More questions about setting up

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jackie925

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Feb 3, 2019
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This is the cage I got for my new chin.
there are a few plastic pieces in the assembly. Would it be ok to put in the plastic ledges it came with - only for a few weeks, til I can afford to buy or make wood ones?
2bd question: This is a 42” tall setup. So, for a baby, how high would be “too high” to place any ledges? I’m afraid he’ll hurt himself if they’re set “too high.” Is this a valid worry?
Last question: I know that the floor of this cage is terrible for my baby. (The holes are 1.2”x.2”!!) My question is: would tile be too cold for him this time of year? We keep the house at about 70degrees Fahrenheit; but my room is cooler than that.
 

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Jawramik

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I had plastic shelves and a plastic litterbox in my girl's cage for a bit. I think it took about a week before she started to chew on the shelves, though that timeframe will probably vary with each individual chin. Some will probably start chewing it immediately, others might never chew it at all. It just depends on your chin. If you do keep any plastic in there, just be sure you're inspecting it multiple times a day for teeth marks, and be prepared to pull it out at a moment's notice if you do see evidence of chewing. If you have any anti-pill fleece, you can use it to cover any plastic shelving, which seems to stop most chins from seeing them as a viable chew toy. If you don't have any fleece (even an old fleece blanket you could sacrifice), you can order it online, or buy cheap fleece blankets to cut up (just be sure to remove any string it may have around the border).

I don't think tile would be too cold so long as your room doesn't get colder than 60F or so. 70F is actually a little on the warm side for a chin, so it's good that your room is a little cooler. An alternative to tile would be to just cover the floor with several layers of fleece. Until recently, my girl was in a cage with wire floors, and I just used triple-layered fleece liners directly on top of the grating. It worked great! You can either sew a simple pillowcase-style liner that encases the whole floor panel (and use an extra layer or two of fleece inside that), or if you don't sew, you can just cut the fleece to size and then secure it to the cage with metal binder clips. I feel like the fleece would actually be better than tile for a baby/new chin, because you're going to want something absorbent on the floor while you're potty training. If you just have tile before the chin is using a litterbox reliably, then your chin is probably going to end up walking through puddles of pee. Yuck! Better to have something down that can absorb any accidents until you get the litter training sorted out.

As for the height of the shelving for a baby....I'm a little unsure about that. I got my girl as a young adult, so I don't know all the rules for kits. I know that even with adults, you want to make sure you have shelves, perches, hammocks, etc. arranged in such a way that they can't fall more than a few inches from any one spot. I have all the shelving in my girl's cage layered so that if she falls off one spot, there's another shelf or hammock no more than 3-4 inches underneath to catch her. And it's a good thing I did, because I've seen her take a few spills when she zooms around at the speed of light! But she always just slips down to the next shelf, acts a little embarrassed, but is totally fine. I'm sure that rule still applies with kits, but I'm not sure if there's a maximum height you don't want to exceed. I'm sure that someone far more experienced and knowledgeable, like Amethyst, can and will give you a better answer on that.

When is your new baby coming home?
 

jackie925

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Feb 3, 2019
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Connoquenessing, PA
He’ll be coming home around the 1st of the year.
I’m trying to gather all the info I can to ‘do things right’ this time. I’ll still be getting him from a pet shop - not a breeder. But I look at that as about the same as rescuing him. *weak smile*
My Penelope came from PetCo just like Curly will be. She was a very robust chin who lived to a ripe old 18. I just feel like I did pretty much everything ‘wrong’ with her
 

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Jawramik

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As I'm looking more closely at your pictures of your cage....it looks like there are some plastic connector pieces, yes? Those could pose a bit of a problem. You'll want to be keeping a very close eye on those plastic pieces. I know my chin would chew the crap out of them. Time will tell if they turn out to be a problem with your chin. It might not be a bad idea to start figuring out a way to wrap them in fleece or cover the inward-facing side of them with chew-safe wood or something like that, just so you're prepared if/when your chin decides to start chewing on them.

It also looks like one of the doors (the bottom one)l might be plastic...? If so, that's something else that might need to be either replaced or covered in fleece. In addition to the dangers of ingesting plastic, you also don't want your fluffball to chew a hole in the door and escape!
 

Jawramik

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My Margaret is from a Petco. She was initially purchased by someone else, who returned her because she apparently bit them. Since she'd been returned for aggressive behaviour, the store couldn't resell her and was planning to euthanise her. My roommate and I heard about the situation and offered to take her instead. I wasn't even planning to get a chinchilla! It's definitely been an adventure, haha. Chins are so delicate and particular, and there's so much outdated or just plain wrong information floating around out there. Just getting the correct information is a challenge, let alone executing it!
 

jackie925

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Connoquenessing, PA
I had no idea they did that! That’s awful!
how did you find out about her? Is there someway I could find out if there’s a chin in that position near me?
 

Jawramik

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My roommate is a vet tech and works at the vet clinic that this particular Petco uses when their animals need medical care. As a result, she's friendly with a couple of the managers, and asked them to let her know if/when they had animals at risk of being euthanised for stupid reasons. We'd either take them ourselves or be able to find someone else who would want them. So far we've gotten Margaret the "aggressive" chinchilla (who is not aggressive at all, I don't know what her first owner did to her that made her bite them), a chameleon with one damaged eye, and a rat with a small benign tumor (which we had removed). We just paid a $5 "adoption fee" to take them home.

I'm honestly not sure how you'd find out about that kind of stuff without the connection my roommate has. You could always just go in and ask if they have any chinchillas or other animals that have been deemed "unadoptable" for some reason and let them know that you'd be interested in providing a home for one of them.
 

Amethyst

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When you say "baby" how old will the chin be? If it's under 6 months or at least 400g then that cage will not work at all. The bar spacing for kits under about 4-6 months (about 400g) is 1/2" and 1" bar spacing for adults (over 400g), kits under about 400g can literally squeeze right through 1" bars, or worse, get stuck trying requiring you to cut them out. If the spacing is 1" you will need to wrap the whole cage in hardware cloth to prevent escaping. As for how high, ideally you want a low cage (no more the a couple feet tall) for kits until they are at least 6 months as well. No ledges higher then about 6" and make sure they are all 2" or less apart up/down and left/right to avoid a bad fall. A fall of more then about 6" can seriously hurt a kit if they land wrong, that also means you want to make sure they can't climb the cage very high either, kits will climb the cage like little monkeys, and some like to climb up as high as they can then just let go and fall :rolleyes:.

Honestly though, that might work ok as a temporary cage for an adult chinchilla, assuming they don't chew the plastic, but over all that is not a good cage for chins. Even if you replace the plastic shelves, people in another chinchilla group I'm in have had chins chew right through the door as well as chew through the plastic connectors holding the cage together causing the cage to become unstable and risk collapsing, requiring a quick cage change out. I don't know if you could maybe make a replacement door out of metal, as well as somehow change out the plastic connectors for metal ones or cover them so the chin can't access them. As mentioned, how quickly or even if your specific chin will chew the plastic varies from chin to chin. Some decide to just chew the first day and you wake up to holes through the plastic, others can go weeks, months, or even in rare cases, their whole life without ever touching it. The biggest issue though is if they chew off and swallow a big enough piece it can cause them to choke or get stuck in the gut, requiring emergency surgery, if it doesn't kill the chin first, and it doesn't take a determined chin long to chew a large enough piece off to cause a problem. So if you are lucky yours wont chew the plastic before you can get a better cage, but be prepared to need to remove all plastic from the cage at anytime, which includes getting the chin in a new cage if they chew the connectors.

To answer your question, tile should be fine, as said unless you keep the room very cold, like below 60F, it's a good idea to get a thermometer for the room so you know what the actual temp is. As said with tile though, if the chin is not potty trained to pee in a pan, you do run the risk of it getting covered in pee from zooming through pee puddles. You might beable to put tiles down then some shavings over top though to help absorb any pee.
 

Jawramik

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I didn't even consider the size of the bar spacing for a kit! 🤦‍♀️ But yeah, if your guy is a young kit, you're going to need to invest in some hardware cloth to keep him contained.

I'm wondering if lining the inner walls of the cage with hardware cloth could actually solve a lot of the potential issues with that cage. Normally I've seen people wrap the hardware cloth around the outside of the cage (which is no doubt easier), but if you put it on the inside, it might help protect the plastic connectors from being chewed, in addition to preventing escapes between the bars. Just something to consider.
 

Amethyst

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I didn't even consider the size of the bar spacing for a kit! 🤦‍♀️ But yeah, if your guy is a young kit, you're going to need to invest in some hardware cloth to keep him contained.

I'm wondering if lining the inner walls of the cage with hardware cloth could actually solve a lot of the potential issues with that cage. Normally I've seen people wrap the hardware cloth around the outside of the cage (which is no doubt easier), but if you put it on the inside, it might help protect the plastic connectors from being chewed, in addition to preventing escapes between the bars. Just something to consider.
You're right It might work to solve the plastic problem. :unsure: I hadn't really thought about that. You do want to wrap it on the inside not the outside, you don't want the chin to get stuck between the bars and the hardware clothe mesh if they try to escape. Also attach it with metal zip-ties (you can find them in the automotive section of stores for use in engines or on Amazon) not plastic ones.
 
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