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  #1  
Old 09-06-2017, 08:02 PM France
maelos maelos is offline
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Default Is a playpen needed for chins ?

Hello everyone, I have chinchillas since 6 months and i'm always up to make them as happy as possible

I have this feeling (and to be honest i've always had it with every animals) that they are bored, though i'm not really sure

I tried many things to keep them occupied, I tried to grab them and put them in my room, way too dangerous.

Talking about grabbing them, either I have to go very slow and they always flee, or I go too fast and they gonna bark (even though they NEVER bite me, and of course I NEVER hurt them). Any tips about it ? I tried to give them the treats that they love after grabbing them, they won't accept it, I also noticed thye don't lose much fur when I try to catch them so I guess they don't see me as predator, maybe thye just wanna be left alone ?

Anyway, I tried to put them in the safest place in my house, the bathroom, its pretty spacious but in the end its just a big space to run, at best, nothing fun (or maybe it is for them?)

I thought about buying a playpen like one of these https://www.amazon.fr/Foldable-dutil...pen%2Bpet&th=1 and put a lot of toys in it but I'm doubtful about something :

Is it really useful ? Because 1) Their cage is the biggest I could find in term of already made rodent cage (140x80x50) and they already have all the toys I could find in it, including a wheel, two tubes, 4 hiding spots, rocks for their teeth and a ball with hay. Do you have any idea what else I could put ?

I also have a bit of remorse because unfortunatly, I can't really play with them a lot because 1) I don't have much access to the only possible playground for them, the bathroom (because of personal reasons, can't go there much) 2) They seem scared of me or at best they just don't wanna be held, I can force them but in the end i do it for them so...

Any idea or experience from you to keep my chinchillas busy ? Or to know if they are happy, and if a playpen is useful in my case or not ? please
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Old 09-07-2017, 06:55 AM United States
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You don't HAVE to give your chins out of cage time if they have a decent cage and you are providing toys. If you do decide to give them out of cage time, I think playpens are the safest way to do it. You can completely control the environment and what they are exposed to. In the end though, it's personal choice whichever way you go. Some people never give their chins out of cage run time (myself included) and they do fine. I wish I could let them out of their cages to play, but I just have too many.
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Old 09-07-2017, 10:49 AM France
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Ok and I forgot to ask, is cardboard good as play things ? (I can make houses or maze out of them)

I work at a fast food so I can have infinite amount of it for free, I've read its not good if they eat it... Though I bought a tube at a pet shop made out of hay, and the inside is pretty much just a big sturdy paper toilet tube (so i guess cardboard too, not sure if its the same material) and they seem to not eat it, but they like to tear it apart
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Old 09-07-2017, 01:43 PM Canada
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Amethyst Amethyst is offline
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As said so long as the cage is big enough, and they have plenty of toys they are probably fine staying in the cage. You don't say how many chins you have, that cage size is about big enough for about 2 chins.

You didn't really mention toys, you want a variety, hanging toys, toss toys, shredding toys, and chew toys. Check out the vendors on here (banner ads at the top and in the classifieds) for toy ideas. You do want to switch out the toys every so often though so they don't get bored. If the toys are still good don't throw them out, just replace with new ones and use them again in a few weeks. Sometimes just simply flipping a hanging toy upside down can be enough to make it seem new again to the chins. You can also rearrange the cage, move shelves, perches, and ledges around move hanging toys around, etc, so they have the "new cage" feel again to explore.

Most chins never like being picked up, the best you can do is work on bonding with them so they wont be as upset about it. Sit by the cage and talk, sing, read aloud, etc. You can also just sit with the door open, if they don't try to escape, and let them sniff you and climb on your hands and arms. It's best not to actually grab them, if you can try to just scoop them up, one hand under one hand over top. I also use a box to transport them from cage to bath house or to play in another room, so they aren't upset about being held for any length of time (also that way I can get both at the same time).

Personally I don't like the cloth playpens, you could end up constantly trying to stop them from trying to chew their way out. Chins can also jump 5ft, so depending on your chins you'd need to keep the lid closed. The one you linked is kind of small, some people do have luck with the cloth pens, but go with the 60in (152cm) diameter ones. For a play pen I use metal it looks like this https://www.amazon.ca/Ware-Large-Sma...words=ware+pen, and I actually use two, they link together to make a pen as big as you want (two of these makes a 284cm x 284cm play area if fully stretched out). I sometimes just loop the pen around the cage and open the cage door they can then hop in and out of the cage as they please. The other advantage of the metal fencing is you can use it to block areas instead too, so you could have them in your room and use the fencing to block off your dresser and bed for example. A cheaper option though is to use big cardboard boxes flattened as walls of a pen, which you can then make as big as you want.

You can make things for the chins to explore for out of cage time. As you mentioned you can make mazes for them, put treats or bits of hay inside for them to find. You could also try making a bit of a playground like found on this site http://www.simplychintastic.com/playtime.html. A common favorite thing to play with during playtime tends to be their owner, sit still and let them climb on you. My guys also like those cheap cat tunnels, like these https://www.amazon.ca/Namivad-Portab...HV4AYAYX1GFBVE (dangle toys removed) much longer then what you can use in the cage and you can tie them together to make even longer (I get them at the dollar store).

Cardboard is ok, so long as your chin doesn't actually eat it. Most chins seem to just shred it, which is fine, but if swallowed it can swell up in their gut and cause a blockage. Boxes can be a great out of cage plaything, but I am a bit reluctant to use them in the cage until you know your chin doesn't swallow it, it also smells bad when peed on. The only other thing with cardboard, you don't want to use any with unknown glue or tape on it, it could be toxic to the chins. Also don't use any that is coated, plain brown boxes only. There is glue you can use, like Elmer's school glue, which is nontoxic and "edible".
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Old 09-07-2017, 04:54 PM France
maelos maelos is offline
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I see, it's a nice idea to change toys sometimes, I'll check out the sites and buy more and change from time to time

Thank you for the advices
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Old 09-08-2017, 10:49 AM France
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I'm sorry for the double post, but I have a new question, in a quest to make/find toys, I had an idea to make a little game for them

Though I am wondering, one of the component of the game is made out of braided water hyacinth (looks like cords our braided wood)

Any idea if its nocive for them ?
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Old 09-08-2017, 02:01 PM Canada
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Amethyst Amethyst is offline
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Water hyacinth is safe, just make sure it's organic and not treated with anything.
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Old 09-08-2017, 05:48 PM France
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You sure ? Not doubting you but I looked on google and everyone said hyacinth is not good, though no one said about WATER hyacinth, I thought it would be the same
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Old 09-08-2017, 09:24 PM Canada
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Amethyst Amethyst is offline
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Hyacinth is toxic, but WATER hyacinth is not, it's a different plant. Here is the ASPCA site saying it's a non-toxic plant https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/anima...water-hyacinth vs hyacinth which is toxic https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/anima...lants/hyacinth.

I have also seen water hyacinth used in small animal and bird toys.
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  #10  
Old 09-08-2017, 09:38 PM France
maelos maelos is offline
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Nice, thanks a lot I made a nice toy for them with it, everything fit perfectly but I kinda forgot it might be toxic, I'm glad it isn't.
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