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  #1  
Old 12-05-2017, 10:43 AM United States
Magnoliamama Magnoliamama is offline
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Exclamation Help With New Chinchilla

So we got our 12 week old chinchilla named Winter on Thursday night. We did what we were instructed. Placed her in her cage and let her acclimate. My daughter would lay down next to the cage and speak quietly to her, but she got spooked by something and ran and hid behind her wheel and started what i would describe as a barking sound. On Friday we did the same, let her continue to acclimate. I also put in her dust bath and she took a bath. However on Saturday we had company over and while no one went into the room we noticed she was hiding and barking more. Now, she will come out and explore her cage when we are not in the room and she is eating and drinking. Its been 4 days and whenever we enter the room she runs and hides. When i open the door and put my hand in just to clean the cage, not even near her (she pulls all of her hay out of its bin) she hides and makes the barking sound. We make a tongue clicking sound whenever we enter the room to let her know we are there. And we are always quiet when in the room. I'm worried that she will never come around. Is there something we should or shouldn't be doing? do we just need to be patient and give her more time? I'm very worried about her.
Any advice would be appreciated!
Thanks!
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Old 12-05-2017, 03:15 PM United States
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lauralynne lauralynne is offline
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Congrats on your new little one. She sounds scared. Lots and lots of patience and consistency. What kind of wheel do you have in there? Most of the time they are not recommended until at least 6 months of age because they are growing and need all of the nutrients for that.
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Old 12-05-2017, 04:49 PM
mercynursie mercynursie is offline
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Chinchillas are prey animals and low on the food chain so they are normally very nervous/fearful. It can take weeks/months for them to settle in and get used to their people. Most chinchillas become happy to run around their safe areas for playtime and climb on you, get scritches ,etc but the vast majority do not like to be picked up/snuggled with like puppies.Just give it awhile of patience/reading aloud and talking help a lot. I also keep a tv on in my chinchilla room for the guys and most breeders/owners find a radio helpful.Best wishes with your new little buddy!
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Old 12-05-2017, 07:12 PM Canada
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Amethyst Amethyst is offline
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As others have said chins care prey animals, and smart prey animals at that (about as smart as a 2 year old human as adults). It normally takes at least a week for a chin to settle into a new home. Think if it from her perspective, at 12 weeks I am assuming she likely just came from the only home she has ever known, new humans, new smells, new noises, new cage, etc, that is very scary. Within about a month she should be use to your normal household life, though depending on your holiday season it could take longer since holidays are hectic for most people. It's actually better to just act normal around her, speak as you normally would and go about your normal life around her. You want to get her use to you how you normally are, otherwise when you start acting normal it will frighten her all over.

Also, you don't want a wheel in the cage for a chin that young, it's dangerous. Not only does the chin need all it's energy for growing right now kits don't regulate their blood sugar as well as adults. The kit can over exerts herself and can have seizures and/or die. Kits are also not as coordinated as adults (think awkward growth spurts) and are more likely to get hurt using a wheel. Even the odd adult chins have been known to over do it on the wheel and end up loosing weight, and that is definitely not something you want a growing chin to do. For that same reason you don't really want to allow playtime just yet either, 5-10 minutes a day max. That does not include holding her though, just no more then about 5-10 minutes of actual running around outside the cage, until she is closer to full size at around 6 months or older (chins are full grown at about 1-2 yrs old). If you can't catch her to put her back in such a short time, it's best to not do playtime at all.
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Old 12-06-2017, 08:45 AM United States
Magnoliamama Magnoliamama is offline
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Thank you all for your advice. Yesterday she came a little closer to the front of the cage while my daughter and I were putting laundry away. We spoke to her and her ears were straight up as if listening. I cleaned her cage this morning and she barked a little. It's an extra large wheel. I honestly don't think she is using it except to hide behind. I'm afraid to remove it now because it's more of a security thing then an excersize thing. If I remove it will I traumatize her more by removing her security blanket? Or should I leave it for now to give her a place to hide when scared, and remove it once she is more confident?
Thanks for your help!
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Old 12-08-2017, 10:47 AM United States
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lauralynne lauralynne is offline
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I'd remove the wheel. You could add a chin safe hidey house in its place.
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