The Care and Raising of Chinchillas
Care and Raising of Chinchillas
I'm not an expert, but theese are things I have learned along the way and thought it might be useful for those just starting out on the chinnie track.
Choosing your Chin:
This is not the exhaustive study on Chinchillas, but a brief overview
This is a big step in your life, because Chinchillas can live up to 20 years.
Thatís longer than most dogs.
Male or Female makes no difference to the temperament of the animal.
Choose one that has clear eyes, and not wet around the mouth, Wet around the mouth can indicate improper bite, and that can be a real problem for a Chin. Eating problems. Even starvation!
Most Chins will be shy of you to start with, but if given a choice, choose the one that is the least timid. Never be rough with your Chin, and try not to chase it around its cage to catch it for whatever reason. Try putting a dust bath in itís cage to catch it. The Chin will love to hop into the bath and then itís a simple matter of just picking up the bath chin and all.
Donít be afraid of having your Chin hear the day to day noises of your home, they can adapt to these sounds very easily.
Diet: Raisins please
Chins main staple food is Chinchilla Pellets, but they also need Timothy Hay daily also. Alfalfa now and then for a treat. Dried Apples are a great treat . Chins usually love raisins, but a warning here , chins can get loose bowels easily. They have a sensitive digestive system. So only give a treat now and then. Watch to see how their dropping are, they should be like large grains of rice, only dark brown.
If you find soft movements , give a spoon size shredded wheat, they will take it as another treat and love it. This works very well.
I give a teat every other day and watch for the droppings .
Bath Time: :P
Now for something completely different:
Chinchillas donít like or need WET BATHS. In fact it can harm them, if they donít get dried off properly. They also should never be in a draft- warm or cold.
If they have to be on an outside wall. As some of mine are, put a covering over the part of the cage that is closest to the outside wall.
Chinchillas bath in special Chinchilla DUST. You put a couple on inches in a Bathhouse you can buy or a bowl. You place the dust bath in with the chin for 5 minutes no longer is needed. If you leave the bath in too long the Chin will foul the bath. Remember to sift the dust to get more use out of it.
Also a pinch of athleteís foot powder in the bath is an excellent idea, to ward of any fungus. I do this for every bath. This also works as a cure for fungus.
Which you can tell the Chin has by hair missing.
The bath twice a week in dry climates and more often in damp climates.
You can tell when your Chin needs a bath because the fur will separate.
Patience is rewarded with your Chin.
Patience ,Patience and more Patience.
With the treat method your chin will soon be running to meet you at the cage door.
When you first bring your Chin home, please remember that he is likely to be scared of all the new noises and surroundings. Get him settled into his new home and TRY NOT to pick him up for a couple of weeks. I know this is very hard, after all they are so darn cute. But it will pay off in the long run .
With the treat method you will soon find him eating out of your hand. Then you can reach out and try to tickle him behind the ears, under his chin.
When the time comes that he will be taken out of his cage, DONĒT approach him from above- over his back. That is how he would be attacked if in the wild, and this instinct is still in him. Try scooping him up with both hands. Or let him come out of his cage onto your arm.
Hold him as loosely as you can. They donít like to be squished. He may just love to sit up on your shoulder, as you watch TV, read, etc.
Be very careful if you let him loose out of his cage, Hi is a rodent and will chew anything and everything, especially wood and wire, which could mean a disaster.
Some people let their chins run in a bathroom or a large closet, to keep them out of danger. If you sit on the floor with them , they will soon be running and jumping all over and around you.
I personally prefer the very large Kritter Krawlers, a hard plastic ball that encases the Chin. Mine just love these, and they know when I am getting them ready to go for their run. They get so excited, jumping all over their cage, they can hardly wait. This way I know that they are safe.
Good Wood- Bad Wood
They love to chew apple wood. Also Pine is safe and poplar.
Their shavings are safe if you get the pine shavings. NO Cedar at all, it can kill them. NO citrus wood. Iím sure there are more woods that are ok for them, but if you stick with these your chins are safe.
Remember, NO Painted or composition wood.
Sleep the day away, awake at night
Yes thatís right, so itís a good idea NOT to have him in your bedroom with you, unless youíre a night owl, or a nightshift worker.
They just love to and will jump around from 7:00pm onward, with short breaks to catch their breath.
Some love to get a workout in a wheel, sometimes I think the noisier the betterJ
But then on the other hand you donít have to worry about leaving them alone during the day, they wonít miss you, while their sleeping.
What kind of cage?
Hagan puts out a good cage for one Chin. Too small I think for two.
I have several cages that are home made with Melamine for easy cleaning and solid floors,( kind to the feet) with wire mesh large doors and side windows with mesh. They measure 2ft x 2ft x 30 in. high. I house a pair of Chins in these.
Wire cages are good because Chins love to chew, but be careful with their feet on wire. Their hind feet are large and can get stuck and easily broken with too large a gage of wire. Also, wire on the floor of a cage can be hard on their feet, so if you do have a cage like this , the easy remedy is to put a piece of Pine down for them to sit on and rest their feet. HAVE YOU EVER STOOD ON A LADDER FOR HOURS WITH THE RUNGS TOO SMALL?
Temperature 20c :P
Your little furball is wearing a coat that is among the thickest in the world.
So he can get heat stroke. This can kill him. He should be kept in the coolest part of the house. I have my little guys in the basement . If the temp. is no warmer than 20c you are safe.
One way to tell they are too warm, is by looking at their ears. If their ears are VERY dark PINK to reddish then they are too warm. Also laying on their side can be an indication that they are too warm. Some Chins just like to lay on their side though, so double check the ears.
If your Chin is extremely overheated then get some ice packs and put them in the cage with your little guy.
This is a very deep subject, involving genetics, so I will leave this subject to the many breeders who are expert in this field.
Suffice for me to say, chinchillas come in many colours. The first and closest to original colour, is the Standard grey with a white belly.
These are the most plentiful Chins to be found and so often are less expensive.
There are also Black velvet, Brown Velvet, Whites, Tan, Beige, Violet, Ebony, Charcoal , to name but a few.
Where do Chinchillas come from?
Chinchillas are native to South America.
The word ďChinchillaĒ means ď little chinta.Ē This was a name given by the Indian tribes in the area.
The countries they are native to are Argentina, Peru, Chile, and Bolivia.
They live high up in the Andes mountains.
They were once hunted to near extinction for their fur.
The majority of chinchillas today are raised of fur ranches, but are no longer
In danger of extinction.
Now happily, the pet market has found them, and here we are.
Thanks for the info, Maureen!
Any other chinnie owners have any personal experience or advice to add?
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