As a conscientious chin parent, you may be discouraged at the selection of treats at the pet store. Most have inappropriate and dangerous ingredients. Luckily many places online- including us- have a selection of time tested chin treats that are safe to give at the recommended amount! You can even use these as ingredients for your own homemade chinchilla treats!
Your Own Recipe
Chinchilla cookies at home are pretty simple to do. The main component is Oxbow's Critical Care. Though the formula is made for syringe feeding animals that can't or won't eat on their own, the ingredients are safe to use and pretty tasty. Think of this like the flour part of the cookie. You can also grind up a cup of your chinchilla's regular pellets in the blender. As long as you have a powder to work with, you're good!
The other ingredients are completely up to you! Any chin-safe herbs can be used. Timothy hay? Yes! Bee pollen? Go for it! Just keep in mind that the richer your cookies are, the less you can give to your chinchilla. Also you don't want to overwhelm the cookie with lots of petals and chunky things that could crumble it. Rolled oats and Mrs. Pasture's Horse cookies will help 'bind' the cookies together, so I suggest adding those in as well. Take all of your ingredients and blend them up- the finer, the better.
Once you've chosen your recipe and blended everything together, you need to mix in water! How much depend on how large of a batch you are doing but I recommend to have a small bowl and add your dry blend to the water. Keep adding and mixing until you have something the consistency of dough.
Have Some Fun, Then Bake!
You can now shape your dough! They can be as simple as squares or you can use small cookie cutters for some fun shapes. You can even make them small cubes or balls to use as training treats.
Hint: Make sure your chinchilla loves your formula before making training treats. They are time consuming to make and won't be of much use if your chin doesn't like them!
Once you have the shapes you like, it's time to dry them out. I used a cheap dehydrator for mine. The temperature was set to 100 and I left them in for about 6 hours. If you don't have a dehydrator, an oven will work! Heat to 200-250F and place your chin cookies on a baking sheet. Check every 15-30 minutes and flip them (A flexible steel putty knife works great to transfer and flip small cookies). Repeat until your cookies are dry all the way through.
Tesla (almost) enjoying her small giraffe cookie. These cookies were made with critical care (1 cup), mazuri pellets (1 cup), rolled oats (1 tablespoon)Mrs. Pastures Horse Cookies (1 cookie), Hibiscus and bee pollen (2 teaspoons each). We feel we can give her 3 cookies per week of this approximate size (they are about an inch longest side).
Depending on your recipe and the size of your treats, your chinchilla can have a cookie once a week (for richer/larger cookies) or up to 4-5 times per week (for more basic cookies). Use your best judgement. If you haven't read our Treat Yo Chin blog, please click on it below. If you need help deciding frequency, please email us what you used and their approximate size to firstname.lastname@example.org- we are happy to guide you!