I'm thinking about rehoming my chins

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Active member
Jan 4, 2015
Oregon, USA
I need some advice. I've been having some personal trouble at home with my husband, and I'm concerned about my chinchillas getting the attention they need. For the last couple of months, they haven't been getting a lot of out of cage exercise. Yes, their cages are large enough for each of them, and they have a Chin Spin, which they love. I'm their primary care giver, but have been preoccupied with my marriage lately.

I give each of the chins attention every morning and give them scratches in all the places they love (under the chin and armpits, behind the ears). If they want to cuddle, I'll cuddle them. Of course, I keep their cages clean and make sure they're healthy. Their cages are in the living room, so they're "with us" all the time. I've been feeling guilty because they used to get out for playtime every day, or every other day. The 2 1/2 year-old doesn't seem to care if he gets out (he's always been timid anyway). The 3 1/2 year-old seems to miss getting out and does popcorn jumps when I interact with him sometimes (to remind me, I think).

In my gut, I believe everything will work out in the long run and the chins will be loved, happy and healthy, even if they end up in a broken home (hopefully, that's not the case). But right now, I'm wondering if I'm being selfish by keeping them. I don't know how long they can live this way without causing them mental harm.

This personal issue is difficult to discuss, but I was hoping someone out there in the Chin world knows what I'm going through and can offer any words of wisdom or encouragement. If it's better to give them up, I will, for their sake.

Your chins will be fine with a wheel for exercise, and you guys in the room and with each other that's an ok amount of socilization for them. You wont be harming them. Especially if this isn't long run. There's plenty of chins that dont get playtime out of the cage daily. If you can keep them healthy and clean and they've got a wheel and each other (even if they talk through the cages if they arent housed together, which it sounds like) that's fine. To me it sounds like they get a little less fun for a bit (and probably you too) and you will be able to spoil them later on. That sounds a heck of a lot better than rehoming them and who knows what happens from there. I see far too many pets- not just chins- rehomed for stupid reasons (we got a younger one and they dont get along so the older one's out, moved and didn't check if they could have pets, etc) and some "adopted" the animal not long ago and instead of trying to give it back where they got it, they just rehome it again. For an animal that could live 20 years, it could add up to a lot of places.
If at any point you cant provide food, water, shelter, AC, chews, medical care, cleaning time, and so on that's when you should start thinking about it. Personally I think a wheel and each other is an ok amount of socilization/excessive. Look at what breeding chins get- not really a big cage or tons of playtime, but they're fine. There's just a drive in us to provide a certain level of spoiling them. Maybe it's not your ideal situation right now but from your description you're at "good enough" for them to be healthy and happy.

At the same time I'd like to add- spending as much time with them may help you and them. Its a bit different but I was really sick and I know my chin helped me a lot- its why I tried my damndest to get out of bed at least once a day- he had others that could/would take up any of my slack, but me providing for another helped me so much. Having pets and petting an animal are proven stress reliefs which you may need right now.

Then again, if the chins are a cause of the issues between you two- that's another thing entirely.

For the chins- tv or radio and a cuddle buddy may help with the loneliness and maybe some in cage toys/chew or some other stimulating thing may help the boy who wants more playtime.
As someone who does rescue work with chins I can tell that it is better to keep them since you do care for them properly. They do not have to have out of the cage time. They get some attention from you and they have each other. They have an exercise wheel so they get plenty of exercise. Chins get depressed when their home chances. Sometimes they even start fighting with their cage mate and have to be separated (sometimes for good). They do not like being changed to another home. Yes, they finally adjust but why put them through that. Also if they are rehomed there is no guarantee that person will keep both of them or even treat them as good as you even though they say they will.
Thank you both for the encouraging words! I feel a lot better now. You voiced some of the same concerns I had about finding them another home. You just never know what kind of environment they will be provided. I'm amazed at how many people don't even know what chinchillas are (of course, I never considered giving them to one of those people). The uncertainty surrounding whether they would be able to bond with other chins was a real concern. They never took to each other the way we hoped (thus the 2 cages), but they love talking to each other and watching each other. Not everyone wants 2 cages side by side, so they would probably go to different homes. If they didn't bond with the new owner's existing chin family, they might give them away again. They don't deserve that.

I appreciate the comment about using my time with them as a way to relieve stress. I agree entirely. Aside from the guilt I was feeling, I do find myself relaxing when I'm with them. I hope all this family stuff blows over soon so that I/we can start giving them some more one-on-one play time.

Thanks again!!