Posts tagged treats
Happy August!

For the month of July, two (2) chinchillas were surrendered and two (2) chinchillas were adopted.  Last month we turned away a whopping 19 requests for surrender! We've found that our adoptions have dropped sharply since our lawyer stepped in to give our contract more "bite". So we're looking in to softening the rules at bit. Watch for upcoming changes in our contract and please, spread the word about adopting recycled pets.

Now, for those of you who already own a chinchilla or several, let us challenge your knowledge. We never take seriously those who claim to be long term chin owners. We have learned the hard way that radically different degrees of knowledge exist within the small subculture of those who own chinchillas (or any other animal for that matter). The internet is full of misinformation. We hope to dispel some myths and give good, sound reasons for our advice.

With that being said, we received an interesting email from someone this week who erroneously believed that vine chew toys were "treats". In a nutshell (no pun intended) a "treat" would be any food item that a chinchilla would not normally find in abundance in their natural habitat.

A chinchilla's natural habitat is high desert. Desert is a biome that simply refers to the degree of precipitation, not degree of heat! A desert biome grows vegetation that is high in fiber with very little moisture. So a chinchilla diet should also be high in fiber, low protein, with practically zero fats and sugars. If your chinnie is getting plump off of high sugar/ high fat treats, you run the risk of killing it with kindness by contributing to fatty liver disease. If you choose to purchase processed treats, at the very least be cognizant of the ingredients list! The closer to single ingredient items you can give, the better. The infamous pet store fare (certain flower-type green disks) generally contains a list of ingredients that clearly is NOT healthy for your pet.

With this in mind, we've made a handy-dandy food pyramid to show you the types and amount of foods your chinchilla should have. We would strongly prefer nothing from the uppermost level of the pyramid. This is the "treat" section. But if you must, remember: the smaller the section of the pyramid equals offering smaller amounts to your chin. 

The largest section at the bottom contains a list of food items that your chin can eat without restriction and is actually naturally healthy for them. Items from the lower portion of the list can excite your chin as a healthy alternative to treats if you hand feed them. It's all in the mindset. We know of one person whose chins get excited about wooden clothespins! So study the list, be smart and enjoy!

Happy July!

For the month of June, seven (7) chinchillas were surrendered and two (2) chinchillas were adopted. *sigh* Surrenders are high again with people on a surrender waiting list.

Whimsy strongly believes that a major part of surrendering excuses revolve around simply not understanding chinchilla behavior and body language. Rarely do we meet a person who is horribly heartbroken over the decision to surrender. Most often we see relief or guilt.When a person has a less than ideal relationship with their pet, it's that much easier to give them up. Training your pet chinchilla is a mutually beneficial way to bond with your furry friend. Pet chinchillas can learn certain tricks and other trained behaviors.

The majority of trained animal actions are based on the natural tendencies of the critter involved. For example, cats naturally gravitate to defecate and urinate in a sandy spot where they can easily cover the evidence. A chinchilla that habitually urinates in one corner of their cage can be “trained” to use a litter box (assuming you put it in the same corner).

Some people don’t realize that they are training their chinchilla without even knowing it! A chinchilla who bites when he no longer wants to be held has learned this very, very bad behavior. If your chinnie struggles or nips while holding them, do NOT give in to the animal by releasing them. This causes a vicious cycle of behavior where the chinchilla learns that with some struggle or teeth, they can be released to play, or put back into the peace and security of their cage. (More on the proper way to catch and hold a chinchilla later).

Another common badly learned behavior are those well-intentioned chinchilla owners who throw open the chin’s cage door to allow them out to play. I can’t stress this enough: never allow your chin free roam out their cage doors. This teaches your chinnie to bolt, which makes cage cleaning, feeding and other simple tasks very difficult. It is frustrating when you have to fight to keep your chin in their cage when you want them there, especially if you have to leave your chin in the care of someone who may not be able to handle them safely. With a training technique referred to successive approximation, you can teach your chinnie to step politely onto your hands when it’s time to come out and play. This trained behavior works especially well if you have a chinchilla that is already friendly and inquisitive.

Chinchillas are very smart. They learn to recognize tone of voice and some can even recognize their names! Yes, we know of chinchillas that will actually come when called. There are even chinchillas who can perform simple tricks like jumping through a hoop on command, standing pretty for a treat, giving a high five, hopping onto a shoulder and other seemingly dog-like tricks. Youtube is full of videos with trained chinchilla clips. Interestingly enough, some of those video makers claim their chinchillas are not trained. In actuality, if a chinchilla performs a certain behavior as expected and on command, you can be sure it’s “trained” or learned behavior. Some people are just talented enough to not realize that is what they have inadvertently done. ;)

Training your chinchilla does take a lot of time and patience. The process, however, can be a rewarding and enriching experience for the owner and the chin as they learn to fine-tune their interactions. Chinchilla training is another creative way to enjoy your pet. And just think; if more people spent that much more time with their chinchillas, how many fewer surrenders we’d have due to loss of interest!

This is Whimsy, wishful dreaming, and I approve this message.

Introducing... Package Deals


We've received numerous requests for package deals. So finally, we've come up with a a few very nice assortments of wholesome chinnie foods, chews and treats. The package deals do not allow for substitutions. As we've jam packed boxes with specified dimensions, the goal was to make the most use of the space allotted. The package deals are all inclusive with shipping costs, etc. These offers are for domestic orders only.

The $90, Happy Chinchilla Care Package contains the following: 

  • 1 gallon bag pellets (Purina, Blue Seal or mixed bag)
  • 1 gallon bag hay cubes 
  • 1lb whole rose hips
  • 1lb probiotic cookies
  • 1lb prepared mixed wood
  • pack goji berries
  • pack seagrass knots
  • 1 chinchilada
  • 1 orb-bits
  • 5 assorted toss toys

We also offer a more economical option for those who are looking for monthly staple combo in a tidy package.  The $60, Economy Care Basics includes the following:

  •  1 gallon bag pellets (Purina, Blue Seal or mixed bag)
  • 1lb prepared wood chews (mixed variety only)
  • 1lb rose hips
  • 1lb hay cubes
  • 1 chinchilada
  • 5 assorted toss toys 


And finally, for those who want to spoil their chinnie into oblivion with chew toys and nothing but chew toys, we offer the $125, Ultimate Chew Toy Bundle. This is our most generous package deal where you'll find some extra freebies. ;) This package is not only excellent for your chinnie's teeth and digestive system, but it also supports the cognitive and motor skills of the special needs students who help us make them. We're told the actual chew toys are much larger in real life than they look in pictures. 

  • Herbal bunny
  • Spider!
  • Natural Noms Wreath
  • Pumice & Willowball Wreath
  • Chinchilada
  • Jacob's ladder
  • Superchew Softie
  • Pinata
  • Orb-bits
  • Fruitwood kabob
  • Chinchworm
  • 5 Assorted Toss Toys
  • Hugs & Kisses Garland
  • Random vine thingies
  • Natural wood perch

So...for ordering information, see our store Food & Health and Chinchilla Chew Toys pages for details.

Happy Shopping!

Happy June!

For the month of May we had an eerily quiet month for both surrenders and adoptions. One (1) chinchilla was surrendered and two (2) chinchillas were adopted. May tends to roll like that, although we have had to convince some potential surrenders that turning their chin(s) in to us will in no way guarantee that they will get the "time and attention they deserve." To be brutally honest, some chins are with us for years before they finally go to an adoptive home. 

And speaking of adoptive homes....

Questions regarding food have come up quite a bit recently. Pet chinchillas with access to an adequately sized cage rarely need limits placed on the amount of food they consume. Growing chins are especially prone to low blood sugar, and chins in general are at risk of gastric stasis if they do not have food available at all times. Therefore, chinchillas need unlimited access to high quality pellets and hay.

A school of thought exists that advocates chins be given a measured amount of pellets. This is a dangerous practice and is generally used with ranch chins that are in very tiny breeding runs with little to no exercise.

A chinchilla should be naturally "blocky," not thin. If your vet tells you that your chinchilla is overweight, consider the foods you provide. Are you plying your animal with high calorie foods they should not eat in the first place? Raisins, nuts, colorful pet store mixed treats and other processed foods are perfect examples of how to "kill your pet with kindness." 

Instead, consider the natural habitat of the chinchilla. Chinchillas come from a place where the vegetation is high in fiber, low in protein with no fats and very little natural sugars. Think about it. Do coconuts and bananas grow naturally in the Andes Mountains high desert biome? Of course not! Then why do people believe these foods are ok to feed chinchillas? Be smart, people.


Still not sure what foods are safe? Check out our store for more information about different treats, chews, supplements and food staples.

This is Whimsy and I approve this message.

Treats and Snacks

We often get inquiries about what sort of treats are safe to give pet chinchillas. Whimsy has been known to visibly cringe when told what some people give their critters. Snacks from pet stores are notoriously unhealthy, even though they contain "natural" foods such as sweetened dried fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and flowers. Just because a pet store item has a picture of a chinchilla on it, doesn't necessarily mean it's safe to give your pet chinchilla.

So if these foods are not safe, just what is

Well...think about a chinchilla's natural habitat. They originally come from the very cold, arid (dry desert-like) biosphere of the Andes Mountains in South America.

This habitat produces foods that are high in fiber, moderate in protein, very low in fat, with almost nonexistent sugars. A wild chinchilla's diet is very dry and bland. With that in mind, a health-conscious owner will try to mimic those conditions as closely as possible. The best chinchilla treats are those with little to no processing, added sugars, or fats.  

Plain Cheerios, unfrosted shredded wheat cereal, steamed crimped oats, rolled barley, old fashioned oats, dried rose hips,  select wood sticks and twigs and pumice stones are some widely accepted good choices for treats and snacks. 

And for those who have been asking, we finally have our supply of whole rose hips back in stock. Check out our new(er) store layout for those and other chin-safe treats and toys.