Tall Vs. Wide Cage

UnhappyRefrain

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I saw this being discussed on Facebook and thought it was a pretty interesting conversation. Do you guys think it's more important that a cage is wide (plenty of space) or that it is tall (plenty of room to climb)?
 

Amethyst

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Yeah I saw this on FB today too. For domestic chins, although they do need some floor space in the cage you want more of a tall cage then a wide one like you would have for a guinea pig or rabbit. Out of cage running around on the floor time where they can run and popcorn around is important too. I thought at first it was more confusion of people lumping chins in with rabbits and guinea pigs, but it seems to have come from a statement from someone that runs the wild chinchilla rescue, so I guess it's people thinking domestic and wild are the same.

Domestic chins and wild chins are no longer really the same, they size, diet, lifespan and temperament have all changed from their wild ancestors, it would be like comparing wolves to domestic dogs. That being said I have no doubt that a wild chin would have an issue with a tall cage, they would instinctively want to stay low to the ground where predators can't snap them up. In captivity they have been domesticated over generations to be less fearful and to trust more and be able to hop around and play without fear of being seen and eaten. I do advise if you go tall that you over lap everything though, the wide open tall cages make me nervous, a fall of more then a foot can seriously hurt or even kill (if they land wrong) an adult chin. I also think that a short wide cage can actually cause more mental issues for chins since we would be standing over them, like predators, the tall cage allows them to get up to eye level (or higher) with us.
 

UnhappyRefrain

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Yeah I saw this on FB today too. For domestic chins, although they do need some floor space in the cage you want more of a tall cage then a wide one like you would have for a guinea pig or rabbit. Out of cage running around on the floor time where they can run and popcorn around is important too. I thought at first it was more confusion of people lumping chins in with rabbits and guinea pigs, but it seems to have come from a statement from someone that runs the wild chinchilla rescue, so I guess it's people thinking domestic and wild are the same.

Domestic chins and wild chins are no longer really the same, they size, diet, lifespan and temperament have all changed from their wild ancestors, it would be like comparing wolves to domestic dogs. That being said I have no doubt that a wild chin would have an issue with a tall cage, they would instinctively want to stay low to the ground where predators can't snap them up. In captivity they have been domesticated over generations to be less fearful and to trust more and be able to hop around and play without fear of being seen and eaten. I do advise if you go tall that you over lap everything though, the wide open tall cages make me nervous, a fall of more then a foot can seriously hurt or even kill (if they land wrong) an adult chin. I also think that a short wide cage can actually cause more mental issues for chins since we would be standing over them, like predators, the tall cage allows them to get up to eye level (or higher) with us.
That's funny that you saw the same post! I guess the chin world is a small circle. I totally agree. Having a bird's eye view has and is still very important to my chins. I have dachshunds in the house and when one of them would walk into the room, Perkins would stand on his perch and look down (he almost looked like he had a smug look on his face).

I have a gate up now, so Buttons doesn't need to look down as much as Perkins did, but I do think it is a big comfort to him.
 

Amethyst

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I just kind of wish people wouldn't post things like that though, I know in the chinchilla FB group I'm in it caused some panic for some new owners. As I said at least on the FB group I saw it on it was a shared post from a person that runs the wild chin rescue, so someone that people are going to assume knows what they are talking about. She may have lots of experience with wild chins, but I wonder how much experience she has with domestic chins, or if she just bases it off what she sees with wild chins.

Thinking about it more though this is the post I saw someone share
Screenshot (87).png

I wonder if the post was based on people wanting to put their chins in tall narrow cages. I've seen some people ask about cages like tall narrow bird cages that are only about a foot wide, but a few feet tall, and that style is not good for chins.
 

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Both. They like being eye level and climbing/jumping adds enrichment, but wide actually gives them room to move naturally.
 

borwin98

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Having run a home-based "Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation" for 17 years I'm fortunate enough to have numerous different sized cages which were homemade. The one my chins seem to enjoy the most is one that is 8' long, 4' wide, and 2' high. It is equipped with a chin spin, shelves for climbing, and houses to hide in but they still have 8' of running and popcorning areas. They also have Ferret Nation cages but seem to prefer the longer cage. The boy and girl chins take turns in the longer cage as I'm nervous about getting the boys neutered.
 

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