Nutrition = Storage
The way we store chinchilla supplies is critical for our fur babies' health. Certain items require storage in a cool, dry, dark place, while others need to “breathe.” Some chinchilla products have a shelf life, while others last indefinitely. Feed pellets are one of the more common foods about which people tend to have a laissez faire attitude. Pellets are relatively cheap when purchased in bulk, but begin to lose nutritional value after 3 months. Products that claim to have a 1-year shelf life do not address the fact that the nutrients gradually dwindle over that period. These should be stored in an air-tight container.
We often receive raves about the freshness of our pellets where people claim that their chins shun pet store pellets, but love ours. This is mainly because we open and use our supplies within a very short time. This results in an ultra-fresh, bright green pellet that is nutrition dense. It is wise to only purchase as much pelleted feed as your pet can use within two months or less.
Another very important food item that requires specialized handling is dried hay. This item should be stored where it is allowed full air circulation, but is out of direct sun or bright light. This allows excess moisture to escape without causing the product to mold. If hay is stored in an airtight container, the anaerobic environment allows moisture and bacteria to accumulate and begin the process of decomposition. Sunlight and direct artificial light also leaches the chlorophyll and other vitamins from hay, resulting in a product that is no more nutritious than straw. Good hay depends on the growing season, cultivation, harvesting, and storage techniques.
Loose wood, properly prepared, is another essential food item for chinchillas. However, proper preparation is critical in knowing how to process wood safely. The most important considerations are: is the wood organic? Has it been boiled to kill off parasites and allow for excess dirt and foreign growth removal? Has it been slowly dehydrated to ensure even drying? Quick “roasting” or “baking” at high temperatures for short periods of time is not adequate for wood processing. This method cooks the outer bark while leaving the middle damp. Mold spores are deadly to your chin! These can cause loose stool and potential death.
We slowly convection dry all our hand selected woods for a minimum of 24 hours. Thicker pieces can take up to 5 days of continuous dry time to reach perfection. You can rest assured that we take care and caution when preparing our chinnie foods, treats and chew toys. Our reputation, and our chins, depend on it!