High quality hay is the most important aspect of daily chinchillas care and help them optimize their health and quality of life. Hay forms the bulk of chinchilla diet.
However, there are many different types of hay available. They look roughly the same but their nutritional profile is not. Normally, to round out their nutritional, you can mix them together. This is why you should know clearly about their nutritional content and carefully choosing the best chinchilla hay to feed your pets.
#1 Timothy Hay
Timothy nutritional profile is protein min 10.00%, Fat min 1.50%, Fiber max 32.00%. Timothy hay is grass hay made from dried timothy grass. It is the most popular chinchilla hay since it has a good balance of protein and energy and contains almost every thing your pet needs.
In order to provide chinchillas a rounded diet, you also can mix timothy with other hay such as orchard grass or alfalfa. Generally, timothy hay is recommended to use as core hay and fully suitable for chinchilla. The only disadvantage of this hay is that it not as promote healthy teeth grinding as other hay.
#2 Alfalfa hay
Alfalfa hay contains Protein min 16.00%, Fat min 1.50%, Fiber max 32.00%, 1-2% calcium. As you can see, alfalfa has more protein and fat than other kinds of hay, it is also sweet and rich in nutrients.
It has the same long-strand fiber found in timothy hay, but it has more protein, energy and calcium. Too high calcium content is the issue of alfalfa. Chinchillas can get bladder stores (excess calcium) if they were fed too much alfalfa. So it is best to use as good treats for chinchillas.
#3 Orchard grass
Orchard Grass is a flat leaf bladed perennial. Its nutritional profile is Protein min 10-12.00%, Fat min 1.50%, Fiber max 32.00%., 0,26-0,34% calcium. Orchard grass is high in fiber and low in protein.
It even has higher contents of energy and protein than timothy hay but has the same level of calcium as timothy. That means it good for the underweight chinchilla and does not cause deficiencies or bladder stones.
Bermuda Grass is a less expensive alternative to Orchard or Timothy hay. It contains Protein min 8.00%, Fat min 1.50%, Fiber max 32.00%. Although it may not be quite as nutritious as timothy hay but it less protein than alfalfa (8%-10%) and is a good source of vitamin A and D. So it is suitable to feed chinchillas.