Questions to ask breeder?

ChinsForLife

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What questions should I ask my breeder when I pick my baby girl/boy up? It's my first chin! Really excited!! Can anyone help?
 

Amethyst

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Most of the things I would think to ask would be before picked the breeder. Things like have they had any genetic issues in their lines? Things like malo, diabetes, or fur chewing. On average how long do chins they have bred live? (average lifespan for domestic chins is about 15-20 years) How long do they keep the kits after weaning? Ideally they should keep them at least a week or two just to make sure they are eating, drinking, pooping, and peeing ok. I would find out what kind of food they are feeding so you can get the same, but from your other post it sounds like you got that covered.

I know with covid restrictions it might not be possible but I would want to see the herd, or at least the parents, just to make sure it's not a breeding mill or other bad situation. If you can't see the parents I would at least ask the size, so you have some idea of what the kit's adult weight should be, chins can vary in size from about 400g to over 1,200g. Also ask how long they have been breeding and how many litters they have a year, females should not be bred more then twice a year, back to back litters is not healthy.

Maybe also ask about health guarantee they have, in case the chin gets sick soon after you get it. I would be wary if they don't stand by what the breed.
 

ChinsForLife

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Most of the things I would think to ask would be before picked the breeder. Things like have they had any genetic issues in their lines? Things like malo, diabetes, or fur chewing. On average how long do chins they have bred live? (average lifespan for domestic chins is about 15-20 years) How long do they keep the kits after weaning? Ideally they should keep them at least a week or two just to make sure they are eating, drinking, pooping, and peeing ok. I would find out what kind of food they are feeding so you can get the same, but from your other post it sounds like you got that covered.

I know with covid restrictions it might not be possible but I would want to see the herd, or at least the parents, just to make sure it's not a breeding mill or other bad situation. If you can't see the parents I would at least ask the size, so you have some idea of what the kit's adult weight should be, chins can vary in size from about 400g to over 1,200g. Also ask how long they have been breeding and how many litters they have a year, females should not be bred more then twice a year, back to back litters is not healthy.

Maybe also ask about health guarantee they have, in case the chin gets sick soon after you get it. I would be wary if they don't stand by what the breed.
I'll give you the link to their website site and you can read their guarantee. .
 

ChinsForLife

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Most of the things I would think to ask would be before picked the breeder. Things like have they had any genetic issues in their lines? Things like malo, diabetes, or fur chewing. On average how long do chins they have bred live? (average lifespan for domestic chins is about 15-20 years) How long do they keep the kits after weaning? Ideally they should keep them at least a week or two just to make sure they are eating, drinking, pooping, and peeing ok. I would find out what kind of food they are feeding so you can get the same, but from your other post it sounds like you got that covered.

I know with covid restrictions it might not be possible but I would want to see the herd, or at least the parents, just to make sure it's not a breeding mill or other bad situation. If you can't see the parents I would at least ask the size, so you have some idea of what the kit's adult weight should be, chins can vary in size from about 400g to over 1,200g. Also ask how long they have been breeding and how many litters they have a year, females should not be bred more then twice a year, back to back litters is not healthy.

Maybe also ask about health guarantee they have, in case the chin gets sick soon after you get it. I would be wary if they don't stand by what the breed.
I'm picking her up at 2 months old. They feed mazuri pellets. I'm getting my food from my breeder. They are gonna let me see her parents. They have been breeding for about 25 years and it's the only animal they breed. They say they expect to have 45-60 babies this year. I will send you the link to their guarantee and their Facebook website so you can see their setup.
 

Amethyst

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There are a few things I personally don't agree with about that breeder, and part of it could be that because they have been breeding for 25 years they are closed minded to new information and recommendations since "they have always done it this way". With new info and people seeing long term effects or things of some of the things that were suggested 20+ years ago there is definitely more and more that breeders and pet owners differ on in terms of proper care.

One is letting kits go at 8 weeks, that is considered too young it's now advised to keep them at least a week to make sure they are doing ok.

I also question them saying on the website that they don't take any responsibility for the kit once it leaves, I would want to clarify if that also means if there is a genetic defect that they don't take responsibility for that either? Also do they come with a health check from the vet to prove they are healthy or are you just suppose to take their word for it that the kit is healthy. I mean I understand that they don't take responsibility if you give your chin inappropriate stuff or don't take proper care, that is on you, but if something is genetically wrong (genetic malo, heart defect, genetic kidney issues, etc)they should stand by what they breed. Or if the chin arrives to you sick, and you can get a vet verify that there is evidence it was sick for awhile not just something it caught in the last 24 hours.

Some of the items sold on their site are also not safe, things like pine cones are not considered safe since you can't guarantee all the sap is out of them. Chins do not need salt licks, too much salt can cause issues like dehydration and seizures. The cardboard bagels are also not recommended, most chins just shred cardboard but some do eat it, and if they eat it it can cause a blockage in their gut.

I see they sell pellets but only hay cubes, that is another thing breeders and owners differ on, long strand loose hay helps wear down the molars, since cubes are made of short chopped hay they don't do as good of a job. If the chin's teeth are perfect and the chin never has any accidents it may never be a problem, but most pet owners don't just keep their chins locked in a tiny cage 24/7 like breeders do, and we also tend to give chins various toys, unlike breeders do.
One example is the breeding cages in this video Lone Star Chinchilla on Facebook Watch are what most breeders keep their chins in for life, where as the bigger cage with the black velvet (they called them black chinchillas in the video) are in that would be considered in the pet world as an ok size for 1-2 chins chinchillas. Oh and chins should not have any plastic in the cage, they will chew it even if they don't chew it right away 99.9% of chins will chew it eventually and if they chew it since it's not digestible and could be sharp it can cause a gut blockage or even slice up their gut as they try to pass it.

(Here is my cage for my two boys in case you are curious of what I consider a good cage for adult chins, it's a double ferret nation)1612979761487.png

To be clear though, nothing I see is really a deal breaker, just reasons to be cautious as well as just personal ownership and research over the years (I've had chins since 1994) differs from some breeders. Some of the things like the pine cones, salt licks and cardboard you can simple not buy.
 

ChinsForLife

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How long should they keep her? I could tell them I can't come for another week and could pick her up at 9 weeks, or is that still too young? should I ask her if they have a health guarantee if she is sick instead of me doing something wrong? I knew about plastic, thank you from informing me about the salt licks. I would have bought them. We raise rat terriers and they are fully weaned and vaccinated a week or 2 before they go to new homes. We also have a guarantee that if something happens to their puppy within 2 weeks or if the Vet says something is genetically wrong with him/her or got sick I'm our care, we will take responsibility for that puppy and refund their money or give them another puppy if they wish. That being said, of course, we take great pride in ensuring health in our puppies so that almost NEVER happens! I have never had a Chinchilla before so I thought the weaning time was the same.. thanks for the info!
PS: picture of puppies born 3 days ago😍
 

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Amethyst

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It is similar to puppies and kittens, it use to be 8 weeks but most advise now waiting an extra week after weaning to make sure they are doing well on their own, eating and pooping ok, and everything before going to a new home. There are plenty that go at 8 weeks and do fine, but you can get the rare one that needs some extra care, so it's more a just in case, if you live close enough that you can bring it back if their is an issue then it's not a problem.

Since you breed dogs that should help get an idea of what you should ask the chinchilla breeder, think what standards you have and see how they match up to what you expect. Small breeds are not really my thing, but the pups are cute. 🙂
 

ChinsForLife

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I live about an hour and a half away but will drive there if there is an issue. Not a problem. I'm worried about them not covering it. We always cover any puppies that become sick. (It has only happened once and we nursed it back to health) what should I do if they dont?
 

ChinsForLife

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I live about an hour and a half away but will drive there if there is an issue. Not a problem. But I'm worried about them not covering it. We always cover any puppies that become sick. (It has only happened once and we nursed it back to health) What should I do if they dont? What would you do? I can't tell by reading their guarantee. From what you read, do you think they would?
 

ChinsForLife

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What are the main dangers?
I have a notebook that 8 have been writing down tons of info. Going do try and write a list on that. I have some info on that subject but would love info from an experienced owner.
 

Amethyst

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I live about an hour and a half away but will drive there if there is an issue. Not a problem. I'm worried about them not covering it. We always cover any puppies that become sick. (It has only happened once and we nursed it back to health) what should I do if they dont?
I'm not sure there is much you can do, that is why most of the questions I would have for the breeder, like "do you cover genetic issues or illness that are not the owners fault" are things I would ask before hand when choosing a breeder, since you already put a deposit down I think you just have to hope for the best.

Are they hardy animals? Everyone keeps telling me they die easily! They are really worrying me!😣
It really comes down to proper care and handling, as well as getting them from a good breeder. There are things like the genetic issues I've mentioned that simply buying from a responsible breeder should rule out. A lot of people get chins from pet stores so genetics are unknown.

Some other things are chins do have very thin bones, so if not picked up properly or handled roughly they can easily end up with a broken bone. Here is a chinchilla skeleton to give you an idea.
B-dxdk3CIAA5R0N.jpg
So for example they are not good pets for young kids that don't understand not to squeeze, a rib can easily break and puncture the lung. If grabbed by the tail you can break the tail, the only safe way to grab them by the tail is at the very base where it meets the body.
On the same note of thin bones, a fall can easily hurt them as well, so you have to make sure that kits can't fall more then about 6" and adults no more then about 1' or they can end up seriously hurt. I do mean fall not a jump, like for example you can jump off a table and be fine, but if you fall off you could break your arm. When setting up the cage make sure things over lap to prevent falls very far.

Other hazards are things like improper diet, fruits are not safe they are too high in sugars which can lead to issue like seizures, blindness, diabetes, liver and kidney failure, obesity and tooth decay, they can also cause diarrhea and bloat. Vegetables are also not safe, they can be high in natural sugars as well and tend to be gassy, which can lead to bloat. Chins can't easily pass gas so gassy foods can actually kill them if not treated. Most seeds and nuts are also a no go since they are high in fats which chins are not able to deal with which can lead to obesity and fatty liver diseases. Being herbivores animal products are also not appropriate. Before you start thinking they can't have anything, here is a list of safe treats
1613020374820.png

Chins also can't really be taught not to chew things, so it's up to you to make sure they don't have access to anything that they shouldn't. Things like paper bedding and pellet bedding can both cause gut blockages if eaten. As well as most cloth can cause injury or death if chewed, because of tangled strings. Chewing on treated wood, like baseboards, can be another common issue.

Things like tooth issues can be genetic, so a good breeder will solve that problem, but they can also be environmental. Things like injury or tooth decay can cause misalignment. All of a chin's teeth grow, incisors and the molars, so if the teeth don't line up properly they wont wear properly leading to tooth spurs and over grown teeth. Also since they are always growing chew sticks and chew toys are very important for wearing down the incisors, hay is important for wearing down the molars. Here is a list of safe wood,
1613020783074.png

Ok please don't take thing wrong, but you seem to want answers right away, this forum is not as active as it use to be. I am happy to answer questions, but I do have a life away from the pc, lol. I try to hop on here several times a day, but I'm not here 24/7. If you noticed the list pics I've posted are from a chinchilla FB page Facebook Groups, there is also a Chins and Hedgies FB page Facebook Groups made by people on this forum that spend more time over on that social media platform. You might want to join those groups as well if you want answers faster, especially the Chinchilla Owners Group, it's very active and even has the Lone Star Chinchilla breeder you are getting your chin from as a member. I'm not trying to pass you off, I really do want this forum to stay open since it does have a lot of info, but you just seem to want answers faster, also since different people have different opinions it might be good to bounce questions off more then just here. 🙂

Oh another good place for new owner info is this YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/c/TheChinchillaNotebook/videos From what I've seen she seems to have good info.
 

ChinsForLife

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I'm not sure there is much you can do, that is why most of the questions I would have for the breeder, like "do you cover genetic issues or illness that are not the owners fault" are things I would ask before hand when choosing a breeder, since you already put a deposit down I think you just have to hope for the best.


It really comes down to proper care and handling, as well as getting them from a good breeder. There are things like the genetic issues I've mentioned that simply buying from a responsible breeder should rule out. A lot of people get chins from pet stores so genetics are unknown.

Some other things are chins do have very thin bones, so if not picked up properly or handled roughly they can easily end up with a broken bone. Here is a chinchilla skeleton to give you an idea.
View attachment 21257
So for example they are not good pets for young kids that don't understand not to squeeze, a rib can easily break and puncture the lung. If grabbed by the tail you can break the tail, the only safe way to grab them by the tail is at the very base where it meets the body.
On the same note of thin bones, a fall can easily hurt them as well, so you have to make sure that kits can't fall more then about 6" and adults no more then about 1' or they can end up seriously hurt. I do mean fall not a jump, like for example you can jump off a table and be fine, but if you fall off you could break your arm. When setting up the cage make sure things over lap to prevent falls very far.

Other hazards are things like improper diet, fruits are not safe they are too high in sugars which can lead to issue like seizures, blindness, diabetes, liver and kidney failure, obesity and tooth decay, they can also cause diarrhea and bloat. Vegetables are also not safe, they can be high in natural sugars as well and tend to be gassy, which can lead to bloat. Chins can't easily pass gas so gassy foods can actually kill them if not treated. Most seeds and nuts are also a no go since they are high in fats which chins are not able to deal with which can lead to obesity and fatty liver diseases. Being herbivores animal products are also not appropriate. Before you start thinking they can't have anything, here is a list of safe treats
View attachment 21258

Chins also can't really be taught not to chew things, so it's up to you to make sure they don't have access to anything that they shouldn't. Things like paper bedding and pellet bedding can both cause gut blockages if eaten. As well as most cloth can cause injury or death if chewed, because of tangled strings. Chewing on treated wood, like baseboards, can be another common issue.

Things like tooth issues can be genetic, so a good breeder will solve that problem, but they can also be environmental. Things like injury or tooth decay can cause misalignment. All of a chin's teeth grow, incisors and the molars, so if the teeth don't line up properly they wont wear properly leading to tooth spurs and over grown teeth. Also since they are always growing chew sticks and chew toys are very important for wearing down the incisors, hay is important for wearing down the molars. Here is a list of safe wood,
View attachment 21259

Ok please don't take thing wrong, but you seem to want answers right away, this forum is not as active as it use to be. I am happy to answer questions, but I do have a life away from the pc, lol. I try to hop on here several times a day, but I'm not here 24/7. If you noticed the list pics I've posted are from a chinchilla FB page Facebook Groups, there is also a Chins and Hedgies FB page Facebook Groups made by people on this forum that spend more time over on that social media platform. You might want to join those groups as well if you want answers faster, especially the Chinchilla Owners Group, it's very active and even has the Lone Star Chinchilla breeder you are getting your chin from as a member. I'm not trying to pass you off, I really do want this forum to stay open since it does have a lot of info, but you just seem to want answers faster, also since different people have different opinions it might be good to bounce questions off more then just here. 🙂

Oh another good place for new owner info is this YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/c/TheChinchillaNotebook/videos From what I've seen she seems to have good info.
I'm so sorry!! I totally understand! I guess I have been a little anxious. It's just stressful, everyone keeps telling me I'm gonna get her and she's gonna die because they are fragile...just really worried. If i tell anyone im worried then they just say "if you're worried then dont get one! Its gonna die anyway" Sorry again that I have been that way. Thanks for letting me know. I'll try not to do it anymore...
 

ChinsForLife

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I really don't want to bug you and if not then i totally understand but can I ask a big favor of you? I don't have facebook and was wondering if you could maybe message and ask him if he does cover it? The breeder i mean? If not its fine! I just don't have Facebook so i cant ask him on the group😣 if you could, i would appreciate it, but if not its totally fine! If you can, don't tell him it was me. It might look bad.
 
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Amethyst

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I don't actually know them, I just recognize the name and logo as something I've seen on FB before, but looking it up now I guess they aren't part of that group, maybe they use to be but have since left? or could have been on another group or someone shared a pic post from them. In any case I think it would be better discussed with them yourself though, since you are the one buying the chin. Even if it's not normally their policy they may be willing to make an exception if you take the chin the vet right away (as soon as the vet can fit you in), just to verify that it's healthy. If they stand by what they breed they shouldn't have a problem with that. A wellness exam is a good idea when getting a chinchilla anyway, not only does it give you peace of mind that the chin is in good health (assuming it is), it also gets your chin listed as a current patient, which is important in case of an emergency.

Oh, that is another thing, make sure you have a vet that treats chinchillas, not all do, as well as at least have the number for an after hours emergency vet that treats chins as well. Just like dogs they have an annoying ability to get sick or hurt in the middle of the night or during the weekend or a holiday when vets are closed. :rolleyes: You don't want to be having to phone all over the place when you need to get the chin to the vet. Do keep in mind too that chins are exotics, so vet bills can easily get very high, personally I advise having a couple thousand dollars in some form in case of emergency, either on a credit card or pet care card (credit card for vet bills), or a savings account.

Anyways, I'm heading off to bed now, I'll be back to check the forum tomorrow.
 
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