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Old 02-18-2019, 05:43 AM United Kingdom
Miss_Dux Miss_Dux is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2019
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Question New to young/juvenile chins, any help appreciated

I've had a chinchilla before, but I got him somewhere in the 1-2 year old region, as his first owners were in waaaay over their heads, and not very helpful with specifics. So I have some chinchilla experience and I'm pretty confident for the most part (I had him 9 years before he sadly passed away) but I'm getting a 3-month-old from a breeder (in about 2 weeks) and have been doing lots of research into juveniles and have a couple of questions. (The more I learn the madder I get at the start my poor Gizmo got- but here's not the place for that rant) ok so-

1) I've got a smaller cage coming for Torin, but it's solid bottomed and my old one had a pull out tray at the bottom with not exactly mesh, but holes in for waste (I've kept it for when he's bigger), especially until he's somewhat house trained and has picked his corner or what not, how do you stop him becoming dirty? Like I get the wood chips/ fleece whatever you use is absorbent... but surely he's still paddling through it? Do you just keep checking it and swap it out constantly or am I overestimating how wet/ unhygienic it gets?

2) I get the no play time thing until he's bigger, but at what point does handling become playtime? can he come out and wander across my knee if/ when he's that comfortable with me? or is it strictly cage bound contact to start? Does he just go back into his pet carrier while Iím cleaning him out?

3) Playtime seems to be pretty universally ok'd at 6 months, (yes?) but bigger cages and higher perches and things (like wheels) are mentioned anywhere from 6-12 months, is this owner preference, vary chin to chin or there a check? like when they can handle X they're ready for Y? do they basically let you know when they've outgrown their surroundings?

4) Someone on a forum had said about rocks in the bottom of the cage to vary textures underfoot, is there any Do's and Don'ts with this other than the obvious sturdiness (cant fall/tip) and cleanliness?

5) To track his weight is it better to get a set of scales that do to 0.1g but limit out at 500g, or one thatíll weigh heavier but only to 1g. How precise do I need to be to start with?

Sorry for the long list, I'm probably overthinking it, but I know what itís like when they donít get a great start. I'll no doubt have more questions at some point, but any wisdom, about any of these questions or anything I might have missed is really appreciated.
Thanks All
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Old 02-18-2019, 12:58 PM Canada
Amethyst's Avatar
Amethyst Amethyst is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Alberta
Posts: 1,649
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1. Either shavings or fleece work, but make sure you have the shavings deep enough or the fleece layers thick enough. For shavings go about a inch deep if you can, kiln dried pine or aspen. For the fleece for before potty training (or if he doesn't want to pick a corner) you need multiple layers, a top layer, an absorbent middle layer (another piece of fleece, a towel, or quilt batting) and a bottom layer. Also don't use any fabric softener or detergent with the fleece, only vinegar, and wash the fleece before using it the first time. My guys aren't pee trained but I use fleece anyway and they aren't dirty, it soaks in pretty quick, unless you have a chin that likes to sit in it.

2. No playtime means no running around the room, or at the very most 5-10 minutes a day. The problem is trying to limit it to just 5-10 minutes if not in an enclosed area (like a pen rather then a whole room) since they generally don't want to get caught, so 5 minutes can easily turn into half an hour or more. You can have the kit out on your lap or even on a couch or bed, somewhere you can limit running around.

Yes the best idea is putting the chin in a pet carrier or small cage when you clean the cage if you don't have someone else to hold or watch them as you clean.

3. By 6 months they are close to full size and have a better handle on regulating their blood sugar and are less clumsy. If they over exert themselves they can have a sudden drop in blood sugar and have seizures and/or die. The bigger cage at 6 months is more a physical safety thing since growing kits are clumsy, they can have weird growth spurs (like a teenager) and throw their balance off. Wheels I would wait for a year old, they can end up over exerting themselves and they really should be using their energy for growing. Even adult chins you need to watch them when first given a wheel, some become obsessed with the wheel and lose weight. Obviously you especially don't want a kit to be losing weight, so when you give the wheel keep an eye on the weight. Oh and make sure it's a chin safe wheel, a minimum of 14" (15" if the chin is big), solid metal, no spokes, like the metal flying saucer, the silver surfer, or the chin spin.

4. Rocks can be good to give different surfaces, but be careful that the chin isn't going to be able to fall on them and they don't have any sharp edges. I don't personally use rocks, but you just wash them with some 50/50 water vinegar mix then air dry when you change the cage. Flat surfaces are not natural and can cause foot issues, so it's good to add rocks, ledges, and perches (like you get for birds). That way they get varying pressure over their feet and have to balance which helps with blood circulation.

5. The scales I bought just measure whole grams (1g-5kg) so one that measures to 0.1g is fine but probably not needed. Since chins weight anywhere from about 400g to over 1,000g you want one that measures more then 500g. Also some gram scales have tiny pressure plates, so make sure you can put a bowl, box, or something on it to hold the chin in, they don't normally sit still.
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2 Chinchillas: Bazil and Wicket
10 Cats: Mystic, Coon, Rascal, Lucky, Mittens, Shadow, CJ, Tiger, Tux, and Nessie
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Old 02-18-2019, 01:53 PM United Kingdom
Miss_Dux Miss_Dux is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2019
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Thatís all brilliant, thank you so much. Most of itís kinda what I was thinking although I wasnít picturing using that much shavings so that good to know. Youíve really put my mind at rest. Thanks
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