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How To Choose The Best Hay For Chinchillas

the best hay for chinchillas

Chinchilla owners know that hay is the top priority for any chinchilla diet. Which is why it's worth asking what’s the best hay for chinchillas? 

If you’re going to buy this stuff by the box full, and have it available for your chinchilla 24/7 (as you must!) then you want to make sure you’re getting this right.

For most chinchilla owners, 2nd Cutting Timothy Hay is the best hay for chinchillas. However, it’s not the only choice and when you take into account individual factors you may find something else works best. 

Before we get into the different types of hay, let’s talk about why hay is so important so we can be sure the hay we’re choosing ticks all the boxes!

Why So Much Hay?

You may have heard that chinchilla hay needs to be a free-choice food. This means it’s available to your chinchilla all day every day.

Dry hay is perfect for wearing down teeth. A chinchilla’s teeth are always growing. The best hay for chinchillas will have plenty of roughage in order to keep their mouths healthy.

They also need a constant supply of fiber rolling through their system. This helps keep everything moving as it should! A healthy digestive system shows up in all areas of your chinchilla’s life. 

When you have their digestion working as it should, then your chinchilla will have the energy it needs to play with toys! They will feel well enough to be friendly and live a long happy life.

What The Best Hay For Chinchillas Consists Of

The optimal diet for a chinchilla must be:

  • high in fiber
  • low in calcium
  • include lots of tough fibers for chewing

Of course, chinchilla hay gives your little guy a lot more than just that! But when choosing the best hay for chinchillas these are the most important elements to keep in mind.


How Do I Get My Chinchilla To Eat Enough of the Best Hay For Chinchillas?

Some people worry about whether their chinchilla is getting enough hay. The best hay for chinchillas isn’t only about the type of hay but also about the quality of the hay. 

You can’t force-feed a chinchilla, so the best thing you can do is make the hay you’re offering as appetizing as possible.

 Quality hay looks and smells good! It isn’t full of dust, and the pieces are crisp. 

the best hay for chinchillas

When you offer quality hay your chinchilla eats enough to keep themselves healthy! 

Low-quality hay ends up being thrown away. So while you may try to save money with lower quality hay, if it’s not being eaten, you’re wasting your time and money.

Sometimes hay isn’t being eaten for a medical reason, which we will touch on in a moment! 

Different Types Of Chinchilla Hay

The best hay for chinchillas is a low-calcium high-fiber grass hay. Legume hay like alfalfa hay can be given in small qualities but it’s not suitable for free-choice chinchilla hay. It contains too much calcium which can cause bladder stones.


Oat Hay

Oat hay is grain hay and it’s another hay that isn’t the best for your chinchilla’s free choice food. This type of hay is too high in protein to be the best hay for chinchillas. But it can be given in smaller amounts to provide variety or given as a treat.


1st Cutting, 2nd Cutting, and 3rd Cutting of Timothy Hay

You may notice when shopping for Timothy Hay that there are different types or cuttings. If you're buying Timothy hay that doesn’t specify which cutting it is, then you’re not really sure what you’re buying.

Timothy hay can be cut up to 3 times in one season! Each time it’s cut it provides different results with different textures and nutrients.

Timothy Hay

1st Cutting

2nd Cutting

3rd Cutting













Flower Heads








First cutting Timothy hay has the most fiber and stems. It provides the most roughage for heavy chewing. Third cutting Timothy hay has softer stems, more leaves, and the lowest fiber content of the three cuttings. While the 2nd cutting is the middle man and generally the best hay for chinchillas!

First cutting is also where you find the most flower heads! While we're comparing the three cuttings and the amount of fiber in each one, remember all three cuttings have fiber. All hay has fiber! It's just that 1st cutting maximizes the fiber. 

Who Needs Third Cutting Timothy Hay?

Older animals, younger animals, and animals with medical issues may be less interested in the expert-level chewing that a healthy adult chinchilla loves. 

In these cases, third cutting can be easier for them to eat more of. And of course, the goal is to get a lot of hay into our furry friends.

More Hay = More Fiber

best hay for chinchillas

Is Orchard Grass Hay The Best Hay For Chinchillas?

Orchard hay is very similar to 2nd cutting Timothy Hay and makes an excellent alternative.

Timothy hay can be a common allergen for humans. If you're in this boat then the best hay for chinchillas (and you) is probably orchard hay!

chinchilla hay
10% OFF Sampler Box Hay

Still not sure which hay is best for your chin? We’ve got you covered! We’re giving 10% OFF our Sampler Box Hay! 

Purchase TODAY and your little one can try 2nd Cutting Timothy, 3rd Cutting Timothy, Oat, and Orchard ALL at a discounted price! Just use discount code SAMPLER10 at checkout.

Hay Cubes 

Variety is fun! But for small pets, it can sometimes lead to stomach trouble if it’s not done right. 

Since hay makes your chinchilla feel their best we have used the best hay for chinchillas in our Hay Cubes. These are the best treats to give to your chin because of their simple ingredients!

Hay Cubes are just hay. They’ve been formed into cubes to give them an extra crunch. Chinchillas love them! It’s a great way to treat your pet without worrying about the possible side effects of giving new foods and treats.

Treats that encourage your chinchilla to eat even more hay is exactly what they need. So when you’re choosing the best hay for chinchillas make sure you're getting the right treats to go with it! 

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