons
  • Some chinchillas may pick out the treats and ignore the hay
  • Some shipments arrive dusty and dry
If you can’t decide which hay to buy for your chinchilla, try this variety pack! It comes with five smaller bags of timothy hay, each infused with a different type of treat. Choose from cranberries, mangoes, marigolds, mint, and carrots to give your chinchilla the fresh hay it needs with an added boost of flavor and nutrition. The hay itself is hand-selected for freshness and to ensure the proper leaf-to-stem ratio, so you can rest assured it will be high-quality hay, delivered fresh to your door.

Tips For Feeding Chinchillas

Chinchillas are known for having very sensitive digestive systems, so it is important that you don’t change your pet’s diet very often. This means that you should take the time to select the best chinchilla food possible the first time around. A high-quality chinchilla food will be complete and balanced for optimal nutrition, fortified with essential nutrients, and it should taste good for your chinchilla.

Here are some other tips for feeding your chinchilla:

  • Choose a high-quality chinchilla pellet as the staple of your pet’s diet – these are complete and balanced in every bite.
  • Buy your chinchilla food in fairly small bags so it stays fresh – make sure you choose a product with a resealable bag as well.
  • Make sure 80% to 90% of your chinchilla’s diet comes from commercial pellets with loose feed and treats as 10% of the diet.
  • Provide your chinchilla with small amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding sugary snacks like yogurt drops that you find at the pet store.
  • Make sure your chinchilla has access to unlimited amounts of fresh hay, mixing up the type of hay once in a while for varied nutrition.

In addition to following these tips, be sure to provide your chinchilla with fresh water. Rinse and refill your chinchilla’s water bottle at least once day and make sure it is always full.

Final Remarks

A commercial pellet is the best staple diet for your chinchilla because it will be complete and balanced in terms of nutrition. These pellets are fortified with vitamins and minerals to provide for your chinchilla’s needs, but fresh hay is just as important. If you’re still not sure where to start in looking for chinchilla hay, try out one of the top 5 best chinchilla hays we’ve reviewed above. Good luck!

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
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