New Chin Owner Mistakes

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alli713

..has a fleece addiction
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
4,649
Location
Twin Cities, MN
Thought this would be a great way to get some of those common newbie mistakes out there for anyone who is getting a new chin to read about and prevent making mistakes.

So what were some of the mistakes or issues that you ran into when you first got your chin?

For me...

I had Chibi in a plastic bottomed cage. It actually came with her, and is one of those Super Pet type cages. Plastic shelves and everything. Thankfully I read on the forum that it wouldn't be a good choice and within a couple days had her in a huge wire cage.

I also fed her Kaytee food. Not the Charlie Chinchilla, but the Timothy complete or whatever it's called. For newbies, Kaytee is not a good choice in feed because being at the petstore, you never know how long it's been on the shelves or in the warehouse. The bag could be well over a year old by the time you get it. By that time, the nutrients have gone away. Kaytee is also known to use a preservative that has been shown to cause cancer. So, your best bet is to get feed from an online store or a local feed mill.

I also used Kaytee dust bath. Trust me on this one, if you switch to Blue Cloud, you'll never go back. At $8 for a small 2lb package of Kaytee, you can get 10 lbs from an online dealer. Not only that, but your chin's fur will look so much nicer!

Other than that, I was lucky to have joined a forum before I got her so I didn't make too many mistakes. Now share yours! :)
 

Brandon

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
804
Location
Middle of the Atlantic
I joined CnQ the day before I got Binx.
I had him in a plastic bottom cage and the cage came with plastic shelving, the whole works- but I never put the plastic in and got a QC townhome- NEVER will I regret it- what a GREAT investment!!

I also fed Kaytee Forti Diet- what a crock of crap that was! It was the only food available however, and I'm stuck ordering Mazuri offline, but thanks to Alli- it's SUPER easy!

I also used Kaytee dust but whenever I run out of blue cloud I end up using Kaytee Dust to hold us over until the blue cloud arrives.

Last thing was that I fed him Kaytee hay, which is bad because it can be sitting in warehouses for months and months and it was quite dusty. I soon ordered Kleenmama's Timothy hay and we are all happy and healthy over here!
 
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Chinniechantel

Guest
I bought one of those plastic run around balls because I did not know they were unsafe.

I also used to give raisins and even dried apricot to my chins- yikes!

I have learned to buy the correct, safe product the first time, and you will save so much money!
 
S

Sugarmama

Guest
I had a girl and boy in the same cage. Fortunately, no babies before I separated them.

I used Kaytee Fiesta food, full of junk.

I used the cucumber/melon scented dust from the petstore.

I had cuttlebone in the cage, recommended by another website. I didn't know it could cause kidney stones.

I tried to give fresh carrots--fortunately, they wouldn't accept them or we would have ended up with bloat.
 
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Carol~Anne

Guest
I gave my first chinchilla (Pip) all kinds of treats: nuts, pieces of cookies, granola bars, bread, buns, chips, popcorn and pretty much anything he wanted. He became a real mooch and got so fat that he could no longer hop up on a chair. I think I just about killed him with kindness.

Once I found out all those treats were bad for him I immediately stopped and he only got good quality pellets, timmy hay and filtered water. For treats he got a pinch of rolled oats mixed with crushed rose hips each day. He lost all his excess weight and became way more energetic and active.
 

rach-elie

Active member
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
26
Location
Eden, NC
I joined a chin forum not too long after I got the boys. Of course before that I had gotten all my knowledge from the pet store books so it was quite a surprise to learn that raisin were actually bad. I think the worst mistakes we made in the beginning we the run around ball, plastic shelves in the cage, and the treats issue. Within about 2 months of getting the boys we had corrected all of those mistakes and learned our lesson about trusting everything from the pet store.
 

Puddles&Chubbs

RIP My Sleeping Beauties
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
382
Location
Rootstown, Ohio
I had a plastic water bottle inside the cage, the roll around death plastic ball, and fed raisins as treats. Good thing I found online help!
 

Megan

Dot lives forever!
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
1,268
Location
PA
I joined the forums before I got into chins, so didn't have as many mistakes as some who weren't lucky enough to find the forums.

Once mistake I did make...actually, at the time it was said to be ok--was feeding too many treats. They had atleast a raisin daily.
 

mistywaterwoman

Pooper Scooper
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
643
Location
New Orleans, LA
I didn't even know there WERE forums for the first 6 months!!!

I did a bit of research, so I had the food issue down pat, BUT I bought the crappy plastic filled Super Pet cage, AND the Death Ball. Fortunately for me, Sally hated the ball and we only used it once, it was scarey. The cage flaws were obvious after one night, so I ordered an aviary on ebay the next day.

I felt like I was just winging it for the first 6 months before I found the forums, though. I got lucky, I found Cheeky Chinchillas which was full of great info, even though it was all UK based.

Going through all of that was what inspired me to take the time to make my website: www.petchinchillas.info

I figure if I can save someone else the money and the trauma, then it's worth it.
 

Sasha

Mmm Helicobacter pylori..
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
2,047
Location
Edmonton, AB, Canada
My No-no's that I had:

Plastic wheel, small width
Plastic shelves/pan
raisins/banana chips
Sunseed food
Plastic water bottle
Bad hammock (had the long threaded strings)
Unfiltered water
Kaytee dust bath

I replaced with:

Flying saucer
KD Pine Wooden Shelves
5" metal pans
Rosehips, oats
Feed from a breeder out west
Glass water bottle/Edstrom water bottle with the metal guard
Fleece hammock, fleece tubes, fleece hanging houses
Filter for my water
Blue Cloud Dust
 

InkedupTara

Do the chinny shuffle!
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
1,546
Location
Pennsylvania
Ah I have done many of these things, raisins, and such. I even got a cage I thought was a good size, only to find the forums and see everyone else's and was like, yea, I soo need a bigger cage.

I had the Ball-o-death but never used it. I was more content to play with him then just stuff him in the ball.
 

addictedtochins

Socially inept
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
3,859
Location
North Idaho
I guess the worst two were that I kept her with a bunny. She loved that bunny and he loved her, she rode around everywhere on the nape of his neck. But I think she got a hairball from grooming him, she died. And I fed her too much junk, she looked so cute waving a tiny piece of candy cane around. Ugh, I hate what I did.
 
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Carol~Anne

Guest
I guess the worst two were that I kept her with a bunny. She loved that bunny and he loved her, she rode around everywhere on the nape of his neck. But I think she got a hairball from grooming him, she died. And I fed her too much junk, she looked so cute waving a tiny piece of candy cane around. Ugh, I hate what I did.
Your comment reminded me of letting my first chinchilla hop into the guinea pig cage and visit with the piggy. Someone pm'd me and told me that chinchillas can catch some sort of disease from guinea pigs but I honestly can't remember what it was.
 

Essentia

Jax Chinchilla Rescue
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
4,312
Location
Jacksonville, FL
The bad things I did in the begining:

Crappy food
Crappy cage
Crappy hay

Luckily I found the forum before I did anything even worse, like the big ol' ball of death.
 

Sandi

non-stop poop sweeper
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
6,708
Location
Chicago suburb
My biggest and worst mistake was to trust and believe the pet store owner where I bought my first chinchilla.

They sold me a plastic cage with plastic shelves and water bottles and Sunseed vita plus "complete" formula with fruits & vegetables and raisins in it, ugh! I realized something was not right when I had to keep buying water bottles because my chins kept chewing a tiny hole on top. Finally asked the new worker at the pet store what other type bottles I could get and HE told me to never use plastic with chins. I gave him a big thank you, wrote the owners a nasty letter and then went on the internet to find some help. I found CnQ and other websites who showed me the way to becoming a responsible chin owner!
 

Laurie

I heart Leonard
Joined
Jan 30, 2009
Messages
4,785
Location
Racine, WI
Holy cow I did it all! My first chin Bobo came with everything, plastic ball included. She did have the right cage though, no plastic, but I was told she was a boy. Shortly after we got Bobo--a couple of months, I had a friend who wanted to get rid of their male chinchilla, Gordon, so we took him. No intros just put Bobo and Gordon together. We let them have playtime free roam in the house. This was very bad because: Bobo ate a hole in the screen window and escaped. She was found and returned to me, but I crunched Gordon in the recliner one night before heading to work. That was how I found CnQ. I had to put Gordon to sleep and to this day even though it's been awhile I still feel horrid knowing I killed Gordon with something like a recliner. Shortly after Gordon died Bobo had a baby! So I learned the hard way she wasn't a boy. Her daughter GiGi is named GG for Gordon's Girl--that way she'll always have a piece of her daddy with her.
I also fed Kaytee Fiesta--Yikes!
Since finding CnQ I learned about better cages--all 8 of my chins now live in ferret nation cages with nice pine shelving. Males are separate from the females. Playtime is either in the bathroom, or Stewart's room as they can't get under anything. I feed Nutrena Rabbit feed and no one goes in the plastic death ball! Treats are plain shredded wheat, dried rose hips, tri color pasta minus the white.
Thanks to all the seasoned veterans out there for making my chin ownership experience a much, much better one.
Oh and I also learned to get my chins from breeders! Bobo came from a pet store where they didn't know anything about chins--she just kind of fell into their lap. Abigail came from a flea market and she is very, very tiny, has poor fur as has had teeth problems in the past. Quality chinchillas come from smart breeders--I still love Abigail, my Charlie Brown Christmas Tree chinchilla, but she can't hold a candle to her gorgeous cagemate Solange and hopefully someday Bronwyn!
 
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