Bonding chins?

naomi_brightt

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So, I have one fluffy boy currently but am thinking about maybe getting another... What are tips and tricks with helping chinchillas bond? Also is there anyway to know if a chinchilla will likely not bond? Anything about bonding would help!
 

Zahrii

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To introduce the chinchillas correctly, place both chins in a separate cage and keep the cages side-by-side about 2" apart so the cages do not touch and the chins cannot bite one another through the wires but instead, get used to one another through sight and smell first. Over the next few days the chinchillas will calm down to a point where you will witness them sitting calmly at the end of the cage where the other one habitats. Observe the behavior of both chinchillas and if you see any signs of continued aggression, move the cages further apart and keep repeating the process until the chins are calm and happy to be near one another as I said above. When both chinchillas are happy to be near one another, it is at this point, they can have physical contact with one another and proper introductions can commence. Dominate chinchillas chew down the whiskers of lesser chinchillas. You may trim the whiskers of each chin down to 1" to help with dominance and introduction. This does not hurt them. Try introducing during the day, around noon or early afternoon. Chinchillas are crepuscular rodents, active at dawn and dusk. During the day is when the rest and will be less likely to fight.


One way to introduce chinchillas is to allow them freedom in a neutral territory such as a hallway. Place a dust bath in the middle of the room and allow the chinchillas some 'out of cage' activity at the same time. Fully observe their interactions - most of the time, chinchillas usually start off by investigating their new environment and seem uninterested in meeting until they bump into one another. They will then either sniff, nibble and communicate with the other or begin fighting. Make sure there are plenty of 'hide - away' places such as wooden houses and so the chins can hide if they want to and only return them to their separate cages if fighting commences. Should this be the case, witness both chinchillas behavior on the return to their individual cages and try introductions again when they express calmness in the others company (usually by the following night). Only do this is there was no blood shed or any bodily harm. If that happens, it is possible that the chins will never be able to bond. When the chinchillas seem comfortable after being introduced and content to be near one another whilst on the open floor, choose which cage they are to live in - if possible it is best to house them in a new cage that neither has claimed territory.


Place plenty of toys, gnawing material and 'hide-a-ways' within the cage (to encourage the chins to take focus off one another) and allow both chins to enter the cage at the same time. Observe the chinchillas at all times during the cage introduction stage - do not worry if you hear a few noises or there is a small scuffle, this is just them trying to sort out living arrangements and what they like or don't like, just keep watching. Do not separate the chinchillas unless you see them use their teeth or blood is drawn. If this happens you will need to immediately separate the chinchillas into separate cages and begin the process from the beginning again. It is recommended that during the first few nights of the initial introduction days, you maintain a regular check on how the chinchillas are interacting. Generally as soon as chinchillas are cuddled up together, they have accepted one another and are more than happy to live together for life.

Another way, is some people do the smoosh method. Smooshing is a bonding method where you place 2 or more chinchillas you would like to bond in a small carrier together, after they have gone through quarantine period. The idea is to give them enough space it sit , stand, or lay down, but not enough space to fight. where you put them in a very small travel carrier so they're smushed together. I personally wouldn't do this method, but apparently it works like magic with some people.

Never hold one chinchilla up to the other. This will prevent them from socializing properly. The less dominant chin should always be able to back down/away, and if they are being held up to the dominate chin, they can not back away and it can be interpreted as a dominance threat. If you notice fur slip, separate, and retry in a week. A thing to note is that sometimes, with a few chins, they just don't like other chinchillas. It's not very common, but it can happen where your chin will just not want other chins near them. Even with the best efforts, you may never be able to bond your chinchillas. If they will not live together, you will have to keep them housed separately. This means separate cages, separate emergency carriers, and maybe even separate play times.
 

naomi_brightt

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Oxfordshire :)
Thank you so much, also what about their personality? How do I know whether he'll get on with another chinchilla or is it mainly down to luck?
 

Zahrii

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Thank you so much, also what about their personality? How do I know whether he'll get on with another chinchilla or is it mainly down to luck?
I would say it's mostly luck, but if your chin has a very obvious dominant personality, it may be a tad more difficult for him to get along with another very dominant chin.
 

Amethyst

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The biggest piece of advice is don't rush it, bonding takes time, days, weeks, or even years sometimes if you stick with it that long. I would start with a 30 day quarintine of the new chin, it allows time for any illness to show up, and for the new chin to settle in. After quarintine you can put the cages in the same room, but way farther apart then 2", start with atleast 2 feet, and move them closer over the course of days or weeks (how quickly depends on how they react to each other) until they are only a couple inches apart and not really reacting. One thing I don't agree with that Zahrii said is, about when to separate once in the cage. I would seprate if you notice a lot of chasing, a lot of barking, and/or fur slips, once blood is drawn it show intent to kill. Chins can and do fight to the death, so personally I take that as a sign to end trying to bond them at all, not try again later, otherwise one or both are going to end up seriously hurt or dead. I also don't agree with the smoosh method, it just seems cruel to me. Some people do swear by it, but it's like trapping two people in a small elevator in hopes they will bond over the tramatic experience.

Thank you so much, also what about their personality? How do I know whether he'll get on with another chinchilla or is it mainly down to luck?
Personality plays a huge part in whether two chins will get along or not. It can be hard to tell, and really it's like pairing two random humans together. The odds that two random chins will get along is about 50/50. If you know your chin it can help, if your chin is more dominate it's best to try to find a more submissive chin. I would also keep in mind that chins can have a falling out (like a married couple wanting to separate) for any number of reasons, or for reasons only known to the chins, even after years of being bonded.

Oh, also is it worth seeing if I can bring him to possibly meet any possible chinchillas to try the neutral area method or not?
I think taking your chins somewhere to bond is a bad idea. One big problem with taking your chin somewhere to meet a new chin is you really should do a 30 quarantine before the chins have any contact. Chins are territorial, and need time to settle in to a new home, they don't act the same in a strange place as they do at home. So unless you plan to leave your chin somewhere for a month and then see if they get along with the other chin(s) there it's pretty pointless. A neutral place in your house is not the same as going to someone else's house, in your own home the smells, noises, etc are pretty much the same regardless of what room you are in. Chins also are not like dogs, bonding can take weeks or even years, meaning even after the 30 days your chin will have to stay there for possible weeks more for bonding.

Also the 30 day quarantine allows for any illness to show up before exposing your chin to it. I would steer clear of any place that allows random chinchillas to come into the place without any health checks or quarantine period, you don't know what you might be exposing your chin to.
 

Zahrii

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I agree with Amethyst, but also keep in mind that there is a LOT of different opinions with chin ownership stuff, especially bonding. Everyone has their own beliefs as to what is right or wrong, and I know personally that it can get super confusing when researching and getting multiple different answers to one simple question. I tend to go with either my gut, or finding the more common answer/method people say to do. You're gonna find a TON of different bonding methods Naomi, so honestly I would say just make sure you know your chin and what he's like, and follow mine (as you already did) and Amethyst's advice when it comes to this subject. Plus I don't know much about bonding, as my two boys were together since birth and are the best of buds. So I definitely would go with Amethyst's advice for this.
 

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