Two male chinchillas bonding help

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abianchetti

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Jan 29, 2022
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17
Hi everyone,

I have a male chinchilla (he is 8 months old) and today I bought another male (he is 3 months).

First time they met it didn’t go well. My older chinchilla was jumping on him, making small bites in the fur and ear and they were fighting. :(

I would appreciate any advice on how to make them bond from the beginning?

We have separated their cages for now, out plan is to have them together in the same cage which is pretty large.

Thanks!
 

Jawramik

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Nov 3, 2021
Messages
233
Did you quarantine the new chin for 30 days before introducing them? That's important, to make sure you can observe the new chin and notice any health issues before potentially exposing your resident chin. It also gives the new chin a chance to settle in to their new home before putting them through the stress of introductions. If you didn't do that, then your older chin has already been exposed and it's kind of a moot point as far as potential pathogens go (but it's still good to know for the future).

Since they've already had a negative experience, you're going to have to start from scratch. Keep them in separate cages, ideally in separate rooms, for at least a few weeks to let them decompress and "reset." I'm concerned about their age and size difference. I'm wondering if you should wait until the youngster has grown up a bit so they're closer in size.....but I'll let those who are more experienced with introducing chins speak to that. In fact, I'll just let those more experienced folks give you advice on this in general, but for now, make sure they're as separated as you can make them to let them both recover. Let your new chin settle in and get comfortable with you and his new surroundings before attempting another introduction.
 

abianchetti

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Jan 29, 2022
Messages
17
Thank you. A lot.

I made two mistakes:
1) did not quarantine the new chin, decided to do it as of today since I didn’t know that
2) introduced them the same day i got a new chin.

The cage is enough for the two of them, it is split in 2 parts so that they can see each other but not touch each other or fight. Each has their own food container, water etc. Everything is separated.

We are going to keep it like that in the weeks to come, as you suggested, so that the new chin gets more comfortable with the new surrounding and so that both of them get familiar with seeing each other.
 

abianchetti

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Jan 29, 2022
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Yes, I am also unsure of their age difference, it’s 5 months in between them, so it’s really not that much but still... This is why I wanted to see if anyone else had the experience of getting a new chin and introducing it to the older one.
 

Jawramik

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Nov 3, 2021
Messages
233
Thank you. A lot.

I made two mistakes:
1) did not quarantine the new chin, decided to do it as of today since I didn’t know that
2) introduced them the same day i got a new chin.

The cage is enough for the two of them, it is split in 2 parts so that they can see each other but not touch each other or fight. Each has their own food container, water etc. Everything is separated.

We are going to keep it like that in the weeks to come, as you suggested, so that the new chin gets more comfortable with the new surrounding and so that both of them get familiar with seeing each other.
Just for future reference, a quarantine period is honestly a good thing to do with most animals. It's less of a viable option with pets like dogs and cats, just because they tend to have free roam of people's homes and/or yards, but for anything that's kept in an enclosure (rodents, reptiles, rabbits, birds, etc.), it's generally recommended to keep new animals in a separate room from anything they're closely enough related to to pass on disease (so keep small mammals, even if they're different species, quarantined from one another, same for reptiles and amphibians). Most people recommend a quarantine of at least 30 days before moving the new animal into the same room as any related (by species/family/genus) animals you already have, and only move the new animal into the same room if they've had a clean bill of health for that full 30 days. Some people recommend quarantines longer than 30 days, but it often depends on the specific situation. 30 days is a good minimum to start with.

Let your new boy adjust to his new home and put on some size. When you do introduce them, you want to do it in as neutral an area as possible, don't just throw them in the same cage together and hope for the best. Do a series of short, closely supervised intros in a neutral, well-cleaned area that neither feels is their "territory." Separate them immediately if they start to fight, fur slip, or if there's intense chasing. Only once they can coexist peacefully in a neutral area for several.sessions with no aggression should you try putting them together in the same cage.

And keep in mind that chin intros can take weeks, months, or even years. And some chins just don't get along and will never want to share a cage, so be prepared for that possibility. If there's ever any blood drawn at any point in the intro process, then that's when you need to call the introduction a failure and just plan to keep them separate for the rest of their lives. Drawing blood is an indication that they're trying to kill each other.....and severe injury or even death is a real possibility once they start drawing blood. Not all chins get along with all other chins, and some are just really territorial and don't want to share their space.
 

Jawramik

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Nov 3, 2021
Messages
233
Yes, I am also unsure of their age difference, it’s 5 months in between them, so it’s really not that much but still... This is why I wanted to see if anyone else had the experience of getting a new chin and introducing it to the older one.
Is there much of a size difference? I'm less concerned about the age difference than I am about the possible size difference and the difference in sexual maturity. 5 months may not sound like a huge age difference to us, but I feel like chins do quite a bit of growing and maturing between the ages of 3 and 8 months. It'd be like the difference between a 12-year-old and an 18-year-old for humans. (Though full disclosure, I've never raised a chin from a kit and I'm not a breeder, so this is mostly just a guess on my part, but my chin noticably grew between the ages of roughly 6 months to 8 months, so I figure they'd do even more growing between 3 and 8 months; most people still consider a chin a kit, or baby, at 3 months, whereas they're more or less fully grown and sexually mature at 8 months).
 

abianchetti

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Jan 29, 2022
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Thank you, this helps a lot! Will certaily follow the advice on quarantine and especially on making them meet each other again, the neutral territory is a good place to start with.

About the size difference, I have to say my older chin is noticeably bigger than the new one.

I am ready to go into this process with full patience. I’ll also have to be okay with the fact that they just cannot function together if it comes to this, but hopefully it will not.
First things first now, quarantine and letting the small guy get used to his new home and me and my family.
 

Amethyst

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The advise so far seems good, I like to wait until younger chins are at least 4 months old to introduce to an older chin, and at least 6 months to be caged together. A 3 month old chin is more like around a 5 year old human and a 8 month old is closer to around early teens to give you a bit better idea of the age gap. That also means that you will be dealing with puberty which hits chins around 6 months until about a year, so do keep that in mind with the younger one. It doesn't always but it can happen that puberty can change their personality some and they can become more moody, similar to a human teen, which can effect bonding.

It really is best to go slow, and you can't really go too slow, you will just leave them wanting to see each other more, but if you go too fast it can cause them to fight and the bond to fail. When you start doing intros start with very short periods, like only 5 minutes at first, and then if things go well slowly increase the time by about 5-10 minutes each time they are out together. If they do fight it's best to allow them time to cool down before trying again, at least a few days but in some cases they need a week or two to calm down. If you put them back together before they calm down they will just pick up where they left off.
 

Jawramik

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Messages
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Thank you, this helps a lot! Will certaily follow the advice on quarantine and especially on making them meet each other again, the neutral territory is a good place to start with.

About the size difference, I have to say my older chin is noticeably bigger than the new one.

I am ready to go into this process with full patience. I’ll also have to be okay with the fact that they just cannot function together if it comes to this, but hopefully it will not.
First things first now, quarantine and letting the small guy get used to his new home and me and my family.
Even if it turns out that they can't share a cage, they still may enjoy being out together for playtime. And even if that doesn't work out, they still probably get some benefit from having the other nearby in a separate cage. They are very social in the wild, so they almost certainly get something out of having even visual/auditory/olfactory contact from a distance with members of their own species. It's just that sometimes their territorial instincts seem to override their social instincts.

Sometimes I feel bad that my chin is an only chin....but I can't really accommodate a second cage, which would be a problem if they didn't get along, and I really wouldn't have anywhere to quarantine a new chin (I never even planned to have one chin, she was an unexpected rescue), so I don't feel like it would be the best idea for me to get another.

I hope everything eventually works out with your two boys!
 

abianchetti

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Jan 29, 2022
Messages
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Thank you. You had a point here and I was also thinking the same. I really wish that one day they bond, we’re having a lot of interaction with him on daily basis but I really felt like he should have a “chin-friend”, other than us. It might make him more happy.

So, we’ll do our best to bond them. For now, I’ll follow the advice I got here.

Ps. Melts my heart to know you saved a chin. 🥺❤
 

Chinmin

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Thank you. You had a point here and I was also thinking the same. I really wish that one day they bond, we’re having a lot of interaction with him on daily basis but I really felt like he should have a “chin-friend”, other than us. It might make him more happy.

So, we’ll do our best to bond them. For now, I’ll follow the advice I got here.

Ps. Melts my heart to know you saved a chin. 🥺❤
Any updates on your chinchillas? I hope they are friends now.:)
 

abianchetti

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Jan 29, 2022
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Any updates on your chinchillas? I hope they are friends now.:)
Hi!

Thanks for asking!
Not any progress. :( The younger one would like to play but the older one is acting territorial, so when they get close they stand on legs as to fight.
We separated their cages even more and will have to wait for a loooot of time i guess to try to meet them again.

It’s definitely not easy to bond two male chinchillas, but, we’ll keep trying very carefully. I know it’s just a beginning but all my family has already accepted the fact they might not ever hang out as we imagined. Meh…
 

Chinmin

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Maybe you just have to wait until the small one catches up in size?:) I hope you're still enjoying them both, though separately.

You're welcome and thanks too for the reply.
 
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