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Fur slip during introductions

thetwomuses

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So I have 2 chinchillas (a boy and a girl - the girl is spayed bc she had an infection) and today was their first proper introduction. I put them in a new room with new toys, some treats and both their clean dust baths.

They ignored each other for about 10 minutes just running around. Then my girl started chasing the boy. I know that's normal but after a minute (no attacking or screaming) the boy fur slipped. Just a little like maybe 1-2cm width. He wasn't hiding from her or anything just running away during her short chases but still staying close to her.

I put him home to calm down since he's never fur slipped before in front of me.

How should I go ahead with introductions now?

Is this a bad sign?

How can I help him be less stressed in the future?

He's very timid naturally and I did have to pick him up which he isn't used to to get him in to the play area.

Both are used to having another chinchilla around. He's a retired breeder I adopted 2 months ago and she had a sister who passed 5 months ago.

There was no fighting and they interacted a couple short times with no problems before the chasing started.

Sorry for the info dump. Any advice would be super helpful. Thank you!
 

Amethyst

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I think the best way is to take intros slow, so if they are ok for 5-10 minutes then the chasing started then I would try only 10 minutes next play time together so it ends on a good note. If all was good then try maybe 15 minutes next time, and slowly increase the time each time. It can also help if you add things for them to focus on during the play session as well, like put the dust bath out so they can bathe together, put some toys, chew sticks, a pile of hay out, etc.
 

thetwomuses

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I think the best way is to take intros slow, so if they are ok for 5-10 minutes then the chasing started then I would try only 10 minutes next play time together so it ends on a good note. If all was good then try maybe 15 minutes next time, and slowly increase the time each time. It can also help if you add things for them to focus on during the play session as well, like put the dust bath out so they can bathe together, put some toys, chew sticks, a pile of hay out, etc.
So I tried the 10 minutes (thank you for replying btw you're always such a lifesaver) and they started chasing almost immediately but no fur slip this time. I waited till the were near each other and not yelling or chasing to end the intro so it wouldn't be all sour... The boy didn't seem too scared even with the chasing...his go to scared is to freeze and/or hide and he did neither.

He still seems relatively curious about her even if she just wants to chase him...

Should I take a break or try just a couple minutes tomorrow instead?

They had toys, baths, treats, and hay and the girl was mostly distracted with destroying all the chin proofing.

I thought some chasing was normal but if it means end of intro time I guess not....
 

Amethyst

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Some chasing is ok and normal, even bonded chins will chase each other sometimes, but there should be no barking, no spraying pee, no biting, and no fur slips. There is play chasing and then there I'm going to attack you when I catch you chasing, but it's hard to know which it is without seeing. Would it be possible to get a video of the play time? The reason I suggested slowing down and ending playtime is the fur slip, it could be a sign he was getting stressed, which is not good. The problem with chasing is the one getting chased can get stressed or fed up and attack if it's nonstop (more then a minute or two without a break).

What else have you done for intros? or has it just been the couple play times? What is the cage setup like? Are they in cages next to each other? or is it more a situation of one cage above the other? If they are side by side how are they in the cages? Do they have any reaction to each other? Ideally they should be showing interest in being with each other, sitting or even sleeping by the side of the cage nearest the other, maybe even choosing to sit and chew things or eat near each other, stuff like that, but ignoring each other is ok too. If they are good and acting normal in cages next to each other I would maybe wait a day, just for everything to settle and for them to kind of forget, it sounds like the female just picked up where she left off after the last playtime. If they are acting stressed at all even in their cages then give it a week (or until they settle) before trying again.

If the cages are ontop of each other or otherwise can't be side by side, or you want to try something else that might help you can try swapping cages. Put them each in the other's cage for an hour or two at a time, so the male in the female's cage while you have the female in the male's (not both in the same cage at the same time). That will allow them to get use to each other's scents so it becomes normal without making either feel overwhelmed, chins have fairly poor eye sight so familiar smell is important.
 

thetwomuses

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Some chasing is ok and normal, even bonded chins will chase each other sometimes, but there should be no barking, no spraying pee, no biting, and no fur slips. There is play chasing and then there I'm going to attack you when I catch you chasing, but it's hard to know which it is without seeing. Would it be possible to get a video of the play time? The reason I suggested slowing down and ending playtime is the fur slip, it could be a sign he was getting stressed, which is not good. The problem with chasing is the one getting chased can get stressed or fed up and attack if it's nonstop (more then a minute or two without a break).

What else have you done for intros? or has it just been the couple play times? What is the cage setup like? Are they in cages next to each other? or is it more a situation of one cage above the other? If they are side by side how are they in the cages? Do they have any reaction to each other? Ideally they should be showing interest in being with each other, sitting or even sleeping by the side of the cage nearest the other, maybe even choosing to sit and chew things or eat near each other, stuff like that, but ignoring each other is ok too. If they are good and acting normal in cages next to each other I would maybe wait a day, just for everything to settle and for them to kind of forget, it sounds like the female just picked up where she left off after the last playtime. If they are acting stressed at all even in their cages then give it a week (or until they settle) before trying again.

If the cages are ontop of each other or otherwise can't be side by side, or you want to try something else that might help you can try swapping cages. Put them each in the other's cage for an hour or two at a time, so the male in the female's cage while you have the female in the male's (not both in the same cage at the same time). That will allow them to get use to each other's scents so it becomes normal without making either feel overwhelmed, chins have fairly poor eye sight so familiar smell is important.
I still have their quarantine setup where they're in completely different cages in separate rooms. They have met quite a few times since my girl sometimes runs around his room. He gets super excited when she's near and she likes to sit next to the cage and pee... They'll both eat right next to each other too with him in his cage and her sitting just outside it. They'll sorta squeak at each other through the bars and there's some dominance asserting I think but no attacking or viciousness that I can see. I can try get a video of that too

Should I move them into the same room then? Still different cages of course.

Yesterday and today was the first official introductions since my girl had an eye infection that lasted ages.

I've been giving them each other's chin buddies. So I'll out one in each of their cages for a week or so then switch. But I'll try switching them in to each others cages.

I'll try and get a video tomorrow. The chasing is very short. Little spurts of a few seconds. There is some of the squeeking-hissing-yelling noise they do but it's pretty quiet... I don't know if that's barking I'll have to look up the sounds.

No fur slip today tho so definitely an improvement!

He's completely fine after he goes home. He had private playtime last night about 8 hours after introductions and he was super playful and not skittish. They girl is the same as ever.

So I'll try again tomorrow so I can get a video for you.

Thanks again!!
 

Amethyst

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Yes I would move them into the same room. The way I did intros in the past (I only have two chins, twin brothers, now), was start with them in the same room then move the cages closer over time (days or weeks depending on reactions) until the cages are right next to each other, but a few inches apart to prevent any biting should things go bad. Then after they are ok next to each other then I start doing the playtime bonding. Having one loose coming up to the other in the cage is not a good idea if not bonded, chins can be territorial, it's very common to have chins get bitten that way. Think of it like having a stranger or even a neighbor peeking into your house, even if you would otherwise be friendly you'd still probably be like what the heck?!. 😉
 

thetwomuses

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Yes I would move them into the same room. The way I did intros in the past (I only have two chins, twin brothers, now), was start with them in the same room then move the cages closer over time (days or weeks depending on reactions) until the cages are right next to each other, but a few inches apart to prevent any biting should things go bad. Then after they are ok next to each other then I start doing the playtime bonding. Having one loose coming up to the other in the cage is not a good idea if not bonded, chins can be territorial, it's very common to have chins get bitten that way. Think of it like having a stranger or even a neighbor peeking into your house, even if you would otherwise be friendly you'd still probably be like what the heck?!. 😉
Yes you're right. I've tried to keep her away but she figures out how to get to wherever she wants to go... I need to be less of a pushover

The problem is my girl free roams in my room when I'm awake and there. So if I move his cage in to the same room she'll definitely run up to him and he'll run up to her cage when he's out. The room is too small to successfully keep them apart...

So new game plan because I've apparently already messed up...

I'll put the cages near each other if it's ok that they keep running near each other? Otherwise I'm at a loss... I don't think I can keep them away from each others cages if they're in the same room...

And if they start sleeping near each other etc. I'll move the cages slowly nearer until right next to then start playtimes again

How does that sound?
 

thetwomuses

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Yes I would move them into the same room. The way I did intros in the past (I only have two chins, twin brothers, now), was start with them in the same room then move the cages closer over time (days or weeks depending on reactions) until the cages are right next to each other, but a few inches apart to prevent any biting should things go bad. Then after they are ok next to each other then I start doing the playtime bonding. Having one loose coming up to the other in the cage is not a good idea if not bonded, chins can be territorial, it's very common to have chins get bitten that way. Think of it like having a stranger or even a neighbor peeking into your house, even if you would otherwise be friendly you'd still probably be like what the heck?!. 😉
And seriously thank you again for all this help! I couldn't figure this out alone.
 

Amethyst

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Yes you're right. I've tried to keep her away but she figures out how to get to wherever she wants to go... I need to be less of a pushover

The problem is my girl free roams in my room when I'm awake and there. So if I move his cage in to the same room she'll definitely run up to him and he'll run up to her cage when he's out. The room is too small to successfully keep them apart...

So new game plan because I've apparently already messed up...

I'll put the cages near each other if it's ok that they keep running near each other? Otherwise I'm at a loss... I don't think I can keep them away from each others cages if they're in the same room...

And if they start sleeping near each other etc. I'll move the cages slowly nearer until right next to then start playtimes again

How does that sound?
Sounds good, just keep a close eye on whoever is out and listen for any barking or angry noises to avoid one of them getting bit. You could even temporarily put a strip of fleece or fleece blanket around the bottom of the cage of the one still in their cage so the other can't come right up if you need to. You really can't go too slow for intros, but you can go too fast, so when in doubt just slow down.

I know some like the quick way of bonding, just forcing them together, but I think it's nicer to allow a bond to form over time, but that does mean it can take weeks.
 

thetwomuses

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Sounds good, just keep a close eye on whoever is out and listen for any barking or angry noises to avoid one of them getting bit. You could even temporarily put a strip of fleece or fleece blanket around the bottom of the cage of the one still in their cage so the other can't come right up if you need to. You really can't go too slow for intros, but you can go too fast, so when in doubt just slow down.

I know some like the quick way of bonding, just forcing them together, but I think it's nicer to allow a bond to form over time, but that does mean it can take weeks.
Sorry for the late response. It took a few days to get enough energy for all the moving. He's officially in the room with us now. It's so small so his cage is pretty close to hers. There's no other option. But far enough they can't reach each other and I've put cardboard separaters down for when they're running around.

He's freaking out a bit. I think from all the moving around but my girl is out rn and just seems curious but not aggressive.

I'll wait till I can have the cages closer with them content for at least few days and then try playtime intros again.

Thank you again for all your help!!
 

tunes

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I would trim their whiskers, rub some shavings on each of them from the other chin's cage, put in a dustbath, hay, and a chew toy, and see if they get along. If they constantly fight during playtime, they aren't going to forget that any time soon. When I intro chins, I don't have the time or space to do a long drawn out intro (though the number of chins I have obviously contributes to that) so that's how I handle it.
 

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