What is Ash?
Sometimes you will see the ash percentage listed on some brands of pellets. In the US, it is not required for companies to list the percentage of ash in its pellets. Ash is what is left of the mineral content of the pellets after the heating process. If it does have ash listed, it should be a fairly low percentage.
Should you decide to shop around for a brand of chinchilla pellets here are a few guide lines you will want to keep in mind.
- You want a pellet that is very high in fiber, 18% as a minimum with over 20% being the best.
- Protein should be in the 15% - 16% range and fat only 2% - 4%.
- Pellets should be Timothy or Alfalfa hay-based as the first ingredient.
- You want a fairly low percent of ash as this has been linked to urinary tract infections in bunnies. Since bunnies and chins have very similar digestive tracts, I believe chins may be vulnerable to the urinary infection also.
- No 'by-products' of any kind.
- No source of animal ingredients of any kind including fat, proteins or by-products. Chinchillas are strict vegetarians.
- There should be no corn in any form in anything you feed your chinchilla. It is very difficult to digest and corn is easily prone to mold/fungus. Very often corn meal is used as a binding agent in cheaper pellets. A good pellet will not use it.
- No BHA or BHT which are a chemical preservative.
- There should be NO nuts or seeds of any kind in your chin's pellets.
- There should be NO dried fruit of any kind in your chin's pellets.
- You do not want colored biscuit-type pieces mixed in with the pellets.
- ALWAYS check the date on the bag of pellets. If there is no date printed on the bag; don't buy the food!
- The pellets should look and smell fresh. If you open the bag and it smells sour/rancid or moldy in any way, don't feed it to your chin. Return it to the store or call the manufacturer.