New chin parent with a few questions!

Jawramik

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Hello! My roommate and I rescued a chinchilla about a week ago. We had less than 24 hours to prepare for her arrival, so it's been a bit of a scramble, but we've finally got her into a nice big dual-level cage and have all the bare essentials. Both my roommate and I have had many different kinds of animals before, but this is our first chin. I've been doing a lot of research and feel like I'm starting to get a handle on chinchilla care, and Margaret, the chin, is incredibly sweet and adorable. I'm completely in love with her.

The cage, however, still needs a little work. It's not the Ferret Nation, but it's very similar (not sure what brand it is). I think it's only a couple inches smaller than the Midwest cages in its dimensions, so it's a good size. We got it second-hand for free (and cleaned it very thoroughly). The main problem is that it has wire floors and plastic platforms and ramps. The platforms and ramps are easy enough to replace. I already have ordered wood platforms and metal ramps that should arrive this weekend, and she's not chewing the plastic for now. The wire floor on the bottom was also an easy fix. I just pulled out the litter pan and stuck it on top of the wire floor. Surprisingly, it actually fit. She has Aspen shavings in there for now, but my roommate should be bringing some fleece home tonight for us to make liners.

My main concern is the wire floor on the upper level. We just have some large-ish fleece scraps (all we have atm, not enough for liners) up there for now so she can mostly avoid being directly on the wire, but I'm sure she can still feel it through the fabric. I thought about just trying to order another litter pan, but I'd need to cut a hole in it so she could still get between the levels (and that's assuming I could even find a pan the right size), which complicates things. I was thinking maybe wood? I just worry about urine seeping into it over time. What are my options for flooring? I don't really have any heavy-duty tools or building know-how, though I like to think I'm pretty resourceful. Could I just make some super thick (with multiple layers of fleece) liners for it, maybe?

Should I even be letting her up on the top level before I put in solid flooring? The cage has the option to close up the access hole to create two separate enclosures, but I wanted her to be able to enjoy all the space in her new cage, so I opted to leave it open, but I've wondered if that might be a mistake.

I'd appreciate any guidance you all could give me. Thanks for reading!
 

Amethyst

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It sounds like you maybe have a feisty ferret cage,
https://www.amazon.com/Prevue-Hendryx-485-Products-Hammertone/dp/B000QFMYWQ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=feisty+ferret&qid=1636079775&sr=8-1
if so it's actually quite a bit smaller then a double ferret nation (less then 15 cubic feet vs 24 cubic feet) and only one door opens on each level.
Here is a side by side of a modified Ferret Nation on the left and a Feisty Ferret on the right.
1499381b5ce4c69d7b32e70645c4a7c1.jpg
Anyways, if that is the case you can make liners a few layers thick for the floor, or you can tile the floor using light ceramic tiles. If you choose tile the best way seem to be to get a sheet of corrugated plastic and cut it to side, then lay the tiles on top of that. That way if the chin pees on it it wont drip down to the bottom of the cage and you can easily lift the tiles up to clean under them or replace if broken. I wouldn't use wood since if the chin pees on it it would need to be replaced regularly. Or you can simply remove the middle floor completely and replace it with wood shelves like in the pic above.

If it is a feisty ferret, I wouldn't restrict her to just one unit, unless it's just for a few days. A single unit of a feisty ferret is small for a chin, the whole cage is really only big enough for 1 chin or 2 chins max.
 

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Jawramik

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Thanks for your response! That very well may be the cage. The latches look the same.

I'll probably just make some extra-thick liners, at least for now, since we're already getting a supply of fleece. Though I like the tile idea as well, I may look into that down the road. Removing the second floor all together is an interesting idea! I kind of like the idea of having two big levels to put houses and toys and the like, but I've never thought about removing it before. I'll definitely give it some thought. Do you find your chins enjoy the extra vertical space they can traverse?
 

Pixie1984

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Wire on its own for the base isn’t a problem if it’s 3/4inch squared & a minimum of 16 gauge, for a higher level though it’s obviously an issue when it comes to them being able to pee through it which is where fleece would be handy. Contrary to popular believe, the correct wire doesn’t cause things like bumble foot, I’ve had chins on wire floors for over 15 yrs & have never had a case of it. It’s a bacterial infection caused by soft, easy to nick feet & unsanitary conditions, so a chin is more likely to get it from fleece that hasn’t been properly cleaned in regular 2-3 day intervals. If going with liners further up the cage, just make sure you have enough made that they can be swapped out to clean regularly.
 

Jawramik

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Wire on its own for the base isn’t a problem if it’s 3/4inch squared & a minimum of 16 gauge, for a higher level though it’s obviously an issue when it comes to them being able to pee through it which is where fleece would be handy. Contrary to popular believe, the correct wire doesn’t cause things like bumble foot, I’ve had chins on wire floors for over 15 yrs & have never had a case of it. It’s a bacterial infection caused by soft, easy to nick feet & unsanitary conditions, so a chin is more likely to get it from fleece that hasn’t been properly cleaned in regular 2-3 day intervals. If going with liners further up the cage, just make sure you have enough made that they can be swapped out to clean regularly.
Honestly, my aversion to wire floors has less to do with concerns about bumblefoot and more to do with the fact that it just doesn't seem comfortable. I realize that could very well just be me projecting my own human hang-ups onto my pets, but I certainly wouldn't want to spend 23 hours a day walking, sitting, and sleeping on wire, so I don't feel good about making my pets do it, either.

Plus, I don't think this cage has the correct, safe kind of wire floors (they wouldn't be good for rats, anyway, which is the main rodent I have experience with). It mostly just has horizontal bars, with only a few vertical bars for support.
 

Amethyst

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Thanks for your response! That very well may be the cage. The latches look the same.

I'll probably just make some extra-thick liners, at least for now, since we're already getting a supply of fleece. Though I like the tile idea as well, I may look into that down the road. Removing the second floor all together is an interesting idea! I kind of like the idea of having two big levels to put houses and toys and the like, but I've never thought about removing it before. I'll definitely give it some thought. Do you find your chins enjoy the extra vertical space they can traverse?
All the chin's I've had over the past nearly 30 years have enjoyed vertical space, they don't spend much time on the floor of the cage and enjoy being able to get up to eye level or above. One thing to keep in mind though if you remove the middle floor, make sure you over lap things so they can't fall far. A fall (not a jump but an actual accidental fall) of more then about a foot can seriously hurt or even kill a chin if they land wrong.
Here is my Ferret Nation cage that I removed the middle floor from for example. I put wooden shelves across as well as have a couple fleece hammocks to prevent a far fall.
Cage.jpg

Wire on its own for the base isn’t a problem if it’s 3/4inch squared & a minimum of 16 gauge, for a higher level though it’s obviously an issue when it comes to them being able to pee through it which is where fleece would be handy. Contrary to popular believe, the correct wire doesn’t cause things like bumble foot, I’ve had chins on wire floors for over 15 yrs & have never had a case of it. It’s a bacterial infection caused by soft, easy to nick feet & unsanitary conditions, so a chin is more likely to get it from fleece that hasn’t been properly cleaned in regular 2-3 day intervals. If going with liners further up the cage, just make sure you have enough made that they can be swapped out to clean regularly.
Although I don't agree that wire floors are safer then a solid floor I do agree that square grid wire is safer then straight bars like in the feisty ferret cage, though 3/4" seems large. The reason I don't advise wire floors is because a lot of chins have ended up with broken legs and toes due to the wire bar floors in cages like those since if they turn sideways their foot can slip right through the floor. No flooring is safe if you leave the chin in a filthy cage and force it to have to sit on the cage floor all the time though. If you don't provide a variety of surfaces (things like lava ledges, wood, ceramic, and metal ledges, shelves, and perches) in the cage for the chin to stand on being on wire 24/7 can cause pressure sores, and if you don't regularly sanitize the wire floor it can cause bumble foot infection. Most people also advice with even wire grid floor to have area for the chin to stand that are not on the wire to give their feet a break. Similarly fleece is perfectly safe so long as you offer a variety of surfaces so proper callouses form on their feet and wash the fleece regularly. If they pee on the fleece instead of in a litter pan it needs to be changed out at least a couple times a week, but some find once a day works best (fleece doesn't cover up the smell so it can smell like pee quickly), if they use a litter pan then once a week is enough with daily cleaning of the litter pan. The fleece is easier to insure a clean cage floor too since you can just take it out and put a clean set in all the dirty flooring is replaced with clean, wire mesh needs to be scrubbed, top and underside of the floor to fully clean it.
 

Jawramik

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All the chin's I've had over the past nearly 30 years have enjoyed vertical space, they don't spend much time on the floor of the cage and enjoy being able to get up to eye level or above. One thing to keep in mind though if you remove the middle floor, make sure you over lap things so they can't fall far. A fall (not a jump but an actual accidental fall) of more then about a foot can seriously hurt or even kill a chin if they land wrong.
Here is my Ferret Nation cage that I removed the middle floor from for example. I put wooden shelves across as well as have a couple fleece hammocks to prevent a far fall.
View attachment 21599



Although I don't agree that wire floors are safer then a solid floor I do agree that square grid wire is safer then straight bars like in the feisty ferret cage, though 3/4" seems large. The reason I don't advise wire floors is because a lot of chins have ended up with broken legs and toes due to the wire bar floors in cages like those since if they turn sideways their foot can slip right through the floor. No flooring is safe if you leave the chin in a filthy cage and force it to have to sit on the cage floor all the time though. If you don't provide a variety of surfaces (things like lava ledges, wood, ceramic, and metal ledges, shelves, and perches) in the cage for the chin to stand on being on wire 24/7 can cause pressure sores, and if you don't regularly sanitize the wire floor it can cause bumble foot infection. Most people also advice with even wire grid floor to have area for the chin to stand that are not on the wire to give their feet a break. Similarly fleece is perfectly safe so long as you offer a variety of surfaces so proper callouses form on their feet and wash the fleece regularly. If they pee on the fleece instead of in a litter pan it needs to be changed out at least a couple times a week, but some find once a day works best (fleece doesn't cover up the smell so it can smell like pee quickly), if they use a litter pan then once a week is enough with daily cleaning of the litter pan. The fleece is easier to insure a clean cage floor too since you can just take it out and put a clean set in all the dirty flooring is replaced with clean, wire mesh needs to be scrubbed, top and underside of the floor to fully clean it.
I may very well just remove the middle floor once I have enough shelving and hammocks. In the mean time, I'm planning to make the fleece liners this weekend, so I'll just make a couple extra thick ones to cover the wire for now (I know to make at least two sets, I've used liners before).

She's already more or less litter trained; she pees in her box about 70% of the time, and the other 30% is near the box on the ground level. I haven't found any wet/damp spots anywhere else since the first day we moved her to the big cage, and I've been checking. Point is, regardless of what modification tactic I eventually settle on, I'm not overly concerned about pee drips (that said, I'll be swapping out her plastic litter box for a metal one once it arrives, so I hope the change doesn't undo her progress on litter training).

I got her a playpen that arrived today, so now I have a good place to put her while I work on her cage this weekend. She still doesn't really let me pick her up (which I realise is normal, especially at this early stage of our relationship), but if I sit on a stool by her open cage door, she'll hop into my lap and let me scoop her up and cuddle her, so I'm reasonably confident I can get her into the playpen.
 

Pixie1984

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Honestly, my aversion to wire floors has less to do with concerns about bumblefoot and more to do with the fact that it just doesn't seem comfortable. I realize that could very well just be me projecting my own human hang-ups onto my pets, but I certainly wouldn't want to spend 23 hours a day walking, sitting, and sleeping on wire, so I don't feel good about making my pets do it, either.

Plus, I don't think this cage has the correct, safe kind of wire floors (they wouldn't be good for rats, anyway, which is the main rodent I have experience with). It mostly just has horizontal bars, with only a few vertical bars for support.
Aaah, when you said wire I assumed it was correctly gridded. Yes I see what you mean, vertical bars can be a big problem with how easy it is for feet & legs to slip between them. I had a chin come to me through a local charity when they had no room at the start of the pandemic who needed a leg amputated after a break, he was a wall surfer in his previous home & had been found hanging by a badly broken leg that had slipped through the bars as he’d bounced off the cage walls. He doesn’t surf as much now, but all my cages here are Thickets & Paul Spooner cages so i don’t really mind him doing it as much
If you’re looking to create solid flooring, you could always just remove that whole barred section itself & make multiple levels up the height of the cage by placing a few wide wood ledges together to create a large floor space at varying heights, if that makes sense. It’s rare I use fleece at all to be honest, out of 37 chins around half of mine like to try to eat it, but a good alternative I found that they all enjoy, are their granite tiles that go in at the beginning of summer until winter.
 

Jawramik

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Aaah, when you said wire I assumed it was correctly gridded. Yes I see what you mean, vertical bars can be a big problem with how easy it is for feet & legs to slip between them. I had a chin come to me through a local charity when they had no room at the start of the pandemic who needed a leg amputated after a break, he was a wall surfer in his previous home & had been found hanging by a badly broken leg that had slipped through the bars as he’d bounced off the cage walls. He doesn’t surf as much now, but all my cages here are Thickets & Paul Spooner cages so i don’t really mind him doing it as much
If you’re looking to create solid flooring, you could always just remove that whole barred section itself & make multiple levels up the height of the cage by placing a few wide wood ledges together to create a large floor space at varying heights, if that makes sense. It’s rare I use fleece at all to be honest, out of 37 chins around half of mine like to try to eat it, but a good alternative I found that they all enjoy, are their granite tiles that go in at the beginning of summer until winter.
Poor little guy. :(

Yeah, I like the tile idea, I may go to the hardware store with some measurements to get an idea of how much it would cost. We really don't have cold winters here (it hardly ever drops below 40F at night), so I could probably leave the tile year-round. I could always throw fleece over it if it seems like she's getting chilly. She already has some fleece in her cage, and while she occasionally tries to drag it around to redecorate (she'll do that with anything that's not bolted down), she doesn't seem to be chewing or eating it.
 

Pixie1984

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Poor little guy. :(

Yeah, I like the tile idea, I may go to the hardware store with some measurements to get an idea of how much it would cost. We really don't have cold winters here (it hardly ever drops below 40F at night), so I could probably leave the tile year-round. I could always throw fleece over it if it seems like she's getting chilly. She already has some fleece in her cage, and while she occasionally tries to drag it around to redecorate (she'll do that with anything that's not bolted down), she doesn't seem to be chewing or eating it.

😂 that sounds about right, my chins cages never stay tidy for long. Tidy one & by the time I’m on the 3rd the 1st looks like a bomb’s gone off in there
E8E45F9B-1B98-429D-8C67-36D432A5D240.jpeg
 

Jawramik

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I got her fleece liners all set up last week! I'm sure they'd look better if I'd shelled out for the fancy ones on Etsy, but I got all the materials for free, so all they cost me was some time and effort. And they're perfectly functional, which is all that really matters. She loves them! She zoomed and bounced all over the cage when I first put them in. And I feel so much better now that all wire and plastic is wrapped in fleece.

However, Margaret is now so friendly that spot-cleaning her cage is something of a nightmare! She used to move away from my hands, so it used to be easy to sort of gently herd her away from the area I was working on. Now she's up in my business the moment I open the cage door! She's constantly sniffing and nibbling my hands, looking for treats and scratches, she tries to grab my hand broom and dustpan, and when I try to gently push her away, she either just hops over my hand and keeps doing what she was doing from the other side, or hops onto my wrist and starts climbing up my arm. I don't mind, because it's freaking adorable, but spot cleaning definitely takes longer than it used to, haha.
 

Jawramik

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So, one of the reasons why I initially jumped at the chance to get this cage for free second-hand instead of just ordering a new cage was that I figured I could use the money I didn't spend on a new cage to buy an air conditioner before summer rolls around, since I knew Margaret would need one when the weather warms up. (Technically I could have afforded to buy both the new cage and the AC, but it would have cut into my vet care fund, which didn't seem like the wisest course of action.) However, my dad has just offered to buy me an AC unit for Christmas (bless him).....which frees up that $300-400 I had set aside for the AC. So I'm thinking Margaret might be getting a nice Christmas present herself, in the form of a new cage. The cage she has now is perfectly adequate now that the shelves and grating are covered in fleece, but there are a few things about it that annoy me, and I know it's also not the best or longest-lasting cage and will probably need to be replaced at some point down the road anyway. So! Let the cage-shopping begin!

I know that the Midwest CN/FN are considered the gold standard, and that's what I'm leaning towards getting (probably FN). It seems like they would solve most of the annoyances I have with the Feisty Ferret. I would cover the plastic pans with fleece, and would either cover, replace, or remove the plastic shelves and ramps. I don't feel a burning need to replace the pans with metal Bass pans, but I know the option exists if I decide I'd like to do that.

I know that QCC also makes some highly-rated chin cages, but as with most QCC products, they seem awfully expensive for what they are. I'm sure the quality is excellent, but the Midwest cages seem like a much better value (and I like the fact that the Midwest cages are up off the ground and have wheels and a shelf, I really love those features on my current Feisty Ferret).

Are there any other options I should consider? Just for reference, I'm hoping to spend no more than $400 on the new cage, but I could afford to shell out a little more if I thought it was really worth it.
 

Amethyst

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So, one of the reasons why I initially jumped at the chance to get this cage for free second-hand instead of just ordering a new cage was that I figured I could use the money I didn't spend on a new cage to buy an air conditioner before summer rolls around, since I knew Margaret would need one when the weather warms up. (Technically I could have afforded to buy both the new cage and the AC, but it would have cut into my vet care fund, which didn't seem like the wisest course of action.) However, my dad has just offered to buy me an AC unit for Christmas (bless him).....which frees up that $300-400 I had set aside for the AC. So I'm thinking Margaret might be getting a nice Christmas present herself, in the form of a new cage. The cage she has now is perfectly adequate now that the shelves and grating are covered in fleece, but there are a few things about it that annoy me, and I know it's also not the best or longest-lasting cage and will probably need to be replaced at some point down the road anyway. So! Let the cage-shopping begin!

I know that the Midwest CN/FN are considered the gold standard, and that's what I'm leaning towards getting (probably FN). It seems like they would solve most of the annoyances I have with the Feisty Ferret. I would cover the plastic pans with fleece, and would either cover, replace, or remove the plastic shelves and ramps. I don't feel a burning need to replace the pans with metal Bass pans, but I know the option exists if I decide I'd like to do that.

I know that QCC also makes some highly-rated chin cages, but as with most QCC products, they seem awfully expensive for what they are. I'm sure the quality is excellent, but the Midwest cages seem like a much better value (and I like the fact that the Midwest cages are up off the ground and have wheels and a shelf, I really love those features on my current Feisty Ferret).

Are there any other options I should consider? Just for reference, I'm hoping to spend no more than $400 on the new cage, but I could afford to shell out a little more if I thought it was really worth it.
The only other cages I can think of that I've heard people mention would be the Exotic Nutrition cages. I really don't know too much about them other then they are all metal instead of having plastic shelves. Specifically the new Borneo cage looks like it could be nice, but I do realize even with it on sale it is a bit over budget. Borneo Small Animal Cage

For the price though since I don't really know too much about those cages you might want to just shop around and look at FN cages on sale right now. Chewy for example has the double FN for just over $300.
 

Jawramik

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The only other cages I can think of that I've heard people mention would be the Exotic Nutrition cages. I really don't know too much about them other then they are all metal instead of having plastic shelves. Specifically the new Borneo cage looks like it could be nice, but I do realize even with it on sale it is a bit over budget. Borneo Small Animal Cage

For the price though since I don't really know too much about those cages you might want to just shop around and look at FN cages on sale right now. Chewy for example has the double FN for just over $300.
The Borneo cage does look nice, thanks for drawing my attention to it, I'd never heard of it. The sale price is still perfectly within the affordable range for me. My main concern would be the huge doors. Margaret sometimes has more curiosity than sense and has been known to charge towards the cage door as I open it, hoping to be able to slip past me and let herself loose in the apartment. It's manageable with the half-height doors on my current cage (like the FN, except only one side opens), but I'd be really worried about her getting around me with those huge, full-height doors (although I bet they make cleaning easier, you could probably climb right up inside that sucker). I guess I could always get a play fence and set it up around the front of the cage to keep her contained. I do like that it's all metal, though I honestly don't have a problem covering/replacing the plastic on a Nation cage.

One feature of the Nation cages that the Borneo doesn't have is the ability to (easily) turn a double unit into two separate enclosures (and add on more units). I don't have any real plans to get more chins, but I also know that I'll have a hard time saying no if I hear about another chin who needs a home, so I like the customizable/expandable nature of the Nation cages.

The more I think about it, the more I'm leaning towards a Ferret Nation. But I plan to do a little more thinking/researching before pulling the trigger.
 

Jawramik

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I just ordered a double unit Ferret Nation. 😁 I wanted to take advantage of the Black Friday sales, so I decided not to wait.

Only downside is that I'll need to either buy or make new fleece liners, since the sets I made for the Feisty Ferret won't fit. Oh well. The upside is that there are loads of options for buying liners, since every fleece-sewer on Etsy seems to make liners for the Nation cages.
 

Jawramik

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Quick question re: new cage.

I plan to wipe the whole thing down with vinegar (followed by a wipe with a rinse rag). Is that sufficient for a new cage? I know used cages should be thoroughly disinfected with bleach, which is what I did with the used cage (also put it out in the sun to dry for a few hours after rinsing it), but that shouldn't be necessary with a new cage that has never housed another animal, right?
 

Amethyst

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For new liners just remember the only safe material is fleece, that includes inside the liners too just in case they decide to chew through or if a seam ever busts. I know some Etsy vendors use other things inside the liners like cotton batting, towels, or Uhaul pads, which are all not safe if your chin every gets access to them. The nice thing with the ferret nation though is it comes with plastic pans, so you can make pillowcase style liners that the pans just slide right inside of. If you decide to make your own and go with pillowcase style, I suggest making the liners extra long, like an extra foot or so longer, that way you can tuck the extra under and it makes it nearly impossible for the chin to pull up the fleece.

Quick question re: new cage.

I plan to wipe the whole thing down with vinegar (followed by a wipe with a rinse rag). Is that sufficient for a new cage? I know used cages should be thoroughly disinfected with bleach, which is what I did with the used cage (also put it out in the sun to dry for a few hours after rinsing it), but that shouldn't be necessary with a new cage that has never housed another animal, right?
I just wiped mine down with a damp rag to get any dust or anything from the factory off. Vinegar is good too since it's naturally antibacterial if you want to get extra sure it's all good, but no need to bleach.
 

Jawramik

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Yup, I know that any liners, hammocks, etc. need to be 100% fleece, including any stuffing, lining, fastening straps, etc. I'll probably make my own, but I used up all the fleece I had making liners for the Feisty Ferret, so I'll have to buy (or otherwise acquire) more fleece. I was thinking of buying at least one pre-made set, just to buy a little extra time for me to find more fleece and make new liners.
 

Jawramik

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Exciting news (at least for me)! I successfully picked Margaret up and held/carried her a short distance for the first time today! And I felt it went quite well.

I've been trapping her in her dust bath to get her between her cage and playpen. I knew she'd get wise to it and it would stop working sooner or later, but it had been working reasonably well until today. I was able to use the dust bath to get her into the playpen today.....but she was having none of it when it came time to put her back in her cage. I was hesitant to try to pick her up at first, just because I know she doesn't care for it and I didn't want to stress her out or break the trust I'd built with her....but I had to get her back into her cage. So I finally pulled up my big girl pants and managed to get both my hands around her (one hand around her chest, the other cupping her bottom). She struggled a little when I first closed my hands around her, but I quickly lifted her up and held her against my chest, and rubbed the spot she likes behind her ear with my thumb, and she quickly settled. I was able to carry her back to her cage and place her inside with no barking, biting, peeing, or other drama. And she didn't even seem to resent me for it, as she was back checking my hands for treats a moment after I released her (and I quickly got her one for being such a good girl!).

I'll be honest, I was a little concerned that I'd never be able to pick her up (or at least not easily). I've heard it's not all that uncommon for chins to never really tolerate being handled, and I was worried what that might mean for Margaret if she ever needed vet care or experienced some other sort of emergency. But now I feel like it's much more doable! It's okay if she never loves being picked up, I just want her to tolerate it when necessary. And now I feel like we at least have a good start to build on, which is a huge relief!
 

Nan

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Exciting news (at least for me)! I successfully picked Margaret up and held/carried her a short distance for the first time today! And I felt it went quite well.

I've been trapping her in her dust bath to get her between her cage and playpen. I knew she'd get wise to it and it would stop working sooner or later, but it had been working reasonably well until today. I was able to use the dust bath to get her into the playpen today.....but she was having none of it when it came time to put her back in her cage. I was hesitant to try to pick her up at first, just because I know she doesn't care for it and I didn't want to stress her out or break the trust I'd built with her....but I had to get her back into her cage. So I finally pulled up my big girl pants and managed to get both my hands around her (one hand around her chest, the other cupping her bottom). She struggled a little when I first closed my hands around her, but I quickly lifted her up and held her against my chest, and rubbed the spot she likes behind her ear with my thumb, and she quickly settled. I was able to carry her back to her cage and place her inside with no barking, biting, peeing, or other drama. And she didn't even seem to resent me for it, as she was back checking my hands for treats a moment after I released her (and I quickly got her one for being such a good girl!).

I'll be honest, I was a little concerned that I'd never be able to pick her up (or at least not easily). I've heard it's not all that uncommon for chins to never really tolerate being handled, and I was worried what that might mean for Margaret if she ever needed vet care or experienced some other sort of emergency. But now I feel like it's much more doable! It's okay if she never loves being picked up, I just want her to tolerate it when necessary. And now I feel like we at least have a good start to build on, which is a huge relief!
I’m so happy for you! It’s a momentous event! To be able to hold your friend, give them a little scritch, snuggle a bit - what a gift! Margaret will likely never love being “captured” no matter how gentle you are, but I view tolerating it as good enough! And you’re right, it will make it so much easier to transfer her, or take her to the vet, etc. Congratulations, on your patience and your success!
 
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