Baby Chinchilla Care

ChinsForLife

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I'm gonna make this simple. I need any info on raising chinchillas as I have never had one before. I'm on the waiting list for a baby and can't wait! I'm new here and would love help. I've researched alot but would love help from experienced owners! Again, I'm getting a baby so info on caring for babies would be most helpful!!
 

Amethyst

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Some basic kit specific things,

Kits under 6 months should be fed unlimited alfalfa based pellets (like Oxbow Essentials or Mazuri for example), in addition to unlimited alfalfa and timothy hay.

No treats until after 6 months, they need all good things for growing so it's best to hold off on treats until they are older. You can give other kinds of hay in small amounts as "treats" as well as chew sticks. Once older they can have certain treats but no fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts, sugars, or animal products.

Cage bars need to be no wider then 1/2" or the kit will be able to escape. You also don't want a tall cage or ledges more then a couple inches high, a fall of more then about 6" can seriously hurt a kit. They do climb, so if the cage it tall you will need to find a way to block it off so the kit can't climb very high and fall. You also don't want the cage too big or they can end up over doing it.

No free playtime until 6 months, in cage play, holding them, and short 5-10 minutes of loose play a couple times a week is ok. They can't regulate their body temp or blood sugar levels as well as an adult so they can over do it quickly leading to issues like seizures and heat stroke. They should also be using their energy on growing not burning it off running around.

No wheels until 6 months to a year, and then only wheels at least 14-15" or larger and made of solid metal (not mesh). Even then keep an eye on weight and the chin's stress, some chins can't handle having a wheel and will lose weigh, which is not good.

I might be missing some things but that is what I can think of off hand.
 

ChinsForLife

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Joined
Feb 9, 2021
Messages
428
Location
Timpson Tx, USA
Some basic kit specific things,

Kits under 6 months should be fed unlimited alfalfa based pellets (like Oxbow Essentials or Mazuri for example), in addition to unlimited alfalfa and timothy hay.

No treats until after 6 months, they need all good things for growing so it's best to hold off on treats until they are older. You can give other kinds of hay in small amounts as "treats" as well as chew sticks. Once older they can have certain treats but no fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts, sugars, or animal products.

Cage bars need to be no wider then 1/2" or the kit will be able to escape. You also don't want a tall cage or ledges more then a couple inches high, a fall of more then about 6" can seriously hurt a kit. They do climb, so if the cage it tall you will need to find a way to block it off so the kit can't climb very high and fall. You also don't want the cage too big or they can end up over doing it.

No free playtime until 6 months, in cage play, holding them, and short 5-10 minutes of loose play a couple times a week is ok. They can't regulate their body temp or blood sugar levels as well as an adult so they can over do it quickly leading to issues like seizures and heat stroke. They should also be using their energy on growing not burning it off running around.

No wheels until 6 months to a year, and then only wheels at least 14-15" or larger and made of solid metal (not mesh). Even then keep an eye on weight and the chin's stress, some chins can't handle having a wheel and will lose weigh, which is not good.

I might be missing some things but that is what I can think of off hand.
Ok, im getting mazuri pellets from my breeder. And hay. I have a guinea pig cage for her, Is that ok? It's just until she gets bigger. The bars are actually about an inch wide but the bottom is about 5-6 inches deep. Can she still climb? I have the cage up high so I need to know so she wont fall!😆 thanks for the info!
 

Amethyst

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A guinea pig cage can work, depending on the cage (need to have a top), but the bar spacing does need to be smaller, or she will be able to escape, they need to be atleast around 4 months or about 400g to be big enough not to fit through 1" bars. Also they can easily jump several feet high even as kits so 5-6 inches isn't going to stop her from getting to the bars 😉 . If you really need to use that cage you can get wire mesh to cover it.
 

ChinsForLife

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Timpson Tx, USA
A guinea pig cage can work, depending on the cage (need to have a top), but the bar spacing does need to be smaller, or she will be able to escape, they need to be atleast around 4 months or about 400g to be big enough not to fit through 1" bars. Also they can easily jump several feet high even as kits so 5-6 inches isn't going to stop her from getting to the bars 😉 . If you really need to use that cage you can get wire mesh to cover it.
When I pick her up she will be 2 months old. My cage has a top. It is about 18 inches tall.
 

borwin98

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Apr 11, 2019
Messages
33
Some basic kit specific things,

Kits under 6 months should be fed unlimited alfalfa based pellets (like Oxbow Essentials or Mazuri for example), in addition to unlimited alfalfa and timothy hay.

No treats until after 6 months, they need all good things for growing so it's best to hold off on treats until they are older. You can give other kinds of hay in small amounts as "treats" as well as chew sticks. Once older they can have certain treats but no fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts, sugars, or animal products.

Cage bars need to be no wider then 1/2" or the kit will be able to escape. You also don't want a tall cage or ledges more then a couple inches high, a fall of more then about 6" can seriously hurt a kit. They do climb, so if the cage it tall you will need to find a way to block it off so the kit can't climb very high and fall. You also don't want the cage too big or they can end up over doing it.

No free playtime until 6 months, in cage play, holding them, and short 5-10 minutes of loose play a couple times a week is ok. They can't regulate their body temp or blood sugar levels as well as an adult so they can over do it quickly leading to issues like seizures and heat stroke. They should also be using their energy on growing not burning it off running around.

No wheels until 6 months to a year, and then only wheels at least 14-15" or larger and made of solid metal (not mesh). Even then keep an eye on weight and the chin's stress, some chins can't handle having a wheel and will lose weigh, which is not good.

I might be missing some things but that is what I can think of off hand.
Temperature?????
 

Pepperpot

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8 weeks old is very young for a kit to be going to a new home. As far as I'm aware, weaning should only just be taking place at this age.
 

ChinsForLife

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8 weeks old is very young for a kit to be going to a new home. As far as I'm aware, weaning should only just be taking place at this age.
Idk, this is my first one...but my breeder has been raising them for 25 years so he knows what he's doing, I wish I could get her older but already paid $50 deposit.
 

Amethyst

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8 weeks old is very young for a kit to be going to a new home. As far as I'm aware, weaning should only just be taking place at this age.
Yeah, chins are normally weaned at 8 weeks or later if they aren't 200g yet. Then the breeder should keep the kits for a week or two more to make sure they are doing ok on their own. It does happen sometimes that the kit needs to be put back with the mother for a bit longer.

Yes, what temperature should I keep my room?
The temperature requirement is pretty much the same for adults, the rooms should be around 60-70F, I try to keep mine at around 68F year round. Much higher and the chin can die of heat stroke, the only difference is adults are ok to a bit lower down to about 50F is still comfortable for most adults. To be clear that does mean an AC unit for summer is required. You also want low humidity 40-50% at most.
 

Amethyst

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Since I don't know how much you have actually research or where you have gotten your info so far I'll give you more of a run down of chinchilla care in general.
In addition to what I have already mentioned...

For a cage, the minimum size is 2'x2'x2' (8 cubic feet) per chinchilla, but for comfort you want at least 2'x2'x3' (12 cubic feet) per chin, more room is always better though. Kits under 6 months need a cage with bar spacing no bigger then 1/2", adults need bar spacing no bigger then 1".
I know this is a 3 week old not a 8 week old, but this video shows how well even at that young age they can jump (the horizontal bars are 6" apart) as well as how easily a kit can escape 1" wide bars.

For a hiding house
A wood house to hide and sleep in, either the standard huts or the bendable wooden bridge type. Fleece hanging houses are popular with some chinchillas.
A hammock made of fleece, the type made completely of fleece including the straps or one with metal hooks.
Tubes are another popular hiding place for chins, either fleece covered or not, 4" or larger water grade pvc pipe, metal pipe, clay pipe, or cardboard tube. (PVC pipe and cardboard need to be covered in fleece to prevent chewing)

Bedding:
A mentioned fleece works so long as the chinchilla doesn't chew it.
Wood shavings, pine or aspen. Cedar should NOT be use as it is poisonous.
Other bedding to avoid would be paper bedding like Carefresh as well as pellet litter if you chinchilla has access to the bedding since some chinchillas eat it and it's designed to expands when wet and could cause an intestinal blockage.

Food and Water:
Ceramic bowls, heavy enough to not be tipped, or coop cups that attach to the cage work best. Free feeders are convenient but allow for large amounts of waste, contaminated food, and you are unable to measure food intake easily.
Glass water bottles are best, chinchillas chew through plastic bottles, change the water frequently to keep it fresh and free of mold and fungus.
Hay feeders can be hanging or a bowl, but a lot of chins will pee on hay that is on the ground. Make sure if using a hanging holder that the chin can't get trapped in it.

Dust bath:
Chinchillas require dust baths, not water baths. Glass fish bowls, large bowls, cookie jars, and plastic dust houses all work well. In this case plastic is fine to use since the bath should never be left in the cage for very long or unsupervised.
- Chinchillas should be bathed in a dust bath, using fine chinchilla dust not bath sands (they can damage their coat) and not water. Depending on climate and time of year offer them a bath 1-3 times a week. If the coat looks greasy offer more, if the skin (on ears and feet) looks dry and/or cracking offer fewer bathes. Fewer baths are better then too many, greasy fur will not kill a chinchilla, where as an infection that gets in from cracked dry skin can. Dry skin can be treated using Bag Balm or pure vitamin E oil.

Some general info


- Chinchillas live 15-20+ years the oldest recorded was nearly 30 years old!

- Chinchillas are native to a low temp and low humidity environment, and require similar in captivity. Temps below 75F and humidity below 50%, ideally below 40%, in most areas of the world air conditioning is the only way of maintaining these conditions year round. I suggest keeping the temp 70 or below just to give you some wiggle room should the AC or power goes out. They can survive very low temps, below freezing, so long as their water doesn’t freeze. Although they can survive low temps they do risk getting sick though, just like a human outside in the cold.

- When getting an additional chinchilla it’s best to isolate the new chinchilla in a different part of the house then any current chins for 30 days. This not only allows the chinchilla to settle in to it’s new home but also gives enough time for any possible illness to show up before you allow contact with existing chinchillas.

- Most chinchillas are not cuddly, and most do not even like being held, but they can learn to tolerate it over time. It can take days to years to fully bond with a chinchilla, it all comes down to personality. Kits can normally be easier/faster since they hopefully haven't had any bad experiences with humans yet. The best ways to bond include, sitting by the cage talking, reading aloud, singing, and just being there quietly watching. Treats (for chins over 6 months) can also be useful during the bonding process, just keep the one treat a day max rule in mind (less is healthier), sticks and favorite bits of hay (some chins really love the timothy hay seed heads) can be used unlimited for more frequent “treat” giving.

- Chinchillas vary in size from 400-1,000+ grams. (find out what the parents weigh to know how much your chin should weigh) The best way to weigh a chinchilla is with a scale that measures grams (most kitchen scales do). Also weigh the chinchilla at the same time each time since weight can vary due to when the chinchilla has last eaten, drank, pooped, or peed. Many times the first sign of illness is weight loss, before they even show other symptoms of being sick.
 
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