Feeding and pulp feeding

Need for pulp nutrition

In principle, chinchillas should only be fed with pulp when there is real need and only for a short time. So not over a long period of time. If a chinchilla only eats pulp, the teeth do not wear out enough and then have to be shortened to the length of the gums by the vet. Teeth that are too long appear after a short time if enough abrasive feed is not ground. Chinchilla teeth grow about 2mm per week. In addition, the masticatory muscles recede and the animals often become chewy. Chinchillas then refuse to eat independently, although they can chew and eat again.


So the motto is: As much as necessary, but as little as possible!


Temporary pulp feeding is usually necessary in the event of illness. Many diseases reduce appetite, for example heart disease or pain in general. The main problem here is to be resolved so that the animals can quickly start eating again on their own.


A common reason for feeding is dental disease. Here, too, the chinchilla must be properly medically treated, then it will at least partially eat by itself again.


In addition, chinchillas often need to be nursed briefly after surgical interventions (dental restoration, abscesses, castration, broken bones) until they regain their strength, have recovered and feel less pain.


With certain diseases (dental diseases, uterine inflammation, broken bones, castration), in addition to a thorough examination and appropriate therapy, the administration of a pain reliever (Metacam, Novalgin) is necessary and useful so that the chinchillas can eat better again.


Energy requirement

A chinchilla needs about 480 kJ / kg KM / day in order not to lose weight (WOLF et al. 2001).


According to the manufacturer, Critical Care has a calorific value of 2.69 kcal / g (11.26 kJ / g).


It follows that a 500g animal has an energy requirement of 240 kJ / day, which it could cover with 21.32g Critical Care.


The recommendation for the preparation of Critical Care is: Mix 1 part by volume of powder ... with 1.5 parts by volume of warm water ... (Albrecht - Product Information).


However, one part by volume of powder (i.e. one milliliter) does not correspond to one gram.The ratio of weight to volume is approximately (g: ml) 1: 1.5.


It follows that the 21.32g Critical Care is roughly equivalent to 31.98ml.


These result in a slurry amount with a mixing ratio of 1: 1.5 of 79.95ml with a calorific value of 240kJ.


Appropriate invoices must be drawn up for animals of a different weight.


It should also be noted that sick and convalescent animals have an increased energy requirement. Some authors put it with a factor of 2-2.5. This would correspond to a pulp volume of over 160ml for a 500g heavy animal. It is doubtful that this amount would be unproblematic for the animal.


It is a fallacy to believe that the calorific values of Critical Care and our feed pellets differ significantly. As various feed analyzes in the context of dissertations show, feed pellets can even have a higher energy content (SCHRÖDER 2000, WENGER 1997).


Therefore the differences in the required amount of pulp with an equivalent mixing ratio of pellet powder: water should be in the range of +/- 5ml and not differ by a factor of the order of ´2´.


Time, frequency and amount of feed with pulp feeding

Chinchillas usually eat mostly during the dark hours. So between 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., with a peak between 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. (SCHRÖDER 2000, WENGER 1997).


Food consumed outside of this period remains in the gastrointestinal tract for about twice as long (BREM 1982). Which can lead to incorrect fermentation and increased accumulations of gases and disrupt the physiological intestinal flora. (EWRINGMANN & GLÖCKNER 2005).


Taking these aspects into account, pulp and force-feeding should take place in the evening, night and early morning hours. in which the healthy animals would also eat. EWRINGMANN & GLÖCKNER also recommend this.


The latest literature (EWRINGMANN & GLÖCKNER) gives the following information on the amount of food to be fed: at least 50-80ml / kg / d, divided into 6-8 servings. This corresponds to approx. 6-13ml / kg / day per dose.


There is little information about the stomach volume in chinchillas. BREM quotes BICKEL with 60cm³. FEHR also makes this statement (this source not yet checked).


The value appears high and there is no relation to body weight. The type of measurement is also not mentioned (BREM). For example, it could be the maximum volume of eccentric stomachs.


If you look at x-rays or photos of chinchilla stomachs, a volume similar to that of guinea pigs could also come into question. According to ROSENGARTEN, this is 6.7 ± 1.27 ml / 100 g KM.


According to ROSENGARTEN, 20ml per application (probe) should not be exceeded in guinea pigs, as otherwise there is a risk of stomach overload / rupture.


In addition, when larger volumes are administered, there is a risk that the pressure of the stomach on the diaphragm will impair cardiovascular and lung functions. One would like to prevent that in a force-fed animal.


An amount well below 20ml, for example 8ml +/- 2ml, should be given per session.


If the chinchillas completely stop feeding, they have to feed more often. At first it doesn't matter which feed it is, the main thing is that the animal is eating. Therefore please offer all known feeds first, as well as the less healthy ones! If you feed too much, the animals will hardly eat any solid food on their own


and you will get into a vicious circle in which some animals are even no longer willing to chew on their own and have to be weaned from feeding.


Unfortunately, there is still some misinformation about popping. For example, that chinchillas have a stuffing stomach and intestine and therefore have to eat all the time so that the ingested food can be transported on and there is no incorrect fermentation. However, this is not correct. More details on this under the topic of the stuffing bowel and stuffing stomach.


In addition, it is not uncommon for sick animals (and people) to eat less or even to stop eating for a short time. After a day at the latest, chinchillas should at least eat little things, otherwise you have to feed. It is also quite normal that nocturnal animals like our chins hardly eat anything during the day.


If a chinchilla refuses to feed the pulp, you have the option to test different types of pulp, soften pellets or mix pulp yourself. It is only important that the pulp contains enough crude fiber. So you don't use pure vegetable or fruit pulp. See our pulp list on the homepage.



  • The amount of pulp should be well below 20ml per meal.
  • per meal best between 6ml to a maximum of 13ml pulp.
  • Total volume of pulp for the day divided into 4-8 meals, depending on whether the animal is still eating something on its own or not.
  • pulp feeding only in the time between approx. 6/7 p.m. and 7/8 a.m.
  • During the day you let the chinchilla sleep and relax!

Consistency or mixing of pulp

The consistency of the ideally mixed pulp is thick, so that the patients still have to chew a little and cannot simply swallow the pulp. The consistency of pulp should be that of Nutella in summer. In addition, a well-mixed pulp will not fit through the exit of a standard syringe and you have to cut the tip with scissors or a knife or use special feeding syringes.


Often chinchillas with dental problems and pain cannot chew the pulp properly and you have to mix the pulp thinner at the beginning.


It is important that the pulp contains as much raw fiber as possible. Offering pure fruit or vegetable pulp is therefore not suitable. However, these can be used for medication if necessary and can be mixed with fibrous pulp for better acceptance.


Instead of water, depending on the symptoms, you can take tea, for example, fennel, caraway and anise tea for digestive problems or sage or chamomile tea for inflammation in the mouth.


Offering pulp

There are chinchillas who willingly take the pulp from a bowl, a spoon or a (needleless) syringe. Others must be captured from the cage and placed on your lap. For stubborn animals, it can help to refine the pulp with sugar-free applesauce and / or wrap them in a towel so they don't fidget and run away.



  • Wolf, R; Schröder, A .; Wenger, A .; Kamphues, J. (2001): The nutrition of the chinchilla as a companion animal. Data, influences and dependences.
  • Schröder, Alexandra (2000): Comparative studies on the feed intake of dwarf rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas when offering differently packaged single and compound feeds.
  • Wenger, Anita K. (1997): Comparative studies on the intake and digestibility of various raw fiber-rich rations and feed in dwarf rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas.
  • Ewringmann, A; Glöckner, G. (2005): Key symptoms in guinea pigs, chinchilla and degu.
  • Brem, Manfred (1982): Studies on diseases of the gastrointestinal tract in chinchilla.
  • Fehr, M. (2004): Diseases of pets.
  • Rosengarten, A. (2004): Investigations into the short-term nutrition of rabbits and guinea pigs via an orogastric probe with variation of the composition (components, nutrient content and energy density) of the applied feed.