unrestricted playtime- any arguments against

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edinburghfluff

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Oct 6, 2015
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Firstly thanks to all on this site for providing a great resource to new chin parents.

We adopted two 9 month old brothers, Baffie & Scoot last week. They previously shared a home with a toddler, so their out of cage time may have been restricted, involving a lot of being held. Consequently it seems the poor wee beasties have a fear of hands and of people sitting on the floor.

The first night we let them out of their cage it took them about an hour to learn about their new surroundings, and begin to gain confidence running and jumping. They seemed to be having such fun that it would have been a sin to lock them back in their cage (especially after all the work of chin proofing the room) so we left them out until we went to bed.

Each night we have repeated the exercise. Opening the cage at about 6pm; they come out at 8pm, have a crazy 45 mins or so bouncing and exploring, then go back to their cage (or more recently into one of the cardboard tubes next to us on the sofa) for a wee rest. Then its back to bouncing, chasing and exploring again. Usually we retire around 2am, so they get about 6-8 hrs out of cage exercise.

If we are snuggled up on the couch with a book or the TV is there any argument why they shouldn't be out with us?
We are new to chinchillas so any advice welcome.
 

Amethyst

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The problem with having them out if you aren't watching them is they seem to find some way to get into trouble. To be 100% chin proof the room has no wires, no carpet, and no unsafe wood or even paint on the walls or the drywall itself (yes some chins chew walls :banghead:) that they have access to. Also chins have a bad habit of chewing things you didn't even know were there or a problem, shoes, your clothes or something on your clothes, they are pesky little buggers, they need to be watched the whole time they are out. You might be ok so long as you look over at them frequently, but I know most people, myself included, tend to get engrossed in the show or book and next thing you know you haven't look at the chin for 5-10 minutes. They really don't need hours and hours of out of cage time unless their cage is tiny, an hour or so is plenty. So you could let them out then give them a rest when they go back in the cage or transfer them back to the cage when they go in the tube so you can do other things like read or watch some tv. Then let them out again later when they wake up again that works too and allows you to have some time to do stuff and not worry about the fur balls.
 

ticklechin

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Apr 14, 2009
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modesto CA
The only problem I see is can you do this all the time, they will become majorly p$ssed if you go away and they can't come out for that amount of time. I would stagger it, some days alot of time, some days limited to trip them up.
 

Dreamlite

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Dec 9, 2011
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Dallastown, PA
There is a huge list of risks. Electric cords, walls, paint, injury.... they dont need that much exercise. Over activity can lead to health problems as well. Weight loss, low blood sugar.... supervised play time is the only way your chin should be out of the cage
 

Michellemazz

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Mar 6, 2015
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New York City
The "majorly pi$$ed" is no joke!!!

I am guilty of the point Ticklechin brought up.

I was giving my chin tons of supervised free time before I started school.
Since the semester has started, he still gets out, but it isn't the hour long increments he was accustomed to.

They are unbelievably smart.
Mine knew he was being short changed, and he was NOT happy about it.

No expectation management with chins. Nope ..nada.


I recommend keeping manageable standards.
 

Godofgods

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Mar 16, 2011
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Harrisburg PA
The problem with having them out if you aren't watching them is they seem to find some way to get into trouble. To be 100% chin proof the room has no wires, no carpet, and no unsafe wood or even paint on the walls or the drywall itself (yes some chins chew walls :banghead:) that they have access to.

Proof: This is what my girls did to the wall several years back. All that discoloration is where they tore sheets of paint off the wall and tried to eat it. Along with the deeper part in the center. I was forced to stop letting them out for a long while until i could get it taken care of.

Wall.jpg
 

edinburghfluff

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Oct 6, 2015
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scotland
Many thanks for the advice. TC &MM raise an issue I hadn't considered, so we started to mix the duration of their playtime up a bit last night so that - they are happy enough going back to their cage early if we are not in the room, but if we are in, Baffie lets it be known that he would rather be out beside us - even if its just to sit next to us on the couch. We are fortunate because our usual seat for the night gives us a full vantage point of the whole room.

As another positive from your suggestion, we have realised that we can use playtime as a motivation for them for handling &c. Its the only one we have because they are not motivated either by petting or by treats. (I don't know what would have caused any rodent not to be motivated by food....... )
 

ChinnyMom

slave to Rhino and Guss
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Jan 29, 2011
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Edmonton, Alberta
just a note about couches and chins.......... they WILL find their way inside! this i know, lol. had to tip the couch over (yes, gently and slowly) to get my Guss out one day when, after totally going over the whole room six times to ensure it was safe for them to come out, the Guss found the only thing i didn't consider as a problem.
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2015
Messages
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Location
Corvallis, OR
just a note about couches and chins.......... they WILL find their way inside! this i know, lol. had to tip the couch over (yes, gently and slowly) to get my Guss out one day when, after totally going over the whole room six times to ensure it was safe for them to come out, the Guss found the only thing i didn't consider as a problem.

This is is true. My fur baby found his way into a piano we had in the room with him. I was always in the room and it didn't take long to realize when he wasn't just bouncing around behind it lol. They are sneaky!;)
 

IceMaiden

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Nov 7, 2015
Messages
82
Is unlimited out time really detrimental to their health?:err: I only ask because I work from home and in the warmer months (can't in the winter as I have a wood burner on which she might leap onto like she does in the summer) mine is out for hours with me most days, say 11am - 3/4pm, with a break during lunchtime when I can't watch her.

During this time she will follow me about the place from room to room like a little dog whilst I do various housework, ie dusting or sorting clothing, jumping about all over me then suddenly flops down for a quick nap before resuming her antics and going straight to sleep when I put her back in her cage.

I spend hours and hours with my chin and try to get her out whenever I can as she adores people and loves being around them. Is this actually harmful to her? Surely it's better than a chin left in a cage bored out of its mind with no interaction?:hmm:
 

LGarl

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Jun 2, 2015
Messages
116
Location
South Portland, ME
Some animals thrive on a consistent schedule and I imagine chins are no different. Following a schedule can add to their contentment because they know they can count on certain things happening at certain times.

My chin was given to me because his owner didn't have time for him, especially not out of cage time. He used to run frantically around his cage and beg to get out every time he saw me.

Once I put him on a schedule he now only begs to get out when it comes close to his play time. I end play time with a dust bath and treat and he doesn't beg anymore to get out once he has had a treat. It's like he knows exactly what to expect now and is confident he won't be stuck in his cage for days on end.
 
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