Soon to be new owner of 2 male chinchillas

Chin Family BP

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Dec 4, 2019
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I will be getting 2 male chinchillas in a few weeks at the age of 10 weeks. I have been doing a lot of research and I am in love with them already. I purchased the two story Critter Nation Cage and want to know was that best option? What are some of the must haves and suggestions should a first time Chin owner have?
 

Zahrii

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Aug 17, 2019
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  • A lot of people here either use the Critter Nation or the Ferret Nation, though some (including me) prefer the Ferret Nation. But for young chins, CN is the best because of the bar spacing. FN is too wide, so they can slip through. They are normally big enough to be okay in a FN by the time they are about 4-6 months. I would block them off to one level until 6 months, one unit is big enough for two adult chins, so it should be fine for two kits.
  • Temp and humidity is also a big thing. For the a rule of thumb, if you use fahrenheit, the temp and humidity added together shouldn't exceed 120. A good humidity is in the 40s range and a good temp is 55-68 degrees F. They cannot go above 75 degrees. I keep the temp at below 70 just to be safe. I also provide a chin chiller at all times since my temp is in the 60s range to be safe and I can't get it cooler since it raises the humidity.
  • Make sure you replace the pans of the CN, either by using ceramic tile, using the pans from Bass Equipment, or covering the pans with anti-pill fleece. If they chew the fleece, you'll have to come up with something else. A lot of people remove the shelves of the CN/FN and just put wooden leaping ledges instead. You can get them from a lot of different chin websites, but I get mine off of PandamoniumPets on Etsy. She has great prices and has amazing customer service and communication. She also carries a lot of other fun things, like interactive shelves and chew toys. :)
  • On the subject of toys, make sure they have a lot of safe chewing stuff, like hanging toys and sticks. They can have unlimited sticks daily, so as many as you can afford. My boys get 4 sticks daily, each one a different type of safe wood. Pumice is also good to have for a natural way to keep their teeth length under control.
  • A good pellet and hay is also very important, a lot of people use either Oxbow or Mazuri for pellets. If you don't use either of those and want to switch them over, make sure to do it slowly. With hay, I use Small Pet Select. My boys get two handfuls of timothy and a small handful of orchard a day, the amount varying slightly depending on how much they eat/toss on the floor and ruin with urine. ;-; It's good to have at least two types of hay on hand, as each type grinds down teeth differently. Any grass hay is good, as legume hays like oat are used as treat hays and should be fed sparingly. Timothy should always be the main hay though, no more than a 50/50 mix of timothy and something else should be given.
  • A wheel of some sort is also needed. Most people use either the Chin Spin, Silver Surfer, or a metal flying saucer. Make sure the diameter is at least 15 inches. Playtime outside of the cage is recommended, but not required. Make sure the area is enclosed, a lot of people use playpens.
 
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Amethyst

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Zanfii covered most, but I have just a few corrections.

Oat is a grain not a legume ;), but should still be used as a treat not primary hay. Alfalfa hay on the other hand is a legume, and is what you want to be feeding primarily to a kit until 6 months old. They need the extra calcium and protein for growing. Once over 6 months though alfalfa should be only used as an occasional treat if given at all.

Wheels are not required, they are fun though (like a kid having a swing set), for chins over 6 months old. Kits under 6 months should not have wheels of any kind or playtime, since they can overexert themselves easily, leading to overheating, injury, a drop in blood sugar, and possible seizures, coma, or death. You can take the chins out and hold them, but no running around, or at most only 5-10 minutes and not everyday. Once the chin is old enough a wheel is a good idea, but proper chin safe wheels are expensive, so if you can't afford one having no wheel is better then an unsafe one. Also when giving the wheel keep a close eye one the chin's weight, you may have to remove it until they are older if they over use it and start losing weight.

Speaking of keeping a weight record, you'll want to get a digital scale that measures in grams. Weight loss is often the first sign of an issue since chins hide illness so well. Try to pick a time that works for you so you can weigh them at the same time every time, the weight can fluctuate based on if they peed, pooped, ate, or drank.
 

Chin Family BP

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Dec 4, 2019
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Thank you both so much, this really helps a lot. Thank goodness for letting me know about the wheel because My Chins will be too young for a wheel
 

Zahrii

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Aug 17, 2019
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Apologies for the incorrect info, haha. I'm a new chin owner as well so I'm still learning. Thanks Amethyst for correcting me. I'll also be sure to double check more info next time. :giggle:
 

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