Hello from Nimbus, and looking for some advice?

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Dec 12, 2018
In a chinchilla palace
Hello, everyone!

I'm not sure how active this forum is, but I'm here to give it a shot!

I have one rescue chinny right now, his name is Nimbus, and he's my first chin! He is 3 years old, and seeming to be healthy. He's about 650g and eating healthily, good teeth, (I have him on Oxbow chinchilla food ((approx. 2-3tsp a day)) and timothy hay ((as much as he wants)).) He doesn't appear underweight or scrawny, but I can feel his backbone and ribs. Thoughts?

He's very skittish, and doesn't like to be grabbed in the cage, but if I lure him into his carrier (a small cat carrier), he actually likes cuddles, and will tolerate combing. In the cage he likes chin scratches, but if I touch the top of his head or anything behind his shoulders he spooks and barks and runs away. He's also terrified of fast movements and noises he can't see the source of. Advice?

Also, I don't know much of his history... I got him from a lady who rescued him from someone else, and Nimbus had had an incident of fur slip on both hips before she got him. She had had him for several months after that before I rescued him, and other than a tiny layer of dark grey fuzz, it hasn't grown back. I don't believe he chews it, but I couldn't say for sure. Thoughts?

I intend to get Nimbus a brother from a good breeder when I have the money. I think a more laid back chin would be a good fit for him. If everything goes wrong though, I can just separate the double ferret nation I have, and close off the opening. Unfortunately I inherited an old 142 with clanky, warped trays and panels and screws that i doubt would survive another take apart.

Tysm for reading! Have a good day! ;)
Have you been keeping a weight on him? It's possible he wasn't getting enough or the right food before. I would keep an eye on his and see if he gains weight on a steady diet. If you don't see any improvement in a few weeks, or if his weight goes down I would bring him to the vet. Unfortunately it's hard to tell just by looking at a chin if they are underweight or not, you should be able to feel the bones, but under a thin layer of fat, so when you pet you shouldn't really be feeling bones.

It's hard to stay if the skittishness is just his personality, or if he is just being a normal chinchilla. Most hate being grabbed period, especially in the cage, it's going to trigger panic. It's normal for them to fight leaving the cage if forced, but then enjoy being out, they are weird like that. Chins are prey animals, so being grabbed, unknown noises, and any fast movement is going to instinctively terrify them. How long have you had him? It takes most chins at least a week to settle in, and since he has been bounced from home to home I would figure closer to a month. I wouldn't expect him to ever like getting grabbed, but if the noises and things/people/whatever moving around, are normal everyday things he will get use to them and calm down with time once he realized they don't mean danger.

It does take time for the fur to grow back, up to about 6 months I think, they shed (called priming) about every 3 months and it takes a couple shedding cycles. Fur chewing it another possibility though, and the hips are the most common place they chew. When they chew the fur it tends to be uneven, and on a grey, look darker then the rest of the fur because it's the base of the hairs not the tips. If you aren't around all the time it is possible he does it when you aren't there.

If you decide to get a second chin keep in mind that you should quarantine the new chin in another room for 30 days before intros. That gives time for the new guy to settle in, for you to get to know it, and for any illness to show up (even a good breeder's animals can get sick sometimes) before exposing you current chin.
Thanks for the advice! I only felt his bones when I looked for them, not just petting him, so he should be okay. I'll monitor his weight, though. I've had him for just over a month.

His fur patches do look darker than the rest of him. If he is chewing it, is there a way to know why or how to get it to stop? I'm only really worried about it if it's harming him. If it isn't, then it doesn't bother me.
If it is fur chewing, it's not really harming him, so long as he isn't chewing down to the skin and creating sores. It can also cause hairballs if he is swallowing too much fur, so it is something to keep in mind (things to watch for would be not eating and/or not pooping which could mean a blockage).

Fur chewing is basically like someone chewing their fingernails, it can be caused by all kinds of reasons. The most common reasons are, genetic, stress (you do say he seems skittish), boredom (what do you have in the way of toys?), or it could be habit and whatever caused it is no longer there but he still does it out of habit.

There isn't much you can do if it's genetic, but if it's stress you can try to make the room he is in quieter if possible, or maybe have a radio or tv on to help drowned out noise, especially if you aren't there. Depending on what you've got for toys he could also be bored and new toys can also help distract him if it's habit. Ideally you should have a wide variety of toys, different textures/materials (different types of wood, grass, vine, loofah, cardboard (if he doesn't eat it), bamboo,...) and different types, some shredding toys, toss toys, and hanging toys. Just like you would for a cat or dog you should rotate the toys every month or so to keep things interesting, if the toy is still good just save it and put it back in later. Does he have a wheel? It'll need to be a chin safe one, 15" or more diameter and solid metal, like the chin spin wheel or metal flying saucer. They are expensive though unless you are handy and can make your own.
He's got a decent variety of toys and chews in there. Every time he completely destroys one I buy him another. I've also crafted a cardboard wall to the outside of his cage on one side cause open space terrifies him. I've also got some makeshift hammocks in there until I get him real ones. He does have a wheel, though I believe it's too small. It's plastic, but he hasn't chewed it at all. I've never seen or heard him run in it. I think he just sits in it.
Ok so probably not bored then, but still could be habit started by some past experience. If you have hammock make sure they are all fleece, it's the only "safe" material. Even fleece isn't 100% safe if chewed though, it just doesn't unravel like other fabric so you can take it away before they chew and swallow too much to normally cause an issue. Even if he doesn't chew the wheel it's not really safe, depending on the wheel you got if it's plastic on plastic anytime he does move the wheel you have plastic grinding giving of plastic dust, not good to inhale that, and just because he hasn't chewed on it yet doesn't mean he wont. Also if he does use it when you aren't there, a wheel that is too small will cause back injury, chinchillas aren't like other rodents, their backs are only suppose to arch forward not bend backwards.