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Is my chinchilla unhappy?

ChocolatPocky

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Ever since I bonded Mr. B (~4 y/o) and Gus Gus (11 months I think) together, I've noticed Mr. B has kind become more withdrawn. He used to like sitting up on the ledges facing the outside of the cage, but now he prefers to sit in the back ledge, behind the hammock, sometimes in the back corner.

Granted, this is a new cage with a new layout, so maybe he just prefers this. But I've also noticed he doesn't run on his wheel as much. He mostly stays in one spot and doesn't move around much. His eating habits seem to be the same, not losing any weight. I don't think him and Gus Gus are fighting, altho Mr. B can be a bit of a grump sometimes. In general, he is slower than Gus Gus, who is very young, fast, athletic and inquisitive. The extrovert! Mr. B is more introverted, and I set food aside for him so Gus Gus doesn't just gobble it all up (he isn't a bully about it, but he can be persistant). The contrast between the two makes Mr. B's behavior seem more obvious. Gus Gus is super active, running on the wheel, eating hay, chewing up all the twigs, parkouring around the cage. While Mr. B is very still.

Do you think this is just Chinchilla dynamics and nothing serious, or perhaps Mr. B would be happier by himself? I do think living with Gus Gus gives him company. They snuggle sometimes when they sleep.
 

Amethyst

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If he hasn't seen the vet recently I would get a vet check just to rule out any issues with Mr. B especially if he was more active before and suddenly became more withdrawn. They are really good at hiding issues so you kind of have to try to pick up on any little thing. At only 4 years old he should be having any age issues yet, a bit more settled then a young chin (4 would be like early 30s if human) but should still be plenty active.

Aside from that you can try just separating them for a day or so and see how he acts, if he acts more like his old self it could be he would rather be alone, but he also could have just found his "spot" in the cage. It's not uncommon for chins to need some personal space from time to time, just like an couple living together.
 

ChocolatPocky

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If he hasn't seen the vet recently I would get a vet check just to rule out any issues with Mr. B especially if he was more active before and suddenly became more withdrawn. They are really good at hiding issues so you kind of have to try to pick up on any little thing. At only 4 years old he should be having any age issues yet, a bit more settled then a young chin (4 would be like early 30s if human) but should still be plenty active.

Aside from that you can try just separating them for a day or so and see how he acts, if he acts more like his old self it could be he would rather be alone, but he also could have just found his "spot" in the cage. It's not uncommon for chins to need some personal space from time to time, just like an couple living together.
Last time he saw a vet was early 2020 for molar spurs. I weighed him and he's the same weight he was before I bonded him with Gus Gus.

So I'm gonna try this experiment where I separate them to the top and bottom levels while I'm sleeping. Then during the day/evening, they can move freely between the two levels and hang out together. I kept Mr. B on the lower level tonight, and he's already enjoying the wheel to himself. Before that, I noticed Gus Gus would use the wheel a lot and Mr. B would sit in the back of the upper level. I don't feel Gus Gus is particularly aggressive, they don't get into "fights", at least from what I've seen (no signs of missing fur/bites in the morning), but he can be persistent about getting into Mr. B's business (if Mr. B is eating a treat/chewing a stick/on the wheel, Gus Gus will get nosey or want what he's eating), but he has not prevented Mr. B from accessing water or pellets/hay. Is that some form of bullying?
 

Amethyst

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It sounds like Mr B is being too passive, or Gus Gus is just too dominate, so instead of sticking up for himself Mr B is just kinda saying ok you can do what you want I'll wait. My two boys like to take whatever the other has, but it goes both ways, which ever I gave a treat or stick to the other decides the one I gave them just a second ago is somehow not as good as what his brother got, lol. I try to lure them to different areas of the cage to give treats and sticks to try to lessen that. Some chins are good at sharing others not so much. I have two of most things in the cage, two water bottles, two food bowls, and two hay feeders, and multiple places to sleep, but some people do find they need two wheels (which I know sucks since they are so expensive and take up cage space).

I have had chins that liked having a playmate, but not having a cage mate. They enjoyed playing while out but didn't seem happy if I put them together in a cage, probably like having a friend that is your neighbor vs having them as a roommate. The splitting them up at night might be a good idea, that way Mr B can have time to do what ever he wants without Gus Gus butting in and taking over. I never had a cage I could split in the past so I'm not sure if the splitting the cage would have worked for my past chins or not, but probably.
 

ChocolatPocky

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It sounds like Mr B is being too passive, or Gus Gus is just too dominate, so instead of sticking up for himself Mr B is just kinda saying ok you can do what you want I'll wait. My two boys like to take whatever the other has, but it goes both ways, which ever I gave a treat or stick to the other decides the one I gave them just a second ago is somehow not as good as what his brother got, lol. I try to lure them to different areas of the cage to give treats and sticks to try to lessen that. Some chins are good at sharing others not so much. I have two of most things in the cage, two water bottles, two food bowls, and two hay feeders, and multiple places to sleep, but some people do find they need two wheels (which I know sucks since they are so expensive and take up cage space).

I have had chins that liked having a playmate, but not having a cage mate. They enjoyed playing while out but didn't seem happy if I put them together in a cage, probably like having a friend that is your neighbor vs having them as a roommate. The splitting them up at night might be a good idea, that way Mr B can have time to do what ever he wants without Gus Gus butting in and taking over. I never had a cage I could split in the past so I'm not sure if the splitting the cage would have worked for my past chins or not, but probably.
Yeah I think I'm going ot try out the night time separation so Mr. B can be by himself for a bit everyday. Evenings/daytime/out of cage play time will be times they can be together. I might get another wheel possibly, its the only thing I don't have 2 of.
 

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