Hello from Shetland

Chinchilla & Hedgehog Pet Forum

Help Support Chinchilla & Hedgehog Pet Forum:

Joined
Jan 8, 2023
Messages
7
Location
8, Upper Glebe, Bressay, Shetland, ZE29EU
I'm Dee. I am a widow and I live alone. I and lost my beloved cat to old age two years ago and now I am feeling that I would love to have some company at home. Being in the sub-Arctic, my home stays between 16 and 18C, so I was looking for a pet that would enjoy cooler weather and I discovered chinchillas. I want to be an informed and prepared chin mum, so I thought I would carefully buy everything I need during the sumner, then contact a breeder towards the end of summer and pick up 2 or 3 young females when I go down to Aberdeen to see my son and his family. We don't have a chin knowledgeable vet up here, and being a 12 hour sail to mainland Scotland, I want to learn as much as I can about them before I bring my babies home. Anyway, that's me and I hope to learn a great deal from all your experiences.
 

MinatoandChili

Well-known member
Joined
May 2, 2022
Messages
74
Hi Dee, I’m Jessica and my chin’s name is Minato. I’m sorry for your loss with your kitties, I know they’re looking at you:) I hope chinchillas make you company. I saw you wanted to get 2-3 young females. I think as long as you do deep research, you’ll be set! This is an amazing place of research as Amethyst and other knowledged individuals share their experience and help! Just know that chinchillas are animals that need various amounts of research and time dedicated to them. It’s good to have buddies for your chins as long as you follow the steps to make sure they get along and like each other. Here is some knowledge I have about my chin:

My sweet Minato was very lazy, each chin shares different personalities. Some may be energetic while others sit on the chill side. It may vary on the age, but it could also be random. Regardless of their personality, time and dedication and their top priorities. You want to make sure their cage has multiple levels and fleece bedding. This could include ledges, hiding spots, and more. Since my chin was on the older side, he had 4 levels but multiple hiding spots as he LOVED sleeping. Be sure to clean their cage each day for a comfortable stay. I cleaned Minatos cage about twice a day. For food, they eat pellets and hay. The pellets and hay I gave Minato were Oxbow Essential pellets and Oxbow Essential Timothy Hay. Hay is an important factor of their diet. For treats, I like to hold off on too many as it could negatively effect them and they might have a hard time digesting it. In my experience, I gave Minato dried sunflowers, wheat, and rosehip. I limited it to once or twice a week. There are other safe treats for them to eat but this was Minatos preference. For water, he had an Oxbow Water Bottle. I changed out the water every day, especially more on summer days since they’re sensitive to the heat. I also cleaned it each time with a spooly. Chinchillas don’t do good in the heat, their easily exposed and sensitive to heatstrokes and can die from them. Since I believe you don’t live somewhere hot, I don’t believe it’s a problem. In case it is, for summer days I would change out his water constantly to cold water and get him a cold granite stone to sit on and cool off. For bathing, I use the Petco brand Full Cheeks sand dust. They LOVE sand baths and that’s a way to build a bond with your newly chin. I would limit Minato’s bathing to 2x a week for about 10-15 minutes since he had matted hair. Some ways to bond with your new chins could be through treats, but especially just getting to know their personalities. Each one is different so you plan accordingly. I use to lay on the floor with Minato while he jumped on my lap or ran around me. He easily bonded with me and made me the happiest.

Overall, I think you’ll do great! I welcome you to Chin n Hedgies as this is an amazing platform for new owners! I found it the best help. Hope all goes well!
 

Chinmin

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Joined
Oct 23, 2019
Messages
290
Glad to have you, Dee. Welcome!
You'll absolutely learn on here. It's a tremendous resource.
Great that you decided to have chinchillas. I'm so excited for you. Good luck.
 

Binki

Active member
Joined
Jan 22, 2020
Messages
33
Hello Dee, welcome to the parallel universe of chin parenthood: chins are extraordinary creatures; not terribly cuddly but perfectly capable of filling the hole left by a cat or even a dog. Scotland is a good place for chins: the only thing one has to watch out for is excessive humidity, which, being creatures of the Andean altiplano, they do not like a bit. Fortunately in Scotland we all have dehumidifiers, so that woudl not be a problem.

I know it could be a bit daunting as a first, but did you think of rescuing one? I cut my teeth with a rescue chin from the SSPCA who was unsocialised and with a temper to match but with patience he became a marvelous companion. So much so that while people were rushing to buy dogs, I spent the entire lockdown with only him for company.

Perhaps Edinburgh is too far away for you but there is an adorable white female for adoption in the Edinburgh collective rescue.; I woudl have adopted her without hesitation but have a boy, so had to resist the temptation. There is also a members only rehoming group in Facebook where one can get more information about the chin that one gets normally from the SSPCA, so that may be a good place to start. A breeder in Aberdeen, used to rehome chins but I am not sure if they still do. Vets. as you so rightly said, can be an issue but in my experience, the label 'exotics' attached to a veterinary practice does not mean much and a good vet should be able to deal with an emergency. Plus you have taken the right first step: get into a forum where, as Jessica (Minatoandchili) pointed out, there are very knowledgeable members, so you know that you are not on your own.

Since you live in the UK, there is a very useful YouTube channel with information about chin's behaviour. The owner breeds chins so she knows quite about their often puzzling antics. You have started an exciting journey; only thing to remember is that once you get chins you no longer can live without them.

(I have linked the EDI collective , Facebook group and the YouTube channel; there is no obvious change in colour but the link will show if you point the cursor)
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 8, 2023
Messages
7
Location
8, Upper Glebe, Bressay, Shetland, ZE29EU
Thank you! I'm getting a little worried that this might not be a good idea for me. Up here in Shetland dampness is a constant. I keep dehumidifiers all through my flat and empty them weekly, but the humidity doesn't get below 50%. It rains most every day here, so nothing outside dries out. Maybe I need to think about this a bit longer. I don’t want the chins to be unhappy.

I am still just getting information on chins and I'm not ready to home a couple of them until I have everything ready.
 

tunes

Administrator/Owner
Staff member
Admin
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
10,025
Location
South Dakota
Welcome Dee! I don't think the humidity is going to be a huge issue as long as you can keep it cool where they are. Lots of people have their chins in the lower states here, where humidity is awful, and they do fine.
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2023
Messages
7
Location
8, Upper Glebe, Bressay, Shetland, ZE29EU
Thank you! The cold won't be a problem, as we are sub-Arctic, but I just wanted to make sure they would be happy and comfortable with the humidity here. It's usually 60-65F in my house all year 'round, but I think I will invest in an electric dehumidifier before I get my chins, just to make it maybe a little better for them.
 

Binki

Active member
Joined
Jan 22, 2020
Messages
33
I think I will invest in an electric dehumidifier
I hope I did not alarm you; I only mentioned the humidity because it was a mistake I made with my other chin and it took me a while to find out what the problem was.

The thing is that instead of doing the smart thing i.e. getting right away into a forum, as you did, I tried to learn about chins from books, where the alarm bells were on the danger of chins overheating in summer, the least of our worries in Scotland. So I had to learn about humidity the hard way, due in part to the fact that I keep the room temp on the low side, which may have compounded the problem.

Although in EDI the average humidity is much lower than Lerwick, in December (when it rains non-stop) and January we are probably on similar percentages and even then I manage with a very small dehumidifier (about 30cm high) which I run three-four hours as needed, usually twice a week. I almost got a big one, which woudl have been a total overkill. So I hope you still consider getting a pair of chins. They are awesome.
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2023
Messages
7
Location
8, Upper Glebe, Bressay, Shetland, ZE29EU
No worries. I really appreciate the information from your experience. I'm still keen on getting a couple of sisters. I have enough room for one big cage and I definitely want to have two that get along and can keep each other company. I'm learning so much from this forum. Thank you, everyone!
 
Top