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Cheeky Chinchillas - Hand Feeding Chinchillas
Chinchillas   soon   lose   weight   and   become   dehydrated   if   they   do   not   eat   and   drink   properly,   therefore,   if   your chinchilla   is   unable   to   eat   by   himself   through   illness,   dental   problems   or   an   operation,   it   is   necessary   for   you to start hand feeding for a while. You will also have to give him water if he is not drinking He   may   have   had   a   tooth/teeth   filed,   which   has   made   his   mouth   sore   and   so   he   is   reluctant   to   eat,   or   he may   be   eating   very   little   through   illness   or   while   recovering   from   an   operation.   Whatever   the   reason,   it   is imperative   that   you   feed   your   chinchilla   by   hand,   because   if   chinchillas   do   not   eat   for   a   while,   their   gut action slows down and can even stop. Please scroll down to see pictures, food ideas and quality of life. If   your   chinchilla   has   had   teeth   filed,   for   example,   he   most   probably   will   have   been   given   a   pain   killer   by   the vet,   so   you   may   find   when   he   gets   home,   he   will   start   eating   straight   away.   Hopefully,   this   will   continue,   but keep an eye on him, because when the pain killer wears off, he may not want to eat. You will probably have been given a liquid feed to administer. This   is   usually   in   the   form   of   'Science   Recovery'   or   'Critical   Care'.   These   are   complete   foods   in   powder form,   containing   essential   nutrients   for   poorly   chins   or   chinchillas   recovering   from   illness   and/or   operations etc. 'The   levels   of   protein,   carbohydrates   and   fibre   are   elevated   above   that   of   a   maintenance   diet   as   required   in higher levels during illness and recovery'. If   your   chinchilla   is   not   keen   to   take   this   or   perhaps   he   requires   long   term   hand   feeding,   you   can   make   a mixture yourself by grinding up pellets, hay and maybe add some calcium/mineral/vitamin supplements. The   easiest   way   of   grinding   pellets,   is   by   using   a   a   coffee   grinder.   Make   sure   it   is   ground   well   and   the particles   are   very   fine.   Remember,   this   is   to   be   added   to   water   and   must   be   of   a   consistency   that   you   can syringe into a chinchilla's mouth. You   may   be   lucky   and   your   chinnie   will   take   the   soft   food   from   a   spoon,   but   if   not,   you   will   have   to   use   either a   small   plastic   syringe   or   pipette.   It   depends   on   the   food   you   are   using   as   to   which   you   find   easier   to   use. Sometimes,   a   pipette   is   better   if   the   food   is   a   little   grittier,   but   a   syringe   works   well   when   using   a   smoother liquid   food.   Sometimes   the   syringe   can   clog   and/or   it   might   squirt   out   -   just   be   careful   this   doesn't   happen when you are placing it in your chinnies mouth. I find a 1ml syringe easiest to use. Always check, to make sure there are no air bubbles in the syringe, before you start feeding. If   you   are   using   a   1ml   syringe,   remember   this   is   only   a   very   small   amount,   so   make   sure   your   chinnie   is getting   enough   food.   Obviously,   the   amount   a   chinchilla   will   eat,   varies   on   the   state   of   their   health   at   the time of feeding and also their weight. Hopefully the amount will increase as the chinnie improves. Just to give you an example ... I hand fed one of my chinchillas for over 2 years .... She   could   eat   125mls   plus   of   liquid   feed   a   day   ...   but   this   was   my   own   mix   of   ground   up   pellets   with supplements and she was a big chinchilla. Remember, this is just an example to give you some idea. The quantity will depend on the size of the chinchilla and what you are feeding. 'Science   Recovery'   is   a   complete   food   and   more   concentrated,   so   your   chinchilla   will   not   eat   as   much   as your own mix. It includes high levels of dietry fibre and essential vitamins. Instructions   on   the   Science   Recovery   packet   suggest   that   you   use   one   sachet   per   Kg   of   body   weight   per day ALWAYS read the instructions on the packet and if in doubt consult with your vet. It is best to use some sort of measure to weigh out the ground up food before you add the water. This way, you will know how much your chinchilla is getting each time.
Hand feeding chinchillas can sometimes be a little difficult and often very messy! It is a good idea to either sit the chinchilla on a towel on your knee or wear an apron.
Some chins will accept the situation and take the food without any problems, but many chinnies struggle to get free and you need a firm hold. Some people wrap their chinchilla in a small towel to keep him still. Persevere, after a while it becomes much easier. Before you take hold of your chinchilla to feed, prepare everything first ... it makes the whole operation a lot easier. Put everything you need ready on a tray; liquid food made up as directed, fresh water and syringe if he is not drinking, any other medications. It's also a good idea to have some kitchen roll handy for any spillages. Make sure everything is within easy reach, before you sit down with your chinchilla and hopefully it won't be too stressful for either of you I hope you find this information useful. It can be difficult and sometimes frustrating but it does get easier. N.B. About anaesthesia ... all anaesthetics carry a risk with small animals. Your chinchilla may need sedating to carry out an operation or to have some dental work done. If your chinchilla is having his incisors (front teeth) burred, your vet will be able to do this while he is awake and will not require an anaesthetic. If the vet needs to file the molars (back teeth), then he will have to sedate your chinchilla.Chinchillas' mouths are very small and it would be impossible to carry out dental work on the back teeth while they are still awake. There are 2 types of anaesthesia that are generally used: Isoflurane and Sevoflurane. Sevoflurane has a less pungent/irritating smell which your pet is less likely to resist breathing in and so it is    not as stressful for him. Recovery is also quicker. Science Recovery and Science Selective Chinchilla are made by Supreme Petfoods Limited
                                                                                    Science Selective Chinchilla is a nutritionally complete and balanced diet                                        suitable for all chinnies.                                        The 'crunchy' extruded pellets are easy to hold (easy to grind down) and make a good                                        alternative for chinnies that have tooth problems and find other pellets hard to eat. Nutritional Information: Protein 16.0%, Crude Fibre 19.0%, Fat Content 3.0%, Inorganic Matter 7.0%, Calcium 0.8%, Phosphorus 0.4% High Fibre – 19%,  Zero Added Sugar Beaphar Care Plus is also an extruded pelleted food for all chinchillas, but again, it could also tempt and encourage chinchillas with dental problems. I use some of this as a treat for my chinchillas.
What Beaphar say: The   Beaphar   Care+    range   is   the   first,   totally   complete,   super premium   food   available   for   the   small   pet,   offering   the   highest possible    quality    and    formulation    known    to    man.    The    high quality   proteins   and   Omega   3   and   6   fatty   acids   ensures   that   an animal   will   have   a   healthy   and   long   life   with   out   experiencing the   diseases   caused   by   nutritional   deficiencies.   The   foods   also contain    prebiotics    and    Yucca    extracts    and    the    chelated minerals improve absorption and supply to the body.
Remember, as with pellets, any new hay should be introduced slowly.
Quality of Life When a chinchilla has been ill, has undergone surgery or has had dental issues, he may for a while, need extra special care and if he is unwilling to eat, he will need to be hand fed, as it is vital to keep the gut stimulated. Hand feeding is very often necessary when a chinchilla has had some dentistry work done and he will not eat because his mouth might be sore and he finds it painful. Hopefully, after hand feeding for a few days/weeks, he will pick up and start eating again on his own. Unfortunately, there are times when we have to let our pets go and hand feeding is not the answer, if the animals are suffering. When and how do we know if they have some quality of life? Primarily, you will have discussed this with your vet and hopefully, he or she will have given you some good advice and guidelines. Also, use common sense, as you know your chinchillas’ behaviour patterns as to what is ‘normal.’ If they do not start eating on their own after some time, what do we do? Do we continue to hand feed? The answer is definitely yes, if they still have a quality of life. From my own experience, when a chinchilla can’t or won’t eat on his own, but willingly takes food via a spoon or syringe, is putting on weight and still wants to come out to play, then I would say he still has a quality of life. However, if after a while, your chinchilla is not willingly taking food, he may well be suffering.How do we know if they are in suffering or in pain? If he is losing weight and you are literally forcing food down, he just sits around all the time, doesn’t want to come out and he shows no interest in anything, then his quality of life is poor. If he has deteriorated so much and you are forcing very small amounts of food into him,you might be keeping him ‘just alive’. It would probably be kinder to have your pet put to sleep. This is an awful decision to have to make, but I think we should always remember that we keep our pets alive for their sake and not for ours .
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If your chinchilla is recovering from an operation/dental problems etc but can still manage to eat hard food, but doesn't seem to be interested in his pellets, you could offer him a little mixed. I would NOT as a rule recommend the use of mixed food (see Feeding )  only quality pellets and hay, but when chinnies are ill it can sometimes help to get them started again.You could even try some other foods which you might not normally use, for example, a little organic baby food.  Remember, this is for short term, medicinal puposes to get your chinnie eating: a healthy chin should only be fed quality hay and pellets. A responsible chin owner knows what a healthy diet should be ... As I said earlier, if a chinchilla does not eat, the gut slows and he can just give up altogether. If your chinnie is also having trouble eating hay (this is often the case when they have tooth problems) try using a softer hay e.g. Spillers 'Readigrass'.

Cheeky Chinchillas

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This formula is low in fat, high in roughage and contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Cereals, derivatives of vegetable origin, vegetable protein extracts, seeds, minerals, yeasts, vegetables, Yucca schidigera, algae (Spirulina 0.01%).